My highlight was obviously hearing Zoe's talk and getting a chance to chat with her briefly afterwards (basically basking in her glory while trying desperately not to gush *out loud*). She's funny, she's kind, she's generous and she's been wildly successful forging her own career path and doing what she loves - from beauty editor to founder and CEO of her own (awesome) skincare line Go-To.
So to celebrate my buzzy high after such a fun day, I thought it would be a good time to post the interview I did with Zoe for a site I used to write for aaaages ago. I emailed her on a whim back then and she was gracious enough to entertain my request with thoughtful, funny and insightful answers and I was eternally grateful. Enjoy!
Meet the divine Zoe Foster, giving Amazing Face since always.
Occupation: Author and journalist
Company: Why not! Bring some chips?
Current Location: Syd/Melb
Favourite City: New York
Zoe, you started out your career as a Beauty Editor first at Cosmopolitan and then Harper’s BAZAAR – how did you find yourself in this (some would say ‘dream’) role?
I was arrogant enough to apply for a job at Dolly magazine that I was utterly under qualified for. Nevertheless, Mia Freedman kept my flimsy little CV on file, and brought me onto Cosmo a few months later. I felt very out of my depth, but beauty is such a terrifically encouraging, kind industry that I was bullying women into aqua eyeliner in no time.
What are the biggest perks/downsides of being in this position at some of Australia’s most popular and influential magazines?
The perks, as predicted, are multiple and glorious: suddenly there is an inconceivable array of products and services at your fingertips and you have to – literally, it’s your job – try them all. There are no downsides. It’s one of the very best, and most enjoyable and privileged, jobs in the world.
Why did you decide to leave the flashy, glossy world of magazines to help create the amazing online beauty resource, Primped.com.au?
I was already blogging personally (fruitybeauty) and becoming quite enchanted with the liberties, the space, the engagement and the immediacy blogging afforded. To be able to do this as my full time job, and for a much bigger audience, was rather intoxicating.
Considering your Beauty Editor and Primped background, would it be fair to say that you are now a Makeup Expert? Do you still find yourself learning new nifty tips and tricks? Can I have some?
It would be unfair to say that. I know a little bit about lots of different things, but am constantly learning new stuff. Each time I have my hair or makeup done I learn at least three things, two of which will make my previous technique look completely outmoded and laborious.
Now seriously, are you some kind of over-achiever or something, because in the midst of Beauty Editor-ing and Primped-ing you also found time to blog and write THREE books (‘Playing the Field’, ‘Air Kisses’ and ‘Textbook Romance’ – with your future hubby Hamish Blake. Cute!) Where do you find the time/motivation to have so many things going at once?!
I was a LOT more disciplined back then, when I was working full time and writing on the weekends. I used to write my books each Saturday morning from 6am – 10am, without fail, because otherwise it just wouldn’t get done. (I’m far less impressive now; I’m lucky to get a couple of tweets out in a four-hour period.)
How difficult was it to collate all the beauty information you have acquired over the years into your book/bible ‘Amazing Face’ (seriously ladies, RUN don’t walk to buy this book - it contains all the answers to all your beauty questions, ever)?
A lot of it was in my head and quite easy to lovingly dribble out onto the page. The most useful and quirky tips and tricks stick, they’re the ones you find yourself giving out at dinner parties, and re-writing again and again in new and thrilling ways. I wanted the book to be full of those tips, a kind of best of, I guess.
Your most recent book ‘The Younger Man’ was released earlier this year and it is as delightfully witty and hilarious as you are. As you’ve mentioned, this seems to be your least autobiographical novel, so did you find it easier or more difficult to write than the others? Why?
Harder AND easier, which is an annoying answer but truthful. I loved the freedom of creating entirely new people and situations and circumstances, but missed the laziness of my first novels, where I already had a mound of experiences and memories and conversations in my head to plagiarise.
Aside from gorgeous young 22-year-olds Abby also comes across a sneaky, competitive colleague who, in essence, screws her over. Considering the fact that you’ve worked in magazines and beauty, have you ever encountered or witnessed similar nastiness in these notoriously fierce industries?
I can say without a crossed finger or wink of an eye that I have not. I started in women’s magazines and beauty expecting to meet a rash of TV-sitcom style terrors, the kind of women who crushed your confidence in one stamp of a stiletto, and stole your ideas, and probably your boyfriends too, but “sadly” the only women I met were generous, kind, intelligent, charming, sweet and funny.
As a Proper Writer, what exactly does your typical day entail? Is it all midday yoga classes and endless coffee breaks? (i.e. are you living The Dream?)
How dare you! Just because it’s 11am and I am still wearing Pilates gear whose necessity expired several hours ago, and my only “appointment” today is to get to the post office, does not mean I am living some kind of wonderful, flexible writing dream ride! Only it does. And I am. And not a day passes when I don’t express gratitude for it. For me, being able to be anywhere in the world (especially places that are beautiful, and exciting and inspiring) and still able to work was always deemed the highest luxury, and I am extremely lucky to be doing just that. It won’t last forever, but MAN am I sucking the marrow while I can.
If you could only use three beauty products for the rest of your life, which ones would you choose and why?
- Rosehip oil, so my skin is being all loved and nourished and ‘age-proofed’
- Dry shampoo, so I needn’t wash my hair very often, and would enjoy some great texture and volume
- Tinted moisturiser with SPF, so I am protected from the sun and have some glowy, sheer coverage.
Why should people go out and buy your books right now, this very second?
Because Khloe and Lamar isn’t on for hours and you’ve already read The Hunger Games?
Finally, if you could get leathered with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be?
P.S. New BFFs?
Your half of the charm necklace is already in the mail. (Told you I had to go to the PO today.)