The British-born fashion influencer and television presenter on her expectant style uniform and making it big in the US
Louise Roe may be British, but she has the sunny temperament of her adopted city of Los Angeles. Her infectious enthusiasm means that even when she is talking about morning sickness, the television presenter and fashion influencer manages to sound upbeat. Born in the green hills of Surrey, Louise made the move Stateside when she discovered by chance that she had a natural talent on screen. After standing in for her magazine editor on a morning TV show segment, she took an unexpected turn in her career path, switching from fashion writing to presenting. Covering the Oscars for Vogue.com in L.A., she realised that she had fallen in love with “the energy and excitement of this city,” and shortly after swapped the moody skies of London for the West Coast. “I wanted to give it a crack and was already doing some TV hosting by then, so I moved out and got a little flat in West Hollywood, near where we live now.” It was an audacious move that paid off. “I was very lucky, within six months Plain Jane had been commissioned, which was the makeover show I presented for the following five years,” she says.
While Louise casually puts her success down to luck, her rapid rise to fame in the US (a notoriously difficult market to crack) is due to more than just good fortune. Watch her on camera and it’s immediately apparent why her warmth and quick wit have seen her charm everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Jessica Chastain. It also doesn’t hurt that she is consummately professional, beautiful and stylish. In fact, she is so renowned for her ability to pull together a covetable look that alongside presenting, she has also written a book on personal style and founded a site, Front Roe. “I was getting lots of style and relationship questions online from followers and fans of Plain Jane – plus I missed the creative process of shooting and writing articles that magazines had given me. So I decided to create a hub where I could chat to people, offer ideas and answer questions.”
I’ve loved feeling her kick and remembering there’s an actual little person in there. It’s hard to wrap my head around.
Since publicly announcing she was expecting at five months Louise has been detailing her pregnancy journey on Front Roe, writing about everything from beauty advice to how she has been feeling in each trimester. When I ask what she has found most difficult she says, “Nausea. I had it in the first trimester and it’s come back in the third. And I miss having lots of energy to go out in the evenings, I’m a hermit now!” While she may be staying in more often, true to form, she has made dressing when expecting look effortless, which anyone who has faced the sartorial challenges of a bump knows is no mean feat. Her go-to maternity uniform? “The cozy rust-toned sweater from this shoot and the black jeans are heaven, I could live in those.” It’s a look that echoes her classically chic style. “As I get older, I love more timeless, quality pieces – like the perfect pair of black leather pants, a brown cashmere sweater, patent boots. I love vintage gold earrings and a really killer pair of heels. Of course, I’m saying all this as an almost-mum, so we’ll see how long the heels last?!”
Her perfectly polished appearance might not suggest it, but Louise has a surprisingly keen sense of humour. Watch any of the vlogs on her YouTube channel and you’ll see in the quick-fire exchanges between the 36-year-old and her British husband Mackenzie Hunkin (who took the pictures for this story) that she isn’t afraid to make fun of herself. It’s also refreshing to see an influencer that invites her followers behind-the-scenes to see the reality of staged social-media shoots. She met Mackenzie in 2011 on the set of Plain Jane. “He was the director. So cliche haha! We spent five years working together and travelling the world, before realising that actually, perhaps there was more to this than friendship. I honestly always believed in love at first sight before that, and less in the idea that you could grow feelings for someone. But I love the fact that when we got together, we were already best mates who knew and respected each other deeply. That’s a lovely foundation,” she says. Now she is excited to see Mackenzie as a father, “He’s going to be incredible and I can’t wait to watch.”
The pair have obviously made a happy life together in LA, but do they ever think about moving back home, especially as they have a baby on the way now? “I do miss the humour, history and deep-rooted culture of Europe very much,” she says. But in a characteristically positive spin she continues, “I’ve learned to try and appreciate what’s there in front of me, rather than focusing on what a certain city can be lacking.” Plus, there are positives to living in the US I hint… Like the fact that there seem to be so many more celebrations around pregnancy and birth. “Yes I think so – they don’t really have baby registries in England, and gender reveals aren’t so well known either. The one I am looking forward to celebrating, is the idea of a ‘push present’!” she says with a wink.
In Her Words
NINE LONG MONTHS OR NINE JOYOUS MONTHS?
A bit of both...
HIDE THE BUMP OR SHOW OFF THE BUMP?
Show it off!
WHAT COULDN'T YOU LIVE WITHOUT WHEN PREGNANT?
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT PREGNANCY?
How nice people are to you. Especially men - it seems to bring out the gentlemen!
YOUR ADVICE FOR OTHER PREGNANT WOMEN?
Don't Google too much, just ask your doctor instead. And take everyone's advice with a pinch of salt. People love to share a horror birth story, but as our nurse said, nobody wants to share 'my labor was totally average and all was ok' - which is how most of them go.
WHAT HAVE YOU LOVED MOST ABOUT BEING PREGNANT?
Feeling her kick and remembering there's an actual little person in there. It's hard to wrap my head around.
YOUR GO-TO DESIGNERS WHEN EXPECTING?
Paige, Joseph, Gucci
WHAT HAVE YOU MISSED MOST?
Cocktails, smoked salmon, sleeping on my tummy.
BOY, GIRL OR WAITING TO FIND OUT?
IF YOUR PARTNER COULD CARRY THE BABY WOULD YOU LET HIM?
I asked him if he had been jealous of any moments I’ve had and he replied, without hesitation, ‘No!’ But in my worst moments of nausea and exhaustion he did say he wished he could switch with me. At first I thought that was very noble, before realizing it's a pretty safe 'promise' for him to make!
Photography by Mackenzie Hunkin
Written by Amanda Woodward-Brown