At LAMAV we’re all for empowering and celebrating women. Our new blog series focuses on Inspiring Women who are all doing their part to help others and make positive change. Grab a cuppa and take some time for you to sit down and read along while they share their experiences and advice to enjoy a happy, healthy and successful life. We know you’ll enjoy reading their journeys and insights as much as we do.
Ruchi Page is an Indian Australian creator, makeup and skincare enthusiast, writer, model and advocate for inclusive practice within the beauty and fashion industry. Ruchi binds activism, makeup and fashion to explore social injustices, body image, confidence and her experiences of being adopted on social media. Highly sought-after for her digital creative abilities, she is also desired in the writing space, where penned words have landed on Mamamia, The Iconic Beauty & Centennial World. Ruchi is the columnist and creator behind the powerful, inclusive series; Faces Of Australia, sponsored by MAC Cosmetics. The series landed on the Pinterest Global Ads Summit and became the first paid partnership on Pinterest, globally. With a passion for speaking her mind on the power of visibility, Ruchi was one of the shortest models to walk/debut in Melbourne Fashion Week 2022; which only solidified her message of redefining the beauty standard in Australia.
We recently caught up with Ruchi to learn about her journey into the beauty and fashion world, including her thoughts on industry standards, inclusivity and how she encourages others to find the confidence to be their most authentic self.
RUCHI PAGE INTERVIEW
How did your journey in the beauty industry begin? Is it something you’ve always had an interest in?
Ironically, beauty as a career was something I denied. (Ask my friends). You would always hear me rave about makeup, skincare doing creative photoshoots with my best friend. But I forced myself down a traditional career path of studying teaching to suit expectations, and shut down the thought of pursuing anything creative, specifically beauty. It was shamed as a career with “no financial legs,” or not “serious enough.” But when you’re obsessed with something, it usually finds a way to seep into your life.
Fast forward a couple years and I surrendered to the idea of beauty as a potential career choice. Cue: my blog in 2015, entitled Lustrous Allure Beauty. My possibly 5 readers (including mum), could soak up product reviews, fashion finds, body positivity and words encouraging people to break out of their self-doubt. Beauty content on Instagram became a thing, I attended my first beauty event and understood that this needed to be my career. I quit teaching, felt lost, uncertain (all of the emotions), transferred casual jobs and moved from my small town to the big city of Melbourne all to face a pandemic. This is where everything began. During lockdowns, I experimented with bold makeup looks, campaign inspired imagery and creative video content but I wanted to speak my messaging through these pieces. I shared my story on oppression, racism and colourism and paired it with visuals and in a comforting way, there was an audience and industry who wanted to listen.
What does a day in the life of you look like? Are there any particular areas of your work that you enjoy the most?
Every day is different, but there are similarities. Morning routine always involves an almond latte with a tiny drop of honey (must try), followed by attending to any DMs or emails. If I am shooting for my brand partners, then that involves prepping myself, equipment and spending the remainder of the day editing and writing captions. A writing day relies on no distractions, coffee in hand and snacks. A creative day can be spontaneous or structured (depending on the idea). Project planning days can require meetings, location scouting, or staying at home researching/scheming on how to bring my concepts to life. Each day involves emails, an occasional event and speaking about messages that are meaningful to me.
The part I love most?
- Connecting with my community through lived experiences. I owe a lot of my growth to learning about other people’s experiences and how they’ve overcome racism or targeted behaviour.
- Bringing my creative concepts to life, they’re usually thought of in the shower or on a long drive, so seeing it go from idea to a visual is satisfying.
- The privilege of opportunity. Having someone reach out their hand with trust in their eyes is something I don’t take for granted. Whether it’s an email, a new friendship, a DM, or just general kindness, it is all appreciated. I’ve had my share of terrible workplaces and understand opportunities appear in various identities. It’s not solely about being told, "yes you’ve got the job!”
Your confidence is infectious! Where do you draw your confidence from? Have you always been so confident?
That’s music to my ears, because that’s how I draw my confidence. Confidence is infectious and when I see a woman or person radiating in confidence, it invites me to search a little more for my own.
I actually grew up annoyingly shy, (I say annoyingly, because I couldn’t even ask for a drink of water if I were at a friend's house without feeling terrified). But there was always a part of me who loved to perform on stage, or explore my most ‘extra’ self. From that, I knew that being trapped into a stereotype, a box or category would deny a huge part of my identity. You can be unbelievably shy, but still dance in front of strangers, you can live in activewear on a Monday but also be drenched in the most extravagant outfit on a Tuesday. I think confidence is drawn from freeing yourself, limitlessly permitting all of ‘you’ to be exactly who you wish to be.
Have you ever lost your confidence? What advice can you give to others who may be lacking confidence?
I lose my confidence all the time. In social situations, shoots, at home, anywhere and everywhere. Particularly, with my body image. I know my body is powerful, both aesthetically and functionally, but there are plenty of times where I let the negative discourse win.
I’ve learned that confidence isn’t always the most dependable tool, but it’s accessible. When you learn how to navigate the world with confidence in your back pocket, that’s when you can start actioning dreams, outfits, makeup styles, dating or anything that requires your most bold self. I say that it’s not the most dependable because confidence can be lost. It’s part of life, but it’s how we pick it back up again so we can move forward.
Advice? Acting on what entices you, is only going to elicit pride. So if you see a dress or power suit that speaks to you, or a bold lipstick that is exactly the shade you’ve always wanted to wear, rip off the band-aid and wear it. Part of confidence is acting on your impulse or acting on that deep rooted feeling. I also encourage you to remember that opinions are ever changing and ever growing. You will never 100% please anyone, so you may as well just do what you love. I am also quite specific with who I seek advice from.
Have people in your circle who can be honest but allow yourself to make the final call, don’t be afraid to seek help but I suggest avoid seeking advice from a perfectionist, because both of you will never feel satisfied. Lastly, don’t be afraid to follow your own advice and learn from your own emotional reaction. That’s usually what I do.
How do you stay balanced and healthy? Are there any daily self care rituals that you practice to clear your mind and support overall health and wellbeing?
I communicate my fears, failures and concerns in addition to celebrating the good in my life. I feel that when I am honest with myself and share that honesty with my closest people, that’s when I feel my healthiest because I have addressed the parts of life that invite stress and also thoroughly feel the wins when they come. I have found it disappointing when I haven’t been present or suppressed parts of me, and I’ve found it’s all linked to overall health and wellbeing.
Other ways I stay balanced and healthy is allowing kindness to be the immediate cushion after falling into sadness or anger. Being kind to myself is crucial for mental and physical health and it’s represented in a variety of ways.
I’ve learned that ‘health’ doesn’t need to be measured in abs and thinness. I prefer to feed my body with nutrients, love and praise.
Similarly, I’m not interested in talking about my body’s appearance anymore, particularly in social outings. If I do acknowledge my body, I am intentional with my words; think, high praise, celebratory language.
Skincare is a major part of my daily ritual. It’s our largest organ, so I make sure to keep it happy with a solid routine. I am actually a super fan of LAMAV facial oils. Plus not sorry, Maccas is also part of my balance/self care rituals.
What advice would you give to young women who want to express their authentic self but fear what others might think?
Similar to a couple qs above. I have learned that people either don’t care at all or they care too much. Walking your own path satisfies those ‘living an authentic life’ cravings.
You begin when you begin.
Words are powerful, but so are the actions that take you to where you need to be. So when you can hear yourself saying “I could never do that,” but there’s a buzz inside you who wants to try, take the plunge. Whether it’s wearing a sequin gown, running errands in a vampy lip or giving yourself permission to try something new, it’s all on your terms and your life belongs to YOU. Women and femme presenting people are held to a standard that often puts us into a box. Rebelling against those pressures, will be the best thing you ever do.
Fashion and beauty standards are something you’ve voiced your opinion on. Do you think standards are becoming more inclusive and realistic? How do you think these industries could further improve?
The beauty world? Yes. The fashion world? No.
Inclusive practices rely on intention to consider people from all communities. It’s about actioning respect from diverse conversations, considering culture, size, abilities, skin tone, hair type, sexuality and gender identities.
The beauty world, whilst it’s not perfect, has shown substantial growth. We see it in makeup products, and how they cater for more than just a medium tan skin tone. Or skincare brands celebrating the beauty in ageing whilst marketing towards healthy skin rather than the usual push to stay youthful. We’re also witnessing brands exploring skin concerns that occur on deeper skin tones, such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. There are cracks that show, but the beauty community are recognising them and many are not afraid to call it out.
With fashion, there’s work to be done. My shopping experience as a size 16 is limited, which has hurt my mental health and entertained my insecurities. The amount of times I’ve left the mall, feeling I am the one that needs to change is concerning. The other month, I wanted to buy a pair of black knee high boots and after rummaging through every shoe store, I left empty handed. Nothing fit over my calves. I’m frustrated at the inconsideration for sizes beyond 16 and how the shopping experience is reserved for smaller bodies. Equal accessibility for clothes should be the norm.
Something I’ve been reminded of recently, is making sure we aren’t minimising experiences of people from marginalised communities with comments suggesting their experiences didn’t happen or were ill intentioned. Instead, listening to concerns or experiences is more impactful when creating safe spaces. Between beauty and fashion, I think it’s important for both to be unrestricted with their advertising and actual products. Assuming that there’s not a market for bigger bodies or deeper skin tones, is a major loss not just for the affected communities, but for the brands themselves.
Walking in Fashion Week must have been a proud moment for you. How did that moment feel? Are there any other significant moments that you’ve been proud of in your work or personal life that you can share with us?
Walking in Melbourne Fashion Week was an outer body experience. Runways and the concept of being a model was still very foreign to me and I remember needing to really hype myself up when I accepted their offer. I didn’t think I fit the typical model checklist. I’m a short little thing, curvy and brown, you just don’t see all three of those characteristics strutting down one of the largest runways in Australia.
It felt surreal. I had to tap into my delulu brain so I could strut with confidence, but I also tapped into the part of me who knew I was deserving to share space on the runway. I am so proud of the series I created, Faces of Australia which landed in the Pinterest Global Ads Summit sponsored by MAC Cosmetics, it was a tribute to everything I believe in and to see both Instagram and Pinterest take interest in it, was incredible. In my personal life, I discovered my biological mothers name late last year and it was one of the most life shifting moments, (I’m adopted btw). Still a lot of uncovering to do, but this was a major step.
What’s your secret to glowing skin? Are there any skincare items you can’t live without?
My skin is prone to dark spots and congestion, so vitamin c and chemical exfoliation is part of my routine, these will add luminosity to the skin. I also love a facial oil and ultra hydrating serum for that plump, immediate glow.
Who do you look up to and why?
Aside from my Beyonce and Rihanna for obvious reasons, I look up to my closest friends, immediate family and fiancé. They are the source to my growth and are warriors themselves. I always consider myself wealthy, thanks to their love and support.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
The Maldives, a quick google of its incredible-ness will tell you my why. Crystal blue waters and white sand might just be my love language.
Are there any exciting projects coming up for you that you can share with us?
I’m currently working on a project that might take a little longer than planned to bring to life (if it comes to life), otherwise there’s some exciting opportunities that have been shot this year that will go live early 2024. It’s all very annoyingly mysterious, thanks to me promising to keep things on the down low. But I will be sure to share all once I get the thumbs up!