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by Emma Peters July 05, 2017

As an inspiring feminist, talented photographer and creative director of one of NZ’s freshest natural skincare brands, Girl Undiscovered’s Sara Orme is a role model across the board.

We were lucky enough to chat with her about where her inspiration and boundless energy comes from. Here are the tips and secrets she had to share.

sara orme

So tell us – in a nutshell, what’s your business about? How did it all start for you?

My business is an adventure I share with two friends, who are also my co-founding business partners, Philly Gebbie and Charlotte Devereux. Together we have brought our unique personal histories and combined experience to create something I consider quite special. Girl Undiscovered!

For me personally, I have been exploring ideas of beauty as a photographer for the last 23 years, so I appreciate all aspects of beauty. I seek it and fall for it very easily whether it is photographing fashion, portrait or documentary images. I’ve always seen it as my job to seek the beauty in everyone and everything I photograph.

I also majored in Sociology specialising feminist studies back in the 80’s, so this very much influences my work and focus.

Morphing from a photographer to a creative director for Girl Undiscovered  was a very natural process for me. As a photographer I’ve worked for many great brands and have learnt a great deal about the creative, strategic and production processes that go on behind the scenes. Creating a new brand with clear objectives, vision and passion is the same way I tackled my world as a photographer.

From the very beginning I approached my role of bringing Girl Undiscovered to life with the same kind of integrity as I did with my personal photographic work. It’s very much been about developing a content driven brand and ideology about what beauty actually looks like in the 21st century, sharing real stories about real girls.

How does your business reflect your own personal beliefs about natural beauty?

Beauty to me is about owning who you are, whatever that might be. I’m interested in finding the beauty within everyone regardless of one’s physicality, ethnicity or demographic. Beauty can be found in all of us and sometimes we just need to be reminded of this.

The secret for me personally is to just not spend too much time looking in the mirror. I think it is too easy to find faults about ourselves if we do this too much. If you look for a flaw you will find it! To me its about making yourself feel good on any level… a brisk walk is always a good start.

How do you see beauty and wellness intersecting?

We’re interested in the girl who is busy and has a love for life. The girl on the go.

I believe that beauty is also about energy. If you eat and live well then this will radiate within you. It really is true! I have always tried to capture this in the brand imagery. I’m more interested in capturing our girls’ spirit through movement. This, to me, emulates real life. I’m sure we all know ‘that girl’ who may not be a portrait painting but there’s something about her energy that just radiates through everything else.

As a photographer it never failed to amaze me how sometimes I would have a classically ‘drop dead’ gorgeous looking girl come into my studio but I still could not capture an amazing image…and then the opposite of a more ‘ordinary’ looking girl at first glance who would just end exuding so much beauty through her energy.

one of Sara's energetic photo shoots for Girl Undiscovered

An image from one of Sara’s energetic, empowering Girl Undiscovered shoots (Photo: Sara Orme)

What does conscious beauty/natural beauty mean to you 

Natural beauty to me means celebrating the real you. This might be the bare faced you, but it could also be the lip-sticked you! I believe it’s good to not always mask your self with too much face ‘stuff’, and sometimes it’s good to just peel the layers away to find what is beneath.

To me it’s realising that the face and body you have is yours to stay and you may as well love it.

What does your typical day look like? Work, family, everything!

My day is really varied. My children are grown up so I am lucky to be able to be obsessive about my work and passions. The great thing for me is my work life is my passion.

I always try and keep a balance. Even without dependent children my home life is still very busy. A typical day is exercise, yummy breakfast and then to my office and computer. I usually wake up with a lot of new ideas and am always working on new creative strategy – always thinking that one step ahead. A catch up with friends and family or a good TV series on Netflix keeps me very happy at night.

What are your top tips for staying well and healthy yourself?

So I’m over 50 and there is something strangely liberating about this. Your body and face is definitely on the downhill slide and the realisation that THIS IS IT really hits you.

To me beauty is all about the bounce in my step. I know when I am not healthy because this is the first thing to go. If I feel sluggish I have to kick myself back on the healthy and fit path and then…well, I guess I feel beautiful! I might not look it but I feel it and that is the most important thing to me.

Outside of the conscious beauty world, what are some other interests that make you tick?

I always try to look after myself by staying fit and healthy. This might include a bike ride, walk or gym…anything to get outside, soak up any sun rays and be surrounded by nature.

Being outside is my tonic. If I feel unhappy for any reason I always step outside and lie somewhere comforting. Nothing beats nature and it’s not hard to find somewhere to commune with it in New Zealand!

(Photo: @girlundiscovered)
(Photo: @girlundiscovered)

Which beauty items can’t you live without at the moment?

I’ve always been a natural girl who has never worn foundation or much make up. The only thing I really miss these days would be mascara. Something happens to my face when I put it on so that’s my must have! My skincare regime has always been pretty simple. Girl Undiscovered Elixir Oil, Face Mask and Cleansing Water are my must haves and I virtually don’t need anything else.

What advice do you have for people who want to embrace conscious beauty but might not know how to start?

My advice is stay connected to yourself. Listen to your body and it will tell you what you need. Beauty is as much about how you feel as how you look.

If you’re a make up girl, then try and do at least a day without anything. Always try to do something different, you just might surprise yourself.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given over the course of your career?

In terms of career advice, make sure you love what you do. Passion first, and then the money will (hopefully) come. If you put money first you might become a slave to it.

Where do you see yourself and your business heading in the next few years?

Personally, I would like to be the best creative director in the world…ha!

I’m all about innovation and thinking off the grid. I want to lead my brand into a territory that is new and groundbreaking.

Although ‘real beauty’ and ‘feminism’ are quite en trend at the moment, this is a very real place for me. My childhood back in the 70’s was all about natural beauty and feminism long before it was fashionable. As a teenager I was always out marching for women’s liberation and equality with my very pro-active mother. I love the times that we’re in now. There are times I feel like nothing much has changed since the 70’s and 80’s and then there are times I feel the changes are huge.

I love how being natural is celebrated now and women owning their own power I feel is definitely strengthening!

Check out Sara’s gorgeous photography site right here.

Emma Peters
Emma Peters

Emma Peters, organic makeup artist, creative director and founder of Belle & Sage, is committed to leading the conversation around beauty and wellness. With over twenty years of experience as a make-up artist, she knows you don’t have to sacrifice quality for clean.

She’ll help you find the what, learn the why, nail the how, and everything in between.

Letting you know more, wear better, and start making beautiful choices: from the inside, out.


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