Meet Australia’s Titans of Beauty
In ancient times the Titanides (Titanesses) were the six (or seven) earth-goddess daughters of Heaven and Earth.
They represented different aspects of their mother, the Earth: Tethys was the nourishing waters of subterranean springs, Rheia was nature’s fertile mother, and lady of the wilds; Themis was earth’s natural order, and Phoibe (Phoebe) was earth’s oracular midpoint; Theia was sight and Mnemosyne was the memory.
So just like the Titanides had special qualities, each of these women specialize in different aspects of the beauty industry that they love.
These gorgeous gals are not only beautiful but are some of Australia’s most respected and influential beauty gurus. To say that these women are merely experts in their field is an understatement – that is why I call them the titans of beauty.
Stephanie, also known as Mama, will trial and investigate the very latest in anti-aging for the good of her readers, Kelly is the queen of Botox and non-invasive tweaks – although I don’t know why as she is absolutely gorgeous! Rachel will tell her readers exactly how it is -no sugar coating here and Leigh is what we like to describe as Australia’s version of Carrie Bradshaw- always wearing the latest in beauty and fashion – if teal nail polish and megawatt lipstick is in, it’s a given that Leigh will be sporting it beautifully and Janine is your all Aussie beauty who spends her spare time outdoors and on the beach with her brood. She can tell you exactly which beauty must-haves to pack for your day out.
Read on to find out more about these Titans of Beauty…
Kelly Baker – Senior Beauty Editor at 9Honey
Career overview…I started as a hard news reporter and even though I loved the frantic pace of it, I knew it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be more poetic in my writing style and car crashes and council meeting follow-ups don’t allow for much of that!
How would you describe your personal style? I’m a little bit rock chick I would think. I tend to wear not too much makeup at all. But I love a luminescent cheek and a berry stained mouth. Natural and fresh I would think … Who knows? It’s hard to assess yourself realistically. I might have to ask around.
How has the beauty landscape changed in your own opinion over the years? When I first started working in the area of beauty reporting it was traditional for each publication to have a team. There were beauty directors, supported by a beauty editor, supported by beauty writers, helped by beauty assistants, often supported by beauty interns.
Big teams are a thing of the past.
Also, the senior roles were held by folk with lengthy backgrounds and considerable expertise. That’s not always the case anymore either.
Career Highlights I have been working in this field for most of my life and I still love the pants off it! Beauty is, bottom line, fun. And yes, it is frivolous. No doubt. It’s a long way from neurosurgery … but it has the capacity to change the way people see themselves, to lift their mood and to allow themselves to feel beautiful. To me, that means everything.
My highlights always relate to that … They revolve around seeing a very regular person being transformed, watching them leave a makeover with their shoulders straight and their chin up and their soul smiling. Who wouldn’t want to be around that every day?
What makes you a standout expert in your field? I’m not sure I would use those words to describe myself, but I have worked as a journalist since I was 17 years old. I started off in hard news in a very tough, old-fashioned newspaper where I was trained and in the toughest of ways. If I made a mistake I paid for it in blood. It was a hard gig and I went home to my parents and cried every single weekend but I can now string a perfectly grammatical sentence together and I know damn well how to stage a decent interview and write an excellent piece.
How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people calling themselves the experts and yet have no qualifications or experiences yet have millions of followers? Do they refer to themselves as experts? That’s interesting to me. They are experts of course, just not an expert in the same field that my co-workers and I are experts in. We’re reporters, journalists, and writers.
We ask the right questions, gather the answers and translate them in an appropriate way for our specific audience.
If you’re an ‘influencer’ or beauty blogger you’re definitely an expert but perhaps in image management or even popularity. I’m not entirely sure as that’s not my field, but I do think they do an excellent job – just not my job.
What 3 beauty products won’t you leave home without? I never go anywhere without a tube of the Aussie cult lip product Lanolips. My favorite shade is Rhubarb but as long as I have a tube I’m easy. I also like a compact foundation – right now my favorite is the Lancôme version – and also, a cream blush. Today you’ll find La Prairie’s beautiful compact in my GUCCI handbag. It’s gorgeous plus has a generous mirror.
Your top three beauty treatments? It’s not a terribly exciting list but I will not go without a gel nail pedicure. I generally go with OPI because the quality is amazing and the color range is incredible – although I always choose the same shade of red – New York Red I think it’s called.
Lash extensions. Always! I try and give them up but I just never, ever can. They’re such an easy way to look pretty without making any effort at all! If I’m careful and don’t sleep on my face I can get a good two months out of them too.
Botox! If I have the money (heck, even if I don’t) this is the beauty treatment I do not skip. Just a little to soften the lines across the forehead and my crow’s feet.
The worst? I’m not a fan of body wraps. You know where they layer you up with something, wrap you like a burrito and then wander away and leave you for what seems like forever while you sweat and wriggle and count sheep. Those … I am not a fan of those!
Favorite scent right now? My all-time favorite fragrance is Womanity by Thierry Mugler. It’s not easy to come by and I suspect that’s because it’s not a big seller. It’s one of those scents that people either utterly adore or loathe. It makes me weak at the knees. One spritz is all I need. It makes me feel incredibly sexy, powerful and sophisticated all at the same time.
What are the highs and lows of being in the industry you are in? The biggest high is definitely the people involved. The women I work with are like my very irritatingly pretty sisters! We do also get to do some very luxurious things … certainly not things I could afford to do if I didn’t work in this industry.
Your indulgences? Gosh. As a single mama of two, a massage and a good night’s sleep means everything to me.
Favorite Spa destination? I’m yet to find one. You tell me and I’ll head there ASAP!
Leigh Campbell – Lifestyle Editor Huffington Post
Career Overview… I was a Cosmopolitan girl for so long which I loved and enjoyed so much and now I’m loving my new gig at Huffington Post Australia.
How would you describe your personal style? Pretty simple I’d say. As I’ve gotten older I’ve naturally gravitated toward a neutral colour palette. I enjoy interesting silhouettes but nothing too feminine. As most people do, I wear a lot of black.
How has the beauty landscape changed in your own opinion over the years? It’s changed so much, which is great. Change is a good thing. It’s necessary. There are more brands and information sources than ever before, so consumers can find an answer for anything — and a product for anything, too.
Career Highlights? Interviewing cool celebs like Usher and Kim Kardashian. Traveling to international fashion weeks. Getting to work with fun, clever, like-minded women.
What makes you a stand out expert in your field? I’m not sure that I do! There’s a lot of talent in the beauty industry. I guess I like to be ‘real’ — I’m conscious to Instagram affordable beauty buys that I love as much as (or more than) expensive products. Beauty should be easy and fun, and I guess I try to approach it that way, and I hope that shows.
How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people calling themselves the experts and yet have no qualifications or experiences yet have millions of followers? I think it’s fantastic. Every industry is at the mercy of technology and beauty, journalism and media are no exceptions. These platforms offer new ways to uncover talent and a place for so much diversity can only be a good thing. I’m not qualified in journalism or makeup and I’m an example of pursuing something you’re passionate about and making a career out of it.
What 3 beauty products won’t you leave home without? Lanolips Fruities, Two Faced Better Than Sex mascara, and some sort of heavy duty under eye concealer.
Your top three beauty treatments? I have my brows done every two weeks at Kristin Fisher Eyebrows, I love me some Omnilux when I can fit it in, and a nice mani/pedi makes me feel polished.
Favorite scent right now? Juliette Has A Gun — Mad Madam.
What are the highs and lows of being in the industry you are in? There are so many highs. Writing about stuff I like and care about, working with and meeting cool people. There aren’t too many lows if I am honest, or I wouldn’t do it.
Your indulgences? Cheese. So. Much. Cheese.
Favorite spa destination? 54 Park Street in Sydney for a facial or massage with Melisa Giraldo. She has magic hands.
Rachelle Mannell – Freelance Beauty Journalist
Career overview… I have spent two decades working on Women’s titles, with ten of those years as Beauty Director at CLEO magazine. I had a one-year stint working as the host for the beauty and lifestyle section of HealthyMeTV before packing up and moving to the Southern Highlands were I write beauty stories from my office looking out over Mt Gibraltar.
How would you describe your personal style? I’ve never really been 100% trend driven but that’s not to say I won’t embrace a certain trend if it suits me. Both for fashion and beauty I think it’s wise to enhance your best features and accessorize to keep the look modern. When it comes to makeup, don’t be afraid to experiment at home – just keep a bottle of Micellar water handy for quick removal if something hasn’t worked.
How has the beauty landscape changed in your own opinion over the years? It’s changed dramatically. I’m thankful for the new digital outlets, which have allowed me to move out of Sydney and work in time frames that suit my life – rather than the 9-5 office hours.
Career Highlights? Definitely the overseas shoots and launches. Maybelline New York flew me to NY for 10 days to cover Fashion Week and it was an incredible experience meeting the models (Emily DiDonato, Erin Wasson, Julia Stegner) and makeup artists behind their campaigns. At CLEO I normally shot 5-6 beauty shoots overseas each year and I tried to take one week off after work finished up. It meant lots of late nights leading up to the trip but experiencing everything to offer in South Africa, Greece, Bali, Fiji, New Zealand and Miami were worth it. Meeting celebs is always fun – I was sent out on a yacht around Sydney harbour with Kelly Osbourne the first day back from maternity leave. Not many people can include something like that in their workday.
What makes you a stand out expert in your field? I think two decades of experience working with the best provides the knowledge you simply can’t get from reading press releases. I’ve always been passionate and inquisitive about formulations and technique and (hopefully) I’ve successfully worked out how to relay what I know to readers.
How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people calling themselves the experts and yet have no qualifications or experiences yet have millions of followers? It’s all pretty deceptive. Again, working with the best photographers, hair and makeup artists and models to create luxe visuals is the best way to learn in my opinion. There are millions of people with an appetite for ‘cake face’ makeup now and a million more uploading pics and youtube video to satisfy that appetite. It is what it is.
What 3 beauty products won’t you leave home without? I try to get the basics done before leaving the house to enable me to travel light so my mini kit contains: 1 Palmer’s lip balm, 1 Lanolips -gloss, 1 Artiste Soft Focus Brush, 1 Charlotte Tilbury bronzer/highlighter and 1 Max Factor black eyeliner pencil.
Your top beauty treatments? Brows by Nathan at Parlour B, The Signature Facial at Jocelyn Petroni and the Enzyme Treatment at DMK.
The worst? Any spa where you are left lying on a table with a cold towel dripping down your neck.
Favorite scent right now? I switch between Miu Miu, Tom Ford and Balenciaga.
What are the highs and lows of being in the industry you are in? The highs for me have been the friendships I’ve made. Despite what people like to say about the fashion/beauty industry, my friendships have been real and long lasting. The lows? Hmmm… I think the explosion of beauty websites and blogs has meant money from advertisers has been stretched very thin. This can affect the overall quality because there might not be money for original content or shoots – the up side is more people can work in the industry instead of a select few.
Your indulgences? It used to be eyelash extensions (The Lash Room, Double Bay are the bomb) but now it’s massage. I’ll travel far and wide for a good massage.
Favorite Spa destination? I’m on the hunt for a local one…
Stephanie Darling – Beauty Director Fairfax Media
Career overview I have been lucky enough to be a beauty director for over 30 years having worked on beautiful titles including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Madison. I am currently the Beauty Director for Sunday Life magazine and Daily Life. I also have a book in production with Penguin about my life in beauty being launched early next year.
How would you describe your personal style? My style takes inspiration from that fabulous period, the 1970s, all flares and platforms with structured jackets. Makeup wise I love an easy smoky eye teamed back with a nude lip and rock inspired hair.
How has the beauty landscape changed in your own opinion over the years? Print media has been undergoing some challenging times with the rise and rise of digital media. There is so much information out there now that I think navigating it can be a challenge.
Career Highlights Every new challenge has been an incredible journey for me, from my first days as a puppy journalist to my time now working on daily posts, my weekly column and now a book. I try to keep my copy informative and fun at all times.
What makes you a standout expert in your field? I think longevity has a lot to do with it. The experience I have gleaned over thirty years in the business has seeped into my brain and so has become second nature. I never tire of learning new things and meeting new experts and passing this on to the reader.
How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people calling themselves the experts and yet have no qualifications or experiences yet have millions of followers? I think that the landscape has changed dramatically and that there is a place for all sorts of experts. As trained journalists, we offer considered advice and write in a way that works very well for print media. I think navigating and curating the vast array of digital content out there is going to be the next challenge.
What 3 beauty products won’t you leave home without? Clinique Lipstick in Black Honey, Shiseido Liquid Foundation Compact, and a spritz of Juliette Has a Gun Citizen Queen
3 Best treatments I love the anti-ageing power of artfully placed Botox. It really is all to do with the skill of the injector. A luxurious pedicure and manicure is guaranteed to put me in a good mood. A Kerastase hair ritual finished with a bouncy blow dry.
The worst? Being left alone in a hydrotherapy pool for any more than 20 minutes.
Favorite scent right now? Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady. I get compliments every single time I wear it.
What are the highs and lows of being in the industry you are in? For me, there are really only highs. I adore the people I work with and can’t believe that I actually get paid for what I do.
Your indulgences? Doing the test drives for my column. I never tire of trying new treatments.
Favorite Spa destination? I recently visited Saffire in Freycinet Tasmania and was completely blown away by the scenery, the resort and the spa -Lush.
Janine Donovan – Beauty and Fashion Editor Bauer Media
Career overview I started as the Beauty Editor for Australia’s biggest selling magazine, Woman’s Day and then joined Take 5 magazine where I oversee all the Beauty and Fashion pages.
How would you describe your personal style? Classic and understated.
How has the beauty landscape changed in your own opinion over the years? It is a much more competitive environment, but as a result, there has been a dramatic improvement in the quality of products and procedures available to the consumer at every price-point.
Career Highlights? The fabulous people I have met in the industry. I always loved my photo shoots and enjoyed working with a tight team – photographers, hair and make-up artists and models, many of whom I now count as good friends.
What makes you a stand out expert in your field? I don’t claim to be an expert, in my job I seek out the various experts in their field for advice that I can then share with my readers. After 25 years in the industry though, I have a vast knowledge of all things beauty.
How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people calling themselves the experts and yet have no qualifications or experiences yet have millions of followers? If they are showing people how to apply make-up or blow-dry their hair then I don’t have a problem with it. There are many of us who if social media had been part of our early careers may have jumped on that bandwagon ourselves. I do have a problem however if they are diagnosing skin concerns, or even more scary, doing procedures on people such as injectables etc with no real training. That terrifies me.
What 3 beauty products won’t you leave home without? MV Skincare Jojoba Oil – I slather it all over my face, neck and chest morning and night. Mascara – My lashes are lost without it. M.A.C Mineralise Foundation – covers my pigmentation with a light and natural finish.
Your top three beauty treatments? I have BBL laser on my face and décolletage every year now to help with skin redness and keep my rosacea at bay.
Mani/pedis – always feel amazing if my nails are looking good. Looking down as I type, I need a Mani right now!
Full body exfoliation – always makes my skin feel baby-soft
The worst? Having suffered from rosacea for a many years now, I never have facials unless it’s with my chosen skincare brand. I’ve had too many facial treatments when my skin flared up my skin even with the promise that it won’t. It’s not the fault of those products or the technician, I’ve just discovered over the years what does and doesn’t work for my skin and I won’t deviate from that.
Favorite scent right now? Chanel No. 5 – always
What are the highs and lows of being in the industry you are in? Highs – The great, like-minded people you meet. Having the knowledge to care for myself from the inside out and pass that onto my daughter.
Lows – Having always worked on a weekly magazine – the constant deadlines that often don’t always allow you the time to “practice what you preach”.
Your indulgences? Lazy Sundays, Sleep and a glass of red wine
Favorite Spa destination? I don’t really have one, but it would be somewhere in Hawaii tied in with a romantic tropical holiday if I had the choice.
Photography: Julie Healy
Hair: Jana Pana salon owner Marli Rose Alexandria Sydney. marlirose.com
Make-up: Deanne Dority