Heading to the launch of the Fudge Professional Clean Blonde Violet Tri-Blo, I was not expecting to get given the opportunity to have some time with super-influencer Steph Claire Smith – but when I saw an opening window, I was quick to make a move (what can I say, this girl’s phenom).
The new face of the brand’s violet toning blow-dry spray, Steph was in Sydney to help promote the product to media… But you know, I couldn’t help myself but use the opportunity to tackle ALL the questions I was wanting answers on. What’s her life like? How does boyfriend Josh feel about being an Insta BF? How did she grow her following? And what can we expect next?!
So here’s the answers to all of this, plus more… And just wait for her baby-making bombshell at the end… ??
It looks from social media like you’re living a pretty incredible life! Is this a pretty true reflection?
I’m very very lucky to live the life that I do, I’m very grateful and it has been an absolute dream. But obviously with social media, the same as with everybody, you don’t always show the tough times. I’m a real person so I’ve still got tough and negative parts of the industry or the job, but through social media, you do see the better parts of it.
It is amazing, I would never put it down – but much like any job, it does have its downsides. Lately I’ve had to be away a lot, which is a positive and a negative. Positive, obviously I’ve got to see some incredible parts of the world and experience awesome things, and a negative, I’m just such a homebody so whenever I’m away from home I get a bit homesick and I miss my boyfriend and my dog so much. They obviously don’t always have the privilege of coming with me, so yeah – it’s times like that when things can get touch.
A lot of times when you’re travelling for work, you’re in hotels by yourself. There’s a lot of down time when you’re on your own or flying on your own or stuck at airports by yourself, so it isn’t as glamorous always – but still I’m very lucky and very happy to be doing what I’m doing!
You share a lot of your life with your followers. Do you ever sometimes feel you need a digital detox from it all?
Of course! For me, because I had my Instagram from the very beginning, I never thought it was going to get to the point or the following that it has. I’ve always treated it like anyone else that has Instagram, just kept it really personal. I suppose once the following started to grow, I would get messages daily of younger girls telling me how much they appreciated how much I was sharing. Obviously I have to take that to a certain point, I’m not going to share everything – I do like to have some privacy, but it just became the norm to share all these things. I do know how much they [followers] appreciate it, so it doesn’t feel like an effort anymore.
A lot of people are like: “it’s so hard to post so often, how do you do it?”, but because I have been doing it for so long, I barely even think about it anymore – it’s just part of what I do. The days where I feel like I’m struggling or I’m thinking too much about what I need to post or it’s getting too stressful, that’s when I have a break, because that’s when it’s too much work for me and it’s not just me having fun with it. But that rarely happens because most of the stuff I post I’m passionate about and genuinely believe in anyway, so it’s relaxed. Keep relaxed!
How does Josh feel about being a bit of a Insta boyfriend?!
He’s super supportive – even when I was just modeling, he’s just super supportive of everything. Obviously he loves all the benefits that come with it, travelling together etc, but he does see the negatives of it too. When I go away, he hates it when he doesn’t get to come away with me. But he’s actually recently left his job, so he is going to be helping me out a lot. He’s really fallen in love with things like videography and content creation and that sort of stuff, but also his brother’s got a label so he wants to help him out with that… things like that.
He didn’t get to be as creative as he could be in his last job, so I think watching me love what I do and be so passionate about growing and learning new things, he got a bit envious of that and realised he didn’t have to stick with a job he’s not happy with. He’s 26, so we’re in a position now where he had an opportunity to be able to give something a go and that’s what he’s doing at the moment. I’m super excited about it because it will mean he will be able to come away with me a bit more and will be more flexible with that kind of stuff, so yeah it’s good.
Is he the one taking the photos on your Instagram feed, or is it mostly photographers through branded work?
More so Josh, and definitely more so now that he’s picking up that sort of stuff. It depends on the job. If I’m on set, I’ll obviously get someone – the stylist or the makeup artist if I’m working a job – but other than that, I try to take a lot. I put up so many selfies – so they’re obviously taken by me! And a lot of the food stuff is me as well. I don’t like to make it too much work or too much effort with what I post.
You’ve recently signed on as the ambassador for Fudge Professional Clean Blonde Violet Tri-Blo. Can you tell me a bit about this?
Any ambassador role that I take on I’m 100% excited about because I only take on things that fit with me and fit with my look and feel and personality. Definitely a violet blonding shampoo, conditioner and spray is 100% me! I stopped dying my hair about a year ago and it’s about the only thing that keeps it looking nice without going too brassy from old hair dye.
So your current colour is all natural?
You can see the old highlights, but I don’t dye it anymore.
What’s behind the decision to not to dye your hair?
I suppose like most blondes who would have gone through the same thing, it got to a point where I couldn’t grow my hair any longer or thicker; it was feeling dry and brittle all the time. I started to get less and less highlights, and then I kind of didn’t mind that look of a bit of regrowth. I started to really like my natural colour, so I just made a decision with my hairdresser to dye my hair in a way that if I let it grow out – it was going to not be such a prominent line of regrowth. And then I just haven’t gone back! I’ve seen my hairdresser obviously for cuts and treatments, but we just haven’t touched it since and I’ve been able to get away with it with using products like the Fudge ones.
I know we need to wrap things up as the event’s about to start, but just two last things… I’m sure you get asked this pretty much every interview, but tips for growing an Instagram account?
Of course, such a golden question! It’s hard because I was really lucky. I got in early, so my Instagram’s been growing for four years. I was just doing Instagram like anyone else when I first started. Four years ago I was following girls with 10,000 followers and thinking “who is this person?! That’s amazing, how do they do that?!” I obviously never thought I would get to this point.
I suppose what worked for me was a lot of fitness pages clued onto me and were re-posting my images. They were all just really real photos, there was nothing too posed. I was relatable I suppose, and that’s how I grew. I don’t just post about one thing either. People wanted to know a bit of everything about me, so I would just continue to post a bit of everything – my followers are quite broad.
One thing I have noticed though, even with posting now – and I tell clients this if they’re asking me to post something for them – if the photo is more relatable, as in I’ve taken it myself or it doesn’t look too posed or anything, it gets more attention, more reach than the really posed stuff. Unless you’re going to be a lifestyle or a fashion blogger, obviously their stuff has to be aesthetically pleasing and beautiful, if you’re someone like me – just a personality or a model or just a normal person, just really be yourself and don’t try and be anyone else. Don’t try copy someone because there’s already that person there. Why would someone follow you if they’re already following that person?! Find something unique and just be relatable, that’s my biggest tip.
And lastly, where will you be five years from now?
Five years from now… whenever I talk about this, it normally surprises people – but I would love to have a baby or be pregnant in five years’ time. I’ve always pictured myself a young mum. I’m only 23, but I’ve always said by the time I’m 27 – I want a baby or I want to be trying to have a baby. I just love kids and it’s something I’ve just always wanted to happen.
Obviously with modeling, especially with the last five years, it definitely wasn’t on my mind because it’s the last thing my agency would have wanted me to do! But yeah, I’m hoping to do that – and hopefully by then Josh has asked that magical question and we’re living happily ever after!
But business wise… I don’t know, I just can’t wait to see what’s coming. Things pop up all the time out of nowhere. At the start of this year I had no plans to go overseas, and since then I’ve been nearly everywhere in the world this year! So it’s things like that. I don’t know what’s coming and that’s the cool thing about this job – it’s very spontaneous so I don’t know what’s going to happen in five years… we’ll see.
What does Josh think about the baby-making idea?
Oh, he loves it! We talk about that stuff all the time, so he knows. It’s not like I’m not one of those crazy girlfriends that’s like “now”, but he knows… it’s in the back of his ear.