Instagram is a funny old thing. When you’re following as many girls on it as we do here at THE FILE, it’s almost as if, on some level, you start to feel like you know them. Mildly creepy, but true. Some might call it soft stalking, we call it work, hence why we were so stoked to find ourselves on the doorstep of one of our favourite Instagram girls — model/artist/history student, @ch.a.y.a — last week.

If you’re feeling a wave of procrastination coming on — it’s past 5pm on a week night, of course you are — go have a scroll through her feed, and you’ll see why we’re so enamoured. She’s a super great model, but she’s also a hugely talented illustrator with an incredible eye.

Her room is overflowing with fun, interesting things to look at, and if it wasn’t socially unconventional to do so, we could have stayed there rifling through her trinkets and mother’s pass-me-downs (like the featured vintage Isabel Marant dress, for example) for hours. Instead of overstaying our welcome, we got to know the high-energy, smart babe over the course of an hour.

We poked around her book collection, got acquainted with her very life-like, very impressive cow figurine stash, poured over all the incredible illustrations she’s drawn over the years, got the lowdown on her simple beauty and skincare routine, and then asked some hard hitting Qs, like who her favourite celeb is, and what she likes to eat for breakfast. Get to know the lil’ legend better below.

What’s your skincare routine? Tell us about the products you swear by.
My life is skincare! I really try to keep my routine simple. I clean my face generally twice a day (morning and night), but usually I’ll feel a bit grotty when I come home from uni so I will wash again in the afternoon. I always use just a gentle, sensitive cream cleanser; I like the one by Sukin. I don’t tone or use any serums afterwards, I just moisturise with a small amount of cocoa butter (I swear by Palmers!) or a moisturiser for my sensitive skin. If I have any blemishes, I’ll dab on some tea tree oil. If my skin needs it, I’ll do a face mask; either a charcoal mask (Sukin), coconut yoghurt mask (7th Heaven), or Dead Sea mud (Ahava) mask. Every few days I’ll do a body scrub and completely dip myself in cocoa butter – I become 20x softer and smell amazing!

Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
A little… I generally only have a clear gel in my eyebrows and a bit of mascara. I don’t really know much about brands in this department! When I do wear makeup I try to get it from ethical brands like Natio but most of my makeup was actually gifted to me by friends.

What’s your haircare approach? And the products you use.
Nothing at all, honestly. I use any shampoo we have lying around and don’t really use conditioner. I try to buy ethical brands like Organic Care which I get for like $3 at the supermarket. I always air-dry my hair and sometimes (rarely) before a shower I might brush it.

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
Plucking my eyebrows! I think the decision to stop was the best decision I ever made.

How do you unwind?
I’ll have a long hot shower, do a body scrub, or moisturise and do a face mask. I do it about once or twice a week – it keeps me sane!

What’s that one word that you can’t stop saying at the moment?

Favourite online shopping spot?

Netflix or Spotify? And what are you loving right now?
Netflix! I’m watching Black Mirror and it’s so intense.

What’s your favourite travel destination and why?
Probably Yorkshire. I love staying with my grandma in Harrogate and she takes me all over: my mother’s childhood home in Leeds, Haworth, Saltaire, Whitby, all the old castles, the antique stores, the book stores.

What’s your go-to breakfast food?
Peanut butter on toast and some orange juice for every day. If I’m treating myself, I’ll have an apple strudel and a chai latte.

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Gregory Peck. 

What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewellery?
The blue sapphire earrings my mother gave to me.

Who is your biggest idol in life?
My grandma.

Do you identify as a feminist? Please explain.
What use is an identity without praxis?

Do you think female friendships are particularly important? Why/why not?
Because men are never your friends.

Have there been any books / articles you’ve read in recent memory that have impacted your worldview?
I’m not a big reader, but the documentary series Human Planet is really amazing.

When do you feel your best?
Right after I’ve cleaned my face and moisturised.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Connection with oneself.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Alexis Aquino. Model, Chaya at Chadwick Models