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We have a good old natter with the amazingly talented and super gorgeous Laura Toogood about her jet-setting modelling career, her PhD, and her secret crush on Craig Doyle!
Laura tell us what you are up to these days?
‘I am currently in the final year of my PhD at University College Dublin. My research focuses on Community Informatics and I am in the process of finalising my thesis for submission.
I work for Assets Model Agency in Dublin and Target International Model Management in London.
I also ride horses competitively.’
How did you become such a successful model?
‘My first experience of modelling was as a child for Marks and Spencer in England and since then I have always had an interest in the industry. I am very lucky to work with good agents, and this is crucial in the modelling business as you need experienced professionals to direct and protect you. I am 5’9, so I am just tall enough for the catwalk and I have learnt to walk with presence which is really important when working on fashion shows’.
What’s the best thing about your job?
‘The best thing about modelling is that you encounter a diverse range of people. You get to meet people from all over the world and it is really interesting learning about different cultures through the experiences of others. There is always a strong sense of team work, whether it is for a shoot or a show, and everyone supports each other in their different roles.
Modelling comprises one component of my lifestyle, as I have also continued with my studies and equestrian activities. Modelling is a refreshing break from academia and sport and allows me to explore my creative side.’
What is your everyday, staple beauty product you’d never leave home without putting on?
‘Chanel Bronzer- even if you don’t have any foundation or eye makeup applied, a little bit of bronzer can brighten up your face. ‘
What is your beauty regime like day-to-day?
‘When I am at home I will loll about without any makeup on and with my hair resembling a bird’s nest. However I am quite disciplined when leaving the house and I would rarely venture out without applying any makeup at all. Even when I am doing the horses I will put on my essentials. These consist of MAC Face and Body foundation, which is incredibly light and more like a tinted moisturiser; Chanel Bronzer; and any range of mascara.
I always remove my makeup in the evening and I would apply Nivea Anti Wrinkle Night Cream-it is never too early to start with the Anti Wrinkle Cream! I love the smell of coconut, so most of my body moisturiser is coconut scented.
Celebrity hair stylist, Ceira Lambert, looks after my locks and I currently have very subtle hair extensions-these are easy to care for and stay cleaner than my own hair. I rarely spend money on professional beauty treatments as I am more of a DIY girl. I would treat my face to a mask from the local pharmacy once a week.’
What is your going- out make up routine like?
‘I lead a very busy lifestyle and sometimes I would have to go out straight from work-this is always pretty handy as my hair and makeup will have been done for me. When I am getting ready to go out from home I use my essentials (as mentioned before) and normally only add some smoky eyes using my Chanel eyeliner and eye shadow. I am very lucky as through modelling I am given a lot of free beauty products and make up, so I use these to replace or add to my essentials.’
Who is your biggest style influence?
‘I adore Cameron Diaz. I think she is very charismatic and relatively relaxed in her day-to-day style. However, she always wows on the red carpet. She wears wonderful couture dresses and always makes the most of her strong features when applying makeup.’
Favourite high-street haunts?
‘I am a big fan of Penney’s. They are incredibly good value. When shopping on the high-street it is very easy to spend a moderate amount of money and end up wearing the same outfit as someone else. Penney’s is so cheap that if this happens it really doesn’t matter and also there is a very quick turn over in produce so clashing is minimised.’
Favourite designer destinations and designers?
‘If I am buying designer I would normally take advantage of shopping in America. Again it is considerably more cost effective. I love John Galliano and the work he has done for Dior. I am also a big fan of Matthew Williamson; his use of colour and elegant tailoring is inspiring.’
How do you decide on what to wear for your various social occasions?
‘It depends on what type of event I am attending as to what I choose to wear. I often dress smart/casual for launches, but for the racing or big events I like to wear more formal dresses. I enjoy wearing colour.’
Heels or flats?
‘Heels, but I always take a pair of flat shoes with me in my handbag. They come in very useful for walking.
Best bargain ever?
‘Levis jeans which I recently picked up for $20!’
Do you ever get nervous being photographed or being on TV or radio?
‘No, this is something you get used to with experience and age!’
Any secret celebrity crushes?
‘Forget the Hollywood boys; I am a huge fan of Craig Doyle!’
What event are you most looking forward to this year?
‘Due to my equestrian interests, I love going racing so the summer race meets are always a highlight on the social calendar.’
As a successful model how do you juggle family, friends, studies and your work etc?
‘I am used to leading a busy lifestyle and time management is really important. I believe that if you don’t have enough time in the day to do everything then you need to get up an hour earlier! It is important to use time constructively and Carpe Diem is one of my mottos.’
What are your goals for 2010?
‘To complete my PhD at University College Dublin whilst continuing to enjoy modelling, riding and the company of my friends and family.’
Any advice for budding models out there?
‘Don’t give up and you also need a good agent who believes in you. It’s also important to grow a thick skin and learn to be judged on your appearance and not take it personally. I would strongly recommend continuing with your education if you have the opportunity; it is relatively easy to fit modelling around your studies and this will pay off in the long run.’
Do you think Irish women dress well?
‘There are many stylish Irish women and I particularly admire the way Lisa Fitzpatrick, Amy Huberman and Anne Doyle dress.’
What is the one style tip you would give to women everywhere?
‘Dress to feel good about yourself – if you are happy with what you are wearing, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.’
What did you want to be when you grew up?