"fashion and food come before the face in the AM..."
This is a little snapshot into Gracie Taylor’s life. You might recognise her from the recent episodes of The Paul Henry show, or you might have even seen her interview series Holden Spark Sessions on You Tube.
The girl has a wicked sense of humour and a serious penchant for sneakers. Her personal style is what we are secretly trying to attain–effortlessly cool and pretty spot on. And judging by her cool accessories and prints (you can see here), the girl is single-handedly bringing sexy back through her flamboyant prints and glasses.
And did we mention she is an accomplished equestrian and an ex-large animal vet nurse? (Is there anything the girl can’t do?!)
But fashion and equestrian aside, it’s actually Gracie’s insane eyebrows and undone hair that is currently on everyone’s radar. So obviously, we had to rummage through her beauty shelf and ask her all the questions.
"Well, I was born and bred in the mighty Waikato and grew up on a big thoroughbred horse farm in Cambridge. My mum is American from Maryland and my dad is a Kiwi, so I had quite a multicultural upbringing. I love going back to the States and visit at least once a year for a month or so. When I was little, I went to a tiny country school and didn’t wear shoes until I started high school. I was a wee country bumpkin through and could be found out on the farm with my orphan lambs, riding my ponies and horses long after the sun went down. It was a magical carefree childhood.
Nowadays, I have become somewhat of a faux city girl. I am still a little rural in my heart but I've had to hide my cowboy boots in the back of my wardrobe for now! At the moment, I live in Eden Terrace and I love it. I have been in Auckland for about six years now, and I've found my feet and adore this big little city to bits. I first moved for a fresh start and to pursue my career in journalism and TV and studied at AUT completing a communications degree. I made this choice when I was 19. I was either going to be a professional equestrian or a broadcaster/journalist. So I had to give up one or the other. I am not one for half-assing anything, so horses had to take the back-step. (I still have both my saddles, helmet and all my gear in my apartment!)
I start my day with throwing my hand to my bedside table and fumbling for my glasses. I chuck them on my face and then scull a few glasses of hot water. I am such a fan of warm/hot water with lemon in the mornings. Gets ya going! I normally pop some coffee on as I have a shower, and cleanse with the new Kiehl's cleanser in the shower. Then I moisturise with a normal Clinique cream, or I use Skinfood rosehip or coconut oil if my face is drier than normal. I then tend to keep my face nude every day with no make-up unless I need a little, tinted moisturiser, in which case I use either NARS or Smashbox. Both are super duper light and barely there. I hate having cake face!
I ALWAYS do my brows, though.
They are so thick and hairy so it would be rude to everyone else if I didn't take a minute to tame them every morning. I just use a clear brow gel from the supermarket. I like to use a choc brown/nude eyeshadow on my lids sometimes too to give a bit of depth (I adore the Bobbi Brown nude palette) and a flick of whatever mascara is lying around in my bathroom. Normally this regime takes me five minutes max. I walk to work so my priorities in the mornings are based on eating my fried eggs, black coffee, and checking the weather app (in case of rain—more than 80% chance of rain means I can't wear any suede) instead of making sure my face is acceptable for the day haha. To put it simply... fashion and food come before the face in the AM.
Hmmm... just one! Ahhh the pressure. This sounds super grown-up and mum-like of me... but I recently tried this AMAZING sunblock last summer and I am obsessed with it. It's designed in NZ and made in Australia. It's called Skinnies and it literally is this magical sun-proof gel that you smear on and you are super protected. It smells good, it isn't oily and I couldn't rate it highly enough. It's bloody expensive but it's gold. You only need a tiny dot and it goes a long way.
I have several different fragrances I wear depending on my agenda for that particular day or night. My daytime smell is either DKNY 'Woman', which is super citrusy and crispy or Gucci 'Guilty', which is a bit sweeter. My number one smell is La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain and it's heaven and makes me feel sexy. The bottle kind of looks tacky, but I don't mind.
I come from a family of women who wear little to zero make-up, who love being in the outdoors and are not particularly girly.
So my beauty trick would be to not wear make-up. Just don't do it!
Your skin needs to breathe and the best way to do that is to go completely nude. Use natural oils to help moisturise and always wear sunblock and hats and stay out of that bloody sun! I do believe in embracing and working with what you have got, and make-up can enhance what you already have. But it shouldn't be an everyday thing.
I am open-minded with what to use on your skin to get the best results. I know how important it is to look after your skin and I think this generation of women (and men) are obsessed with being youthful, so they are being much more careful with treatments and what they are rubbing into their faces on the daily.
To be honest, I have only ever had one facial treatment in my life and it was heaven! I also go to this little Chinese couple on Dominion road for this amazing cheap full-body massage every few weeks, but I don't really have many 'treat yourself' moments that often to be honest! I just tend to get my nails done by Heather Vette every month and that is a super special treat. She is phenomenal and we always come up with the craziest, fun designs. Every nail she paints is so intricate and done with the tiniest paintbrush! She is so talented.
I have just finished a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck by Sarah Knight, and that was pretty interesting. Worth a read if you are good at saying 'yes' too much to things you really don't want to do. I am also reading lots of articles and blogs online. I love to be up-to-date with news and views. I definitely love reading recipes, too, and getting inspiration for lunches and dinners.
Coming from a sporty background of equestrian, hockey, golf and skiing, I love being regularly active. If you invite me for a casual game of something, I'll be there! But at the moment, I only have time to train once a week with Rhys Jolly from Crave Fitness Holidays and he whoops my ass, which I love. There is nothing like a bit of sweat to get those happy endorphins flowing. However, because I don't have time to workout every day, I walk to work, which keeps me pretty fit. I focus on my diet a lot so I follow the 80:20 rule. I eat super clean all week, and drink lots of water and then have fun on the weekends. You gotta live a little! I believe in red wine for dessert most nights too. :-)"
Zeenat Wilkinson is the Founder and Editorial Director of Sauce.
Her work as a fashion producer, writer, and freelance stylist can be seen in the likes of Vogue, Grazia, Nylon and Black Magazine, internationally, and locally in Fashion Quarterly, Viva/NZ Herald and more. 100% dog person.