Rozalia Russian and Chantelle Baker on effortless beauty, killer collabs and the power of female friendship
These two are responsible for at least half of our 'saved' makeup folder
By Samantha McMeekin
April 01 2022
LA may have Kim and Mario, but Melbourne has Rozalia and Chantelle. Yeah, we said it. As the artist and face behind some of our favourite makeup looks, there was no better pair to front our Power Couples issue.
When Rozalia Russian and Chantelle Baker are in a room together, the connection these two creatives have is clear. With no need to talk shop, Baker gets to work crafting her first look on Russian with the unspoken approval only those in a trusted relationship can have.
“How does it feel doing this in a mirror?” I overhear Baker say.
“Oh, I know! We never do it in a mirror,” Russian replies.
Later on they explain that most of the time the look is only revealed to Russian once it’s complete. “I trust Chan 100 per cent. At the end of the day, she's not going to let me leave the house unless she's happy as well to put her name to it.”
The pair rarely disagree. Except for that one time Baker kept reaching for a silver eyeshadow… but a “trust me” was all it took to put Russian’s mind at ease. “Once it’s finished, it’s like ‘ah I get it’”.
The two have the kind of friendship and bond that would make you think they’d known each other for decades. But in fact, they only met and started working together three years ago…
Rozalia wears Zara top and SIR dress, Chantelle wears Zara suit
“I was too scared to ask her to do my makeup”
As one of Australia’s most in-demand celebrity makeup artists, Baker’s client list is an impressive one. Having worked with the likes of Gigi Hadid, Shanina Shaik and Sarah Jessica Parker, Russian thought she’d never do makeup for “little old me”.
“I was actually really intimidated by her,” she recalls. “I was too scared to ask her to do my makeup.”
But with an exclusive garden party for Anna Wintour to attend, Russian’s stylist Elliot Garnaut asked Baker to step in for glam. “And then a week later she did my birthday makeup and that was that. We've been together pretty much every day since.”
“We just got on, we’re very similar,” says Baker. “We’re mums and when we first started working together we would just chat.”
“Being in the makeup chair, she’s like a therapist,” adds Russian. “She knows all my darkest secrets.”
“We don’t do pretty”
The two have collaborated on many iconic looks since. And as they recall their past favourites — fresh, clean skin with a statement eye for the races and a golden bronze birthday look — Russian explains that their looks have become more relaxed since the lengthy lockdowns in Victoria.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Russian poses to Baker. “But I’m very easy with my makeup. I wouldn’t say I’m blasé about it but I’m always open to different ideas.”
That’s not to say the pair don’t have some signature looks as well. “I even get asked ‘can you do that bronzey look that you do on Roza?’,” says Baker. “And she can really take an eye, so when I do it, it looks amazing.”
“We definitely started lip combos too,” she adds, referring to their mixing and matching of certain nude shades by M.A.C (‘Oak’, ‘Stripdown’ and ‘Stone’).
But the one thing they don’t do? Pretty.
“I love pretty on other people and doing pretty for other people,” explains Baker. “[But] we like skin, we do a lot of earthiness.”
“I like effortless,” adds Russian. “I don't like my hair to be over-tonged. I don't like my lips to be too pink. I don't like my outfits to be too girly, girly.”
“My overall approach is very laid-back yet more on a masculine side.” Think: Hailey Bieber and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
It’s her preference for a stripped back look that also means Russian invests a lot in her skin. “I love Laser Genesis; I have pigmentation so I find it helps and also with reducing pore size,” she says. “And using products for my skin type. I’ve worked a lot with skin therapists and love cosmeceutical brands like iS Clinical and Rationale.”
She also says she uses retinol pretty much every night. But if you’re new to the ingredient, we recommend starting slow and working your way up to it with something like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Retinol + Niacinamide Pressed Cream ($59.95 at Chemist Warehouse).
“Work with people who bring out the best in you”
A strong female friendship is certainly what lays at the core of this power couple, which makes it funny to think that it may not have happened in the first place.
“You have to like the people you work with and I just happened to get blessed with the hottest face on earth,” laughs Baker. She also finds there’s been a shift in general when it comes to women supporting women in the beauty industry. “It’s definitely changed from being that competitive way that it was a few years ago.”
“That word ‘competitors’ is something that as I get older I now realise is so childish,” adds Russian. “It sounds so cliché, but there's room for everyone. And, you know, if you are able to support other women and encourage other women, not only does it make your own life easier, but if you have friends in the industry that you can rely on, whether it’s for support or job opportunities, it’s only going to make us all stronger.”
Thinking back to when she started (and “not to sound like Kim K”), Baker recalls simply working hard and always being nice to get where she is today. “I never thought I was better than anyone, I still don’t.”
“I just worked and met people and was nice and respectful. That’s it.”
Rozalia wears Zara suit, Chantelle wears Oroton suit
Don’t worry, we got their beauty favourites too…
Top 3 must-have beauty products right now
1/ Dr Naomi LED It Glow, $590 at clearskinhouse.com.au
2/ Teresa Tarmey Gold-Plated Massage Tool, $170.34 at Net-a-Porter
3/ L’OCCITANE Shea Butter Body Cream, $64 at The Iconic
1/ Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, $65 at MECCA
2/ Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, $105 at Myer
3/ MAC Lip Liner Pencils in ‘Oak’, ‘Stripdown’ and ‘Stone’, $30 each at Myer
Splurge vs steal
Splurge: Byredo Hand Wash (specifically one in every bathroom), $65 at Net-a-Porter
Steal: L'Oréal Paris True Match Foundation, $33.49 at Chemist Warehouse
Splurge: Tom Ford Soleil Glow Bronzer, $105 at MECCA
Steal: L'Oréal Paris Lash Paradise Mascara, $20.99 at Chemist Warehouse