“Some of my highlights are shooting at Christian Dior’s home, Château de La Colle Noire, staying at Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc in the South of France. Shooting a cover story with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Lily Aldridge at the Getty Mansion in Malibu and having a private macaroon making lesson in the kitchens of The Ritz in Paris” – that’s Sydney-based fashion stylist Rachel Wayman (a mother of two boys) talking about some of her career highlights as the fashion director of ELLE Australia magazine...
It was, undeniably, the dream job (and involved getting to style the latest collections from luxury brands such as Bally). But she’s now embarking on the next chapter of her life: another baby boy on the way and working as a freelance stylist across both editorial and advertising. Whether it’s her views on raising boys (“in the end, a kind heart, sympathetic nature and love for life is what people remember and are moved, inspired by”) or social media (“often I will do a big clean out of influencers or accounts that I don’t relate to anymore. A lot of mummy bloggers especially really do a disservice to new mums and women when they create this world of perfection”), she talks candidly about the struggle, the juggle and the pure joy of motherhood. We couldn’t wait to find out more (not to mention have a play with the divine new Bally collection).
Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Hair and makeup: Sarina Zoe | In association with Bally
Rachel wears Bally wool cardigan with stitch embroidery, $1,450; Bally cotton lace pleated skirt, $2350
Tell us about your childhood...
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney in a lovely little street with a lovely little family. We had a beautiful community of close friends and family and this is really important to us with our boys also.
How has your upbringing influenced how you parent?
I am constantly giving my boys love and encouragement in all aspects of their life. I want them to know they have our support no matter what. This was and still is shown to me by my family. As I child I always felt that life was good and that anything was possible so I really want them to feel that they can dream big.
We first interviewed you on The Grace Tales back in 2013. Talk us through where you were with motherhood then, and where you are now?
I love looking at those photos of Charlie and I. He was so little! At that time I was so mesmerised by him and couldn’t imagine being able to love anyone else as much but then, of course, we had Ziggy and your heart just grows. We have two kind, sweet boys who make us laugh every day and we are super excited to welcome a third in a few months.
Were you always a determined child? Did you always have your sense of ambition?
I always loved being creative and anything I was interested in, my mum would enrol me into a class or workshop, so on weekends and school holidays, I was always doing an art, photography or pottery class. This exposed me to a world I was determined to be part of. When studying, I started doing work experience and assisting stylists and this led me to my first job at Marie Claire. I worked hard but I loved every minute of it.
You recently left ELLE magazine, where you were the fashion director...
It was my dream job and it is a really special and rare thing to love going to work every day and love the team and what you are producing so much. I feel so blessed for all the experiences I had there – you are exposed to experiences that you would never have had otherwise.
Rachel wears Bally wool sweater with mountain jacquard, $680; Bally cotton lace pleated skirt, $2350
Media has changed significantly over the last decade – we’ve seen seemingly countless magazines close. What are your thoughts on the changing media landscape and how has this impacted your career?
Social media has had a huge effect on publishing. This generation doesn’t buy print like we used to and this has sadly led to some beautiful titles closing over the years. However, on the flip side, this has encouraged creatives who want and need an outlet for their work to launch some independent magazines which I love and am constantly inspired by. Titles like Holiday Magazine, The Gentlewoman, Unconditional and Love Want, to name a few. The impact on my career was that my role had to change so much that it sadly no longer worked for my lifestyle. I am now freelancing and trying to keep a good balance of inspiring editorial work, as well as advertising work and enjoy the extra time with my family.
What about fashion – how has the industry changed over the last decade? On the one hand, the barriers of entry are lower – anyone can launch a fashion line – but on the other – it’s more competitive. What is it that makes certain brands succeed?
Brands that have a true vision, know their customer and deliver each season with that customer in mind will always grow and succeed. Chanel, Saint Laurent, Bally, Isabel Marant and Zimmermann know why people come to them.
Rachel wears Bally wool sweater with mountain jacquard, $680; Bally cotton lace pleated skirt, $2350; Charlie wears Bally women’s leather jacket with fringing, $4300
How have you focused both on your career and also raising two young boys – what has kept the wheels in motion?
Family support. It’s true what they say: it takes a village to raise a family. My husband and parents have always stepped up if I was travelling for work or working late. Our families are all heavily involved in the boys’ lives and help us with school pickups, after-school activities. We are very lucky. Of course, I want to be at every soccer game, every school assembly and every reading group, but sometimes it is not possible, so to know that my husband or mum is there is really helpful.
Rachel wears Bally wool and cashmere blend jumpsuit, $2350
There’s an immense amount of pressure on mothers to return to their pre-baby state after birth. What are your thoughts on the post-natal period and how do approach this time?
With both boys, I stayed at home for the first six weeks. I love the newborn baby bubble and wanted to take the time to rest and bond. It is such a special time and it goes so quickly, so to just be present in that moment is really important. The pressure on new mothers is ridiculous.
Are there any time management tips you swear by – hacks that have made a big difference to being a working mother?
I love my sleep but I find if I get up and shower, dress, eat, write my to-do list all before the boys wake my day just starts calmer. It is a horrible feeling to constantly be rushing from the moment you wake up. I also try to pack lunches and lay out the boys outfits the night before. It is just those little things that can make the difference to your busy day.
How has the transition to freelance life been – what are you enjoying about it and what are some of the challenges?
I have always worked with a very supportive team so to be on my own is a different experience, I have realised that I am not good at scheduling myself. I take on too much and then become completely overwhelmed, so this is something I am working on. I am enjoying the downtime though and trying to remind myself to enjoy the quiet weeks.
You’re expecting your third boy – has this pregnancy been different to your previous two?
I am in the good stage of the pregnancy now but those first three months were rough! I think when you have two other busy boys to keep up with the exhaustion of pregnancy is intense so I am always trying to get in an afternoon nap when I can!
What are some maternity beauty essentials you swear by?
The Organic Pharmacy’s Stretch Mark Oil is a must for me.
What is your approach to raising boys and what has been the rest advice you’ve read or received about raising boys?
I can over analysis things sometimes and have worried if I am doing a good job. I have read lots of books, listened to lots of podcasts and been to seminars, but for me, it comes down to just wanting to raise my boys to be good humans. For them to feel they can be exactly who they are meant to be, that it is okay to show emotion, that it is okay to be a bit wild and spirited, that it is okay to not be the smartest or the fastest, that is okay in fact exciting to be different.
What has been the most challenging stage of motherhood for you – and how have you overcome any challenges?
Now that my boys are at an age where they have their own very distinct personalities, a voice and very strong opinions I find it hard when they argue, disagree and bicker. I am an only child so was never exposed to this so I am finding it quite challenging to just let them be. I know it is normal healthy behaviour but I find it quite stressful at times.
Social media has its pros and cons – how much time do you spend on social media. Has it ever made you feel down?
I do enjoy keeping up with the industry on Instagram and other social channels but often I will do a big clean out of influencers or accounts that I don’t relate to any more. A lot of mummy bloggers especially really do a disservice to new mums and women when they create this world of perfection. Parenting and life just isn’t like that, but sometimes it can trick you when you are at a weak point and you start to doubt yourself and wonder why you can’t keep up.
Three places in Sydney you love going with your family?
North Bondi is our happy place. We love to hang with friends, explore the rocks and boogie board all day.
Macmasters Beach was a dream this summer.
Sydney Harbour. We are lucky enough to have a boat so weekends spent on the harbour with friends and family are our happiest.