Model, writer and beauty insider, Ruth Crilly’s career credentials read like a who’s who of beauty and fashion’s biggest names. Appearing in editorials for some of the nation’s most well-known glossies and the face of prominent past and present ad campaigns, her experiences and passion for all things skincare and cosmetics , give her hugely successful website A Model Recommends , a one-of-a-kind perspective.
Winning a CEW Achiever of the Year Award this year, she’s regarded as one of the most respected voices in the beauty blogosphere. Her newest venture sees her take on the role as a member of the L’Oreal Paris Beauty Squad, a team of the country’s biggest beauty influencers handpicked for their individual areas of beauty knowledge and expertise. An authoritative online presence, how does Ruth best balance the pressures and pleasures of being your own brand? We caught up with her to find out.
GTG: What was the first beauty product you ever bought?
RC: I think it was probably something from The Body Shop. I used to hound them for samples in there and I LOVED the tangerine stuff. It would have been a soap or something very cheap I would imagine - maybe an orange-scented soap?!
GTG: What’s your first beauty memory?
RC: Trying to mix my own nail polish shade using two others, leaving the plastic tub of my mixture under the bed and retrieving it to find that all of the mixture had melted through the plastic and the carpet and made a big old mess.
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GTG: How did you get into the beauty blogging and vlogging worlds and how do you best deal with the pressure of being your own brand?
RC: I wanted to do something that combined my love of writing, presenting and being creative with my experiences as a model. At the time there weren’t really very many people doing it and creating ‘a brand,’ but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create something that was instantly recognisable and that people would want to come back to again and again. Something quite unique.
It’s evolved a lot over six years - I’ve become a mum for a start and so the content hopefully stays fresh and interesting. I don’t see it as a pressure so much as just striving to do the best that I can, to offer something different to anyone else so that people enjoy the content. It’s hard going it alone because if you ARE your brand, then nobody else can very well write your posts or appear in the videos, but I’m a bit of a control freak so I quite like that I have to do everything!
GTG: Your top tip for anyone wanting to one day become a digital influencer?
RC: Just be yourself. Find out what makes you unique and run with it - if you try to be someone you’re not, it just won’t work. It needs to be genuine and you really do need to be passionate about what you’re writing about or talking about on video. Don’t be put off by numbers either - it’s not so much about millions of followers, more the quality of those followers and how closely they engage with your content. A million readers who just skim over what you say and look at a picture of a baby tortoise are far less of a big deal than 50,000 who hang on to every word and genuinely love to read or watch you.
GTG: Who’s in your little black book of beauty experts?
RC: Omorovicza for facials, Nicola Clarke at John Frieda or Sam Cusick for hair-blonding, John Spanton at Trevor Sorbie for the most lush winter hair colours, ILA Spa for life-transforming body massages and John Tsagaris for Chinese medicine and acupuncture. I don’t have any waxing (too scared) and manicures annoy me as I’ve had my cuticles wrecked so many times, but lay me down on a couch and pamper my body and soul and that’s all good. Hair colour is probably my only truly regular beauty maintenance!
GTG: What’s your go-to budget beauty buy?
RC: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler Renew Cream , £19.99, for SERIOUS overnight moisturising - it readily competes with a lot of very expensive creams! I slather this on face, neck and chest and wake up looking a lot more perky and bouncy in the skin department.
GTG: What’s your go-to blowout beauty buy?
RC: Philosykos perfume from Diptyque , £60; it’s not actually that crazy expensive and I go through a lot of it!
I just tried the Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Hair and Body Oil , £130, and it is insanely nice. Hundreds of pounds, but it’s like wearing some sort of precious nectar. If it runs out (I’m using it drop by drop at the moment because it’s so unbelievably beautiful) then it’s a definite re-stock situation.
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GTG: Is there a makeup or beauty technique you’re particularly loving right now?
RC: Yes - after all of this contouring craziness, I like a swish of fresh, youthful pink blusher on the apples of the cheeks. It’s an easy way to look instantly younger and less tired.
GTG: Your go-to fitness class?
RC: I’m large with second baby at the moment so fitness classes aren’t on my agenda, but constantly lifting a toddler out of danger’s way must burn up a fair few calories...
GTG: What tech can you not live without?
RC: Rightmove! Ha! I know it’s not beauty-related, but I’m properly addicted to looking at houses on the Rightmove app. Other than that, Instagram is my most-used.
GTG: How do you switch off and find the balance between being online and offline?
RC: I still haven’t mastered this. I had pre-baby, but now I’m back to snatching whatever time I can to get my work done, so I often work when I really shouldn’t be. It’s a 24/7 kind of thing. If I *could*, then I’d switch my phone off at 7pm and leave it downstairs until the morning. That would be my tip!
GTG: How do you stay organised?
RC: I’m an epic list-writer. Never used to be, but now I forget everything unless it’s there in front of me so I have a continuous list in my iPhone notes and I delete tasks and add them as I go along. It’s a very efficient method. I also try not to give myself too many tasks in a day - if it’s unachievable then I’ll just be overwhelmed and not get anything done at all.
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GTG: Worst job you ever had?
RC: Looking after a leather jacket concession in a clothes shop. I didn’t really understand what I was supposed to be doing and I just sort of stood there for four hours being the most bored I had EVER been in my life. I ran away at lunch time! Ha. My first job was working in McDonalds the moment I turned 16. It was such hard work but very character-building and it meant I could save up for my first car.
GTG: Best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever received?
RC: Stop smoking. Probably the best piece of advice in life as a whole. It was a makeup artist who said, “You have such amazing skin, it’s so young-looking, but it’s very fine. If you don’t stop smoking you’ll be criss-crossed with lines within a few years.” I stopped the week after if I remember rightly and this was at a time when EVERYONE in fashion smoked! I haven’t touched a cigarette in - what - eight years? I can’t believe I ever did.
GTG: What’s the one thing you wish more people knew about you?
RC: I probably wish people knew LESS, not more! I’m a terrible over-sharer, honestly. I have no filter. But if I could have a sort of virtual ‘sign’ above my head? I don’t know. Maybe that I have so many more interests than the ones I share and that I do have political opinions and so on, but that there are things I like to keep private. Sometimes people assume you’re rather 2D because you don’t rave and rant about every subject that comes up online, but a lot of the time it’s because you don’t want to engage with 100,000 anonymous people on subjects they feel very strongly about. It’s just not my cup of tea.
Follow Ruth on Instagram @modelrecommends and Ayesha @Ayesha_Muttu .