Life Lessons from Linda Rodin

In addition to a rosy outlook on life, good skincare and great company should be part of every person’s self-care routine. They are non-negotiables for us.

So when we heard that the inspiring and iconic Linda Rodin was in town to launch her eponymous beauty line, RODIN, at Mecca, we made it our mission to meet her.

Now in her late sixties, Linda has enjoyed a successful styling career in NYC and over recent years, notoriety as the face of brands like Karen Walker.

Most recently, she developed a line of beauty products that began in her kitchen and now sits within the Estée Lauder portfolio. Her products are scented with the most heavenly oils that remind me of a mix between my grandmother’s garden and my grandfather’s whisky. And that’s just what we love about it: the sense of nostalgia and stories which underpin her every creative decision.

We loved hearing her bold opinions and entirely unedited wisdom about beauty, the (un)gracefulness of ageing and becoming a first-time entrepreneur in her sixties and so, here are six lessons from Linda to all of us on the business of beauty, growing up and not giving a damn.

1. Love what you do (but don’t give up your day job)

“I love oils, these are things I really liked. I wanted to mix them up, and when I did, I discovered a very strange alchemy. I really liked it, so I brought it to fashion shoots and put it on the models. Some of them would say ‘Oh, this is great! I want one, can you make me one?” And that’s where it all began. I wouldn’t sell it to them, I would just give it to them, and I kept making them.

Eventually I was making five hundred bottles a week. It was crazy but I loved every minute of it. I kept my job, which I loved also, and no intention of stopping. Both my careers worked together, so I did my styling work until I hired two more people to help. Then, seven years later, Estee Lauder called and here we are.

It’s the feeling that I loved it and was proud of it which gave me the courage to show others what I was doing, and they loved it too. It’s been a journey I never expected. It’s a fairy tale, and I feel so grateful. I work really hard, but it’s worth it.”

2. Don’t believe the hype

“I think older women as a modelling ploy is a trend and I can’t see it lasting. But it was fun!  Modelling was nothing I had aspired to, but I ended up here and I’m so lucky and grateful.

Ageing isn’t easy, but the alternative is much scarier. Despite what anyone says, ageing isn’t graceful. I morphed and started not recognizing myself and even now I don’t like the way I look. Sometimes I look at retouched pictures of myself and then I look in the mirror and see fifty thousand wrinkles.”

3.  Embrace the hustle

“I met Judi Dench in London… well, I walked passed her as she was sitting in a café actually, and I just had to approach her. I asked for her address, I told her she just had to try my products. And I got a handwritten letter from her saying how much she loved them.”

4. Start small, and don’t overthink it 

“My thinking has always been ‘one foot in front of the next’, without premeditation. I never planned for any of this to happen. It was a series of happy accidents. But I just kept going, one step at a time, and dove into it.  I like to think of it as Accident-Meets-Opportunity, combined with a lot of hard work.”

5. Make honesty your weapon of choice

“I’m old and I’m honest. I don’t lie about anything and that’s refreshing for a lot of people. I think I catch people’s fancy because I don’t lie about anything.”

6. Be yourself and own it

“My look is very distinctive: my up-do and glasses – but that has evolved over time. My hair went grey when I was 35 and I can’t wear contacts, but I see my glasses as an accessory, like a handbag. I’ve never dyed my hair, and even for my range of lipsticks, I’ve made only five colours, and that’s enough for me. I do my own lips on shoots and my signature shade is red. Renya [Xydis] did my hair recently, but I was probably her easiest shoot ever.

I also don’t like foundation. I’m wearing concealer at the moment though, to cover two spots on my face.  We never used to have foundation, so it doesn’t really interest me. I’m not a thousand years old, but we didn’t have Mecca, we only had drug stores.”

Our Picks

Bis RODIN Perfume Olio Lusso

“I wanted to make something that smelled like my mum, I don’t know what perfume she wore, but I described it verbally to the perfumer I work with and he created it exactly. It’s perfect because it smells like my mum. It’s a really fifties, classic scent. It smells like cigarettes, flowers and juicy fruit gum, it’s a whole mix of things and its totally evocative to me. There is something very classic, very vintage about it. It’s a very classic scent.”

(RRP $430 at Mecca)

RODIN ‘Tough Tomato’ Lipstick

“I made five and that’s enough. Tough Tomato is a very New York term of endearment and reminds me of the kind of New York woman who would wear this shade of bright red/orange.”

(RRP $57 at Mecca)

by Rach

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