Blogger at My Empirical Life, stylist, writer, photographer and online contributor at Vogue.com.au. Croatian born and Sydney based TANJA GACIC talks to us about motherhood, self love and her career.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR CAREER PATH?
"I was a model for 17 years, then went part time once I gave birth to my daughter Coco. After a few years of being a full time mum and part time model, I decided I needed to do something that challenged my brain and developed my talents. I had always loved photography, writing, food and travel, so starting a blog that utilized my passions made sense. I used the word empirical because that’s what it was; a blog based on observation, experience and testing. It was my lil secret, or so I thought. Once Vogue Australia was relaunched with an online portion, I was invited to join their fashion blogging team. Cue panic and an exponential learning curve! My blog was never meant to be a business but slowly, it became one. I think people don’t understand that any blogger worth their salt does everything from ideas to creative direction, styling, pre and post production, marketing and delivering the final product. It’s a lot of responsibility but once I learnt the technical side of the business, it became an inspiring and fun way of making money. I feel incredibly blessed to stay in an industry I love whilst working in a different capacity."
WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
"My mother. She is a tough matriarch who has gone through war, cancer and 3 country moves whilst remaining kind, loving, hardworking and beautiful."
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
"Beauty means feeling gorgeous in my own skin. That doesn’t mean lots of make up or a blow dry, although those things definitely help sometimes too. I feel most beautiful when I am somewhere warm on a holiday, after a day at the beach, just showered, with coconut oil on my skin, curly hair and people I love around me. Beauty means happiness and contentment. I feel most beautiful when I am so happy in the present that I don’t want to be anywhere else."
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR YOUNG GIRLS/WOMEN
"View fashion and beauty pictures as an aspirational world of perfection no one will ever be able to achieve in reality. I love looking at beautiful editorials now because I notice such different aspects of the picture. When I was young, I’d look at the model’s waist and compare it to mine, feeling terrible about myself, deciding I’d need to diet. Now I know this is completely ridiculous – that waist was photoshopped along with everything else. Still, I don’t want reality in my fashion pictures- I see reality everywhere so I want the fantasy; the artistry of the experience when it all combines beautifully. Now when I look at fashion or beauty, I look at the light, the styling, the photography, the way my eye travels around the picture (as Diana Vreeland would say it must). So I guess my advice to girls would be to stop judging themselves on these unreachable standards because you’re comparing yourself to something that does not exist in reality. Start judging the artistry instead, get interested in how that picture came about and what it took for it to look this way…Peering behind Wizard Of Advertising’s curtain will liberate you from feelings of insecurity , allowing you to develop genuine discernment for the product. Your size, shape or looks don’t make you into a great, likeable person. There are so many things that go into making a woman amazing; her grit, her softness, her ambition, her kindness, her adventurousness, her outspokenness, her intentions and her intellect. All of these are 1000 times more important than looks. So for god sakes , keep learning everything you possibly can about the world because smarts are damn sexy."
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES TODAY FOR WOMEN?
"We must do it all and have it all. We feel like we are failing when one aspect of our life starts slipping up. I’m still trying to rectify this in my life! This year I am focusing on making a better work/life balance and taking it easy on myself."
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN
"Luck comes to those that work hard."
IS THERE ANY WOMAN YOU LOOK UP TO
"Joan Collins- her quips are witty and her fashion outrageous!"
ON YOUR DAY OFF
"I like to do not much at all. Late wake up, markets, a cook up brunch with my family. A swim, a bbq with friends, naps. Perfection!"
YOUR DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE
"If I am just staying at home to work in my office, it’s literally a shower, then some sk-II treatment essence, followed by Lepaar 24K gold essence facial oil. I don’t wear make up in Bondi but if I am heading out to meetings, I’ll also use Armani foundation, Charlotte tilbury eyeshadow in The Golden Goddess , contouring beach stick in Moon Beach, Filmstar bronze and glow in light to medium (so it is very subtle), Shu Uemura eye pencil and Max Mara mascara."
YOUR BEAUTY/SKINCARE ADVICE
"I keep it very easy and try to use natural or organic skincare. After all the make up I am required to wear, it’s lovely just not having anything toxic on. I adore any organic facial wash I can find in the shower, Nude skincare Detox Fizzy Powder Wash a couple of times per week , sometimes a vit C extract on the face to fight fine lines and sun damage and then a beautiful facial oil. In winter I may use a thick cream like Le Mar on top if my face really needs it."
YOUR FEEL GOOD INDULGENCE
"Making raw chocolates with my daughter."
YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION OR HOT SPOT
"I love the Carribean and the Croatian coast, but I recently went to Sri Lanka and fell in love with the beaches and the food. Hoppers are EVERYTHING!"