'I left school in Australia when I was 15 and started working right away. When I got to London, I was 19 and really desperate to get into fashion, but didn't know what that meant exactly. One of my first jobs was being a window dresser at Browns. It was around 1996 and during that era when beautiful high-fashion stores equaled slightly snobby service. I was very uncomfortable with that. I remember thinking 'I don't think this works anymore. Why can't we create a store that makes every single person who walks in there feel great at all times?' That was the basis and the inspiration for my first store, Yasmin Cho. That's when I finally got the sense I was beginning my career. Now I have my own consultancy business and a showroom. I also design Être Cécile—I never thought I'd ever have my own brand. It's such an honor! We wanted it to be cool and accessible but fun. It's been an unexpected evolution of my career, and it's been great.
For me, feeling beautiful is all about being natural—it's not about the colors of lipsticks, or foundations, or concealers, all those things. It goes beyond that. I'm super interested in all levels of well-being and holistic healing. I love fashion, but I'm more interested in finding out about a great remedy or a new greens powder that's going to make my skin glow. That's world's better than finding a new concealer stick.
My mom was always very interested in health and fads, like the aerobic workouts with the leotards. I think it was probably ingrained in me from a young age because of her. I'm a little hyper-mobile, so Pilates is best for me. I like anything that's about stability, strengthening, and focus but low impact. I've trained in reiki and learned some different healing techniques. There's one called integrative quantum medicine, which is a mixture of kinesiology and quantum physics. I also do Vedic meditation. Honestly, I’m not preachy—I need to be preached to! I wish I was meditating 20 minutes twice a day, but I have a son and I run three businesses! It's a miracle if I can meditate on a daily basis, if not once or twice a week. Garry Gorrow is my teacher—we actually just held a class together with the Hemsley sisters in East London called The Mind Body Reset.
When it comes to food, I'm all about full fat butter and great oils and meats. It works for me. I can do a juice cleanse if I'm on holiday and it's boiling hot, but generally it's so bad for my stomach. My body needs things to be a little more nourishing. Everything that the Hemsley girls do really works for me. I'm obsessed with them! Their shepherd's pie with cauliflower is so great. Eating well relaxes me, it makes me sleep better, keeps me grounded. All those things are what beauty is about.
Body brushing and flossing are super important to me. Also, I have to clean my tongue in the morning. When I wake up, I want to drink water, but I don't want to do that until I've cleaned the toxins from my tongue. Then I drink lots of water. Those three things and you're good.
I have regular facials with my favorite facialist, Vaishaly, in London. I actually had one today! She does amazing products, too—I use her cleansing balm. One of my favorite lines at the moment is In Fiore. My entire window sill is full of these beautiful red glass bottles! It's based around something called the 424 Cleansing Method. It's a 7-minute routine that feels like a mini facial. I try to do it once or twice a week. You massage and cleanse with the oil first, then you top it up with cream, then you put this amazing exfoliant on. Then it's about hot and cold towels, that really gets the pores open. It makes your skin totally glow.
They have this incredible brightening serum called Lucense—it smells like heaven. I put that on first and then a bit of her moisturizer, and then I spray their Vitale Toning Floral Essence. I walk about smelling like flowers and beaming!
Generally makeup doesn't work for me. If I have my makeup done by a great makeup artist, I love what they can do with my face but I can't really do that myself. If I try, it looks a little heavy and wrong when I'd rather keep it fresh. I don't even do an evening transition. I might stick a lipstick on or a bit of lip balm. I love MAC Russian Red. I like orange tones or cooler colors because my skin is slightly more yellow.
I grew up in this lovely little hair salon—my mom was a really great hairdresser and so was my dad when he was young. But for the past 17 years, Jimo Salako has been doing my hair. He's amazing. I get a haircut every six weeks and have them do a gloss to make it shiny. Every couple of months, I get a keratin treatment to take out the frizz. It also helps it not be too ringlet-y or cutesy. I'd rather look like I've been in bed for for 3 days—a messy, sexy look if I can pull that off! Day-to-day when I wash it, I put some Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-prep Smoother on it and that's really it.
I've been a very loyal customer to one brand for a very long time— Frédéric Malle. I helped launch him into Australia and into Liberty's in London. I've worn five or six of his fragrances over the last few years. At the moment, I've gone back to Lipstick Rose. But I wore Portrait of a Lady for the past two years and before that it was Carnal Flower. I wore En Passant for a while, which I loved but it didn't stay on long enough. His scents are just so much more powerful than anything else I've tried. I walk down the street and people walk up to me and ask what my fragrance is.
I thought I'd be cooler about aging than I am. Because I started working so early and had my store by the time I was 22, I was always the youngest. And then all of a sudden, I wasn't that girl. Now I'm the oldest person in my office, across all three of my companies. I know I'm not old, but it still makes me go 'Oh shit, I'm not that girl!' I'm still processing that a little bit. Actually no, I'm a 38-year-old mother, and I've got another baby coming. I'm a grown-up woman. I have to remind myself a little bit!”
—as told to ITG
Yasmin Sewell photographed in her home in London by Laura Allard-Fleischl. Interview by Alexandra Rhodes.