Unless you prefer to live your life offline, you’ve probably stumbled upon dream girl Mateja Buila’s Instagram at least once, seen her decked out in head-to-toe Daisy over on their ‘gram, or copped her gracing the pages of your favourite magazine. The Croatian-born Australian model has a face to die for, the warmest presence, and the most lit collection of Prada, Miu Miu, and Gucci we’ve seen in a minute. When it comes to beauty, she keeps it low-key, preferring a natural, dewy complexion and wearing a good SPF over anything too ~done~. A girl after our own hearts.

The true beauty — who is currently training to become a Pilates instructor (sign us up!) — graciously let us rifle through her Sydney apartment this week, where we had a good old chinwag about her favourite places to travel, her beauty routine, and the sacrifices her angel parents have made to give her the good life. Take it away, Mateja!

What’s your skincare routine (tell us about the products you swear by)?
QV moisturiser, body wash, and the rest of the QV range. I have eczema, so I’ve always been told not to use anything on my skin other than what’s dermatologically recommended, and it’s worked for me thus far. There are also just too many products out there — it’s overwhelming. I reckon, keep it simple, and wear sunscreen.

Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
I wear very minimal make-up! I prefer the natural dewy look. My every day go-to would be BareMinerals tinted moisturiser — it makes you look super dewy and fresh — Rimmel mascara, and Benefit Benetint for a bit of colour.

What’s your haircare approach? And the products you use?
Similarly to my make-up approach, it’s minimal. I normally just let my hair dry on its own and do its own thing. I like a bit of EVO sea salt spray to add texture. Occasionally, I’ll curl my hair with a GHD and spray some EVO hair spray, but that’s as fancy as I get. I’ve never coloured my hair, either.

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
I think when I was in high school, and the cool thing to do was to pluck your eyebrows to the point where they nearly ceased to exist. What was I thinking? Every time I look at my passport photo I’m scared.

When do you feel your best?
In summer when I’m tanned and salty! I don’t even wear make-up in summer. There’s no need — it’s the best.

How do you unwind?
Pilates at KX Pilates and Hudson Barry, both in Surry Hills. Also, my favourite thing to do in the world is just to make dinner with my boyfriend and watch TV together, as normal as that is.

What’s your favourite breakfast food?
At the moment I’ve been obsessed with making chia puddings and then topping them with a variety of fruit.

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

Favourite online shopping spot?
Vestiaire collective.

Netflix or Spotify? And what are you loving right now?
I actually don’t listen to music very much (yes, I know that’s weird), so definitely Netflix. Although Netflix is seriously lacking options. The best thing I saw on Netflix recently was The OA!

What’s your favourite travel destination, and why?
It’s a tie between Japan and Mexico, I think. I love everything Japanese — from the food, to the fashion, to the anime – so being in Japan for me is like being a kid in Disneyland. Mexico I think is so magical and fun. I’ve had some experiences there that will never be beaten.

My picks for Japan would be Shimokitazawa for vintage shopping, and Harajuku for more high-end shopping! Genki Sushi is a fun electronic sushi train, very futuristic, and Harajuku Gyozaro for the best dumplings you’ll ever eat. In Mexico, I would say visit Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City, and the jungle Palenque, the cute town of Oaxaca, and the Caribbean paradise that is Tulum. Also check out a live Mexican wrestling fight!

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Potentially Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. How embarrassing!

What’s your earliest beauty memory?
Walking around the house in my mother’s heels when I was 6.

If you could resurrect one beauty trend, what would it be?
Body glitter!

What’s your most treasured item of clothing/jewellery?
Maybe my collection of gold jewellery.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Happiness. If you’re truly happy with yourself, then there is nothing more beautiful.

What are you most excited for in 2017?
Girls trip to New York in September to support Daisy’s first New York Fashion Week show! Also, finishing my course and becoming a qualified Pilates instructor.

Who is your biggest hero and why?
My mother and father! They lost everything we had in the Yugoslavian war and they moved us to Australia so that we could have a chance at a good life with lots of opportunities, and they have succeeded tremendously, despite everything they had to overcome. Not only are they so inspirational, but they are the most loving and generous humans — they’re unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Dakota Gordon