In my beauty bag: Polly Gillespie

16:00, Dec 18 2013
POLLY'S PAMPERING MUSTS: She does do Botox, but isn't keen on permanent makeup and she NEVER leaves the house with wet hair.

Pauline 'Polly' Gillespie has hosted the ZM Morning Crew radio show for over 20 years alongside her husband Grant Kereama. 

The funny lady also spends a lot of time interviewing international celebrities around the world, and is presently writing a book about 'the many and varied imperfections of being a female'.

"I told my male publisher that I wanted to call it 'My Vagina is Trying to Eat Me', because once during my period I told a girlfriend that if I had owned salad tongs at the time I would have used them to rip out my vagina," she tells us in her distinct manner. "He tactfully replied, "I don't hate it", so we shall see what it ends up being called!" 

Polly spends most of her time in her hometown of Wellington, but frequently flies around the world interviewing interesting and famous people. "I am used to flying or recovering from flying, but you can do radio from anywhere, so doing the show at 2am in America is no problem," she says. 

"When I first started interviewing celebrities, they were all stunning and like a size 2 and tiny - next to them I felt like Hagrid (from Harry Potter), and I wasn't even that chubby back then.  I was astounded by the beauty of Nicole Kidman. Her skin was just translucent, like it glows from the inside as if it has a light beneath it. 

But eventually I realised that it is their job to be beautiful and that it's really tough job: I don't think that level of beauty is real or achievable for the average woman. Eventually it all becomes quite relative. I used to dress up to interview them but now I wear jeans and a ponytail, because that's me."


Different water, temperatures and time zones while travelling have an impact on her skin and hair. Polly says the flipside is that it also provides her with an opportunity to shop for beauty products we don't really get in New Zealand, like SKII or Sephora. She tells us about how she fits a beauty routine into her busy life: 

"I am really particular about my skin and wish I had started caring for it a long time ago. When I was in my 20s I did all the right things like cleansing and toning, but after a while I was like 'whatever, my skin is awesome' and gave up.

Now I have a renewed interest in skincare, but suspect that it might be too late!  I have odd skin, it is quite oily but still needs moisture, so my routine now is mostly about ensuring it is well nourished.

I enjoy makeup, and it would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise. It's fun. What I don't like is the pressure on young women to look constantly glamorous and overly sexualised. 

I wear makeup every day without fail, even though I get up really early for the show. People are really surprised when they come in and meet me that I am wearing nice clothes and have a face on. I am not the type to go to work in a scrunchy, pyjamas and wet hair. Wet hair, yuk!

I am up at 4.40am and into the shower to wash myself and use an Estee Lauder Foam Cleanser on my face. Once out of the shower I pop on a Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner, and a lovely RHEIN product so my skin is matte but still moisturised. My foundation is Estee Lauder Double Wear in Cool Bone. 

I don't generally use eye shadow if I am not going out, I like to save up looking dramatically different for special occasions and if it is really special I get a makeup artist to do my face, because despite watching numerous YouTube tutorials, they do such a gorgeous job that I couldn't possibly recreate it. On my lips I find that M.A.C stays on the best, I love their pinky brown shades like Twig or Hug Me.

I choose a M.A.C blusher depending on my mood, they are just so lovely and powdery and soft! I use Estee Lauder Lash Primer and Sumptuous Extremes on my eyelashes and tend to my eyebrows with a Benefit Brow Kit. So many women over 30 write to me about over-plucking their eyebrows.   

A makeup artist once told me never to get permanent makeup because over a lifetime the face changes so much that you never know where they are going to end up! I would never do that myself because I always notice how severe it can look on other women, but I never judge people if they want to tattoo their makeup - I am a Botox girl, which people can be very judgmental about. 

My sister died when I was in my thirties, and the terrible grief formed this giant line down my forehead.  It was just a premature line that I could see every time I looked at a photo of myself. 

Now I look happier, and whatever other people think, I no longer carry the weight of my sister's death on my face. I'm okay with women altering their look in any way they want to in pursuit of being happier, be it breast implants, plastic surgery or dying their hair blue.

I am lucky with my hair - because I have it Kera-straightened every three months, I only need to wash it with L'Oreal Professionnel every couple of days for it to be straight and healthy. 

Over my lifetime I have learned that I don't always know what foundation colour I am. For years I wore Estee Lauder in Sand, until I went to the counter to get some more and the beautician pointed out that shade was usually used by Asian women. She gave me some samples to try and they were amazing, so my best beauty advice is listen to experts!"

- As told to Miranda Likeman