Rosie Huntington-Whiteley talks about family and her beauty empire

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears trench coat and boots, both Bottega Veneta; earrings, Anita Ko; ring, Melissa Kaye. Photographed by Nicole Maria Winkler for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER.COM. All items can be purchased from the magazine pages via NET-A-PORTER

It’s been a busy time for the entrepreneur and supermodel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who relocated from LA to London with her family (four-year-old son Jack and her partner of nearly 13 years, actor Jason Statham) during the pandemic and, more recently, launched her own beauty brand, Rose Inc, while pregnant with their second child. It’s unsurprising, then, that she’s looking forward to some R&R in her new home for the holiday season: “Christmas is here in the UK this year. I’m excited to be with my family. It will be very cozy because I’m going to be nesting. It will be quiet… well, as quiet as a Christmas can be with the Statham bunch.”

Rose Inc first landed not long after the birth of Huntington-Whiteley’s son in 2017. She is candid about the challenges of early motherhood: “For a period after I had my first son, there was a real shift in identity, and a sort of mourning of the loss of your old life, and who you were… I just remember feeling like the rug was pulled out from underneath me.”

She talks about finding balance and gaining greater confidence in motherhood: “If you’re someone that, like me, attach[ed] a lot of identity to my physicality and the way that I felt and looked, it really took me a long time to come around, but I think once I stepped into the role, embraced it, everything sort of relaxed a little bit. I did start to feel this new sense of life. And, now in my thirties, my confidence is so much [greater] and my ability to make decisions and not second-guess myself is stronger. I genuinely feel like my life is much more well-rounded.”

Alongside the confidence that experience and time has afforded her, Huntington-Whiteley’s partner, Statham, is her pillar of strength and support: “We’re definitely both ambitious and excited for life… Jay is my greatest protector. I hope he would say the same for me with him… He has been a great mentor for me with work and navigating the industries. He’s renowned for being a tough businessman. As someone who’s probably a little bit softer by nature myself, he’s given me a lot of support to make those tough decisions… And he’s really given me the wings to fly in that sense.” At just 34, Huntington-Whiteley’s burgeoning empire has been years in the making. Despite huge success in modeling, she always had her eyes on a bigger prize. She recalls her frustrations aged 19 at not being the master of her own destiny: “I remember picking up the phone to my agent checking every day what options had come in. And I remember getting off the phone and being so fed up with my life being at the mercy of [other] people’s decisions. It was in that moment that I thought, if I want to make stuff happen, I have to be really proactive.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears dress, Givenchy; earrings, Mateo; earrings, Loren Stewart. Photographed by Nicole Maria Winkler for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER.COM. All items can be purchased from the magazine pages via NET-A-PORTER

Huntington-Whiteley credits part of her success to the network of brilliant women she has grown up around, from her mother to the industry leaders she has worked with: “I’ve been really fortunate over the years to work with a lot of female founders and able to witness the way they work… There are lots of great women I feel I could pick up the phone [to] and pick their brain should I need to. I would love to think that people would feel open to picking up the phone to me one day. Mentorship is such a beautiful thing.”

With a highly engaged Instagram following of almost 14 million, plus a legion of loyal fans who have followed her every step, Huntington-Whiteley’s Rose Inc brand has blossomed into an authentic, multi-faceted representation of the luxe, minimalist aesthetic she embodies: “I’m pretty well versed on what works for my audience – what they want to see from me and what they don’t.” 

Huntington-Whiteley was determined that Rose Inc would cut through the saturated beauty industry: “I knew very early on, before I even started working on the products, that if I was going to launch a brand, it had to stand for something beyond just pretty packaging, pretty colors and swatches. It really had to have something that made it unique, so that’s part of the reason why I ended up partnering with Amyris, the biotech company that manufactures the products. They gave me a unique perspective and education into ingredients that are sustainably sourced.”

In terms of Huntington-Whiteley’s professional inspiration, Elle Macpherson is exemplar: “[She] was the supermodel who pivoted a successful career into successful businesses and really executed them well. They felt really authentic. [We] have connected over the years and she’s wonderful.”

Huntington-Whiteley also shares the hopes she has for her expanding family: Jay and I are at a place where we are really asking ourselves what is it that we want to create for our family outside of the day-to-day running of a household and work. For me, nature is where I find myself most restored… That’s something I really want to achieve for my family in the near future – our own little slice of nature, and animals and all of those things around us… I think that will give a nice balance to the rest our lifestyle. I’m excited to start creating that. That’s one of the great things about being back here in the UK as well.”

In addition to their new family home in the UK, Huntington-Whiteley has bought herself a townhouse to do up, which has become a recent passion project: “I’m renovating, which is exciting because property and interiors are [things] I’m getting more excited about now.” 

Huntington-Whiteley and Statham have a shared love of art and interiors: “He’s the real visionary in this family, and his taste and aesthetic are second to none. People are so surprised because that’s not what they expect. Really, when it comes to furniture and architecture, I have learnt so much from him.” 

Huntington-Whiteley’s career spans across both the fashion and beauty industries and she has been witness to cultural changes: “There’s no doubt that there’s always going to be work to do. But I do think the industry has had to make big, big shifts… I think for a long time, there was a lot of heel-dragging. Fashion people had a specific point of view and a specific look… It is exciting to see that shift and to think where we’ll be in another five years’ time, 10 years’ time by listening to the consumer.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears cape, Jil Sander; boots, Proenza Schouler; ring, Anita Ko. Photographed by Nicole Maria Winkler for PORTER, NET-A-PORTER.COM. All items can be purchased from the magazine pages via  NET-A-PORTER

For PORTER’s shoot, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was photographed by Nicole Maria Winkler and styled by Natasha Wray; she wears Bottega Veneta, Totême, Fendi, Jil Sander, Givenchy, and more. All items can be purchased straight from the shoot via the NET-A-PORTER app, available on Android as well as iPhone and iPad, and through NET-A-PORTER.com.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on her frustrations aged 19 at not being the master of her own destiny: “I remember picking up the phone to my agent checking every day what options had come in. And I remember getting off the phone and being so fed up with my life being at the mercy of [other] people’s decisions. It was in that moment that I thought, if I want to make stuff happen, I have to be really proactive.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on network of brilliant women she has grown up around: “I’ve been really fortunate over the years to work with a lot of female founders and able to witness the way they work… There are lots of great women I feel I could pick up the phone [to] and pick their brain should I need to. I would love to think that people would feel open to picking up the phone to me one day. Mentorship is such a beautiful thing.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on knowing her audience: “I’m pretty well versed on what works for my audience – what they want to see from me and what they don’t.” 

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on cutting through the noise in a saturated beauty market: “I knew very early on, before I even started working on the products, that if I was going to launch a brand, it had to stand for something beyond just pretty packaging, pretty colors and swatches. It really had to have something that made it unique, so that’s part of the reason why I ended up partnering with Amyris, the biotech company that manufactures the products. They gave me a unique perspective and education into ingredients that are sustainably sourced.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on Elle Macpherson: “[She] was the supermodel who pivoted a successful career into successful businesses and really executed them well. They felt really authentic. [We] have connected over the years and she’s wonderful.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on her hopes for her expanding family: “Jay and I are at a place where we are really asking ourselves what is it that we want to create for our family outside of the day-to-day running of a household and work. For me, nature is where I find myself most restored… That’s something I really want to achieve for my family in the near future – our own little slice of nature, and animals and all of those things around us… I think that will give a nice balance to the rest our lifestyle. I’m excited to start creating that. That’s one of the great things about being back here in the UK as well.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on her latest passion project: “I’m renovating, which is exciting because property and interiors are [things] I’m getting more excited about now.”

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on the couple’s shared love for art and interiors: “He’s the real visionary in this family, and his taste and aesthetic are second to none. People are so surprised because that’s not what they expect. Really, when it comes to furniture and architecture, I have learnt so much from him.” 

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on cultural changes within the industry: “There’s no doubt that there’s always going to be work to do. But I do think the industry has had to make big, big shifts… I think for a long time, there was a lot of heel-dragging. Fashion people had a specific point of view and a specific look… It is exciting to see that shift and to think where we’ll be in another five years’ time, 10 years’ time by listening to the consumer.”

All items worn by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley can be purchased straight from the shoot via the NET-A-PORTER app, available on Android as well as iPhone and iPad, and through NET-A-PORTER.com.

To see the full interview, read PORTER at  NET-A-PORTER.com/PORTER/article-eb05e26cd17a224a and/ or download the NET-A-PORTER app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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