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Hanging Out With Interior Designer/Stylist Elly McGaw

When it comes to living life in style, Elly McGaw knows what’s up. When the blonde beauty isn’t freelancing on her own projects, you’ll find her spinning her interior design magic alongside style queen Pamela Makin over at Les Interieurs. Elly’s #flawless eye for interiors definitely crosses over into both her personal style and holistic approach to beauty, and you’ll find loads of evidence of this in the above gallery.

When we weren’t hard out ogling at all her stuff, we took time out to chat with her about the transportive powers of music, why dyeing her hair black as a young rock and roll enthusiast was a terrible idea, and what (mostly natural) products she can’t live without. Get to know her better below.

What’s your skincare routine (tell us about the products you swear by)?
My routine is pretty simple. I tend to go with the notion that my body naturally knows how to look after itself, so I like to use products that assist in doing just that. In the past I would overdo it with scrubs, oils and toners but my skin reacted to all the products I was using. I had to calm it all down and my friend introduced me to the D.M.K range for my face — they are mostly natural products that have been so good for my skin. For my body, I use an herbal essential infused oil by Acacia Botanicals who use all-natural plant ingredients. It’s so nourishing and the scent is so beautiful. The brand is a friend of mine’s, and the product is launching in a couple of weeks, so I’m super lucky to have been a tester.

Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere — it’s a botanical blend of velvety soft goodness. I put it on my cheeks and eyebrow bone.

What’s your hair care approach? And what products you use?
My hair literally has a mind of its own. Some days I wake up with a head full of curls, and then some days it’s really straight. I shift between products from Kevin Murphy and Mr Smith. I also use the Kerastase Oil on my dry hair to tame those locks.

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
When I was younger I was really into rock and roll music, and I thought it would be cool to die my hair black. Needless to say, it really didn’t suit my complexion, and it took me years to get back to a natural blonde. My hair was literally falling out in the process. I think it’s really just coming back to life now, eight years later.

How did you get into interior design?
Interior design has always been a huge part of my life. We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we have, and for these spaces to continually inspire and relax us. As a child, my dad would let me re-paint and arrange my room at least once a year. At one point I had painted my room green and pink to reflect a watermelon, with cut out Vogue covers all over my walls. After travelling the world and feeling completely inspired, I enrolled in Sydney Design School and have been lucky enough to work alongside Pamela Makin of Les Interieurs. I am now also freelancing on my own projects.

When do you feel your best?
When I’m in nature with my beautiful friends, by the river in Bellingen. Also, that feeling when you’re flying up in the clouds, about to arrive in a new destination and an adventure is about to begin! EUPHORIA!

How do you unwind?
Nature, in all its beauty! Or Yoga! Or a glass of red wine and some B.B. King — a killer combo.

What’s your favourite breakfast food?
Simple avocado on a healthy grain toast with lemon and tahini, and coffee. Unless you’re in Byron Bay at Doma cafe — the breakfast sushi rolls are what’s up!

What’s that one word that you can’t stop saying at the moment?
“Momentum” and, “That’s what’s up!”

Favourite online shopping spot?
Ohhh, I am not a huge online shopper to be honest. I tend to mix it up depending on what I am interested in.

Netflix or Spotify? And what are you loving right now?
I fill most of my day with music, and lots of it! It really depends on my mood: sometimes it’s deep house, jazz, or blues music. And of course, as anyone who knows me would attest, I love rap music!

What’s your favourite travel destination, and why?
I think so much of the places you go are made so special by the people you experience them with. I have some of the best memories sitting on volcanic islands in Guatemala, floating around the shores of Greece or lost deep in the streets of Morocco. I could not possibly name a favourite for they are all too wonderful!!

Favourite playlist?
I make a playlist for my group of friends every month or so, called “Real good”, and I am currently up to Vol 9. It’s fascinating going back and playing it again; I love how music can give you a sense of nostalgia and transport you back to certain moods and moments.

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Chad Michael Murray.

What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewellery?
My grandma’s engagement ring, or the tooth of a Cayman a gypsy gave me in El Salvador.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Beauty is so subjective. I think beauty is very much a feeling not a physical thing. One of my favourite novelists, Alain De Botton, puts it so well: “What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.”

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Brigette Clark.