Natalie Bassingthwaighte is one of Australia’s most versatile entertainers and has achieved significant success as an actress, musician, presenter and author. We have seen her as a Mentor on Channel Seven’s The X Factor Australia. Frontwoman for The Rogue Traders, Natalie and the band achieve multi-platinum sales cross two albums, several APRA wins, an MTV award and seven ARIA award nominations.
Natalie’s premiere solo album 1000 Stars, released in 2009, debuted at number one on the Australian charts. Natalie was presented with a No 1 Aria for 1000 Stars.
Natalie is renowned worldwide as the notorious femme fatale Izzy Hoyland in the iconic television series Neighbours (2003-2007) and appeared in the third instalment of the hugely successful series Underbelly: The Golden Mile on the Nine Network.
Natalie has been in theatre productions such as Love Loss and What I Wore, not to mention her career in musical theatre, in musicals such as Rent and Chicago and was the female lead in Grease and Footloose.
Natalie is also the co-author of Sistahood: A Journal of Self-Discovery, a book designed to boost self-esteem and inspire young women.
Natalie is an ambassador and supporter of many charities.
And to add to all of this, Natalie is a wife and mother of 2 and the Co-founder and Creative Director of Chi Khi, a children’s clothing label.
But who is the real Natalie Bassingthwaighte?
I recently sat down with my fellow Wollongong girl to talk all thing life….
What inspired you to create the brand?
I’ve always been a creative person and loved fashion, design, architecture, and interior design. And part of it was at that point in my career where I was always waiting for the phone to ring for a job, for my agent to call and for a Virgo, who is a complete control freak that’s not ideal!
I wanted something more stable and a passive income for myself and our family and also wanted to see what else I could do and do something that I hadn’t done before and was really passionate about. I had just had my kids and they had sensitive skins and I wanted to do something that incorporates all of this and something I loved and believed in. I had heard about the benefits of bamboo fabrication and there were no cool clothes at the time with this fabrication so that was the start of it. I started getting all the samples and fabrications and designers and it just started from there and here we are today!
What were the inspirations behind the new range?
It’s actually a really personal collection… The printed logo is symbolic, the star is actually a tattoo I have and shared with my late manager who has passed, we both got a tattoo done when I was completing my album 1000 stars.
You will also see the number 11, it’s my lucky number! There’s a very spiritual connection to the collection but it’s also a very cool, edgy urban range, which is what we are known for. We have added a pop of colour for something different to this collection, the khaki and plum work well with our monochromatic colour palette.
Also, there is an introduction of textures and fabrications, just a few extra fabrications we haven’t used before, we developed a bamboo scuba, also the faux fur line, bamboo jersey.
Let’s talk about the skincare range. I have the wonder cream, and I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty amazing on the dry elbows. Share with us all about the skincare range
We have had the skincare range for a couple of years now as well. Just the wonder cream and the nappy balm.
The wonder cream came about when I was first looking into it, I met someone who I employed to help me formulate the range I wanted something that was super sensitive on the skin! But not only that, it had to really work and of course, I wanted the packaging to carry on the Chi Khi cool and edgy aesthetic, as I personally hate things in the bathroom that look ugly! I wanted it to be a product that not only looked great but at the core of it, was a truly amazing product!
She actually gave me this tube and said here try it and she explained to me that most brands use a standard formula and just add their hero ingredient. And I didn’t want that, it was going to be expensive, but I wanted to create our own formula and have an amazing product. So that’s what we did1 It’s incredible for dermatitis, eczema, and really dry patches. We have had incredible feedback from parents with stories of how our wonder cream has helped their kids.
The nappy balm is also incredible, within 24hrs if your baby has really red bottom it helps to clear it up. I’m really proud of our products!
So will there be more products in the near future?
At the time I did develop another 6 products as well. Like Shampoo & Conditioner, Body Wash, all that kind of stuff… but for the moment we are really focused on the fashion side of things but one day I’d love to them down the track!
Being a wife, a mother, a singer, an actor, founder and creative director, How do you juggle everything?
Sometimes I’m pulling my hair out, I won’t lie! It’s not easy to try and do so many things. I have had to change a few things in the last few months as I started to feel a bit burnt out.
I had to stop and smell the roses and take more time for me because I feel if you don’t self-care you then you can’t care for anybody else. So that’s something new for me that I’ve personally found that’s important for myself. I’ve been enjoying waking up early, doing meditation or yoga, it was something I was never good at, I could never switch my mind off let alone find the time!
But we can always find the time, it balances me out, it makes me a much better mother, makes me a much better friend and hopefully a much better wife!
And on top of that; exercise! Again, it’s hard to find the time but it makes you so much more proactive, you have some much more time when you’re level-headed, calm and focused, the work just flows!
I also have such an amazing team around me. The Chi Khi team are phenomenal! Everyone works their butts off and we all have a clear vision of what we are trying to achieve.
My family and Friends, I’m just so lucky, I have a really incredible supportive network which I am very grateful for.
Being a mum and having it all career-wise can have a bit of a stigma these days (still). Young Mum’s are judged by society, how have you dealt with it in the media and within yourself?
Oh, I definitely feel guilty! Gosh! Every mother I know feels guilty at least 10 times a day!
It’s incredibly hard to balance being a working mum, but in saying that it’s incredibly hard to be a stay at home mum. I’ve done both, and they are equally as hard. When you’re a working mum you do get that rush of achieving goals which I love. But when you’re an at home mum, you don’t get that. My husband and I say; whoever is at home has a much harder job! I love my kids, yes, at times they drive me nuts, but I think I’m a much better mother when I have the balance of home and work!
When you’re in the kitchen what is your it dish to make?
Before I had kids, I was very nervous in the kitchen. I wasn’t a good cook, I would be terrified of making anything for anyone. But when you become a parent you have no choice!
I actually don’t have a key dish I’m good at. I have a habit of buying so many different recipe books and just grab one and flick through it and find something I think will be amazing. I buy all the ingredients and hopefully wing it! I follow the recipe and more often than not, it turns out pretty good. I say to my husband, I’m nervous, he says, “you’ll be right”, and then “oh my god this is amazing, it’s like being in a restaurant!”
For example, the other day I made this barramundi with this amazing sauce, I really enjoy cooking now, so I love trying amazing recipes. I’m not one to open the fridge and whip something up. I definitely need a recipe to follow!
Describe yourself in 3 words
Hahaha! Well, that depends which day you get me on!
I would like to say Kind, Empathetic and hopefully Fun!
Whats your favourite thing about being a mum?
Watching these little people you have created, come into themselves. Watching them accomplish things they never thought they could. I just love watching them grow and become young adults. It’s just crazy, I love their exploration on life.
Do you have a signature scent?
Your favourite label or shop you love to pop in when you have a spare 20mins.
I do love Scanlan and Theodore, I love their winter collections.
Nique, they just have the coolest basics which I live in these days!
Name one thing you can’t live without in your handbag.
I’m going to have to go one and a half things.
My phone and headphones.
I use both every day for my meditation.
Do you have a song that when it comes on the radio etc you just can’t help but sing along and/or have a dance?
Jessica Mauby’s new song; ‘We got love!’
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self on life?
Slow down, get your feet in the grass, take your time, smell the roses!
As you can see from these gorgeous images, Chi Khi is easily mixed and matched and has a cool, urban vibe that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Not only will your kids be super comfy but stylish.
Limited Edition MUMMY & ME collection is currently available. You can now also join in on the fun!