I’m a hypocrite when it comes to beauty and chances are you are too. We can hardly help it living in the glossy , fomo inducing Instagram world of the 21st century with it’s neverending rolodex of perfection. Our skewed perceptions on what it is to be or feel beautiful are generated by our family, friends, culture, fashion or manufactured by Hollywood, but now the banquet of vanity also encompasses internet sensations, reality TV stars and bloggers.

I wonder if any woman would’ve started shaving her legs lest it wasn’t advertised to us that hairiness is unseemly and unladylike (thanks Gillette!) but the phenomenon that is the rise of the “rich face” , a face so symmetrically perfect that it almost reaches uncanny valley proportions , currently holding the teen to 30 market captivated,  shows how far we have come since our benign body hair focus – the current obsession with fillers has become a bonafide status symbol for ever younger customers.

Beauty has been desirable by the human race since the dawn of time as a way of ascertaining fertility and good genetics , so we have always capitalized on enhancing attributes through caring for our hair and make up, body, clothes or adorning ourselves with accessories. The unique thing about beauty in the 21st century is that now, along with almost de rigueur fillers, we are also bombarded with self improvement messages that are often in complete antithesis to our desire for the physical ideal and the subsequent inner beratement of our perceived flaws. Spirituality preaches we look beyond the physical into radical acceptance of ourselves on a soul level whilst society sighs over the perfect perky butt and breasts. These messages swirl through the collective consciousness into fears embedded into a worldwide audience of captive women, primed all our lives by the incessant comparison force fed into us, so that we can continue believing than we are not good enough just as we are and need to keep improving ourselves in order of being worthy of desire.

When I was a baby, I had jaundice and was very small. Wrapped up in muslin, I was handed to my father and mother who kept staring at each other, coyly smiling until my mum just couldn’t handle it anymore and said: “ Oh my God, she is so ugly! ” The rest of my childhood was no different. I often sported embarrassing bowl haircuts, was a total tomboy and never looked in the mirror. I know I wasn’t attractive because no boy liked me until I was 13 when my face had changed and I had breasts.

Even though I was oblivious to my own prettiness until I was approached by a modelling agency, I have now lived off my physical attributes as a model and then blogger for 23 years so I know the ups and downs of being perceived as beautiful. It’s true, being genetically blessed sure does open doors and bestows perks that are wholly entitled and wonderful, but it’s less known that it also closes them. People will often assume without knowing me that I’m stuck up, shallow, obsessed with myself, have an ego that needs crushing or that like some spoilt princess living on a bed of roses, fed a steady diet of grapes by fabulous man slaves at my feet I have had it easy all my life. Some women become competitive, judgmental, suspicious and isolating because they feel that I am in some way a threat or couldn’t possibly understand their struggles and challenges. Men who pursue me split in two directions: some that clearly don’t give a hoot about what lies in my mind or soul and ones pretending that they are not at all interested in me because I’m attractive, yet what do you think is the first thing both versions attack when they feel insecure or inadequate?

In fact my physical attributes became a source of anxiety and self judgement through the simple fact that modelling is a job that is all about regularly dealing with cards of rejection based simply on bone structure. My ex booker used to tell me that I was the first model in Australia that was hired on personality too, so perhaps my inner qualities were a mitigating factor , but when the skin you’re in becomes associated with rejection more so than not at such an early age, your values become warped and relative. There is someone more beautiful, always, there will forever be someone more desirable, with a more perfect nose and fuller lips. Yet, we all know that we won’t ever be that person who we think is so much better looking than us simply for the fact that we are, well, we , and have different genetics altogether. Oh boy does this turn into suffering!

As a tween, I remember 90s supermodels ruling the runway-  glossy, perfect and exuding Amazonian cool . I fell in love with fashion through this pack of incredible models even though their out of this world proportions seemed out of reach for a skinny kid with no boobs. They didn’t intimidate me, neither did I feel crushed by the way they would always seem immaculate - I just wanted to be like them, just like I wanted to be Sheena, Queen of the Jungle,  but I had as much of a chance riding a zebra bareback across a savannah in Africa as I had growing Tonya Roberts or Eva Herzigova’s breasts. Then, the standard of beauty changed and Kate Moss’ body became the new ideal. All of a sudden, my body shape was in. It never stopped me from wishing for Eva Herzigova ‘s boobs though.

Once I started modelling, the insanity increased. When you are surrounded with adults that speak about gorgeous teenage girls in terms like “chunky” ,“Pie eater”, “ thin lips”, “ weird nose”, your whole perception of your own and other’s beauty becomes twisted and judged on impossible standards. Food was always my passion, so I never developed an eating disorder, but I also didn’t live in an apartment with models for long enough to become obsessive about my weight.

Still, lets face it , I would make a can of Slim Fast and a Parliament cigarette my breakfast more often than not, running 7 days a week to uphold a thin physique, regularly picking myself apart and cursing the heavens for not giving me even more symmetrical features . I never felt thin or pretty enough, and honestly, never was as slim or genetically endowed as some models,  but now , I look at photos of that kid thinking; Jeez, you were extremely skinny and ridiculously Derrick Zoolander good looking. Yet, at the height of my youth and what’s considered “prime time” , I never felt beautiful. What a waste! Luckily, I didn’t care much about modelling as a career, preferring to amass money and then take off with my then boyfriend on months long trips to foreign lands instead of staying put for booked jobs ( sorry wonderful modelling agencies! ) so my anxieties stayed manageable as I was distracted by other interests and ideas.

Funnily enough, when I got pregnant with my daughter years later, my body put on 30 kilograms, even though I ate healthily. When I gave birth, I remember thinking I had slimmed down so much that to celebrate I decided to buy some new jeans. I asked the shop assistant to give me a size 12, as this is what I thought I was at that point – she looked at me questioningly but brought the jeans regardless . Dear reader, they wouldn’t go past my knees! It was like I had developed reverse anorexia – in fact I was a size 16. I was puzzled by this sudden reversal in how I perceived my body ; where once I never thought I was skinny enough, now I believed I was much thinner than I was in actuality and I couldn’t work out why.

But the biggest lesson in beauty came when I broke up with the father of my child after 11 years together. I felt incredibly sad, tired, old and haggard. I couldn’t look into the mirror without noticing another line, another sign that I was now past some magical prime, just a frightened woman in her 30s back on the dating market. Since break ups are hard as anyone knows and doubly so when you have children involved, you could say that my self esteem took a major hit – petrified of aging, fearful thoughts looped around my head to the tune of : what if no one finds me attractive again? Being horribly stressed about money and eternally tired from a lack of sleep did not help,  but then I wasn’t helping myself either by being angry at myself for feeling angry and annoyed that I kept feeling sad.

So,  I decided to get botox - after all, some of my friends had been getting it for years. Why not? Maybe I will look better, and since it’s not permanent, if I don’t like it, I can just stop. Well, at first I liked it. I definitely didn’t look angry or sad anymore and in photos my face looked more symmetrical which is always a bonus. I was getting the smallest possible amount in my forehead and frown lines but I still couldn’t frown at all. It felt strange to not be able to express my range of emotions anymore though- some expressions were now impossible. Predictably my friends with botox thought I looked incredible, whereas my friends without would tell me that my face would sometimes pull in unnatural and frankly creepy ways ( appreciate the honesty guys).

A year later,  I fell in love with a new man, who seemed to like my effervescence and perpetual happy visage. Ofcourse, dear reader that was all lies. I was still just a regular human dealing with lots of human shit, but you just could no longer see these expressions on my face. My face had become a mask – it had become a shield. Not only did this man not even register that I had difficult emotions, but my daughter no longer knew when I was frustrated with her or meant it. She would push boundaries more because I wasn’t doing my usual frowning authoritative face to stop her. When I tried to explain I was upset, she thought I was joking.

Sadly as my botox wore off , my boyfriend did too. He wasn’t equipped to deal with the full spectrum of human emotion within himself, which led him to drown all his difficult feelings in alcohol for decades, so naturally he couldn't deal with them in me. He seemed surprised that as he actively sabotaged the relationship with ever worsening words and actions, I was no longer mute and neither was my face . He didn’t like seeing how his actions hurt me – the expressions that convey pain and grief shocked him ; the frown at unkept promises meant to him I was always angry, the tears meant I was crazy - the first time I cried post botox, my weeping face scared him away for a week even though I never spoke a word.

And that was the biggest difference- whereas my face on botox would stoically morph into an elegant pained irreverence with an odd tear, a là Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born, I no longer looked this chic grieving. My face was an explosion of agony, a technicolour of suffering –it had returned to that which it was designed to do – communicate my most intimate feelings without a sound. This man couldn’t hack my humanity because he hadn’t embraced his own. All I triggered in him was guilt and shame that came with his wrongdoings , and because heavy emotions scared him and he didn’t know how to process them,  he was unable to take personal responsibility for his behaviours or change them. He ended up running into another relationship whilst still seeing me and thus another limerence phase where he didn’t need to deal with strenuous emotions yet. The years spent with him were a big lesson for me. If I was unable to accept my own humanity and my own "ugliness" in times of difficulty, how could I attract anyone that could? At the time I met him, I resonated at the same frequency as him- one scared of my own and the world’s intensity, trying to pretend that only the positive existed. Additionally, the fact that I entered this relationship with poor self esteem is the reason why I tolerated the way he disrespected me and ogled other women for so long. My belief in having a shelf life made me think that I needed to stay and work on the relationship no matter how I was treated.

But there were deeper reasons to quit the injections as well – mainly that it interferes with our emotional processing. In the excellent book  “The Emotional Life Of The Brain’ , the neuroscientist Richard J Davidson states : “Conventional wisdom holds that brain issues commands to the rest of the body and does all the directing, with the body below the neck meekly awaiting orders and never talking back. But it’s actually a two way street: communication between the mind and body is bidirectional. The brain, it turns out, uses feedback from the body in basic information processing.“  Basically, what scientists found by doing research with botoxed women is that our inability to make facial expressions that indicate sadness or anger directly led to these feelings being processed much more slowly and incompletely because the expressions were necessary for complete digestion of these emotions and subsequent realisations and learning. Which, in layman terms means that we are Stepford Wifing our brain in order to appear perfect on our face.  Could I call myself a feminist and do this? Was I truly living for me or fitting into a patriarchal model of aspiration where a woman could only be pretty and happy?

Every feeling is important and valid – our emotions are signs that lead to effective processing of important life events, that manifest lessons, integration, learning. Anger is a sign our boundaries are being broken so that we can reflect on the situations we are in and change them, sadness is a way of transmuting sorrow, loss, disappointment,grief and helplessness into experience, joy and happiness. We live in a world of duality, we cannot just have easy and good emotions without the hard ones – they are the same coin, different sides. By numbing our difficult feelings, we stunt our growth and emotional development, just as we would if we tried to delete them in any other way-  addictions to substances do the same because they flatline our pain so we never move through it to reach the other side.

It felt dishonest to tell my daughter to love herself just the way she was when I didn’t. I quit using words like skinny, fat or ugly way before she came into existence about anyone because I hate judging people on anything other than their actions and I especially dislike basing opinions on superficial terms – I didn’t want her to think these were words worth speaking or ideas worth thinking , yet here I was , actively crushing my feeling self in order to appear more attractive in the way society told me was important. I wasn’t backing myself.  I wasn’t validating my emotions. And I sure as hell wasn’t in my power or self worth. But what’s worse, by injecting myself with botox I was disrupting an important part of parent/child communication – mimicry. Our children, and especially babies learn about the world through us and our face speaks to them just as much through microexpressions as our voice and actions, so flattening ourselves numbs their own perception of the world and creates confusion around appropriate reactions to situations. Botox also actively reduces our ability to feel deep emotions and empathize , basically reducing our humanity, something we direly need in today’s world, full of strife and intolerance. Not to mention that if you have an MTHFR mutation, your body will naturally be less likely to expel botox toxins, leading to increased health issues, and since this is a problem affecting 1 in 2 people, it is a pretty important thing to consider.

I’m sorry to break it to you but there isn’t any evidence that preventative botox works – the injections were never meant to prevent anything, but to soften existing wrinkles, and in fact, there is evidence that paralyzing muscles leads them to atrophy – if muscles keep skin taut, then there is more of a likelihood that the skin will sag when treatment stops because the muscles have slacked from disuse.
Whilst I don’t judge anyone who feels a need to modify their appearance in any way because I am only responsible for my own body and no one else’s ( apart from my child’s until she learns how to care for herself) and I love people for their personality not their looks, I feel compelled to inform you of what my journey taught me. Maybe botox isn’t such a good idea if you have young children, health issues or are going through a pivotal emotional time in which you need all your processing powers, and honestly, I look at anyone under 35 getting it done with an exasperated why, but hey, it is none of my business, you do you. If you want plastic surgery and you think this will erase all your problems , this is your life and your body and no one has the right to choose for you. I just need to add though that Patti Smith looks like a freaking legend  , Sophia Coppola and Meryl Streep are gorgeous even with noses a plastic surgery doctor would shave off, and I can’t stand Tyra Banks since she made a budding model surgically close the gap between her front teeth on America’s Top Model, taking away her unique beauty in the process.

All I can tell you is that it has now been 5 years since I started my 1 year long botox experiment and honestly, I feel and look younger than I did then, despite another difficult break up and numerous stressors. How? I am nearly 40 and I feel and look 30, or as some say 27 ( liars) . What is my magic trick? Simply, I have developed self love and acceptance - I no longer feel like I need to put myself down in front of the mirror or think up barbed comments throughout the day. I catch myself falling into my old programming now- let’s face it I was raised by a wonderful mother who sadly kept calling herself fat and going on extreme diets , then embraced by a fashion industry riddled with insecurity so these thoughts won’t go away over night , but I do catch those mean thoughts now and replace them with compassionate ones. At first it wasn’t easy – my brain was tenaciously trying to hold on to making me hate myself. Still, I persisted, no matter how exhausting it would sometimes get to argue with my monkey brain and catch every single unkind word. It took a while but now I speak to myself as I wish a lover would speak to me, not my worst enemy.

When I isolated that my issue with appearance lies within me and has nothing to do with the outside world is when everything changed, including the lines on my face. I no longer obsess about my size so my body responds with healthy strength and my skin has become clear and beautiful. Because I speak to myself with loving kindness, I naturally choose what’s best for me because I want to feed myself nutritious foods and give myself feel good energies that come with meditation and exercise. Beauty to me has become about how healthy and radiant I feel, not about how I am perceived by others. Joe Dispenza has said that the quality of our consciousness changes the material world and honestly, I believe this to be 100% true now.

But let's face it, I am a hypocrite because I still work in the same industry that I love, I still create picture perfect fashion images, I still get my pictures retouched sometimes. It’s impossible not to and still create an amazing image alone – often, its only me, a one woman team, often with clothes crumpled in the back of my scooter or car putting make up on in the midst of a sweaty day in a small mirror, hair ruined from the wind. Having a fashion team to perfect every flyaway hair, every dress wrinkle and every make up imperfection isn’t an option ; yet, it is now possible to get those things taken out by image manipulation. I learnt what a good image looks like throughout my long career, I know how to make clothes look good, but is it reality? Hell no. Reality doesn’t excite me in my field of work- when high definition TVs came out , I fought buying one until I had no choice because frankly, I don’t want to see an actor’s every pore and pimple-  I know people have them, I see them with my own eyes every day, that’s humanity, but it distracts me from the fantasy I want to experience . When I look at a fashion image or a movie, I want to be transported into that world, I want to dream. I don’t feel bad about this, but I do feel bad if my editorial images are something people compare themselves to and feel inadequate because they think it reflects real life that’s unattainable to them. Fashion and movies are not real life, they are like a fairy tale book:  impractical, nonsensical, fictional and fun.

It makes me sad though when people tell me they want to change themselves because they don’t think they are perfect enough because I’ve been there, I was that girl. Let’s face it, I won’t stop dying my hair for a while or wearing make up, because I want to enhance the way I look  just like I want to keep improving my thought patterns, speech or character. But how much hypocricy is in that too? Men claim that they love women natural and tell us to " take off all that make up" , but studies show that women who wear make up get three times more messages on dating apps and are perceived to be more competent, reliable and amiable at work – make up serves to give us social and economic advantages. But wait, men don't actually like women with no make up or women with too much make up, they just want us to appear naturally beautiful. Which any woman knows is like at least 5 products , skillfully applied so that it enhances our appearance in a subtle yet definitely not bare faced way. Any more than this and he may notice that you're actually wearing make up and then 63% will think you are doing it because you want to trick him into thinking you are pretty. Basically men, being men, think that we do everything because of them.

I promised you this piece of writing before fashion week but then felt compelled to dive into the subject more so I could make sure that I had something thoughtful to say. In the meantime, I spoke to so many women on this issue –friends, colleagues, strangers in my DMs, local women overseas. The prevailing similarity is that most of us don’t feel beautiful enough. We were taught to think like this, this is just a program, and every program can be changed.

Since I started accepting myself warts and all, I now instantly notice beauty in others too – how one friend’s eye wrinkles fall into her smile seamlessly gives me great satisfaction , how my other friend’s frown lines persist even after she is finished concentrating is so damn cute now and my favourite shop assistant has so many freckles they are like a stunning galaxy on her face.

I just have gratitude for my body now, gratitude for what it's gone through, how it was shaped by life- I thank my cellulite dimples because it's fat that keeps me warm and my no longer so perky breasts for nourishing my child when she was a newborn. I love myself and women in my life so much now that the lines that used to frighten me because they pointed at my own mortality, now represent the record of our lives and character, not something that needs to be erased or perfected.

I was blind because I was taught to look with eyes that cannot see – what we call imperfections are more perfect than perfection.  Now that I have different eyes, I see beauty everywhere .

Make up is one of those perks us women get in life to experiment and transform ourselves with – I wear lipstick on days I feel tired and lashings of eyeshadow when I go out. Still, I feel like often times I get stuck in a make up rut, repeating the same old looks again and again, not really having the expertise how to do something different. For this story I enlisted make up artist Claire Thomson to teach us how to do her favourite make up trends of the season, step by step.

Dark Smokey Eyes
Choose a thick pencil ( like Nars) then line the entire eye and filled the inner rims. Draw a dramatic top winged eye then use a synthetic brush to smudge it slightly up and out, softening the drama up close, but still creating impact from afar. Set with a similar shadow to your liner but only use the slightest touch mainly in the socketline to reduce creasing. Curl lashes and apply mascara. Shape eyebrows using Kat Von D brow in graphite. Keep the skin slightly dewy to keep the eye feeling modern,mixing the consistency for a sheer coverage. ( try Kevyn Aucoin Skin enhancer no 15C) Lastly, choose your lip depending on the occassion- I used a pink gloss (Fenty gloss bomb in fuzzy.) but you could add a stronger colour for evening drama. ( The Son jacket, Bec & Bridge turtleneck, Jordan Askill jewellery worn throughout )

Modern Red Lip
A classic red lip adds stunning impact but make sure your lips are hydrated and exfoliated before you begin -try rubbing with a warm, wet face flannel and then smothering in balm. Claire applied Tatcha face canvas primer on the skin to even out its texture and prepare for base and then added Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation for a perfect medium coverage. Conceal any spots or imperfections with Laura Mercier secret camouflage and set with translucent powder. Next apply a matte nude tone over the entire lid from lash line to browbone (Chanel's beige) Using a dampened pencil brush, dip into the corner of the metallic eyeshadow. Dust off any excess on the back of your hand and then trace around the entire eye, slightly smudging outwards.  Next up, use a lighter metallic shade and apply only on the centre of the lid- this creates depth and opens the eye. Curl lashes and two coats of mascara. There are tricks to a perfect red lip – Claire first blots any excess balm off and then she likes to apply red lip pencil and fill it with lipcolour. For people experimenting with bright colours for the first time, it may be daunting to fill out a naked lip with a red pencil, so try applying the colour in the centre of the mouth and working outwards, then evening out with a pencil. Claire likes to use a a light trace of concealer and powder to clean up around the lip line and add further drama to the lips. When confident try a darker lip pencil and use it to fill in slightly at outer corners lightening as you get in creating more dimension.Claire used Mac Powderkiss lipstick in Devotes to Chilli and Pro wear lip pencil in Kiss me quick and bespoken for the countoured lip . The cheek is highlighted with a soft baby pink Nars blush in Impassioned, to create a pretty contrast with the red. ( Camilla and Marc top, H Brand coat )

Monochrome cheeks and eyes.
For this look , Claire used Nars' Multiple for a nod to 70’s glamour that’s really quick to achieve  First,  prime the skin with Laura Mercier Primer, then use Nars tinted moisturiser sparingly to even out the skin and add a glow. Follow uo with Nars matte soft touch concealer and set the T zone only with a light dusting of Laura mercier translucent powder. Slightly fill eyebrows with Mac Brow sculpt in Spiked, then use Mac clear brow gel to brush the brows upward and outward to open the eyes and frame the face. Using Nars's South Beach, apply straight to cheeks with fingertips or a brush to countour the cheeks. Blot out any oil from the eyelids, then use the cream on eyelids by concentrating the colour at the lash line and blending it over the entire socket with upward movement so it is visible when the eye is open. Claire used a slightly winged shape on our model, play with the possibilities. Curl lashes and apply 3 coats of Maybelline Volume Express waterproof mascara in brown black. Claire clumped the mascara on the bottom lower lashes on the outer third to define the eyes, then added a bit of gold highlighter on the inner corners of the eyes and a light sprinkle over the top of the cheeks. Select a glossy lip that packs juicy colour to set off your matching eyes and cheeks, this one is Marc Jacobs beauty lipstick in Infamous with February gloss bomb in Fenty Glow. ( top from Outnet )

Intense supermodel vibes with every feature slightly amped yet still appearing naturally flawless.
Prime the skin with Ayu rose face mist than add Laura Mercier primer and apply Mac face and body really worked into the skin. Conceal any blemishes or discolouration with Mac concealer pallette in Light. Set with translucent powder. Use a bone colour shadow over the entire eye lid - lashline to browbone.  Then select a matte brown shadow (Mac Symmetry) to trace lashline slightly out and beyond lashes ,arching up,  back into the socketline, and blending slightly above so visible when the eye is open. Continue lining the lower lashes, thickest at the outer lashes , then tapering in. Play with intensity but make sure there are no obvious marks – blending is a must.
Use a black cakeliner such as Becca or Chanel and paint a fine line on top and slightly sitting between the lashes. Claire recommends this great eyeliner trick : sit and lean both elbows on the table then hold a compact underneath your chin and look down into the mirror- this makes it so much easier to apply a liner.
Curl lashes and add as many coats of mascara as the occassion necessitates - each coat adds another layer of drama (Ysl Vinyl Mascara). Using the Kat von D brow pomade in taupe really brush the brows and let them be slightly messy, then set them  with benefit brow gel. Benefits benetint liquid blush gives a healthy cheek glow, just beware of the stained fingers – start in the centre of the cheek, blending upward and outward. Use it to also create a bitten lip stain and then use clear gloss for a juicier mouth. Final touch is a highlighter on the browbones, cheekbones, inner corners of eyes, cupid’s bow and centre of bottom lip. Claire loves Lit by Westmin Atilier or Nars Copacabana ( Camilla and Marc top )

Photographed by Tanja Gacic
Make up by Claire Thompson

this post originally appeared on vogue.com.au

Superfoods have gained a name for themselves in the last few years as being the ultimate health elixir, instrumental not only in giving us vibrant energy but providing us with a power house of nutrients we would struggle to accumulate in our daily western diet otherwise. Jumping on to the superfood bandwagon was something that came easily to me, after all, I love a shortcut as much as the next health cheat , my philosophy being that surely if I ate some goji berries and spirulina I could have a peperoni pizza for dinner guilt free. The real aha moment however came when a friend suggested that I should approach skincare with as much clean enthusiasm; after all, the skin is our largest breathing organ and you wouldn’t want to inhale all those chemicals in now would you? This sentence alone was enough to send me on a quest to incorporate more natural skincare into my life. When Vogue asked me to review Body Shop’s new Superfood Masks , I jumped at the opportunity to not only bask in beautiful ingredients but also pamper myself in the name of journalism. It’s a tough gig but someone has to do it!  I sacrificed myself by taking a day off to luxuriate around in my personal spa, aka, my apartment, whilst wearing some delicious new season loungewear.


The ingredients in Body Shop’s new masks are truly incredible. Inspired by traditional beauty remedies from around the world, each of these pots of goodness holds incredible natural ingredients that are either 100% vegetarian or vegan. Think Bamboo charcoal from the Himalayan foothills known to draw out impurities and excess oils from the skin, green tea leaves from Japan, rich in antioxidants and catechins to effectively exfoliate or Community Trade organic tea tree oil from Kenya known to keep skin looking clearer.


Applying the masks is half the fun but make sure you avoid the sensitive eye area ( wearing linen pyjama’s by In Bed, Lonely Label bra )


The Himalayan face mask felt funny to apply with it’s chunks of charcoal and muddy texture that dried quickly but it surely delivered- my skin felt noticeably more refined and unclogged afterward. ( Tiffany Smile necklace)


I loved how beautifully packaged and labelled these masks are- the boutique pots fitted right in with my bathroom decor

read the full story on vogue.com.au 

photographed by Ana Suntay Tanedo

The File popped in to my home and made me dish out all my beauty secrets...


The File is a wonderful beauty destination that takes an insider's view into the homes & beauty cabinets of style influencers around the world while delivering a tight edit of the industry’s best beauty products. It’s a raw, real and personal take on beauty and I love it's extensive take into people's lives and wardrobes in addition to it's terrific beauty coverage. I was honored that my friends at this beautiful website wanted to take a peek into my home and frankly, terrified that they wanted to have a look into my cupboards and draws (cue manic tidying)! So thank you to The File for the wonderful interview below and making me seriously consider if I need that 10 year old mascara!


"She’s got a social life that’s as hectic as her multiple day jobs, but Croatian-born former model, Tanja Gacic, perpetually looks fresher than a cucumber slice in Hendricks on ice. Explain this sorcery, human!?"


“I am actually quite low maintenance and very quick with my beauty routine on a regular day,” Tanja insists. “I love natural and organic products because I believe in reducing the toxins in my life. I feel better knowing that these choices are contributing to a better world, supporting far-flung communities and the Earth’s ecology.It can be done in an amazing way - look at Aesop or Grown Alchemist,” she says. “They smell delicious and look amazing! Some things are a little harder to find than others – I am still to find amazing hair products that are completely organic or certain make-up/foundation that really works for me.”


If those sound like the words of a woman well versed in beauty, it’s because she’s earned her credentials.
Tanja currently lists Blogger, Writer, Stylist, Photographer and Creative Director among her professional posts - all titles that sit pretty comfortably under umbrella title ‘Businesswoman-Brand’. But before taking the reins on her personal career she successfully shimmied her way through a decade being professionally gorgeous for other people.


Working as a model between New York and her beloved adopted home Sydney (“The lifestyle just cannot be beaten… it has the best mix of natural beauty and cosmopolitan perks”), Tanja scored primo make-up and beauty tricks from the pros (e.g. her step-by-step guide to indelible lipstick application is one you need to bookmark immediately).


Beauty, she says, is so important because it makes you feel good. “Even on days when I don’t wear any make-up, I have my little rituals that make me feel pampered and soft, which in turn makes me feel amazing.”


So what are these rituals and how, with a plate stacked like hers, does Tanja find time for them?“I am so time poor!” she says. “I do my routine so quickly – most times it is in the car, while waiting at the lights!”


“The trick is to have a great foundation – I really love Armani’s Designer Lift. Then a bit of YSL’s Touche Éclat, some Natio bronzer lightly as a contour, a thickening and lengthening mascara and a really good eyebrow pencil plus a great lip balm like Carla Oates – done!”


Tanja’s got the kind of confident, unpredictable sense of style that’s not at odds with the chameleonic aesthetic demands of any model.“It’s all encompassing and non discriminatory,” she says of her impossible-to-pigeonhole look.“I love playing with trends, colours, decades, characters, vintage, high-end, low-end, glitzy, basic, et cetera. Clothes are so important because they convey your personality. I suppose my Gemini moon gives me lots of personalities!”


A woman with lots of personality? Darned if it isn’t one of our favourite things.


See more of this story and pictures ( not to mention shop my beauty products ) on The File here!


Photographed by Rudy Zverina
Words by Susannah Tucker


Summer in Australia is so magical to me, because it summons pictures of sandy bums, al fresco lunches, beach parties, barbecues with friends, New Year fireworks, pool slides and a sweltering Santa. Sartorially, it is always a time for me to do a major closet shuffle and realise that I have nothing to wear for all of these activities – hence a frantic search ensues for some new beachwear and on-trend party dresses. With this in mind, I marched into the newly renovated Macquarie Centre, which recently reopened, bringing some of the best lineups in beauty, fashion and culinary to Sydney’s North Shore and picked my favourite pieces from some of their new retailers: Alice McCall, Kookai, Seed Heritage, Seed Kids and Mecca Maxima – and suffice to say, I’m now ready to welcome the sun

Above: Summer means spending school holidays with the family. My daughter Coco creates a lot of mischievous fun (Tanja wears a top by Alice McCall and skirt by Kookai. Coco wears a top and skirt by Seed Kids)


Summer is all about colour. Pick brights and digital prints that make your sunkissed skin pop and choose classic shapes like a pencil skirt and cami for barbecues and drinks with friends. (Top and skirt from Kookai)


Every woman needs a beautiful evening gown for those special summer nights.( dress by Alice McCall )


To create an effortless day look, use Mecca Cosmetica's Skin Brightening Instant Skin Perfector Glow for a luminous base, then apply Mecca Cosmetica’s Multi Tasking SPF30 Luminising Hydrating Tint; or for a little more coverage, use a light foundation such as the Bare Minerals Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation. I love the cult classic Nars Light Reflecting Powder and the Taj Mahal Blush because they give my complexion a subtle summery glow. Complete the look with a longstaying, pigment-rich lipstick in bright orange like Nars’ Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil or go for a fun pink such as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore.

Read the full story with more pictures now up on Vogue.com.au here !
photographed by
Kasia Werstak

Next season is all about bronze. Yep, I'm calling it. Never have I been so excited about brown make up in my life. You see , I've discovered it's incredibly versatile. Not only can you shade and define, but you can add warmth, depth and contour. It is less obvious than black, yet just as sexy as a smoky eye.

I started this look by first applying the magical Diorskin Nude Tan BB cream as a primer and to brighten and even out the skintone and then applied Giorgio Armani's incredible sheer Maestro foundation over the top for a natural, yet flawless finish. Next up, I used Giorgio Armani's gorgeous bronzer in Bronza Mania just on and underneath the cheekbones and blended it outward toward the temples. Ofcourse, always use a little bronzer to define the jawline and the contours of the face for a photo ready finish. I wanted this look to be strong and defined so I used Benefit's eyebrow pencil to fill in eyebrows and create a full  brow that will serve as a frame for the eyeshadow. I love the new Stila eyeshadow pots - pigment rich and easy to apply, they are a marbled mixture of different shades that are easy to blend into each other. Using it's shade in Groupie, I started with the darker portion in the inner corner of the eye and then blended that with the lighter portion to the outward corner of the eye, sweeping slightly upward at the outer edge and all the way up to the eyebrows.

Finish the eyes with a double application of Dior's Diorshow Iconic Curl mascara for eyelashes that are so intensified they could double for falsies. I wanted this look to be somewhat 80s, like Yves Saint Laurent girls on Rive Gauche and in fact, if you wanted to make this look more dramatic, it would be great paired with a dark red lip.For a more natural and luscious look , I matched this with Dior's incredible new Jelly Lip Pen in Ilhabela. These pens deliver just the right amount of sheer colour and shine without any stickiness associated with gloss while delivering moisture and care to the lips. I am not someone who likes gloss but these pens have had me converted!

Finally, add some sheen to the body with Nuxe's Huile Prodigieuse which mixes 95% natural ingredients to soften and moisturise and looks wonderfully golden in any light . Finish up with a light spray of Byredo Parfums' Rose Noir - just the sort of "dirty" rose scent I use when I want to be a little bronzed and dangerous.

Necklace by Samantha Wills
Hemp dress from Byron Bay markets


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