“We show you what never goes out of fashion”
Since 2014
Wardrobe Icons

Miranda Kerr

Interview by

Miranda Kerr is a force to be reckoned with. Fresh from a trip to her native Australia – and despite feeling the full effects of jet lag – she is positively glowing as she chats to us from her home in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband Evan Spiegel, the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc, and three sons.

On the cusp of her 40th birthday when we speak, she tells us the story behind her trailblazing clean beauty brand KORA Organics, details how almost three decades in the fashion industry have shaped her business acumen and shares the tricks, tips and tools she uses to navigate life as a busy CEO, model and mother.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

KORA Organics will turn 15 next year, which is probably quite hard for you to believe…

Wow. That is wild. I didn’t even think of it because when you start a company and you grow it, it’s like looking back at your child and going ‘Oh my goodness!’. Like my 12-year-old [son, Flynn]; how are you 12 already? He still feels like my little baby, and KORA still feels like my little baby. We’re still a little fish in a big sea, so to speak, but that’s because the company’s mine; it’s a self-funded company. Everyone that works in KORA is like my family and we’re a really close-knit team. We’re up against the big sharks, but we’re swimming along.

Can you tell us what inspired you to launch the brand all those years ago?

Using certified organic products became really important to me and my family when my mom was diagnosed with cancer in her spleen. At that time, we had to do a lot of research into everything that we were using in our home, from packaged goods to cleaning products, to haircare and then skincare. What we learned is that there were so many products out there that were potentially carcinogenic and that were potentially contributing to my mom’s illness; we had no idea that they were detrimental to our health – we assumed that because they were sold, they were safe. We thought that we were a very health-conscious family because I grew up in Gunnedah, a small country town in Australia. My grandparents had a farm, we had an organic vegetable patch and we would eat the fresh produce. And then my grandma introduced me to noni juice when I was 13, which is a superfood that’s in every single one of our KORA products, along with other highly beneficial ingredients and active ingredients.

But it was in 2006 when the idea for the brand came. I was talking to a friend of mine and saying that we’d cleaned up a lot of the products we were using at home but I wasn’t able to find something on the market that was certified organic for your skin that was results driven. And she said: ‘Well, why don’t you speak to a friend of mine? She makes certified organic essential oils. Maybe she knows someone or something.’ And I spoke to her, then she put me in touch with her chemist and that’s where the whole conversation started. I love creating products that people have never experienced before, like our Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Scrub. I love creating some of the firsts in the world, like the Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum, which contains Kakadu plum. That was the first ever certified organic vitamin C serum in the world. And our new product, Plant Stem Cell Retinol Alternative, is the first ever certified organic retinol alternative in the world. It feels really good to be able to help people in a healthy way to get incredible results for their skin. We do clinical testing and consumer studies on the majority of our products and when you see the before-and-after results, it's mind-blowing what these products do for your skin. They're not just healthy, they're really powerful.

“I love creating products that people have never experienced before. It feels really good to be able to help people in a healthy way to get incredible results for their skin.”

The brand has been a real trailblazer in the clean beauty movement. Was it daunting to launch a brand with that sort of focus all those years ago?

Honestly, because I grew up this way and I learned at a young age the power of all of this, there was no real fear around launching it because I just felt people need this. I need this and I want to give people this option of products that are just as powerful, if not more powerful than the traditional products out there. I’ve been in the industry since I was 13 and I’ve had every single product from every make-up artist tried and tested on my skin… I’m turning 40 next week and I must say, my skin’s never felt better – and it’s all about sticking to the routine. It’s been so fun that I’ve been able to be the guinea pig and test all the products on myself. It’s amazing to know that we are still the only certified-organic complete range that is [sold] worldwide.

You were also one of the first models to launch a beauty brand - a lot of models have done similar things in the last few years. How have you used your experience as a hugely successful model in business? How has it influenced the way that you operate?

I work directly with the chemists to innovate the actual products. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. It’s been really challenging, especially starting from scratch, never owning my own business [before], trying to figure out all the steps along the way of how to build a great team. I feel like I definitely learned a lot being in the industry for so long, from what works in skincare, so I can give a lot of great feedback to our chemists – I feel so blessed that we have some of the best chemists in the world working on our formulations. I’m able to give them valuable advice because I know what sits well underneath make-up so there’s no pilling. I do not launch a product unless I’m more than a hundred percent happy with it. I’m very, very specific. But I also had a lot of interactions over the years. I’ve been in the industry since I was 13 and I'm about to turn 40, so – what is that, 27 years? – it’s been a long time, so I spoke to a lot of people, like CEOs and various executives and creatives, and I’ve learned so much, even simple things like how to connect with an audience and communicate with the customer, and it’s been really valuable. Also, being exposed to so many different cultures and being exposed to art around the world and different creatives.

As a female founder and a CEO, what key piece of advice would you like to offer to fellow female entrepreneurs and what are the most valuable lessons you've learned?

I think it’s really important to listen to your intuition and follow your gut. Trust your instincts. I know that there have been many times people have said ‘That's not possible’, but it was the right choice and I had to really listen to my intuition about it. Also, just making sure that you really have a clear vision and setting those intentions and making sure that you have at least a five-year plan. Write down all of your goals and think about how you are going to achieve them. I really believe in planning and prioritising your time because otherwise time goes by so fast. And, obviously, it’s important to be flexible – I tell my team to be like a willow tree because in a storm, the willow tree is the one that doesn’t break. Whereas an oak is so rigid in its thinking, it breaks. I also think it’s important when you employ people to make sure that they’re in it for their passion and that they’re not just doing it as a means to an end; I don’t really want anyone on my team that’s just there because it’s a job. I want them to actually be thriving every day and excited to work on something.

“I tell my team to be like a willow tree because in a storm, the willow tree is the one that doesn't break.”

You spoke a little bit about time management earlier - you're a mother-of-three as well as a CEO and a model, so how do you balance everything?

Oh, it’s definitely planning. I literally have on my calendar everything planned from one minute to the next. It’s colour-coded, so I have the kids on a different colour and my stuff on a different colour. I like to plan as much in advance as I can and then have flexibility around those plans. So, one day a week, I'll make sure that I plan ahead. And then I even plan making sure I’m done in time so that I can do dinner with the children, bathtime, reading with the children. That’s a priority to me. To me, family does come first and I make sure that the majority of the time I’m the one that’s dropping them off at school.

What are the daily wellbeing rituals that you rely on?

I have so many! I start my morning with the mind, body, spirit connection. When I wake up, I do 15 to 20 minutes of yoga – my husband wakes up at 5am so I have a good hour and a half to myself before the kids wake up. It was hard for me to adjust to that, to be honest, because I’m not naturally a morning person. But I’m really happy that I get time to fill my cup before the kids wake up. Then, lately, I’ve been doing this 30-minute workout called Crush It. You do it with weights and I can do it in my bedroom. Then I get in the shower and I have my whole skincare routine, which includes dry body brushing and then all my products. When the kids wake up, we all go and have breakfast together. I first start with a cup of lemon water, then I do [32oz of] celery juice, and then I do a thing called the Medical Medium Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie – the whole family has that as well. I also love aromatherapy; in all KORA products we use aromatherapy – we don’t use artificial fragrance. I keep peppermint oil inside my purse and if I’m feeling tired or jet-lagged, I just put a couple of drops in my hands, take a couple of breaths and it instantly uplifts me. I’ve used aromatherapy since I was about 18 and it’s been a tool in my life that I’ve really relied on. I also really love the use of crystals, so I have crystals everywhere, everything from amethyst to rose quartz and clear quartz.

Are those the things you turn to when you are feeling challenged, or you're having a tough time?

Yeah, I use them daily, so they really help me. With the Minty Mineral Hydration Mist, I wanted to incorporate those tools from my life – it has peppermint, it has Palo Santo to clear your energy, but then you’re also getting the sensory benefits and the skin benefits with the microalgae. There’s a little aquamarine crystal inside, which is a very gentle, soothing crystal. I love incorporating those things. Not many people know, but on the back of every product is a positive word. Aromatherapy, crystals and positive words have been tools I’ve used in my life that I’ve infused into KORA products as an added benefit.

You are a very inspiring woman - we are very inspired by you - but who are the women that you look up to and that you feel inspired by?

Obviously I feel very inspired by my own mother. She is a very strong woman; she had me when she was 17 and she’s still with my dad, and she’s a powerhouse. She owned a few of her own businesses herself, so I saw her work ethic and her dedication – and I also saw how loving she was to us as children. But I think that’s where I get my work ethic from. And then my grandma has been such a source of unconditional love, and she had something I call generosity of spirit. We grew up without having very much, but what we did have was a lot of love and she was always welcoming to anyone. The door was always open and she always had a cake baking in the oven and looked so elegant, even though she didn’t have much money. She was just effortlessly chic and the way she carried herself – that’s the thing, money can’t buy style. You either have that kind of elegance and grace or you don’t. Then I have other women like Rose-Marie Swift, who started RMS, Charlotte Tilbury, and Michaeline DeJoria, who’s now the CEO of her dad's company, Paul Mitchell. So I turn to them sometimes for business advice as well.

“Something I learned along the way is that the power is in the present. It's really important to be in the moment. And believe in yourself - trust your instincts.”

If you could, what advice would you give your younger self?

I would just say it’s really important to enjoy the journey. Something I learned along the way is that the power is in the present – it’s important to be in the moment and not think too much ahead or of the past. Enjoy where you are because life does go so quickly and you don’t want to look back and say, ‘Oh, I wish I would’ve enjoyed that moment.’ It’s really important to be in the moment. And believe in yourself – trust your instincts, that’s really important.

There are so many great resources out there now to encourage women in both business and life, from books to podcasts to Instagram accounts – what are some that you love?

Any of David R. Hawkins’ books – there’s Power vs. Force, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness and Letting Go. If I feel like I’m having a bad day, I’ll search his name on YouTube and listen to one of his talks because he has a way of putting things. I feel like he has a very high consciousness, and he talks about the scale of consciousness and how throughout the day we can go through different scales of consciousness and it’s important to try and stay in [the levels of] acceptance and reason and love and above, otherwise you can create ‘dis-ease’ within your body. It’s okay to have a different range of emotions and feel those emotions, but try not to get stuck on them, and choose a happier thought. So say, for instance, maybe it’s raining outside, you have a choice to be like, ‘Wow, it’s so cosy when it rains, I’m gonna snuggle up’, or be like, ‘Oh my god, it’s raining. Is it ever gonna be sunny?’ That is in your power. And every thought we think has an effect on our body. It’s really important that we have the choice and we’re controlling our minds, not the mind controlling us.