Jennie Matuszek always seems to know which shops have the best-tasting coffee, which perches have the most scenic views and which pathways have the most captivating sights and sounds. Her approach to beauty is equally attentive: she pairs all-natural products with upscale finds to create a routine that's both relaxed and luxurious. We're catching up with Jennie as she readjusts to her life in New Zealand after spending a decade in London.
What's your daily makeup routine?
Living on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, about a half hour from Aukland, I've learned that minimalism is key. Partly because everything I have here was carried across on the ferry, and partly because there's just about always something else I want to be doing rather than spending time in front of the mirror.
I've been using a Trilogy cleanser and a moisturizer by the French brand Eau Thermale Avene. Just about all my makeup is bareMinerals: I use the Pure Brightening Serum Foundation, the Mineral Veil finishing powder and the Flawless Definition Mascara. An age ago, I was working as a television reporter and a makeup artist came and gave us all a bareMinerals demonstration. She told us you could go to bed with a full face of makeup and your skin would still be healthy — that resonated with my twenty-something self.
How has your skin care regimen evolved through the years?
Now, more than ever, I'm replacing products in my makeup bag with ones that are natural, organic and cruelty-free.
It's easy to do when there are great brands like Antipodes — I love their Divine Face Oil and use a few drops with warm water on a cotton pad for cleansing. It's really a moisturizer, but it works well and smells edible. Natural cosmetics feel a lot more nurturing. Seeing the ocean outside my window every morning makes me more conscious of my responsibility to look after the environment wherever possible.
That said, I have very fond memories of being taken to department stores with my glamorous aunt and having makeup applied. Our focus was on jewel-like colors and heady scents, rather than the ingredients. But now that you can have all of that glamour in a product that's also good for you, it just makes sense to do it this way.
What is the most important lesson you've learned about taking care of your skin?
Wear suncream. Right now I'm nursing a strip of sunburn, so I can't claim the lesson's been learned. I do love sunny days, but they're best enjoyed while looking out from beneath the shade of a leafy tree. I'm the one on the beach wrapped up in sarongs with a wide-brimmed hat.
You lived in London for 10 years before recently moving home to New Zealand. What did you love most about the British take on beauty?
I love the way that British fashion reflects trends in music and social realities. Adele's flick (a.k.a cat eye) is everywhere (her makeup artist, Michael, is a Kiwi!). I was traveling outside the UK for work when the Brexit vote was announced, and I'm told London was awash with black and grey fashion.
Oh, London! I'm yearning for it now. The city leaves your lungs blackened and your frown lines emboldened, but it gets under your skin in good ways, too. Meandering across the Covent Garden cobblestones on a weeknight evening to see a show in the West End means that you're surrounded by hundreds of different cultures, languages and fashion influences. It feels so embracing. Yes, that's beauty.
What aspect of London made you feel most at home?
Where my home was in East London, there's a street market, and it's the longest in Europe. You can buy anything there, and the real Eastenders are all yelling out, advertising their products. There's a Polish supermarket, a Lithuanian store, Turkish people, Greek people, Cypriots. I feel very at home there. There's a real awareness that all corners of the world have been brought together.
The "home sweet home" feeling comes when I taste Allpress coffee, too. The guy who runs the company invests in social development, including where their beans are grown and in the communities where the coffee is sold. They take coffee seriously, so it tastes incredible. Nowadays in London, you're never far from a New Zealand coffee roastery.
British style and beauty — Twiggy, Kate Moss and Kate Middleton, for instance — are so well known. But New Zealand beauty and style aren't. How would you describe them?
In New Zealand, beauty is strength, it's integrity. This is the first country in the world where women won the right to vote. We're the nation of Lorde, the aviator Jean Batten and the designer Karen Walker. There's a confidence in femininity here. Women ran the country when men went off to war, and women have often run the country since.
Our culture derives a sense of beauty from valuing the past and being guardians for future generations. This comes through in who we look up to as heroines — you have to be doing something in a new way, breaking boundaries and making the world better.
If it sounds like I'm in love with this country, I am. I've been working for New Zealand government ministries in London and here in Auckland. I couldn't be doing this job if I didn't genuinely believe in the direction New Zealand's headed.
What Kiwi beauty products are you excited to use again? What British products do you miss?
A colleague's just bought a lippy called Scarlet Blaze by New Zealand lipstick designer Karen Murrell — cinnamon and avocado are listed in the ingredients, so that's a local product I'm excited to try. I really like the idea that this one person's company started up because she wanted a natural lipstick, and the product turned out to be just as good as the ones sold by big-budget cosmetic companies.
You've worked as a producer for the BBC and Al Jazeera, which is obviously very detail-oriented work. How does that same meticulousness carry into your self care?
When you're working with someone else's story, you have a responsibility to get it right, and to represent them with objectivity and care. Even if it's just the kicker for the end of the bulletin, accuracy's essential. Your audience deserves to be able to trust you. When it comes to me, I'm getting better at standing back and asking whether I'm prioritizing what's important. Scheduling time to assess life goals and treating my career as a project still feels quite self-indulgent. Though, it's good to be in a space that brings out the best you have to give.
What is a life lesson you've taken away from covering world events?
The world's a better place to be if all our voices are part of the conversation. While working with foreign language services at the BBC, whole worlds would open up when someone gave her first-hand view on a conflict or disaster you thought you knew simply from reading about it or seeing the pictures. I always had a "big picture" that I needed to deliver to audiences, but there were so many diverse opinions and views — it's not for me to decide whose is the most valid. Everyone has a story behind where they are and where they're headed, and for a lot of people, they're not easy stories to tell at all.
The world's a better place to be if all our voices are part of the conversation.
When do you feel the most pampered?
There are plenty of moments when I feel pampered while commuting to work on a ferry ride across Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. Being buffeted by salty air while looking out for dolphins on the top deck is a special kind of pampering. The feeling is all the more enhanced when I have a Chanel Le Vernis Rouge Essentiel manicured hand clutching a flat white or balancing a glass of Marlborough wine.
You run daily and have completed marathons. Why is running such an important part of your life?
Yes, there's always a pair of running shoes in my travel bag. Have you read Haruki Murakami's book "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running?" That's why I run. It's just the process of putting one foot in front of the other that's really good thinking time for me. At university in London, I would schedule a run every day as a break from dissertation writing. And while traveling, having a big run the next day is the best excuse for carbo loading. The Paris Marathon will always be a highlight — I had the most delicious baguettes!
Where do you want to travel to next?
The Catlins. It's on the South Eastern coast of New Zealand's South Island. I only learned about the area relatively recently. It looks like a great big national park, so I have a tent and a stack of books ready. I'll stop in at Wellington on the way down the country, too. It's a stylish city and there's always a lot of live music and new designers to check out.
Be sure to follow Jennie on Instagram, and check back next week for the latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights a real woman's beauty routine. Last week, Kendall Bitonte, an ex-pat living in China, revealed the skin care secret weapon she swears by, the mascara she stocks up on when she's stateside and the surprising thing you won't find in Chinese beauty stores.