It’s almost impossible to not feed off Louise Roe’s infectious smile or ever-present positivity. Even via our email exchange for this interview, you get the sense that she’s a glass-half-full girl through and through...
It’s not surprising, then, to learn that she has over 700 thousand followers on Instagram and a loyal group of fans who have been with her through every step of her diverse and colourful media career. Whether it’s through her time hosting MTV’s Plain Jane (where she met now-husband Mackenzie), or her hosting duties at awards shows, or via content on her popular blog, Front Roe, Louise has kept her finger firmly on the pulse while maintaining relevance and cred in a somewhat fickle and fleeting industry.
A little over a year ago, Louise welcomed daughter Honor into the world and like most mums, found a new perspective on, well, everything. Although she was somewhat prepared for the sleepless nights, she couldn’t have anticipated the slippery slope that is navigating maternity leave, travel, breastfeeding and having a newborn baby all simultaneously. “My own maternity leave is rather blurry. I was determined to take a little time off, so I did bank a lot of articles for the blog, but simultaneously, you can’t post old content because it’s fairly obvious there’s a huge pregnant belly in there! I tried hard to switch off and had about six weeks in my bubble. At six weeks, I hosted the Oscars red carpet for NBC, which was nerve-wracking and empowering all at the same time. I had leak pads stuffed over my boobs, and I took my pump in my handbag! Luckily my producer was also a new Mum, and incredibly supportive!”
We loved catching up with Louise and talking all things career, motherhood and personal style. Not only is her preference for uniform dressing relatable, so too is her typical day juggling motherhood and work (where a home-cooked meal, glass of wine and early night feature most days of the week).
Keen to hear more? Read on for our gorgeous tale with British-born and LA-based style maven, Louise Roe…
Photography by Mackenzie Hunkin | Go to www.louiseroe.com
Tell us about your move to LA from London - when and why did that happen?
It was ten years ago now, time has flown! I was working in London at Vogue.com, writing news stories and hosting for the online channel of Vogue TV. I flew to LA a few times to cover the Oscars and quickly fell in love with the city. To cut a long story short, I ended up in a pitch meeting to host a makeover show, called Plain Jane, which ended up being my career for the next 5 years and a big success – we filmed episodes around the world with MTV, and the director, is now my husband, Mackenzie.
You have many career titles under your belt - stylist, TV host, writer, influencer... how would you describe what you do day-to-day?
It’s a real mix and I think that’s why I love it, each day is different to the last. I could have an early call time at the studio hosting a live segment, then shoot a brand project for my blog, followed by some baby time at home, then meetings – I have a lot of trips between New York and LA too, which is always fun.
Did you always know you’d end up combining your love of fashion and writing as a career?
I initially wanted to write and wasn’t so interested in the fashion side. My dad is a journalist and writer, who set up a publishing company in the 80’s, so I was really inspired by that to a) write and b) eventually have my own company. I can remember interning at Elle magazine in London after graduating uni. Seeing everyone’s unreal outfits in the office every day, and going to fashion week for the first time, suddenly ignited a huge love for fashion. And it was then I realized perhaps I could fuse that with writing.
You met your husband on the set of Plain Jane, a TV series you were working on together, and you now work together on various projects. How does this style of arrangement work - is it hard to separate work from home life?
I wouldn’t swap it for the world and feel exceedingly lucky that we can (mostly) control our schedules and be with Honor more than most parents working full-time, as we work from home. But yes, I’d say the downside is that work and home life overlap to the point where we might end up discussing projects and deadlines as we get into bed. That doesn’t bother Mackenzie at all as he’s so laid back, but it stresses me out and I have a ‘no blogger chat at bedtime’ rule!
You welcomed baby Honor a year ago, can you tell us how the first year of motherhood has been - it’s often described as one of the happiest yet hardest times...
Yes exactly! So many friends had been really frank with me before I gave birth, I was bracing myself for total exhaustion and all that comes with that. But I have to say, I found pregnancy tougher in many ways. I couldn’t sleep and felt sick for most of it, so when gorgeous little Honor arrived, it was like, ‘ahhhh and here’s the reward! That was so worth it!’ Honor has a big sense of humour – she really gets the joke – so even during tougher moments, she manages to make us laugh.
How did you find being pregnant?
Ha! As above! I think I realized I’m not one of those earthy mothers who loves being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, there were really beautiful moments, like the first time she kicked, but overall I was pretty over it! I did manage to exercise the whole way through though and have my weekly glass of red (lifesaver), and for that I was very grateful. In fact, I shouldn’t leave out the fact that I was very grateful to be pregnant in the first place. I have a lot of friends going through hell trying to become parents, so I did – and do – feel thankful.
You wrote an honest piece for your blog on maternity leave in 2018 and what it means now in an age where a lot of mothers are self-employed. How have you defined your own maternity leave?
I have never had a bigger reaction to a piece, even People magazine picked it up, which was awesome! I love that my peers, those with an engaged following, are all entering motherhood around the same time, and voicing issues that previously didn’t get the air time they deserved. We have a long way to go, but it’s brilliant to get the conversation going. My own maternity leave is rather blurry. I was determined to take a little time off, so I did bank a lot of articles for the blog, but simultaneously, you can’t post old content because it’s fairly obvious there’s a huge pregnant belly in there! I tried hard to switch off and had about six weeks in my bubble. At six weeks, I hosted the Oscars red carpet for NBC, which was nerve-wracking and empowering all at the same time. I had leak pads stuffed over my boobs, and I took my pump in my handbag! Luckily my producer was also a new Mum, and incredibly supportive!
What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood so far?
How it bonds strangers together when you’re out, and also how much she makes me laugh. Proper uncontrollable, belly laughing.
What has been the most stressful thing about motherhood so far?
Sleep deprivation, baby jetlag, and pumping in horrid places.
You’ve spoken publicly about breastfeeding and the less than ideal situations for pumping-on-the-go - what was your experience like working, travelling and having to deal with the realities of feeding, sterilising, storing milk, breast pads, etc.?
Terrible! Another issue I’ve discussed on social media… there are slowly ‘pods’ being put into airports which is good, but when I have been on work trips away from Honor, I was shocked at the lack of private areas anywhere. I would get so stressed out having to go to the loo on the plane for 15 minutes at a time, bringing my own liquid soap and brush, I got the weird looks from the flight staff!
What sort of mum are you - strict, relaxed, routine, go-with-the-flow?
I think I’m a mix of all three. I thought I’d be really strict but I’m a softie. She’s too adorable.
Has your style changed since becoming a mum?
I was already a big fan of the uniform of T-shirts, high waisted jeans and flat loafers or slides, and that’s what I still tend to wear every day.
On your days at home with Honor, what do you usually wear?
The above, or a big baggy sweater and denim shorts. Super casual.
What are some of your favourite brands and online stores to shop from for yourself and Honor?
Baby Mori, Rachel Riley, Amaia, Dona Carmen, Peppe, AKID Brand.
You have a strong online presence and obviously rely on Instagram for work. What’s your relationship with social media like?
Good question! Like most people, I love it and find it very inspiring at times, but I also see the darker side. I’m careful how much I put Honor on there, and never show her full face anymore. I just feel more and more protective as time goes by. But I will say, the community of followers I have, is unbelievable. These are women who have followed me since Plain Jane, many of whom are now Mums, and give me lots of advice – it goes both ways! I adore them, truly.
Describe a typical day in your household...
Mackenzie and I work full time together and we work from home, so it’s a mix of filming, shooting, editing and looking after Honor. Around 5pm, we down tools and play with Honor, bath her and then I’ll put her to bed while Mackenzie cooks. He’s an amazing cook! Most nights we stay in, have a glass of wine and relax… Followed by an early night!
What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?
It’s a lot harder now being a mummy, as there’s less time for anything in between Honor and work – but I do really believe that even short moments for myself are really important. I try to switch off the screen and read (even just a few pages!) of my book, or I’ll have a massage, or we go out for dinner with friends. Anything that makes me feel distracted, relaxed, or like laughing, is self-care in my opinion.
What is your attitude towards health and fitness like now?
Working out is one of my favorite ways to relax and stop stressing out. I love spinning, circuits, pilates and usually go 3 or 4 times a week in LA – but if I can’t make it to a class for a week or two then I don’t worry about it. Right now I’m home in England for the holidays and would rather chill with the fam and enjoy Honor, than feel guilty I’m not at the gym.
You travel a lot for work and play, how do you manage things like routine, feeding, sleep and jet lag with Honor?
We are in the middle of it right now – having just got to England with Honor! She has a nightmare with jetlag, so we try to just go with the flow and not worry about timings too much, especially for the first few days. Most of my work trips Honor stays behind with Mackenzie, and I negotiate keeping them as short as possible. We recently went to Cabo for a wedding and brought Mackenzie’s mum out to play nanny for the week, which was brilliant!
If you could give one piece advice to new or expecting mums, what would it be?
Don’t go on those mass online forums! I scared myself to death googling things in the night when I was pregnant, and once I saw a comment that you can give birth by pushing too hard when you need the loo, that was enough of that crap. Literally! Instead, ask your doctor, or a friend with three or four kids who knows EVERYTHING.
Louise’s Little List of Loves
- The High Low podcast
- Little Drummer Girl on BBC
- Sophie Lis earrings
- Sezane sweaters
- Mara & Mine slides
- Clockface Beauty serum
- Evolve beauty mask
- Marcel & Joachim children’s books
- Finlay & Co. sunglasses