There’s a near-infinite list of descriptors that apply to Rachel Rutt – beautiful, smart, creative, talented, kind-hearted, etc. – but none of them quite cut the mustard. She had her start as a model in 2009, and has since gone on to do a bunch of other cool stuff, like making magical music alongside Ryan Grieve in Sydney band, Heart People (who, FYI, just released their fi-ya EP, Homecoming), and creating epic knitwear. *Quietly reflects on own life*.

When we dropped by Rachel’s home in Sydney this week, we were unsurprised to find that she has a super chill, skincare-focused approach when it comes to her beauty routine, nor did it shock us to learn that she’s just as genuinely warm and interesting in real life as she comes across onstage, on the runway, or through her visual art and textiles. In a world that’s predicated on followers and looks, it’s great to meet people like Rachel who are consistently pushing the envelope creatively, and defining themselves outside of how they present on social media. Get to know her life philosophies, product line-up, and thoughts on beauty – “There is a part of your own beauty that you can never show, that no one will ever know, that exists only for you” — below.

What’s your skincare routine? Tell us about the products you swear by.
I started using SK-II three years ago. I was going through a personal revolution at the time, looking at all my habits and reassessing. Prior to that time, I’d always been a user of only very basic, natural products. Now it’s a combination. Every day and night, I wash with SK-II’s Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, followed by their Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, and then, if nothing else, their Facial Treatment Essence. After that, I use either Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream or apricot seed oil, followed by La Roche-Posay sunscreen, if I’m going to be outdoors during the day.

Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to everyday product?
I think, having been a model for so long, make-up has always been a very work-related process for me, and so when I was “off-duty” I needed to distance myself from any queues of the industry. I generally only wear it for our Heart People live performances, so I can be a bit more magical, theatrical. Perhaps a lip – favourite: Ruby Woo from MAC, plus a little metallic eye shadow from Chanel that I can just rub on with my finger, or Studio Eye Gloss by MAC in Lightly Tauped. No foundation for me, though.

What’s your haircare approach? Tell us about the products you use.
I am now a huge convert of Shu Uemura. Their Urban Moisture range has healed a lot of damage I had from both modelling and being a bit careless for many years. At one point, I didn’t even own a hair brush. Now I take it seriously… I got lucky one birthday and received a Mason Pearson hair brush, which has changed my life! I have a very sensitive scalp, so I use Thursday Plantation’s tea tree shampoo once a week. I also think diet is very important. What we put inside is reflected in our outer self.

Can you tell us a bit about your diet?
Last year, I radically changed my diet after getting some advice regarding my general state of health. I was getting sick really frequently: colds, the flu, sinus infections. It seems really obvious now, but I cut out a lot of the (excessive) carbohydrates I was consuming, replacing them with veggies and fruit, taking care of my tummy more with probiotics, and drinking more water. The results have been spectacular. It was a really good checkpoint for me, and increased my awareness 100 fold on how sensitive our bodies are and also how resilient they can be with a little care. It’s made me a much more creative cook, too, which I am enjoying.

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
Not being rigid about wearing sunscreen earlier. I get a lot of freckles on my face… Last year I realised I was even getting them on my ears! It scared me, as obviously, here in Australia, skin cancer is a real concern. I think the sun has a lot to contribute to our skin conditions, both good and bad.

When do you feel your best?
After a swim in the ocean.

How do you unwind?
I have been working on making yoga, however short or long a session, a daily practice. It helps me with anxiety, a bad sleep, a hard day, just through meditation and breathing alone. It’s a very nice way to clear the mind if you are overthinking things, which I can do very easily.

What’s your favourite breakfast food?
A few years ago I would have shuddered saying this, but muesli. My partner started making home batches that aren’t as sweet as commercial ones, and I changed my mind. I also like to begin the day with a glass of water with raw apple cider vinegar, and separately a spoonful of coconut kefir, both for digestion.

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

Favourite online shopping spot?

Netflix or Spotify? What are you loving right now?
Netflix, or similar sites. Very engaged in both The Handmaid’s Tale and Genius.

What’s your favourite travel destination, and why?
Japan, where I grew up. The food, the people, the memories. My family.

Who was your first celebrity crush?
Richard Gere.

What social or cultural issue is most important to you, and why?
Ethical and sustainable choices – be it through food, clothing, packaging. Capitalism commands us to define our success by our possessions, our variety of choice. We are enslaved by this philosophy, thinking we are superpowers with modern medicine, genetically-modified food, fast fashion, technology – but we have no real idea of the impact it is having on our bodies and minds. For me, these thoughts started through my textile practice, learning what it really takes to make something, and realising that the modern approach to consuming is not only destroying our world, but taking us further from valuing quality, time, and skill. I believe we should spend more on less; challenge ourselves to look at “choice” for what it really is: long-lasting and consequential.

If you could resurrect one beauty trend, what would it be?
The smoky eyes with the white highlight close to the eyebrow.

What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Accepting that physical traits depend truly on your metaphysical approach to life more than on products or trend-based fantasies. That there is a part of your own beauty that you can never show, that no one will ever know, that exists only for you.

What are you most excited for in 2017?
Heart People have just released our debut EP, Homecoming, last week. Since the project’s inception, we have hoped it will be something audiences will come back to again, even after its initial impressions, so I am looking forward to seeing the forthcoming impact. Also, to create new material and have the opportunity to perform the work live. Separately, I will see my weaving practice go public this year, with my first (group) exhibition in two weeks’ time. Really, it’s a special year for me, as these two mediums of my life’s work are crossing important thresholds.

Who is your biggest hero, and why?
Louise Bourgeois, for her strength via fragility.

Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Dakota Gordon