To celebrate our columnist’s 55th birthday, Elle shares a lifetime’s worth of beauty and wellness wisdom. From her love of neatness to trying (and failing) to copy Kate Moss's makeup and the secret to healthy skin, here’s what being Elle is all about
March is always a special time for me because it is the month both my company WelleCo and I celebrate our birthday! This month, I have loved spending time with my two boys in Australia. We have spent lots of time enjoying the sunshine and our favourite beaches and visiting friends and family which has been fantastic for all three of us. To celebrate WelleCo’s 5th birthday and my 55th, I thought I would let you in on 55 things about me you may not know.
I hope you enjoy it.
Love Elle x
MY LIFE IN BEAUTY
1. My secret to gorgeous hair
Sam McKnight hair products are the best. For beachy hair, I use Lazy Girl Dry Shampoo, £19 and Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist, £25 .
Josh Wood is doing remarkable things with coloured hair, especially for people who need a solution for grey roots. His at-home colour gives salon-quality results. I don’t have grey hair, but I know so many people who do and Josh’s products are a revelation. Josh looks after my caramel hues in-salon and keeps my hair looking fresh and complimentary to my skin tone.
2. And not-so-gorgeous hair
My hair got stuck in a brush while blow drying once… so much so that I had to cut out the brush! Once I got chewing gum stuck in a huge clump of hair – another cutting out operation. I then had to cut the other side of my head to match the shorter hair. It wasn’t a good year while that grew out! I also remember putting Sun-In in my hair when I was 18, right before a Sports Illustrated shoot. It turned orange! I was mortified.
3. The hairstyle I’ve always wanted to try
I’ve never had the courage to cut all my hair off, however, I once wore a wig for a Paris Vogue shoot. It was a very short pixie style and I loved it.
4. My signature scent
My favourite perfume is French Lover by Frederic Malle, £120 and Guerlain’s Vetiver, £55. I’ve worn it for over 30 years! I also love Vetiver Extraordinaire by Frederic Malle, £130 .
5. Best healthy skin secret
The biggest beauty secret (and it’s no longer a secret!) is the power of wellness from within. I drink three litres of water every day. And two teaspoons of Super Elixir Greens without fail! Nothing that I can put on my skin compares to what I put (or don’t put) inside my body. That’s why I make sure that my cells are getting all the nutrients they need in order to detox and replenish.
6. My go-to makeup routine
I prefer 'un-makeup' to 'makeup'. I like to keep it very natural with RMS Lip2Cheek, £34 a coconut-oil-based pigment for my cheeks and lips for a soft, natural glow and colour. As far as skincare is concerned, I found a great place in NYC called Just Ageless at 11 Howard Hotel and they introduced me to a product called Defenage . I’m loving the way it helps the texture of my skin.
7. Best tip for kissable lips
I use Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, £10.70 — it’s very Aussie.
8. My mani-pedi preferences
My pedicure is usually KKW nude, white or a really dark polish. Often, I’ll put colour only on my toes and buff my hands and nails for a fresh clean look. It’s less toxic than nail polish . I keep away from gels as I prefer a more natural approach to beauty.
9. Makeup fails I’ve had
Pale eyes and a red lip. I remember seeing a picture of Christy Turlington and Kate Moss and they had completely bare eyes and red, orangey lips, and I thought, “Why can’t I do that?” With the proportions of my face though, it doesn’t work. So dark eyes, pale lips for me.
10. My tips for looking amazing in photos
A woman once said to me, “I feel terrible in pictures, show me what I can do.” I took a picture and noticed that she keeps all her tension in her mouth. I showed her a couple of different angles, took another picture, and she said, “Oh my goodness - I never looked so good,” and it was true, she looked beautiful! If I’m ever worried about one feature on my face, then I focus on another. It’s all a matter of perspective. When we work with what we have, we can all look beautiful. Learning how to highlight our best features and our attitude from within is what counts.
MY LIFE IN STYLE
11. My style inspiration
I always feel inspired by classic French girl chic.
12. My go-to black tie look
A long dress and flip flops or flat shoes.
13. Go-to swimwear
A bikini by Melissa Odabash or the Norma Kamali high cut one-piece bathing suit. I also love Albus Luman , my friend Marina Afonina is the designer. Another favourite is Zimmerman , an Australian brand that are doing great coordinated looks – I love their luxurious 70s' vibe!
14. Favourite accessory
My favourite hat is a wide-brimmed ‘Elle’ Cowboy hat by Melissa Odabash, £140 . I also love handmade artisan hats from Peru. Nothing beats an authentic Panama - and my Hermes Panama goes with me everywhere.
15. What I can never find to fit me
I can never find trousers long enough, so I wear full-length trousers by Isabel Marant and Anine Bing (my favourite go-to designers) and style them as if they are cropped.
16. My ultimate style icon
Katharine Hepburn. Strong and sexy, a rebel with a cause. Katharine made masculinity the ultimate femininity. I also love Jane Birkin’s simplicity. I often find myself in flares and a t-shirt with a pair of Hermes slides and my hair loose.
17. My go-to bag
Hermes Birkin for travel or the new Burberry belt bag in canvas and leather, and Azzedine Alaia clutch bags for evenings. I also love India Hicks’ totes, evening bags and makeup bags. Follow her on Instagram , she’s hilarious and a smart and a really clever designer.
18. Favourite airport outfit
An Isabel Marant or Celine T-shirt with jeans and a Brunello Cucinelli or Celine cashmere knit. On my feet, flats or boots. I’ll also carry a Hermes Birkin or a Debonair basket and a cashmere scarf that acts as a blanket. At the moment I’m loving Italian style in a feminine, eclectic way.
19. What’s always in my handbag
I always carry sunglasses. Celine , Persol and Tom Ford are my go-to's. They’re equally great on a beach holiday or a trip for business.
20. My style manifesto
I believe style isn’t about fads that come and go. It’s about finding something that suits you and works for you and expressing your individual tastes. Confident, comfortable, authentic and uniquely you. I prefer to support sustainable concepts in fashion. "Quality over quantity" is my motto! I’m in awe of the work my friend Livia Firth is doing highlighting sustainable fashion and demanding accountability by our designers and us as consumers.
Style-wise, I love clean colour palettes and a streamlined silhouette. My stylist Anna Bromilow understands my attitude and I love working with her on events
MY LIFE IN TRAVEL
21. My favourite holiday destination: Australia
I love Byron Bay. Surfing with dolphins and catching up with my friends there is the best. In Sydney, I love Tamarama Beach and the Bondi to Bronte run. It’s a favourite. I also love the northern beaches, Palm Beach and Avalon for the wild Aussie expanse, and the simplicity and beauty of Cronulla beach.
I recently did a staycation at home in Miami over Christmas and the new year. I turned off my emails, relaxed and really enjoyed being out and about. It was one of the best vacations ever. Sometimes, it’s not where you go but how you feel in the place that you’re in.
22. My holiday style
Mostly hippy chic meets surfer girl with a 70s' Californian feel thrown in.
23. On my bucket list
My bucket list destinations are Cuba, Argentina, Kakadu in Australia and Northern India. And I’d also love to visit Antarctica, Peru, Patagonia and the Galapagos.
24. What I miss about Australia
I miss my friends and family, the Australian self-effacing sense of humour and Aussies’ easy-going nature. I miss popping in to see my team in Perth in Western Australia at the WelleCo hub. Oh and Paddle Pops, Mint Slice and fish and chips on the beach!
25. Best packing advice
Hand Luggage! I use a Rimowa cabin bag and feel so free if I can fit everything in for a week travel. It means planning and choosing only my favourite things that mix-and-match. It’s so refreshing not to have too much stuff. I add travel sachets of Super Elixir Greens and hydrator bottle!
26. Favourite hotel
I love the Soho House Hotel in NYC, The Crosby (around the corner from the WelleCo flagship store), The Ritz in Paris, La Mamounia in Marrakesh, Jacks Camp in Africa and Villa M in Koh Samui. I’m excited to visit Amangiri in Utah at some stage.
MY LIFE IN FOOD
27. Things I cook most often
I often use a food dehydrator and "cook" bread made from nuts and seeds, fruit, vegetable chips and granola. I believe a decent amount of raw food is great for providing your body with live nutrients.
28. What’s in my diet
I eat a largely vegan diet, so anything packed with organic, seasonal plant-based ingredients. Although I prefer a raw vegan diet, if I’m feeling like something hot, I’ll have a poached egg on sunflower or wheat-free dark rye bread, raw oatmeal with agave or a raw chia pudding soaked in almond milk.
29. How I satisfy cravings
When I first went to see my nutritional doctor Simone Laubscher a few years ago, I realised I could no longer rely solely on my genetics for a healthy body. I mentioned that I had sugar cravings and she noted that I was lacking nutrients from my food that were setting off cravings. Since taking Super Elixir Greens every day, I find my cravings have drastically reduced. I also love WelleCo Nourishing Protein Powder . I’ve found all sorts of ways to incorporate it into my day as a healthy snack, such as my special avocado chocolate mousse.
30. What’s on my breakfast menu
Soaked chia seed pudding in home-made almond milk, raw soaked oats or poached egg. Often, I start the day with celery juice on an empty stomach, or hot water and lemon followed by breakfast later in the morning.
31. What’s for lunch
I have a big raw salad of kale, spinach, sprouts, cucumber, cabbage, avocado, coriander, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It’s nourishing, satisfying and bursting with nutrients. I drench it in premium olive oil because good fats are important to my wellbeing. I also love sardines, because they are packed full of those wonderful omega-3 fatty acids and, being a smaller fish, have fewer metal toxins.
32. What’s for dinner
I make veggie wraps. Otherwise, it’s veggie pizza or pasta with pesto. When I feel like having something sweet, I’ll have my favourite dark chocolate or vegan ice cream, sometimes both!
MY BODY SECRETS
33. How I stay fit
Wellness is the new fitness! I believe in doing things you love with purpose and joy. In the mornings I go to the ocean for a swim, or I go for a walk in the woods near my home. Sometimes I train at home with my O2 Oxygen sail and elliptical board and in the evenings, I love to go to a yoga class. I’m looking forward to starting Pilates soon. I’m a huge fan of Pip Edwards, founder of P.E. Nation sportswear.
34. Favourite leg exercise
Walking waist or thigh deep in the ocean - great for circulation, tone and water retention.
35. Body treatments to help me unwind
I love the fusion of Eastern and Western medicines. I look to acupuncture , chiropractors and kinesiology (a form of diagnosis through body responses). I also believe in osteopathy. Craniosacral massage is important to me, not just for relaxation but also for circulation and lymph drainage, Nichola Joss in London also does amazing facial and body massages.
36. How I detox
I have my own Therasage personal infra-red at home that I use often for detoxing the body, strengthening the immune system and for glowing skin. It’s amazing! I also have the Eng3 Oxidative Stress Relief machine which works on a cellular level to repair the body.
37. My self-care go to
Sleep and meditation are so important. Sleep is when our minds and bodies repair themselves so it’s crucial to get plenty of sleep whenever I can. Meditation is a great way to quieten the mind and listen to your intuition. As the Taoist proverb says, “You can’t see your reflection in running water”.
I try to make time during the day to recenter myself.
38. Hot or cold showers?
Both! I take hot and cold showers to boost circulation. I start with hot water then switch to cold. I do this quickly, three times.
HOW I LOOK AFTER MY MIND
39. My best wake up time
It depends where I am! On weekdays at home, 5.30am. On weekends or holidays by the sea, 7am. When in Europe for work, 8am. When in Europe for holidays, 9am.
40. What I’d most like to learn
Kite surfing! I’d also love to learn how to touch type quickly. I’m really fast on my phone but not so good on my computer.
41. Things I’ve been learning recently
The benefits of optimising nutrition and business from a board member and shareholder perspective. I’ve also learned hands-on self-treatment reiki and basic kinesiology, as well as how to speak French. I’ve picked up all sorts of mechanical and functional knowledge around the house (like how a pool pump works, or how to fix the garbage disposal). My kids teach me something new every day!
42. How I stay informed
Through social media, mostly. I listen to people’s experiences because I prefer trusted sources rather than mainstream media. I love having conversations with people of differing viewpoints. I’m an avid documentary film watcher and non-fiction reader.
43. How I relax at weekends
On weekends I love to curl up with a pile of books or a movie and my Labradoodles. I find sports relaxing… things like hiking, skiing, biking, water-skiing and sailing. I cherish spending time with my boys, their friends and my friends - weekends are the best!
44. My biggest regret
I don’t believe in regrets from the past, I prefer to learn from my experiences. Having said that – my skin has paid a toll for too much Aussie sun! I’ve noticed that when my diet is clean and free of sugar, my skin’s darker spots subside.
45. What I'm most interested in right now
How the body works and how we can heal ourselves through natural sciences and nutrition. WelleCo is an extension of my experiences. I’ve also always had a love of art and architecture, furniture design and photography. I’m passionate about my garden now and have just installed an organic vegetable and herb garden.
MY LIFE AND HOME
46. My childhood nickname
47. My daily ritual
I’m a big believer in daily routines because I’ve noticed that it’s through consistency that we see results. An unusual one is oil pulling . I swirl a spoonful of coconut oil around my mouth for about 10 minutes every morning. It has done wonders for my gums and teeth and it helps the body expel toxins through the mouth. Of course, I don’t go a day without taking my Super Elixir Greens, e specially when I’m on the road.
48. What I wanted to be as a child
As a child, I wanted to become a school teacher. My great grandfather William Gow (seven generations removed) set up the first school in Australia. In high school, I decided that I wanted to study law. I was good at English and enjoyed debating so I applied and was accepted into my preferred university. I deferred at 18 to try to finance my education and a friend said to me, “You should try modelling because you’re so tall. I bet you $20 an agency will take you.” I had nothing to lose so I took the bet and I was accepted into an agency. I started doing a bit of modelling in Australia, then I came to America for what was supposed to be six weeks and never really left!
49. My favourite animal
The elephant. They are emotionally intelligent and have a great sense of community.
50. My favourite way to end the day
With a smile and a gratitude list.
51. What I'm listening to
I love music! Our house is filled with it, from the time we wake, until we go to bed. Our choices range from Mozart and Bach to jazz, country and western, the 70s and 80s and a good dose of Drake.
Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Queen and loving Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born!
52. My décor
My home is complete with contemporary art and indigenous Australian pieces. Our furniture is collected from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Colour is important to me and so are clean lines with a dash of eccentricity. My home is very much a juxtaposition of mid-century modern, seagrass matting, Miami styling and classic photography. Tim Jeffries’ Hamiltons Gallery has been a wonderful source of art and inspiration. When furnishing my home in Miami, I worked with a great team at Sawyer Berson . I also love my friend Caroline Sarcozy’s cool, Parisian style.
53. I’m not messy
I love to be organised! I find it very therapeutic. I have a labelling machine because I label everything from hemp seeds to tahini. In my fridge, I have everything in glass jars with a label on the front. My closets are colour coordinated and seasonal. My office paperwork is labelled and filed… everything has its place!
My boys used to make fun of me but now they appreciate everything being in its place so we can find it easily, especially with busy lives. It’s efficient and easy. Having said that, I’m also cool with chaos and the unexpected.
54. My home signature scent
I enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and often have diffusers with custom blends for healing. My son has a blend for focus when he studies, I also love balance and uplifting formulas for wellbeing.
55. What "home" means to me
I believe home is where my heart is, so I can feel at home anywhere. But having said that, being at home in Miami is more than just somewhere to land. It’s very much my haven, my family’s HQ and my happy place.
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