A journalist, podcaster, makeup artist and award winning blogger, it seems there’s little Madeline Spencer can’t do. She’s written for the Evening Standard, Huffington Post and Elle UK, to name just a few and we love her take on beauty and her approach to wellness and mental health.
We chatted Madeleine about debating on Newsnight, Laura Mercier and being a teetotaller who loves pubs.
Where are you from?
My mum comes from Austria and my dad Hungary, but I grew up in the UK, just north of London.
What do you do?
I’m a journalist, blogger, podcaster, and make-up artist.
What is your typical day like?
I usually wake up at around 7am, then do some yoga and take my dog for a walk, before heading to my desk for 9am. Once I’m there, I’m either writing or researching, before generally doing something different during the late afternoon like interviewing someone, doing someone’s make-up, testing a treatment, or meeting brands to find out what’s going on. I love to finish the day by walking my dog.
What initially led you to your chosen career path?
In honesty, it is the only thing I could ever see myself doing. I was always riveted by words, by stacking them together and seeing what happens if you pull one out or switch the order of them around. I’ve also always had an appreciation of aesthetics, and in particular make-up and what it does to a face. I pulled both threads together, and knotted them into a career.
What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I should probably say going on Newsnight to debate while exceedingly nervous, because I’ve always struggled with panic attacks, and being able to override a cresting one to get a point across felt like a huge achievement. But, really, it’s carrying on - finding the resolve and determination to continue to wade through all the self-doubt and isolation that comes with being a freelancer. That’s a huge thing, in my book.
How do you stay healthy, body and mind?
I seek balance. I realise I expect a lot from my body and mind, so I do what I can to support both. More specifically, I find doing yoga, eating as many veggies as I can, and walking my rescue beagle/pointer, Monty, makes me feel good physically. The same things help mentally, but I also see a psychoanalyst who’s brilliant and helps me to do some housekeeping in my mind.
What inspires you?
People. Give me a few hours in a pub (I love pubs, though I’m teetotal) with someone with a brilliant, open mind, and I’ll come away fizzing with ideas.
Who is your beauty muse?
Kate Moss. She has a strength of face I love, doesn’t pander to chasing youth, is unapologetically herself. I also love the Edwardian actress Lily Elsie’s face, and it would be utterly remiss of me not to mention Elvis - he possessed the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen, and wore it with such charm.
What are your experiences of diversity in the beauty industry?
I think the beauty industry - like all industries - has some way to go, but I’ve seen an awful lot of people trying their hardest to represent as many people as possible, and think we’re moving in the right direction. Everyone may not be getting it absolutely right, but I think the trying and opening up conversation is vital to understand how we can make sure the industry is an even playing ground.
What advice would you give to other girls and guys looking to get into the creative industries?
To start somewhere, and work hard. If you’re creative, do your thing and use whatever platform you can to show people what you can do. And then persevere.
Looking at someone and seeing intelligence and purpose and strength and kindness and grace and charm and contentedness. And to me it’s also very much a bloody brilliant smokey eye, worn with messy hair.
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product, what would it be?
100% Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer, to make my skin look as smooth and bouncy as possible.
Follow Madeleine: @madeleinelovesthis