You probs know Raenee Sydney (@itsrainybaby_) best as the blue-haired honey in Calvin Klein’s 2016 Spring Campaign, her favourite modelling gig to date. She was scouted by a casting director in Los Angeles on Instagram, flew to L.A. immediately despite being told it wasn’t a guaranteed job, and got a call back the week later to say she’d scored the gig. The decision to throw caution to the wind and fly herself to the casting defs paid off. The blue-haired angel slotted seamlessly into the most incredible campaign of 2016, alongside other huge peeps like FKA Twigs, Kendrick Lamar, Abbey Lee Kershaw, and Adwoa Aboah.
Raenee grew up between Singapore and Malaysia, before relocating to Australia’s sunny shores a decade ago. She went to an international school in both countries, and feels real lucky to have done so, as it gave her the “opportunity to become quite cultured at an early stage of life.” Aside from being a legend in #hercalvins, and one of Sydney’s ~hottest~ young models, the beauty spends her days working between Supply Store and Ellery, which explains her perfectly executed hi-lo style. She also recently finished up her Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Sydney University, where she majored in Asian studies (focusing on Japanese and Chinese culture), and is chill not knowing where that will take her next.
Find out all about which Japanese menthol clay is curing her eczema, her favourite beauty products, and much more below. Thanks, Raenee!
What’s your skincare routine like? Tell us about the products you swear by.
Moisture, moisture, moisture! I have a strict routine of moisturising my body, every day, from top to bottom. Growing up, I had really bad eczema, which made me really conscious about making sure that I was constantly moisturising myself. To cleanse, I start with the Luminacai Acai Daily Facial Scrub. It’s very gentle and easy, for both summer and winter use. After, I tone my face using the Dr. Alkaitis Organic Toner — it has a strong herbal smell, which isn’t really my thing, but it’s very soothing and helps to balance out my uneven skin and dry patches. I then put a thin layer of Egyptian Magic over my brows, lids, cheekbones, and lips, followed by any of these: Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer, Aesop’s Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream, Grown Alchemist’s Hydra-Repair Day Cream. My choice depends on how dry (or oily) my skin is. Lastly, I put a good layer of Alpha H Protection Plus over my face and neck. I also love using the Aveeno Daily Moisturising lotion all over my body.
At night, I put a thin layer of this Japanese menthol clay over my eczema to cool the skin down. It doesn’t have any steroids, is completely safe to use, and is the best thing I’ve ever bought! I had a really bad outbreak of eczema when I was in Japan, and had to act out scratching myself for the pharmacist to understand what I was talking about. [Laughs]
Do you wear make-up? What’s your go-to product?
Not really. I tend to only wear make-up when I’m heading out. This normally consists of Nars’ Brow Gel in clear on my brows, and either L’Oreal’s Curl Impact Collagene in black or The Curling Mascara by Kevyn Aucoin. Both are smudge-proof and have the easiest removal methods. I also personally love Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid liner and the K-Palette 24 Hr Real Lasting Eyeliner. Canmake also make the best cream cheek tints!
What’s your haircare approach?
R.I.P. blue hair. [Laughs] I can confidently say that I have pretty strong hair. Throughout the last few years of bleaching and dying my hair, I’m surprised my hair hasn’t completely snapped off, considering how low-key my haircare approach is. I love shampooing my hair (as my natural roots get very oily and heavy), but I know it’s not that healthy for you. Saying this, I try to shampoo it 3-4 times a week, depending on how dirty it is. Depending on its dryness, I will use either Olaplex or Christophe Robin’s Regenerating Mask With Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil to help bring it back to (some sort of) life. I also love hair accessories, which is my main approach to styling it.
What shampoo do you use?
I really like R+Co products – specifically Atlantis. When I was blue, I had a blue dye mixed in with the shampoo and conditioner to keep my hair colour looking fresh! I actually still use the blue hair conditioner on my black hair as it doesn’t show up. I don’t want it to go to waste.
Why did you decide to make the switch back to dark hair, after going blue?
I was lucky enough to book a lot of modelling jobs when I had blue hair. In the end, I was semi-termed “the blue girl,” which was nice, but after a while I didn’t really feel like I identified with it. However, I do have a really bad habit of changing my hair style frequently, so I also got really sick of it in the end (I’ve been blonde twice, pink, orange, blue etc.). I also really wanted to spice things up and go bright orange, which unfortunately ended up snapping a lot of my hair off. I took this as a sign to stop spending stupid amounts of money on my hair, and to go back natural. Ta-dah! Here we are…
What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
Stick n’ poking random things onto my body and then regretting it soon after.
When do you feel your best?
After a salty and sun-kissed swim.
How do you unwind?
By taking a long bubbly bath with a kawaii sheet face mask on, whilst listening to this: https://soundcloud.com/comfywun/dreamismski.
What are your favourite places in Sydney to eat, shop, and drink?
Shop: Kinokunya. Drink: Chatime. Eat: At my parents house.
What’s your favourite dish to eat when you go to your folks’ house?
My mom makes the best Malaysian chilli crab. I have it every year for my birthday. I’m obsessed.
What’s that one word you can’t stop saying at the moment?
Sorry. I say it too much, apparently.
What’s on your playlist at the moment?
What’s your favourite travel destination, and why?
Okinawa, Japan. It’s a beautiful place that feels stuck in a time warp; nowhere else that I’ve been compares to it. When you travel the island, you stumble upon a lot of Americana-themed places (i.e. parks, restaurants, shopping centres), which feels really out of place. The clouds also sit quite low, making everything look extra picturesque!
What’s your earliest beauty memory?
Having my grandparents douse my skin in fresh eel blood from the fish market, as they thought it would help cure my eczema. It definitely didn’t.
If you could resurrect one beauty trend, what would it be?
What’s your most treasured item of clothing or jewellery?
The thin gold ring that my mom was given when she was 18, and that she gave to me when I was 18. The ~cycle of life~.
What does ‘beauty’ mean to you?
Being comfortable with yourself; that feeling shines out of your eyes and into the world like clear laser beams.
Who is your biggest hero, and why?
Besides my mother (for many obvious reasons), it would have to be David Thorne — he’s an “online comedian” who never ceases to make me laugh. Wouldn’t really call him a hero, but he definitely knows how to cheer me up when I’m feeling a little low.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Alexis Aquino.