ph. Tim Coulson
It’s truly special and very rare to come across someone who sparks something within you, who inspires you and makes you feel that your wildest dreams are within your reach. For me that person is Eleanor Pendleton. Having been a loyal follower of her beautiful blog Gritty Pretty (which, after over two years, she has now relaunched – beauty junkies rejoice!) as well as her work for Famous and then InStyle, it’s safe to say I had formed quite the girl crush.
At such a young age, Eleanor has worked incredibly hard to get to where she is today and on top of all that, she remains incredibly sweet and down to earth. Having admired her and her work for so long, I thought she would be the perfect person for me to interview and you should have seen me smiling like an absolute dork when she replied to my email - so embarrassing. Her responses are a delight to read and I hope they inspire you as much as they did me!
How did you first get into the beauty industry?
By chance and hard work. I was studying a Diploma in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. I had been hounding – OK fine, stalking – the Editorial Coordinator atCosmopolitan magazine. Their work placements book out a year in advance and one day, I received a phone call saying she'd had a cancellation. I went into the pink Cosmopolitan office for one week and worked my little 18-year-old ass off. On the last day, then-editor Sarah Wilson offered me a regular one-day-a-week internship with then-Beauty Director, Zoe Foster Blake. After a year of interning and two weeks post-graduating, Franki Hobson, the editor of Cosmopolitan Hair & Beauty, Cosmopolitan Bride and Cosmopolitan Pregnancy magazines, called me to offer me the job as Editorial Coordinator/Beauty Writer. The timing of The Universe was on my side. And, the rest, as they say, is history…
What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?
Attending Fashion Week in London on behalf of InStyle magazine was a major 'Is This Seriously My Life?' moment for me. There's something magical about the international shows. It's not pretentious. It's a celebration of fashion and beauty as an art form. The calibre of designers over there is on another level. Before taking my front row (!) seat at Vivienne Westwood, it felt like there was electricity building amongst the show goers. Also, attending Matthew Williamson's show and seeing Carine Roitfield and Anna Wintour a metre away from me backstage was a real 'Pinch Me Right Now or I Might Pass Out' kind of moment.
Also, when I receive emails from students who want to break into magazines and they tell me I'm their inspiration, it's humbling and surreal. It's a 'highlight' for me, for sure. I remember being in their shoes sending a similar message to Zoe Foster Blake. I didn't know anyone in the magazine industry when I was young so I make a point of helping young graduates out whenever and however I can. It's moments like those that force me to reflect on how much I've accomplished and allow myself to feel proud.
Some of the best tips you’ve learnt from working as a beauty editor?
I've been fortunate enough to interview some of the best experts in their fields. The ol' make your glossy lip matte trick is a goodie. If you have a gorgeous lipstick but it's a bit too sheeny, you can matte it down by simply taking one ply of a tissue and sticking it onto your lips. Next, take a light dusting of translucent face powder and dust it on top of the tissue. Peel the tissue off your lip colour and it'll be mattetastic! Plus, it'll last all day and won't bleed.
You always have the most enviable complexion! What are does your skincare routine consist of and what are your hero products?
Why, thank you. One thing my mum drilled into me was 'cleanse and moisturise'. I'm pretty neurotic when it comes to my skincare. Our skin is our body's biggest organ so I believe in really looking after it externally and internally. I drink ridiculous amounts of water every day, eat well and exercise (when I can!). It always baffles me when I hear some women only cleanse with water – what about the make-up, pollution and grime you're going to bed with for 8 hours? In regards to my own skin regimen, well, it's… How do I say this? Extensive.
As a beauty journalist, I'm constantly testing products for my job so my routine is constantly changing. Right now, however, my skincare routine looks like this:
Cleanse with Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil (I also use my Clarisonic once a week with my cleanser to exfoliate my skin)
Tone with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Treat with Lancome Genefique Advanced Youth Activating Concentrate
Hydrate with Dior Diorsnow White Reveal Fresh Crème
Protect with SPF 30 or 50
Cleanse with Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
Tone with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
Treat with Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Hydrate with Jurlique Herbal Recovery Night Cream
Once a week, at night, I give my skin some extra hydration while I sleep with CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Overnight Mask. If I feel like my skin is tight and super dehydrated, I'll pop on an SK-II Facial Treatment Cloth Mask – they're amazing and great for travel! And, when I can, I book in and see Jocelyn Petroni at Woollahra's The Facial Room (http://www.jocelynpetroni.com/) for one of her life-changing signature facials and Omnilux light therapy. She's the best facialist in Sydney.
What are your top beauty buys?
While my skin care regimen is extensive, my make-up is pretty basic. I believe in investing in a good quality tinted moisturiser, BB crème or liquid foundation – this doesn't mean they have to be expensive either. Right now, I'm switching between Garnier Sensitive BB Cream, Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser and Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup (I tend to avoid powder foundations as they don't sit well on my skin). A matte bronzer like NARS Bronzer in Laguna adds warmth and contour to the face. And, a woman can never go without mascara. I prefer lengthening mascaras as my lashes are quite short. Lastly, I never leave the house with a lip balm. Lanolips 101 Ointment is a Godsend. It can be applied to practically anything – chapped lips, cuticles, cuts, dry elbows and burns…
The best advice you’ve been given?
Put your head down, work hard and when the time is right, you'll be rewarded.
There are too many scents in my fragrance wardrobe to count. Right now, my favourites are Frederic Malle Carnal Flower and Amouage Reflection for Women.
Most prized possession in your wardrobe and beauty arsenal?
My Celine Trio Bag in black. It deconstructs into a clutch – it's multipurpose and worth every penny (well, at least that's what I tell my partner!).
Something people might not know about you?
I used to be a huge tomboy growing up. I even did competitive sailing. Now, I get paid to play with lipgloss. My dad and I always joke "go figure".
Are there any items you’re currently coveting?
I've just ordered the blue and black floating dress from Karla Spetic's SS 13/14 collection. I'm treating it like a reward to myself for all of the change that's happened in my life of late.
What are some of your tips for breaking into the beauty media industry?
Work hard, be persistent and write with originality. Some people look at the magazine industry from a far and think it to be fun and frivolous. And, sure, there's a lot of perks to it. But in reality, there's a lot of hard work, verrrry long hours and dedication that goes into pages before they're sent to print. Like any journalist, beauty journalists have a responsibility to inform and educate their readers. While some magazines are more laid back in their approach to beauty, I was trained to always find the point of difference in any product, regardless of what it is. Sure, that new moisturiser contains maqui berry, seaweed extract and polysaccharides. But, my question to the beauty brands is always why? What do they really do? It's my job to find out why my reader should spend X amount of her money on that new spangling new skin serum, fragrance or lip colour.
What’s next for Eleanor Pendleton?
This year has shaped up to be quite an interesting year for me. I've just moved on as Beauty Editor at InStyle magazine to embark on a career in freelance. I've relaunched my beauty website: grittypretty.com. And, I've got some very exciting projects and magazines which I'll be working with (watch this space!). Next week, I'm off to Bali to escape with my man and my book for three glorious weeks. After that, I try not to look too far ahead. While I've got plenty of goals for the future, I prefer to take each day as it comes.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Eleanor for being so amazing.
Be sure to head on over to her incredible blog Gritty Pretty!