Life lessons and beauty secrets from model and author Sarah Jane Adams

"Unlike most other influencers, I’m at the end of my career with nothing to prove."

With an Instagram following of 187,000 and counting, Sarah Jane Adams is one of Australia’s most in-demand influencers and models. And at 64 years of age, she’s flipping industry standards on their head.

Sarah Jane, an ambassador for Priceline Pharmacy, has strutted runways at fashion week and starred in international fashion campaigns, and is about to release her first book called Life in a Box. Despite her impressive career moves, it’s Sarah’s fabulous sense of style, confidence and creativity that has won her fans worldwide.

This year Sarah Jane is joining Ita Buttrose, Chrissy Swan, Olivia Molly Rogers and more as part of Priceline Pharmacy‘s Festival Of You to celebrate all the things that make every woman unique and individual.

We caught up with Sarah Jane to steal her biggest beauty and fashion secrets, and to find out how she maintains balance and her infectious zest for life.

Have you always had a strong individual sense of style?

From an early age I spent much of my time in school uniform, which resulted in me having an acute awareness of the importance of how to personalise garments. I guess you could say this gave rise to a strong sense of style.

I have always had an eye for the different, the individual, other than a need to follow a trend. For many years I viewed fashion (denim jeans for example) as merely another form of uniform, so avoided joining that particular army.

How did you begin your Instagram journey?

In 2014 Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style re-shot an image that had been first taken by my husband (the interesting circumstances of this shot and subsequent meeting are described in my upcoming book).

Ari featured his version of the look on his blog, and my numbers quickly increased from around 300 to around 3,000.

I was subsequently contacted by Adidas, who requested they share my husband’s version on their Adidas Originals page. Once that happened, I watched the world wake up as my numbers escalated. I have no sponsorship or relationship with Adidas.

What is your opinion about embracing fashion, despite our age?

I still wear items I have had since I was 18. These are vintage pieces. I find inspiration everywhere, but the best inspiration comes from within.

I don’t really shop for clothing any more, as I have more than enough items to last me a lifetime. I think it is important to know and understand your body, and to dress as you choose, without worrying about the fashion police. I try to only wear natural fibres, as after a certain age man-made fabrics are very unpleasant on the skin and increase perspiration, itching, hot flushes etc.

The matter of modesty is an interesting one. I am a modest dresser as dressing in this way has enabled me to cross boundaries under cover, both socially and in business. It has given me strength and, as I am not a trend follower, I know I will always be comfortable wearing them.

What is your advice to women who want to have more fun with fashion?

Don’t listen to me, listen to the inner you!

Be who you wish to be, wear what you want to wear, experiment. Shop vintage, in thrift stores, alone. Listen to yourself, not your friend. Look at the fabrics, the shapes, the styles, try on loads and see what makes you feel happy and comfortable. Do you!

What is the key to feeling comfortable in your own skin?

As a loner, and a self-employed businesswoman since my 20’s, I have been my own moral compass, my own judge and jury.

I am a critical thinker (I’m especially harsh on myself), and I have a good bullshit radar. My motto is: ‘The day you start believing your own bullshit is the beginning of the end’.

It is essential to understand yourself, find what drives you, what comforts you, find your faults, but work on them rather than letting them get you down. Your self-criticism can be your best guidance and your worst enemy. The power is only within you to be comfortable in your own skin.

How did your social media following change your life?

My Social media following has given me opportunities and with the opportunities also comes a new sense of responsibility.

I am still working out exactly what it is that I have to be held responsible for, and I keep coming back to the understanding that basically I can only be 100 per cent responsible for myself; to be 100 per cent true to myself, and by being my best authentic self I can hopefully action and inspire other changes in society and on this planet.

Do you believe in anti-aging skincare?

Our skin starts ageing from the day we are born, so the phrase anti-ageing is a contradiction in terms.

Intellectually that phrase annoys me intensely, whilst also very cleverly insinuating that we should be anti the ageing process, which is absurd.

So, whilst I do believe in different skincare for skin of all ages, types, colours, etc. to be labelled as such, I believe the term anti-ageing to be toxic for many reasons.

What are your rituals or regimen around skincare?

Cleanliness, exfoliation, hydration and moisturise.

My favourite skincare products include A’KIN’s Invigorating Facial Scrub and Rosehip Oil With Vitamin C.

What are your makeup essentials?

Right now my favourite lipstick shade is the Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in 440 (Cherries in Snow) and I’ll always carry my Revlon mini circular magnifying mirror with me.

How do you keep fit and healthy?

I practice Jivamukti yoga, five to six times a week, and I walk many kilometres a day up and down the length of King Street in Newtown! I am a fresh air freak; windows and doors open 365 days a year.

I eat sensibly; fresh foods, lots of salads, raw veggies, fruits, and, although something of an insomniac, I do try to get plenty of regular sleep.

What is your advice to women who feel conflicted about aging?

There is no point in wasting your energy feeling conflicted about the natural order of things!

Ageing is better than the alternative, so my advice is to look after the body, as without a strong, well-functioning body, life can lose it’s gloss.

Ageing in good health is the aim, so I would suggest to those women who are conflicted that they spend some time on themselves, their lifestyle and their attitude. Again, only you can be responsible for working through your own stuff.

When your career transitioned into modelling, what was that like?

The whole episode has been rather surreal.

The first major job I was scouted for was during the first time I was in the USA. I was asked to go for a casting call in NYC and one week later was an extra ‘model’ shooting a Miu Miu campaign in an historical home in the wilds of Hertfordshire, UK.

Another time, when I turned up for the rehearsals of a David Jones runway show a few years back, they thought I was the cleaning lady.

It is all fantasy, a crazy, ridiculous ride, which I will continue enjoying all the while the opportunities are there. I am well aware that each job could be my last job.

Many influencers describe the constant pressure to create content for Instagram? Does that affect you?

Unlike most other influencers I’m at the end of my career with nothing to prove.

I didn’t start my Instagram account in order to become an influencer; my story is that one in a million ‘happy accident’. Whilst I have become aware that I do influence people, I don’t see myself as a typical influencer as rarely do I take on commercial work that focuses on selling ‘stuff’.

This has been a conscious decision. I am more interested in showing that there is an alternative way to live, different from the one which most of other influencers show. I try to keep my pace slower, focused and real.

Given the speed with which social media is changing I do feel concern for the sustainability of life as an influencer on Instagram, and given how marketing is constantly changing, I would urge younger influencers to look into alternative ways to support themselves in the future.

What’s next for you?

My book, Life in a Box, published by Murdoch Books, is to be released in Australia on March 31. After its release I will be doing many appearances around Australia, then hopefully subsequently in the USA and UK to promote the release over there.

Brought to you by Priceline Pharmacy. The Festival Of You is on now.

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