The wonderfully down to earth Jessica Rowe had no fear in talking to us about the highs (let's just say glitter is always the right answer) and lows (sweaty armpits, anyone?) of all things beauty. And it's not the only thing she approaches in a frank and brave way. A welcoming face on our TV screens for two decades, she's also the author of three books, a wife, a mum, and a member of the Order of Australia for her work in mental health advocacy. Quick to laugh, resilient and yet still happy to be vulnerable, be prepared for a serious dose of inspiration as we chat with the self-described crazy cat lady and #craphousewife.

“I’ve just finished up at Studio 10 after being there for four and a half years.

I’d been thinking about leaving for six months. I think any big decision we make in our lives isn’t just made on impulse – you start to think about it, it creeps up on you and then that’s it. I had a beautiful family holiday before Christmas last year, and it was just amazing. I felt really present, and I thought, ‘when you’re in that state of mind that’s a good time to think about changes that you want’. Once I had spoken with Peter, my husband, and my closest friends, I felt ready. Everyone was so patient with me, because I’m sure they were thinking ‘oh god, here she goes again’. But they listened, really listened, and have been so supportive.

Tuberose is one of my favourite scents of all time. I’m always on the look out for perfume that has that heavenly scent at its heart.

A stylish, sparkling friend of mine, Trish Canturi, introduced me to Fracas by Robert Piguet, which is essentially the ‘mother’ of all tuberose-based scents. And I love it.

Bright lipstick is a trademark of mine. Depending on my mood I go for pink, pink, or pinker!

I’m definitely a crazy cat lady and collect anything with a cat on it. I bought the blush brush at Hong Kong Disneyland for my youngest daughter, and it’s now in my make up bag.

The porcelain cat ring is from the French jewellery company, Nach Bijoux. Their designs are quirky and fabulous.

I always had terrible acne growing up and I get quite nervous using thick creams and things that can break you out. 

I think skincare is so important. A lovely friend of mine, the sensational skin expert Ingrid Seaburn, has introduced me to serums for the first time, as well as her own wonderful product called Hydrate. It’s a lotion, so it’s not thick, but rather is clear and gorgeous, so I really like to lather that on. Ingrid also gives me a facial every month or six weeks. I’ve noticed a significant difference in my skin since she started looking after me!

I absolutely love makeup.

Because I have to wear so much for work, when I’m not working I prefer tinted moisturizer to a heavy base. But I do like a little something. I love to do my eyebrows, some cream blush and a bright lip. Things like that I find lift me. My daughters, Giselle, who’s almost 9, and Allegra, who’s 11, both love makeup. Especially my youngest, she loves putting makeup on me when I go out, she likes to choose the different colours… they’re really into all of the makeup tutorials on Youtube.

I don’t leave glitter simply for night time. I love wearing it for school pick up. It’s not just for certain times. I want it at all times!

One of the essential elements of my makeup bag is glitter. We can never have too much glitter. Urban Decay have the best liquid glitter eyeliner, it’s just thick and wonderful and it stays on, plus it comes in lots of different colours. At the moment I’m wearing their Midnight Cowboy and Spandex versions (usually not at the same time!). Revlon also do a really ‘sparkle arkle’ eyeliner, where one end is a liner, and the other a wet eyeshadow (Photoready Eye Art Lid Line Lash). I just got one and it’s inexpensive and fantastic. I like no fuss. I don’t want too many brushes and fiddling around, so it’s great that you can just sort of pop it on and move it around till it’s right.

Seriously, I put glitter everywhere. You should use what you love at any age.

I even have glitter on my nails. So I never like it when I hear beauty writers and beauty experts say oh no, don’t use glitter, you have to be young for that. No. Just stick glitter in my wrinkles. I love it. I don’t mind, I want glitter coming out of every pore.

Most days I like to keep my make up base light.

Sometimes I’ll wear Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Bronzing Primer on its own. Or if I’m in the mood for more coverage and have a ‘work’ commitment I’ll mix that primer in with YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat foundation.

Paul and Joe Sister is one of my favourite clothing brands (it has lots of cat print outfits) and I recently discovered the Paul and Joe beauty range. Surprise, surprise their lipsticks have cats on them!

So as well as being a crazy cat lady I am also a #craphousewife.

A wonderful journalist in Brisbane said to me “do you know there are some women who post Instagram photos of the lunch they packed for their children?” I thought, ‘that is just ridiculous, it’s absurd’. So then I said I’m going to take photos of what I actually cook for my family, what real life is really like and used the hashtag #craphousewife and it started from there. It really has struck a chord with a heap of women who also are crap housewives. It’s just a way of saying, we are all doing our best, life is not as perfect as it seems. I’ve always been a big believer in saying it as it is and giving all of us permission to say ‘you know, we’re not perfect, we can’t be good at everything’. You do what gets you and your family through the day.

Most of the time I live in flats but if I’m going to do a heel, I make a statement with it!

These are my Camilla and Marc spotted shoes,  teamed with just one of my many cat headbands

I’m a huge advocate for mental health and have been for over 20 years. I’ve got no problem saying that I take medication to improve my own.

My interest in mental health initially came from my family’s experience, but when I realized I had postnatal depression after Allegra, I felt so ashamed. I’ve always been very capable, so for me to put my head up and say I’m not coping was very hard, but asking for help was the best thing I could have done. I started taking Zoloft, which I still take. I was really good at pretending I was okay – everyone around me had no clue. But that’s why I still talk about it, and advocate for women, because I remember that when I was going through it and I had so much going for me in the sense of a family that understood, I knew where to go to get help, I had the economic means to get help, all of this going for me and I still felt ashamed. I thought how hard it would be for women who don’t even have one of those supportive elements in their lives, so that’s why I still feel really strongly about talking about it.

I know this doesn’t sound terribly glamourous, but I am someone who has excessive sweating.

I’m an oversharer, much to my husband’s horror and many people’s horror I’m sure, but basically I get extremely sweaty armpits. It’s remarkably common, and you don’t realise how many people it impacts. I just want people to know that you don’t need to suffer in silence. When I was younger I did all sorts of things to try and keep it at bay… my dear mum even suggested that I put sanitary pads in my armpits under my jackets! I really thought that there’s got to be a better way, so I ended up having injectables for it and it’s been incredible. It’s important to speak with your GP or your dermatologist to see what will work best for you. There’s also a great website with plenty of helpful tips. In short, don’t be embarrassed by it. I have sweaty armpits but I’m still glamourous and love glitter eyeshadow!

You guessed it – more glitter, more cats!

I’m obsessed with the Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow Palette. Their eyeshadows have the best pigment. And I have lost count of how many cat mugs I have. My darling friend Carlotta buys me one each Christmas. This is one of my faves from her, as it’s the perfect match for our real life cat, Alfie.

I love blush just to lift my look, even on a no makeup day.

Stila cream blush is my go to. It’s easy to apply and gives you that healthy glow. Mac also do a mineralize blushthat I can get a little carried away with. Hello Kitty holds my false eyelashes that I try to get a couple of wears out of before they have to go in the bin.

I’m just so excited for what’s to come.

I want to spend more time with my girls, I want to get them to school in the mornings. And I also want to do more writing. I’m starting a podcast with Denise Drysdale, One Fat Lady and One Thin Lady, and it’s just us chatting from our very different perspectives on life. She’s become one of my closest friends – we’re very different but we have a lot of fun. And then who knows what else is ahead. I’m someone who really believes in taking a risk and searching for things that bring you joy and happiness. I’m really lucky to be in a position where I can do that, and I think there are moments when you really know ‘yep, time for a change, time to look at things differently.'”

Story by Zoe Briggs, interview by Sigourney, photography by Alice Mahran, makeup by Mia Hawkswell.

Comment (3)

  1. April 12, 2018

    What a fantastic interview with Jessica! She is lovely.

  2. May 15, 2018

    What a pleasure to read this interview! Thank you for sharing!