When ELLE met ROSIE

ELLE MACPHERSON and ROSIE HUNT­ING­TON-WHITE­LEY were al­ways go­ing to have plenty to talk about. Af­ter all, both are in­dus­try heavy­weights who have savvily lever­aged their mod­el­ling suc­cess into busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. Both have their own lin­gerie la­bels. Th

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ELLE MACPHERSON: [Sings] Happy birth­day to you, happy birth­day to you, happy birth­day, dear Rosie, HAPPY BIRTH­DAY to you! I can’t be­lieve you took time out of this spe­cial day to talk to me — I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate it.

ROSIE HUNT­ING­TON-WHITE­LEY: Oh, no, I’m happy to — it’s a real birth­day gift. When I first started think­ing about this in­ter­view I re­mem­bered the first time I met you. It was in London and I turned up to the gym — we used to train at the same gyms in London be­cause we had the same trainer.and I turned up in a pair of dingy sweat­pants, an old boyfriend T-shirt and grubby train­ers — I must have been about 21 — and there you were. I re­mem­ber my jaw drop­ping when I saw this vi­sion of health and beauty and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, with the most beau­ti­ful, glossy mane of hair, and you turned around and gave me the big­gest megawatt smile. I thought, “This is what a true su­per­model is,” and I kind of knew I could never leave the house again dressed like an old sack of pota­toes.

EM: I prob­a­bly would have thought, “God, she looks cool and I’m al­ways so dressed up.” But you are right, you know. I think dress­ing up is a prod­uct of the ’80s and ’90s, which was that pe­riod when it was al­most like the more distance be­tween you and your con­sumer, the more iconic you were — and to some ex­tent that was what was re­quired. Whereas today, the more ap­proach­able you can be, the more con­nected you are to your con­sumer. But I still be­lieve that when peo­ple have paid so much for our time and when peo­ple have in­vested in the prod­uct, that we owe it to them to make an ef­fort — and you do that very well. RHW: I to­tally agree, and I think the key to hav­ing an amaz­ing ca­reer now is to be as­pi­ra­tional but ap­proach­able at the same time. I al­ways love spend­ing time with peo­ple who are a step ahead of me in their ca­reer or per­sonal life, which I can learn from. One thing I wanted to ask you about was work and fam­ily life, be­cause, as you know, I’m about to start a fam­ily.

EM: Oh my gosh, you are look­ing amaz­ing. I’m not on so­cial me­dia much, but the lit­tle bit that I see you on there I think , ‘oh, she is shin­ing. ’you must be hav­ing a boy. RHW: Ha! OK, ev­ery­one should put their bets in now. So I wanted to know how you sus­tain that work/fam­ily life bal­ance when you are on the go all the time. What are your bound­aries?

EM: I don’t do it per­fectly, that’s for sure, and I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘per­fectly’. But what I have found is that if I pri­ori­tise the chil­dren then ev­ery­thing else falls into place, so when­ever any­thing comes up I look at it and I ask what is more im­por­tant. Do I need to read a story to my son or do I need to take that phone call? I ask my­self those ques­tions some­times 20 times a day. And pri­ori­tis­ing my chil­dren might not nec­es­sar­ily mean be­ing with them 24/7 — it may mean I need to put them through school, there­fore I need to do this job. And, of course, health and well­ness is im­per­a­tive as well — it’s like when they tell you on the plane to put your face mask on first and then put one on your child. For me, I need to be well first. I also be­lieve in qual­ity over quan­tity — that qual­ity time is more im­por­tant than quan­tity of time, and qual­ity work is more im­por­tant than lots of work. Rhw: that’s a great point. It’s funny, when I put this ques­tion to my girl­friends who have chil­dren, the an­swer is al­ways sim­i­lar to what you said. I think it’s clear to me that once you be­come a mother you are so much more strate­gic with your time and you end up get­ting more done …

EM: I don’t nec­es­sar­ily think you do get more done, be­cause of­ten you don’t, but you know what? It doesn’t mat­ter. I think the big­gest mis­takes one makes in the be­gin­ning, es­pe­cially if you are suc­cess­ful, is to try and do it all per­fectly and to try to get it all done … and you have your rou­tine down and your kids’ rou­tine down and you are so proac­tive and pro­duc­tive, and, ac­tu­ally, that’s a hid­ing for ill­ness and un­hap­pi­ness. For me, it’s about al­low­ing things to be chaotic — hav­ing a plan, per­haps, but not hav­ing to stick to it. al­low­ing the space to laugh. Be­cause you can be so sched­uled and so or­gan­ised and say, “Look at me, I have all th­ese balls in the air, I’m do­ing so well,” and ac­tu­ally you are not in the long run be­cause you are just try­ing to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions.and the one thing I will say to you, Rosie, is that I have seen many of my peers have a baby and rush to lose the weight and be in the pages of the mag­a­zines that say, “See how amaz­ing she looks — she lost all the baby weight in six weeks.” But, hon­estly, if I could give advice to any wo­man hav­ing a baby, it’s to take your time. I was not a good ex­am­ple, be­cause I did all that for my first child and within three weeks I was back to nor­mal, but it was not a healthy way of do­ing it. I wouldn’t do that again, and I cer­tainly didn’t do it for my se­cond baby, be­cause I be­lieve if you choose to breast­feed, the qual­ity of the breast milk is very much de­pen­dent on the food you eat.

RHW: That’s a great piece of advice — I will cher­ish that.

EM: Do it slowly — it won’t make any dif­fer­ence whether it takes you six months, eight months or a year. Noth­ing is go­ing to change. I can tell you, big pic­ture, a few months here and there don’t make a dif­fer­ence. Es­pe­cially for some­one like you, who has so much to achieve and who has al­ready achieved so much.am I be­ing too preachy? RHW: No, that’s re­as­sur­ing and I re­ally need to hear that right now.while we are on the topic of well­be­ing, it would be great to talk about why well­ness is im­por­tant to you. Has it al­ways been some­thing you con­nected to?

EM: That is a big ques­tion. So I be­lieve that well­ness is — and it sounds like a hor­ri­ble cliché — but it has been a jour­ney for me. I grew up in Aus­tralia, where you didn’t ques­tion your well­be­ing be­cause you had fresh air and beau­ti­ful food and clean wa­ter. Then I moved to Amer­ica and started mod­el­ling, and my con­cept of health changed some­what be­cause I stopped do­ing sport at school, which was my main way of stay­ing fit. I re­alised that I ac­tu­ally needed to make a con­certed ef­fort to in­cor­po­rate phys­i­cal move­ment into my life. I knew that be­ing in shape and strong was im­por­tant for me, be­cause my body type wasn’t the same as all the other girls — I wasn’t a waif.what I started to un­der­stand was that I have an ath­lete’s body, and so maybe I should train like an ath­lete and sculpt my body. But I didn’t re­ally think about what I was putting in my body, food-wise. Then, as I ma­tured and started hav­ing chil­dren, I be­came more con­cerned — par­tic­u­larly while breast­feed­ing — about the food I was eating. I started to re­alise that, ac­tu­ally, food di­rectly re­lates to the way you look on the out­side. I did a lot of re­search and through my own ex­per­i­men­ta­tion I re­alised some things made me feel amaz­ing and oth­ers didn’t.at one point I was tak­ing a load of syn­thetic vi­ta­mins and it just wasn’t work­ing for me, and that’s how The Su­per Elixir greens pow­der came about. I was turn­ing 50 and wasn’t feel­ing my­self, and yet I couldn’t put my fin­ger on it — that’s why I went and saw Dr Laub­scher [who for­mu­lated The Su­per Elixir pow­der], and she was the one who started talk­ing to me about a plant-based diet and the im­por­tance of mi­cronu­tri­ents. Wel­leco has just grown from there. And the more re­search I do, the more I re­alise it’s not just the food I eat, but also what I put on my skin. That’s why we are de­vel­op­ing the busi­ness to in­clude ev­ery­day prod­ucts like tooth­paste and de­odor­ant that don’t have

chem­i­cals in them. So it’s been a jour­ney for me that’s been some­times mo­ti­vated by van­ity, some­times mo­ti­vated by want­ing to do the best for my chil­dren or some­times mo­tived by not be­ing well. RHW: It’s clear you have gone through dif­fer­ent stages with your body and you’ve come through them, so how do you feel about it now?

EM: Oh, gosh, that’s a great ques­tion — I have a huge re­spect today for my body that I didn’t have when I was younger. I think I treated my body pretty harshly, even though I thought I was do­ing good things for my­self — and there were times in my life, when I was in my thir­ties and for­ties, when I didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate how amaz­ingly strong and re­li­able and beau­ti­ful my body was, and today I can hon­estly say, at 53, I don’t have the body I had when I was 20 — and thank God I don’t have the mind­set I had when I was 20. I ap­pre­ci­ate the wis­dom I have today. I have a huge amount of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for how my body has sur­vived and done me well — I mean, it’s been the most beau­ti­ful ac­com­plice, if you will, or part­ner in this jour­ney. RHW: It’s in­ter­est­ing hear­ing you talk of your body as some­thing al­most ex­ter­nal even though you live within it. It’s some­thing I can re­late to now be­cause I am go­ing through a dif­fer­ent stage [with preg­nancy] ... It’s a wild jour­ney see­ing my body change ev­ery day — it’s pri­mal, al­most. I mean, it’s funny — it’s the great­est mir­a­cle, your body grow­ing a child, but at the same time it’s com­pletely nor­mal …

I want to switch gears and talk to you about so­cial me­dia. For me, it’s very much about shar­ing what is go­ing on with work and let­ting peo­ple step be­hind the scenes a bit, but I sort of have a bound­ary with shar­ing too much of my per­sonal life.that seems to be how you go about it as well.

EM: My per­spec­tive on In­sta­gram is that I don’t just see it only as a busi­ness tool. I am a mother and a wo­man and I have two busi­nesses and I have ups and downs, and I share some of those things be­cause I think it’s im­por­tant to be au­then­tic. If some­thing touches me I’ll post it, or if there is a mo­ment that is par­tic­u­larly touch­ing with my chil­dren, I’ll post it — and it’s not to be in­dis­creet, but it’s to share a more well-rounded per­spec­tive of who

“This pe­riod is in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing — per­haps more than when I was work­ing dur­ing the su­per­model era.”

I am. It’s not just,“oh, you are my fol­low­ers, you must want to know about me” — not at all. It’s more that I am so blessed to have peo­ple who are con­nected to me, so how can I share some­thing that is in­spir­ing or en­cour­ag­ing? I feel that’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity. RHW: I think that is re­ally im­por­tant. I am very aware that I have a lot of young girls [on my feed] — the per­cent­age of young women that fol­low me far out­weighs the men, which I take im­mense pride in. I think you are right that it’s im­por­tant to share feel-good things, whether that’s through hu­mour, a great quote or a funny mo­ment, as well as work ac­com­plish­ments or what you are up to.you do a great job of that, and I never feel put out by one of your posts — there’s a skill to that.

EM: I think you do a good job of that. RHW: Thank you. It’s a tricky bal­ance. How do you feel about how the mod­el­ling in­dus­try has changed? I love that it’s all about the top mod­els right now. A few years ago it was all about the ac­tresses — and it’s al­ways been about the pop star — but right now I feel like the su­per­model era is back, and it’s ex­cit­ing that the in­ter­net has given us a voice again.

EM: You are so ar­tic­u­late, Rosie. Now you men­tion it, I can see how there have been those waves, but I have also been so in­volved in my own jour­ney, which has been about trans­form­ing that recog­ni­tion as a su­per­model into a busi­ness. I asked my­self how I could mon­e­tise that recog­ni­tion in a way that is mean­ing­ful — like putting my kids through school. So that meant go­ing from hav­ing huge rates work­ing at Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret to step­ping back and earn­ing no in­come at the height of my ca­reer in or­der to build a small lin­gerie busi­ness with a li­cence, which grew into a 25-year li­cence, and then hav­ing the courage to walk away from that steady in­come and co-part­ner a brand new lin­gerie busi­ness of my own. Now that I’m both co-founder and co-cre­ator of Elle Macpherson Body and Wel­leco, I can say that this pe­riod is in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing — per­haps more sat­is­fy­ing than when I was work­ing dur­ing the su­per­model era, be­cause now I’m able to cre­ate my fu­ture and not be de­pen­dent on whether the in­dus­try thinks I’m in or out, or pretty or not pretty. I’m able to har­ness that en­ergy to cre­ate some­thing for my­self that is grounded and au­then­tic, and it has noth­ing to do with whether the mod­el­ling busi­ness is good or bad. RHW: I think that’s the thing I al­ways ob­serve from your ca­reer; I see a sim­i­lar­ity with how it changed for me as well. I feel very much that I’m on my own sort of jour­ney and I’ve taken a di­ver­sion off the tra­di­tional tra­jec­tory of a model’s ca­reer to build some­thing for my­self, and I don’t think it’s any bet­ter than what some­body else is do­ing, but I just feel in­cred­i­bly lucky to have the op­por­tu­nity to do that.

Em:you’ve done a bril­liant job.i’ve watched you, and you’ve been very strate­gic. RHW: It’s funny, I get asked a lot about suc­cess and where my drive comes from, and it’s re­ally hard to pin it down. I don’t be­lieve I have any spe­cific tal­ent — I’m not even sure if I be­lieve in tal­ent, per se. I think I be­lieve in strat­egy, I be­lieve in hard work, I be­lieve in a deep un­der­stand­ing of your­self and what makes you happy. It sounds like it’s a sim­i­lar case for you — you have a real con­nec­tion to your soul.

EM: Yeah, you’re amaz­ing when I hear you speak — you’ve got such in­tel­li­gence. And when I say in­tel­li­gence I don’t just mean a ‘book smart’ kind of in­tel­li­gence, I mean an emo­tional and spir­i­tual in­tel­li­gence. For me, I don’t think I nec­es­sar­ily had such a clear view of what I wanted. My life has been about the will­ing­ness to go on a jour­ney and make mis­takes and go through the ups and downs and find joy in the process and not give up in the mid­dle of it be­cause it’s too hard. But I haven’t al­ways had the an­swers and I haven’t al­ways been con­nected to my in­stincts. I just sort of took the next right step. It was never like I had an am­bi­tion and went full speed ahead to­wards it. I see peo­ple who do that and think,‘god, that must be so much eas­ier.’ Mine has been more of a me­an­der­ing kind of jour­ney.and per­haps I could have been more fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful if I’d had a 10-year plan and stuck to it, but that’s just not me, you know. I’m all for the learn­ing. I don’t mind the dif­fi­cult mo­ments. I don’t mind the un­com­fort­able mo­ments. I don’t mind the years when there’s been no cash. I’ve kind of learnt through ex­pe­ri­ence. RHW: I’ve just re­alised this — did you just have your birth­day on March 29? Does that make you an Aries?

EM: Yeah. RHW: Me too.

EM: I think we’re sim­i­lar in lots of ways. I see you and I just root for you all the time. I want the best for you. I re­ally do. RHW: It means a lot to hear you say that.

EM: I’m so im­pressed — I’ve loved your ques­tions.and thank you for tak­ing time out of your birth­day. Let’s catch up for tea soon. RHW:THAT would be won­der­ful.

EM: And keep me posted about baby. RHW: I will! Elle, it’s been a great birth­day treat to speak to you. Send­ing lots of love.

Elle Macpherson Body py­jama top, $250, and pants, $230; Tif­fany & Co. ear­rings, $6600.

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