Mogul in the mak­ing

She’s the ul­ti­mate girl next door – oh, but with 1.2 mil­lion In­sta fol­low­ers and mega business smarts. WH goes #nofil­ter with Steph Claire Smith

Women's Health Australia - - NOVEMBER 2017 - By Alex Davies Pho­tog­ra­phy by Steven Chee

Steph Claire Smith on business, body im­age and what gets her out of bed

It’d be easy to un­der­es­ti­mate Steph Claire Smith. Yep, her In­sta­gram is full of self­ies and wish-we-had-that-tan bikini shots (she’s the face of Bondi Sands, after all). But she’s also smart, self-aware and savvy as hell. The proof: am­bas­sador­ships for adi­das and Clinique, and her own ven­ture Keep It Cleaner (KIC) with bestie and business part­ner Laura Henshaw. What started as a recipe ebook be­came a well­ness web­site and re­cently launched as a full-blown life­style pro­gram with meal plans and work­outs. Plus, did we men­tion there’s a KIC health-food range hit­ting shelves at Coles this month? And while the 23-year-old model and in­flu­encer’s feed is of­ten pic­ture per­fect, she doesn’t shy away from real talk, post­ing about top­ics like body im­age. This Au­gust, Smith up­loaded a video to Youtube that saw her open up about binge eat­ing when she was 20 and mod­el­ling in New York. It was raw and hon­est, ask­ing her fol­low­ers to re­alise that “we may show a lot of the per­fect stuff on­line to you, but it’s not a whole re­al­ity” – and to seek help if they were going through a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence. What’s clear? There’s much more to SCS than meets the eye. We phoned her in London to talk about her whirlwind year, the art of self-ac­cep­tance and much more.

Why’d you de­cide to take Keep It Cleaner fur­ther with a life­style pro­gram?

[Laura Henshaw and I] wanted to ex­pand be­cause I can’t tell you how many mes­sages we get from girls – who even come up to us on the street – about how much they love what we’re about and that they want to see more. I sup­pose we just want to reach out to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, and give them as much in­for­ma­tion, mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion as we pos­si­bly can.

You’ve launched a range in Coles. What was the driv­ing force behind that?

I shop there all the time, but I still have to do my health-food shop sep­a­rately, be­cause there aren’t enough op­tions at Coles. We wanted to fill that gap in the mar­ket. When it all started happening, it was kind of sur­real! I didn’t get too ex­cited un­til I knew it was happening – through my ex­pe­ri­ence in mod­el­ling, it’s been my rule never to get too ex­cited about some­thing un­til you’ve got a con­tract in front of you [laughs]. Once we re­alised it was actually going ahead... it was a dream come true for me and Laura.

What’s your av­er­age day on a plate like?

Break­fast is usually an acai bowl, or buck­wheat por­ridge with yo­ghurt, ca­cao nibs, some peanut but­ter and blue­ber­ries. For lunch, I’m a sucker for smashed av­o­cado on gluten-free toast with goat’s cheese and chilli, spinach on the side and poached eggs. My go-to cafe is Short Straw in Mel­bourne – the smashed avo there is life! Pep­per­mint tea helps me get through sweet crav­ings, then I gen­er­ally have an ap­ple with peanut but­ter, a green smoothie or a few rice cakes with some­thing on top. I love cook­ing, so din­ner will be any­thing that’s got a lot of ve­g­ies and pro­tein – like chicken, steak, a stir-fry or zoo­dle pasta.

What en­er­gises you?

Ex­er­cis­ing most days, and be­ing mind­ful that I’m very lucky to do what I do. If I ever have one of those morn­ings where I don’t want to go to work, I laugh to my­self be­cause I’m like, “You love what you do, and you’re crazy to not want to get up!” Food-wise, I need quite a bit of pro­tein. If I’m run­ning low on en­ergy, it’s prob­a­bly be­cause I haven’t had my eggs or what­ever. I think that’s dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one – you’ve just got to lis­ten to your body.

Are you a cof­fee drinker?

I used to be. I’d prob­a­bly have one a day, then ear­lier this year I did a blood test for in­tol­er­ances be­cause I was hav­ing some [di­ges­tive] is­sues and needed to find out what was up­set­ting my stom­ach. One thing that came up was cof­fee. I cried when I found out [laughs] be­cause my cof­fee a day re­ally got me through. But I haven’t had one since. English break­fast tea is now my caf­feine and I like a soy chai latte.

You travel so much. How do you make sure you keep fit when you’re away?

Walk­ing is an awe­some way to see new places. If it’s ter­ri­ble weather or there’s not a tread­mill, I love do­ing pi­lates and strength train­ing in my room. It can be hard to mo­ti­vate your­self, and I’ve had mo­ments where I just want to keep watch­ing Net­flix. But if I went through too many days or weeks do­ing that and mak­ing the ex­cuse that if I’m not at home I won’t ex­er­cise, that wouldn’t be good [in the long run]!

What’s your ap­proach to ex­er­cise at home?

It de­pends how much I’m work­ing, but an awe­some week would in­clude six work­outs. So, that’s four one-on-one box­ing ses­sions with Will [Tom­lin­son] at Trib­ute Box­ing & Fit­ness in Mel­bourne. Box­ing’s ad­dic­tive be­cause not only do you feel amaz­ing after­wards and it does amaz­ing things to your body, but if you’ve got some­thing to think about or you are a lit­tle bit an­gry about, it’s a way to get it out of your sys­tem. You feel your punches get­ting stronger and more ac­cu­rate, too. I love pi­lates, whether it’s a re­former class or just on my own at home. It’s changed my body, be­cause you switch on such small mus­cle groups do­ing it. Then also power walks and walk­ing my dog – it’s like my own daily med­i­ta­tion.

Why do you think it’s important to post about is­sues like body im­age?

The ma­jor­ity of my fol­low­ers are 16 to 25 years of age, which is a very sen­si­tive stage. Girls can have that sec­ond wave of pu­berty. I was able to eat what­ever I wanted un­til I hit 18, when I started get­ting hips, a bum, big­ger arms and thighs. I wasn’t sure if I was do­ing some­thing wrong or whether my body was just chang­ing. It wasn’t un­til a cou­ple of years later when I was train­ing and eat­ing right that I re­alised this is just my body and the fig­ure I’m grow­ing into. We are all very dif­fer­ent and I sup­pose that’s why I wanted to put [posts out] to say we are all al­ways chang­ing in­side and out­side. You can’t want some­thing that isn’t “you” – you’ve just got to try to be the best ver­sion of your­self that you can [be].

And your at­ti­tude now?

When I was liv­ing in New York, I be­came very, very, very self­con­scious be­cause I was told I needed to lose weight. Mod­el­ling re­ally does play with your mind and you can pick up some pretty bad habits... un­for­tu­nate quick fixes and stuff like that. So, I sup­pose it’s been years in re­cov­ery on my mind­set, not re­cov­ery on my body. I still love mod­el­ling, but I’m re­ally glad that the ma­jor­ity of my time [now] is made up of other things I love. When [mod­el­ling is] the sole thing you’re think­ing about, it can re­ally con­sume you and play with your mind and body im­age. Know­ing there are more important things in life has helped me. My body con­fi­dence isn’t per­fect

– I don’t think any­one’s is – but some­thing I’ve re­ally learnt from Laura is to fo­cus more on the things you love about your­self rather than the things you don’t.

How do you han­dle all the neg­a­tiv­ity on so­cial me­dia?

I’ve learnt you re­ally can’t lis­ten to com­ments like that. My part­ner Josh [Miller] keeps me grounded. He is also like, “Don’t give them any en­ergy”. When the ma­jor­ity of the com­ments are pos­i­tive and lovely, I can’t just fo­cus on the neg­a­tive ones. It’s taken me a long time, though. That’s why when younger girls ask about mak­ing it big on In­sta­gram, one of the first things I talk about is be­ing able to ac­cept some neg­a­tive feed­back, be­cause that comes with it.

Let’s talk about Josh – what’s your dy­namic like as a cou­ple?

We’ve been dat­ing for more than five years, but have been fam­ily friends since I was 12. The trust and com­mu­ni­ca­tion [be­tween us] is very strong, espe­cially when we spend time apart. There was a year when I was liv­ing in Amer­ica and didn’t see him for six months straight, which was prob­a­bly the hard­est thing we have ever gone through. He’s such a ball of en­ergy and so sup­port­ive. It sounds corny, but he’s def­i­nitely my soul mate.

Tell us some­thing surprising about you

I have a fear of the ocean. When I was grow­ing up [in Mel­bourne], we didn’t re­ally go to the beach much at all and my only ex­pe­ri­ences at the beach were ei­ther be­ing stuck in waves or get­ting sandy!

Who are some of the women you ad­mire?

Laura’s a mas­sive in­spi­ra­tion. Work­ing along­side some­one like her is ex­tremely mo­ti­vat­ing, espe­cially when you’re shar­ing a work­load and they seem to be pow­er­ing through a mil­lion-and-one things at once! Then, out­side of work, my mum. She could have the worst day and still be so lovely to ev­ery­one. She’s such a self­less, beau­ti­ful lady.

What does be­ing a strong wo­man mean to you?

It’s def­i­nitely not about how much you can lift or how many squats you can do [laughs]. It’s be­ing strong in your mind­set. Just know­ing that you’re be­ing the best “you” you can, and do­ing your best ev­ery day.

If you need help or sup­port for an eat­ing dis­or­der or body im­age is­sue, please call The But­ter­fly Foun­da­tion’s na­tional helpline on 1800 334 673 or email sup­port@ the­but­ter­fly­foun­da­


A “pinch-me” mo­ment with Lara Wor­thing­ton

Smashed avo at her fave Melbs brunch spot

Ready to train with adi­das in London

Cal­i­for­nia dreamin’ on a beach va­cay

With bestie and business part­ner Laura Henshaw

Total bowl goals with her por­ridge brekkie

Rep­re­sent­ing Clinique as an am­bas­sador

Pos­ing it up in a bath­room selfie on a UK trip

On a date with boyfriend Josh Miller

Speak­ing about body im­age on Youtube

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