Before Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was a bona fide bombshell beloved by designers like Olivier Rousteing and megabrands such as Burberry and Victoria’s Secret, she was an invisible intern. The kicker? She was making coffee at a modeling agency. Now 27, the catwalker has an action film ( Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and an apocalyptic thriller ( Mad Max: Fury Road, out next year) under her namesake garter belt (from her eponymous lingerie line at Marks and Spencer). Her latest role, however, involves starring in Moroccanoil’s first multimedia campaign, Inspired by Women, directed by Bryce Dallas Howard. The beauty company that kicked off the argan oil craze is spotlighting female founders from five different charities in a video series, as well as donating a portion of the sales from its signature treatment to the organizations. “The films that Bryce directed are beautiful, and some are really moving,” said Huntington-Whiteley. After chatting with the ambassador about her journey from a farm girl raised in the countryside of Devon, England, to landing coveted roles on the runway and the big screen, it became clear that Huntington-Whiteley’s own story is pretty inspiring, too. Read on for her best tips on reaching your goals, and, of course, achieving sexy hair.
What’s been the best part of being involved with the Inspired by Women campaign?
The most exciting part for me is to get to meet these five women. It’s been a humbling and inspiring journey to listen to their stories and to learn how they made a difference to their communities. They’re not women that I always get to come across — they’re from all walks of life — and I found that to be really inspiring and educational.
What was it like shooting the film with Bryce?
I met Bryce over Skype two months before we shot the film in L.A. She blew me away immediately. She’s such a girl’s girl. It can be intimidating working with someone as accomplished as Bryce, but she made me instantly feel relaxed. She was talking to me while she was feeding a baby right after coming back off set from Jurassic Park — she was in the middle of Hawaii talking to me about this. We had one day together on set, which was a lot of fun. The film is only a few minutes, but we sat and spoke all day on camera. We had a very open, honest conversation. It was great.
When you were growing up on your family farm, did you ever dream you would have such big success as a model?
I knew I wanted to work in fashion. My mom was always very glamorous even though we were country bumpkins. We would bond over reading women’s magazines. I loved to watch her get ready and put dresses on, and that’s where my love of fashion began. I read a lot of magazines growing up and I was really interested in what went into making a beautiful image. I also loved theater and wanted to go backstage and be a part of the makeup and the drama and that aspect of the industry. I ended up falling into modeling by interning at a modeling agency for a week when I was 15. I was making teas and coffees. I thought I would get to go on a photo shoot, but it was a bit different than I imagined.
A few months later, my mom told me that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know in the fashion industry, and I decided to go back and say hello to the people at the agency again. There was a new agent there and she asked me if I wanted to try modeling. I thought she was joking and I thought for sure it wouldn’t last very long, but I was determined to get onto a photo shoot because that’s where I would see the creative process taking place. And that was that.
That’s hilarious that you were you walking around an agency for a week and no one thought to ask you to model until you came back months later.
Trust me, if you would have seen a picture of me at 15…it was different. Let’s just say I went through a grooming process!
Were you cool with entering the fashion world as a model, or was there a part of you that wanted to explore the other sides?
Now that I’m 27, I’ve been modeling for 11 years. I design my own lingerie line with Marks and Spencer in the U.K. and I get to be a spokesmodel with brands like Moroccanoil, and it’s something that inspires me. I think in this day and age we’re so overwhelmed by how much is going on everywhere. There’s so much social media, but there’s so much opportunity, especially now — I think women are coming into their own. I no longer feel like I have to be boxed into one thing. I get to model, I get to act, I get to be a spokesmodel — it’s all these different things and that’s really exciting for me. It’s great because as women we’re so multifaceted.
What advice would you give to a young, aspiring model?
One piece of advice I would give any young girl, not just a model, is that knowledge is power and that comes through experience. Understanding yourself is something that’s really important, but that takes time and requires making mistakes and watching other people’s mistakes and successes. Ask a lot of questions and educate yourself. When you don’t have anything to say, be quiet and listen. And it’s not always easy — I’ve had my ups and downs — but surround yourself with people who love you and believe in you. You’re not going anywhere in this industry unless people believe in you.
You are a great career adviser, now please be our beauty adviser. What makeup products do you love?
For me, good skin is where makeup starts. I’m a big believer in wearing SPF every day. I use Control Corrective sunscreen on my face every day. For my skincare products, I use iS Clinical. They have changed my skin — it’s remarkable. It’s slightly expensive, but I invest in my complexion because it’s important for my work. With makeup, I keep things really simple when I’m not working. Even when I am working and I get to choose, I like to keep things pretty natural. I love Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll mascara and Chanel Soleil [Tan de Chanel] bronzer. Those are my two must-haves that I won’t leave the house without.
I’m into lip balms. By Terry Baume de Rose is my favorite. It has a little sheen and color in it. My lips are so red, I just throw a little balm on them.
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