When we last interviewed the major Melbourne fashion influencer three years ago, she was sweet, hard-working and humble. Since then, of course, the whole world has been upended, and Rozalia was not immune to that. Happily, those original traits remain, but these days she is more open, more certain of what is important and more grounded in who she is. This is in part due to a very solid home life, the importance of which was imprinted on her as a toddler, when her parents fled war-torn Uzbekistan to ensure the safety of Rozalia and her older brother Stanislav. Now having been married for a decade to nightlife entrepreneur Nick Russian, with whom she has two children (daughter Willow is eight and son Kingston is five), there’s an extra level of self-acceptance regarding the trickier aspects of life, and gratitude for the wonderful ones. And as for her professional track in recent years? Her style has gone from strength to strength – still lots of clean lines and neutral tones, but more edgy and experimental – and her beauty obsession with clear, glowing skin is as strong as ever.

NAILING DROP OFF STYLE
IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @ROZALIA_RUSSIAN

“Being a parent is honestly my hardest ongoing adventure, especially knowing that it’s one I will be on forever. I mean, my mum still worries about me, and I’m 34!

Without a doubt, having kids has been the most challenging period of my life. And I have found is that with every stage there are different challenges. With a newborn, it’s all about being sleep deprived, seeing huge changes in your body and feeling like you are losing your old self. Then eventually you start sleeping again and feeling more like yourself, but then as the kids get older come the emotional challenges!

It has taken me years to gain confidence in my own ability to parent and make the decisions that are best for my family.

In the early days of being a mum I read every single parenting book, would only feed my kids organic food, never accepted help and would constantly worry about what other people thought. Then it all came crashing down – I was burnt out, felt lost, and as though I was failing not only as a mother, but as a person.

I worked on blocking out the outside noise and questioning my own expectations around how I thought a mother should act, and just tried to go with the flow more. Eventually, I accepted that I’m not going to nail it every single day. So these days if I am working or tired, you know what? I’ll order McDonald’s for my kids.

The glam intersection of influencing and the realities of motherhood
Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

I started ballet when I was three years old, and danced until I was 17, so I feel like that opened my eyes to the joys of dressing up in beautiful costumes and make up from a very early age.

Every weekend I would spend hours getting ready for different concerts and exams, so it became the norm for me to spend time getting dress up and applying makeup.

I do spend less time getting ready since becoming a mum. However, prior to having kids, I would treat different parties or events as though they were a dance concert, and would experiment with different outfits and makeup looks depending on my mood.

I first became active on social media about ten years ago, and back then, it was all just a bit of fun. At that time, no one saw social media as a way to work, so like most people, there wasn’t any ‘plan’; I just fell into it.

I would upload photos of my girlfriends and I out and about, and then people would start asking me where a certain item was from, or what blush I was wearing. So I started taking photos of my outfits in the mirror before I went out, and writing a list in the description of what I was wearing. Brands I tagged would see a spike in sales, and they started to reach out and offer me free clothing. After about two years, we realised that there was an opportunity to turn this into a business. So then when brands reached out, instead of accepting free clothing, we started to work together… and the rest is history.

Like every job, mine definitely has highs and lows.

It’s fantastic being able to choose my own hours, which allows me to put my family and my children first. (For instance, I am able to make it to most school pick ups and after school activities.) I have also been given amazing opportunities, and been fortunate to meet and work with incredible people.

In terms of the lows, the only thing that can get me down is the constant critique and judgement that comes with what I do. I understand not everyone is going to like what I wear or design. However, the more personal commentary can wear on you after a while.

In her element at Australian Fashion Week
Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

I certainly appreciate that what I do is out of the ordinary, and I think with that comes people not necessarily realising the work that goes into it.

There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to produce the end result of one photo. I think a lot of the time people assume I just pop on an outfit and take a picture. I get that if you’re outside the industry this job may not seem difficult, but truthfully there is still a lot involved and many hours that go into collaborating with brands, which is how I earn my income. I am so grateful to be doing what I do, but at the end of the day, even though it might seem glamorous, I am still like any working mother, trying to juggle everything.

With husband Nick and children Willow and Kingston
Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

Most days I help get the kids ready for school and then my husband Nick does drop off.

I wake up around 6:30, and have a cup of coffee in bed and relax for about twenty minutes. It’s a little bit of time to help me ease into my day. When I am in bed with my coffee, I love to apply a sheet mask from Go-To or Mecca to help wake up my skin and start off the day with a glow. Then the kids are up and the madness begins. Once they are off with Nick, I am at the gym by 8:30. I am not much of a breakfast person and never eat first thing, so after the gym I take about half an hour to have another coffee and some muesli or yoghurt.

To me, taking care of my body means that I listen to how it feels and try and give it the best shot at staying healthy. So I exercise at least four times a week, but also, when I am feeling tired, I will take it easy and not push myself to breaking point. Basics I try for are drinking plenty of water, and getting at least eight hours sleep every night.

I think the key to making the day to day easier is to try and be as organised as possible.

When it comes to our home life, it’s little things, like, instead of wasting time at the supermarket, I have all of our groceries delivered at the start of the week. School lunches are always made the night before, so that each morning instead of doing lunches I am able to squeeze in a bit of exercise and me time.

All in all, I try to make the most of every spare minute. For example, I will drop my son to karate, rush home and then back to pick him up; as much as it can be a hassle doing the extra driving, in that half hour at home I am able to shoot some content, make dinner or have a quick Zoom meeting. I try and use every chance I get. Sometimes it is a lot and I do get flustered, however it is the only way I have found to get everything done.

I take a similar approach with beauty as well. I’ll put the time in where I need to, and try to limit the time I spend on things I am not as fussed about.

When it comes to my hair, I am very low maintenance. I wash it a couple times a week, I only have it coloured once a year, and overall I prefer a more relaxed, undone look. In order for me to be able to achieve all of that, I do make sure that I invest in good quality hair care products, such as Kevin Murphy or Eleven Australia, to make sure that my hair is healthy and easy to style. And I do have Carla Lawson hair extensions, which are incredible as they mean my styles really last.

My best beauty tip? Sunscreen!

When I was younger and people would try and tell me about the importance of sunscreen, I would just nod and ignore them. I never even listened to my dermatologist, and would sunbathe without any protection. I thought I was invincible and could deal with any sun damage easily later. Well, here I am at ‘later’, and spending a small fortune on lasers and skin treatments to reverse as much sun damage as I can. Please just use the sunscreen, no matter how old you are!

Mum and Dad out on the town
Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

I invest a lot of time and money into my skin, through prioritising high quality products and having regular facial treatments.

We are always bombarded by all of the different skincare options, so I have also tried to educate myself as to which ingredients are the most important to have in your routine. For me, vitamin A, vitamin C and  hyaluronic acid are all ingredients that I like to make sure I include each day.

In the morning, I cleanse with SkinCeuticals Simply Clean and apply SkinCeuticals LHA Solution Priming Toner. Then I’ll use SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum, and moisturise with Dr. Spiller Propolis Day Cream. I like to finish with a BB cream, which gives me good coverage as well as sun protection.

At night, I cleanse with Rationale #5 The Cleanser, use the same toner as I do in the morning, then go in with one of the Biopelle retinol serums. My last step is Dr. Naomi Plump Fiction Anti-Ageing Moisturiser. A few times a week, I like to exfoliate with the Dr. Spiller Jojoba Peeling Cream.

Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

One of my favourite recent beauty finds has been the Dr. Naomi LED it Glow mask. I have been using it for about six months and have definitely noticed a difference.

It is one of most powerful light therapy masks available, and it helps with pigmentation, fine lines and overall brightening. Whenever I have a professional facial, one of my favourite parts is going under the LED lights, so I love being able to do a version of that at home as well.

Image: Instagram @rozalia_russian

Being European, my mother’s approach to beauty and fashion was always more is more.

There was no such thing as leaving the house in a tracksuit and under no circumstances did my mum ever leave the house without makeup. Her mantra was always to put your best foot forward and make an effort every single day. She was a big believer in not saving your special outfits just for a special occasion.

If I am doing a full face of makeup, I start with Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer and then follow up with either the matching foundation or L’Oreal True Match Foundation. Then I like to add some definition and life into my face with L’Oreal Wake Up And Glow Bronze Powder in shade 01 Back To Bronze and Rose Inc Blush Divine Radiant Lip & Cheek Color. For eyes, I love the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Pillow Talk, the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! mascara, and Mecca Max Zoom Eyeliner in Chocolate. I line my lips with MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Oak, then apply Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Bare It All over the top. My final step is MAKE UP FOR EVER Mist & Fix Setting Spray to lock it all in.

Ageing is such a tricky subject, and everyone has a different view when it comes to embracing it or fighting it.

Like most women, I’m never overly excited when I see a few more lines. Then again, as cliche as it sounds, as I’ve gotten older, I have also become more confident. So, much as I look back at my twenties with fondness, particularly for how my skin was then, I would so much rather be where I am now. It is a part of my job to make sure that my skin is the best that it can be, and I do put a lot of effort into that, but all in all, I would happily take getting old and having wrinkles over the alternative!”

Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Northbrook Agency and select images via Instagram @rozalia_russian.

Comment (0)