Let me introduce you to Taylor LaShae: The Texas-born, L.A. bred French/Colombian It-girl our entire Byrdie Australia team is low-key obsessed with. At a glance, she's all leggy, rosy-coloured pout, French-girl hair perfection, but our hour-long chat showcased her fascinating (albeit quirky) personality that goes way deeper than anything uploaded onto her extremely cool IG. While she shies away from the word "model", LaShae is part-influencer, part-actress, part It-girl, and has brands basically lining down the street to work with her. And I'm not surprised.
It was a particularly wet Friday morning when I made my way to the incredible Darlinghurst apartment LaShae's calling home while here in Australia on a working holiday (and I'm talking torrential rain and unseasonably icy winds), but it certainly didn't dull the mood. Stunning and hospitable, the beauty had the fireplace roaring and herbal tea on tap (amazing, right?). There was no need for styling (her Réalisation Par dress looked top-notch) so we moved straight onto our shoot. Literally 10 minutes and a stack of incredible Polaroids later, we relocated to the fireplace so I could make my way through a list of questions. I quizzed LaShae on everything from her stance on smoking, to astronomy, and her can't-live-without beauty tricks. Oh, and her hair-drying prop of choice (just wait 'til you hear it). I could have picked her brain all afternoon, but LaShae's got an afternoon full of meetings. I remembered I too have a job to do, so made my way back to Byrdie HQ to obsess over every photo in our shoot. As far as cool-girl beauty goes, LaShae is gold.
Keep scrolling for the full Q & A.
Byrdie Australia: What's your first beauty memory?
Taylor LaShae: In third grade, I was playing in my mum's bathroom. I opened up this huge drawer and I saw all this Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent makeup. I was like oh my god, what is this? So I literally put on Lenny Kravitz and started putting on all the makeup. I've loved it ever since. I must say, I looked pretty good.
B: How would you describe your approach to beauty now?
TL: My approach to beauty is actually the opposite to a lot of my friends. They all do so much research and are obsessed with finding the best of the best, but to be honest, I don't research. I feel everyone has different skin and different needs. I'm all about trial and error—when I find something that I love, I'll keep buying it. I don't pay attention to what other people are using unless I see maybe, an insane lip colour, then I need to know. Otherwise, I just wing it.
B: What products do you buy over and over again?
TL: I will always buy rose-hip oil. That's the number one thing I use every single day. I dab it onto my face using my hands and press until it soaks in. I always have Glossier Boybrow, that's my all time favourite. And the Kat Von D Eyeliner Pen ($28). I'm the worst at eyeliner, but for whatever reason, that pens make it so easy for me to do the perfect cat-eye.
As for mascara, I always use Yves Saint Laurent ($57). To be honest, it gets chunky after a few months, but I like my lashes to be thick and a little spidery. For lips, I always go for Chanel or MAC. I wear MAC lipstick in So Chaud ($36), but Chanel is my favourite. My current bronzer is from U.S. brand Milk Makeup, and as far as highlighter, I love Nyx—the colours are amazing.
B: Any other makeup secrets?
TL: My favourite brand and greatest-kept secret is the brand Elf—it's my go-to. If I run out of my Yves Saint Laurent or my MAC Concealer ($34) (which is also a favourite), I run to Elf and get everything I need. It's so cheap, it's insane. I buy as many things as I like, and it's always no more than $50. If you don't know what colour will suit you, just grab them all—that's what I do. I love the Lip Scrub ($9), too.
B: What do you like to use skincare-wise?
TL: I actually don't use a lot of skincare. I love a good steam, I have my own steamer I use a lot. I have extremely dry skin, so I use heaps of face oil—Bio Oil ($25) is good. I will even put Vaseline ($3) on my face if need be, just on the really dry parts. My trick is if my face is ever peeling, I put Vaseline ($3) or Chapstick ($5) on the specific area. It gives you a nice dewy look, too. If you have oily skin, I've got nothing, sorry!
B: Are there any skincare products you love to have with you while travelling?
TL: I am the girl who brings face masks on the plane. I tend to fall asleep with them on, probably with my mouth open. I change up what I use because I've tried so many good ones. There is one from ASOS that looks like rose petals—it's so hydrating and it's only $8. I always bring my rose-hip oil in a little travel atomiser too. I like being able to mist products on while on the plane—it feels less dirty.
B: Who cuts your hair?
TL: I see Sal Salcedo at Benjamin Salon in LA. He's in the arts district and he's amazing. I've been cheating on him though now that I'm in Australia. I saw Paloma Garcia at Oscar Oscar Salon in Paddington. She cut it, while Athena gave me a fresh colour. I went a little darker because I like the way it complements my colouring—I look more Columbian.
B: What do you use to style it?
TL: I don't really use any product. I get out of the shower and comb it back, blow dry it, and then comb it all forward before putting a hat on. I leave it on for a while, and when I take it off, my bangs are set. Hats work perfectly—I think that's why beret's came into my life. Sometimes I take a little straightener to the bottom, but most of the time I'm really lazy. Sometimes, I add a bit of Bio Oil ($25) and curl it with fingers. The wind will do the rest.
B: How do you approach Instagram? Is everything authentically you, or do you like to keep your feed curated?
TL: I try to curate, but it feels fake to me. The only tactic I have is to not to make it look like I'm selling anything. When I work with a brand, I just put it on and go about my day—I don't like to put something on, go stage a photo shoot only to take it off seconds later. I think that's the difference between me and say, a model who is going to a job with a specific purpose. It's fun for me to play with Instagram, edit photos and choose filters. With my headphones in, it's my favourite creative outlet.
B: Speaking of Instagram, we noticed you posted about wanting to quit smoking. How's that going?
TL: I will say it's been the biggest feat for me. I've tried patches, I've tried acupuncture, I've tried hypnosis, and nothing worked. I thought I was going to be a smoker for the rest of my life. But I was packing to come to Australia, and my sister took my cigarettes out of my bag, and replaced them with Nicorette gum without me knowing. I was so angry when I opened my bag, but I had no choice, so I had the gum. I've stopped since. I won't lie, the anxiety when you quit is full-on, and I've almost run to the store to buy more, but I have the gum instead. Followers on Instagram have been mostly supportive, but they call me out as I've smoked in previous photos. I've definitely romanticised smoking in the past, but I don't dwell on what others say. I'd rather be good to myself.
B: I've heard you're an astrologer. Is that true?
TL: I am a huge space nerd. I had that I was an astrologer in my Instagram bio, but what I meant was astronomer—astronomer wasn't available, funnily enough. I always change my Instagram bio to something quirky. I don't like to have it listed that I'm a model, because I find it annoying. Anyway, I grew up in Houston, and a lot of my friends' parents were astronauts. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is my idol. I just went to the Sydney Observatory and it's wonderful. I love asking why we're here, and how are we here—the bigger questions. You can deep dive into a place that you don't even understand, it's unfathomable. That's what I love—it really blows my mind. It fascinates me more than any fashion tip, to be honest.
B: Would you ever travel to space?
TL: As much as I love space, I would never leave Earth. I love the idea of it, and that it's possible though. Although, the fact that humans think about space travel so in-depth leads me to believe that we've royally screwed up the Earth. But I think it is smart to at least make a hub of human DNA and put it in space where it's safe. It's like an iPhone backup, it's iCloud. Oh, we should call it iMars! I'll patent that.