Interview Series “On Beauty” Georgie Abay
When Founding Editor of The Grace Tales, Georgie Abay, agreed to be a part of our “On Beauty” interview series I was chuffed. I’m a huge fan of Georgie’s writing and her passion for storytelling shines through in the numerous features that fill the website’s pages. Georgie regularly interviews women from around the globe, sharing their journeys through motherhood and recently published her first book, Grace Mothers.
Once deputy editor of Vogue, Georgie left to find balance in her life, raise her daughters and pursue a career outside of print media. Launching The Grace Tales seemed like a bit of risk at the time but Georgie’s hard work and passion ensured its success.
In this interview, we talk to Georgie about her career, her take on beauty and how hard it is to make time for yourself as a working mum.
Q. Could you tell us how you got into journalism?
I knew I always wanted to work in magazines, but I never thought it was going to be as a journalist. I dreamt of being a photographer or a stylist. I wasn’t the top of my English class at school – quite the opposite. We were taught to write in a very formal way. You’d never begin a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that writing for magazines was far more colloquial than the writing I had been taught at school. I also discovered I was quite good at it. It was like writing to a friend – the style is very chatty. I ended up doing media and communications at university and started writing on the side – I’d regularly pitch my stories to various magazines. My first ever published story was in Country Style magazine. I was working as an assistant at the publishing house that published Country Style and I still remember nervously walking into the editor’s office and pitching her a story. She said yes. And that was that. Many more stories in various publications followed. You’ll hear “no” time and again throughout your career, but it’s what makes hearing “yes” so powerful. One “yes” and off I went.
Q. You gave up your job as Deputy Editor of Vogue Australia to focus full time on The Grace Tales. Was this a hard decision to make at the time?
Not at all – I’m a big believer in not having to do the same thing your entire life. Wouldn’t that be utterly boring? I think so. I had a fantastic career in magazines and at VOGUE and am so grateful for the experiences I had. But motherhood pushed me in a different direction and I’m grateful for that. I left print at the right time and forged a new path in digital media.
Q. What do you love most about your job as Editor of The Grace Tales?
I love that for the most part, it doesn’t feel like work. I spend a lot of time working and have made a lot of sacrifices for this business, which I wouldn’t have made if I wasn’t so passionate about what I do. I love connecting with other women, sharing their stories, learning from them. Most of all, I love story-telling. I love that our platform inspires and connects women all over the world.
Q. You’re a business owner, wife, daughter, friend and mum of two gorgeous girls. When do you make time for yourself?
After the birth of my first daughter I didn’t exercise for two years. When I finally started again, I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier (probably because I was so sleep deprived!). I need exercise to function. Some weeks are easier that others – we’re wrapping up an intense eight-week book launch so my trips to the gym haven’t been as frequent as I’d like. Now our girls are a little older, it’s easier to get time to myself. Often, an entire Sunday morning will go by and they’ll happily play in their room together. That said, they’ll also happily fight with each other all morning!
Q. Working with the beauty industry in magazines and now online for some time now, and meeting many women along the way, I’m curious to hear your take on beauty. What does beauty mean to you?
The most beautiful people are kind, funny, generous and thoughtful. I love people who can make you laugh. You know the kind of laugh, which is so joyful, it’s infectious. A dear friend of mine, photographer Julie Adams, has the most fantastic laugh and I still remember being in a restaurant with her and a couple from another table commented on what a fantastic laugh she has. Laughter is beauty. Of course, there is physical beauty, but for me, nothing can beat wit and charm.
Q. What do you look for when choosing skincare products?
My mum has always taught me to look after my skin and I wish I listened to her advice earlier. I think the older you get, the more conscious you are of everything from skincare to what you eat. When you’re younger, you think you’re invincible. As I get older, I’m far more conscious of what I’m putting on my skin – the ingredients in my skincare.
Q. What are some of your favourite beauty products and why?
I don’t wear much make-up but I do have my brows feathered and also get eyelash extensions. If I’m putting on makeup, I love Chantecaille foundation – it makes my skin look fresh and dewy (no easy feat). Nars eyeliner (I have lash extensions so this finishes off my eyes quickly). For skincare, Clémence Organics, of course. The Clémence Organics Ultimate Biome Spritz is a great pick me up throughout the day. Clarins and Dermalogica are two skincare brands I’ve used since I was a teenager and still love.
Q. Top beauty tip?
This one is from my mum and it’s something she has drilled into me from when I was little. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. She even wears gloves when she drives to protect the back of her hands. It might sound extreme, but she’s aged beautifully. If it’s a sunny day and I give her a call, she’ll always ask me if I’m wearing a hat!