Her beloved (“super glamorous”) grandmother set Alessandra Steinherr on the path to becoming a beauty maven when she gave her 13-year-old granddaughter her first Clinique Three-Step Skincare. A “magazine obsessed” girl, Alessandra spent hours poring over Italian and French Vogue – “never the fashion, always the faces” – and decamped to London after university to follow her passion.
She’s now one of the best beauty editors in the business. As Beauty Director at GLAMOUR magazine, she oversees the glossy’s beauty pages and shoots, working with a slew of famous faces and photographers. On Instagram there’s a constant virtual queue for her #AskAlex sessions, in which she shares her expert beauty and product advice. “I am,” she owns cheerfully, “obsessed with products. I love them so much and try everything.”
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
There’s a lot of things I’d say to her! But the one thing I would definitely say is: wear that bloody bikini! I wish my 18-year-old self was more like me now. You know, more forgiving. When you’re young, you think it’s all about you, and as you get older you realise it’s not, and that everyone around you goes through struggles. So I would say, be more forgiving of others and yourself.
When are you happiest?
When I’m with my nephews and nieces. My brother has three children, the twins are 4 and the eldest in 7, and they live in Switzerland, and my happiest time is when I’m in mountains with them. It makes me so happy because I can see the real joy of children. When I’m with them, I feel the pure joy of living the moment.
Who or what is the love of your life?
Actually, it’s my ex-husband. Weird, but true. We were very happy together. Apart from him, I would say my brother. We’ve always been very close and even though we don’t live in the same city, we are very connected.
What keeps you awake at night?
I am a great sleeper – I sleep really well! Work, stress, emotions… nothing gets better by not sleeping. So nothing keeps me awake- unless my neighbour is being a bit noisy!
What’s your favourite perfume?
My absolute favourite perfume is Cocomandel by Chanel. I wear it nearly all the time. It makes me feel powerful – and by powerful mean it confident. My grandma used to wear No 5 and the reason I can’t wear it is that it makes me feel incredibly emotional thinking of her when I smell it. But I love the fact that my favourite scent is Chanel, too.
What’s your greatest achievement?
I think my greatest achievement is not to take myself too serious. There are a lot of serious things that I do, but I try to do them with humour. I always have an open mind.
What quality do all your female friends all have in common?
I have a lot of diverse friends, but they all have a sense of purpose in their lives. Whether it’s being the best mother or being the best in their chosen career – they have that sense of purpose; they’re all go-getters.
Over or under dressed?
Minimalist or maximalist?
Barefaced or full face of make up?
Night in or out?
Oh God, night in. I’m such a granny.
Spring or autumn?
I’m love with Dwayne Johnson, the Rock. His Instagam is my motivation.
Expensive candles. If I could only have one? Amber by Diptyque.