There are lovely ways to spend a morning and chatting to Australian singer, actor and performer, Natalie Bassingthwaighte is one of them.
I did just that recently when she very kindly granted me a phone interview whilst filming X-Factor in New Zealand.
We talked about fashion, X-Factor, her childrenswear range and that illusive work/life balance.
How is it going in New Zealand?
It’s going really well! I feel like I’ve been welcomed with open arms and the people here are just so nice.
Are you there with your children?
Right now I’m not but the first week I came over by myself for four days because I literally found out 24 hours before. We film for 4 days so the next week I brought the whole family over for 2 week.
The last two weeks I’ve only been here on and off and then next week they are all coming back again.
That’s the worst bit, them not being here for four days. It’s very unusual for me to be away from them. It’s the hardest thing for sure.
Was it hard to jump into X Factor NZ at the deep end after the last judges left so abruptly?
The hardest bit was meeting new contestants for the first time and hoping that they feel comfortable enough with you that you can take them onto the finale.
Getting there 24 hours before and being part of a live show when normally you’d have a few months working with your contestants or at least having known them. That was the most challenging thing.
I’m a massive fan of All Saints! What’s fellow judge Melanie Blatt like?
She’s so great! Her and I bonded instantly. I flew in on the Friday night and I had dinner with her and we really gelled. I think she’s a really great girl.
Lets talk about Chi Khi, what made you decide to go into childrenswear?
When you become a mum your whole world ends up being focussed on your children. You are always buying clothes for them, it’s always about them now instead of you which is a lovely thing. But also I was inspired by them and my experiences as a mum. I’ve never been afraid of trying new things over the years.
I’ve got a love of design and I love business ventures too. My husband and I have invested in property and pubs together. I wondered how can I create something that involves my kids because they are everything to me now.
What could I do that gives me more time to be with them. Like a lot of mums like you, we want to work from home, choose our own hours and create something we’re really passionate about.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for the range?
Probably in my own dress sense. The last few years I’ve really come into my own style. For awhile there I was a host, judge..when I first started out in television in those roles I felt like I had to play a character in essence.
If you’re the host you should wear a certain kind of outfit and what I’ve realised is that you can really be yourself and dress for your body shape and also for you. I feel like that’s what I’ve done.
I’ve worn more unisex kind of stuff. Baggier pants, oversized shapes, dressing for comfortability and also design. I love the shapes that have come out in the last few years.
So the kids line was inspired by that. Freedom of expression and having that element of comfortability because as a parent the worst thing is spending money on your kids clothes and them saying they don’t want to wear it.
What’s your favourite part of the business?
I think my favourite part is the creative side. The design team showing me all the pieces they’ve been working on. Before they do that we show inspiration pics back and forth to each-other and they come up with the range and then I’ll input.
It’s using their design skills which I don’t have but I know what I want it to look like.
You described your personal style a little bit, who would your favourite style icon be?
I’m really loving Emma Stone at the moment. I feel like she’s come into her own over the last year. She’s not afraid to take risks. She seems to do it with absolute ease.
Can you share some of your favourite labels? I know you love LXE..
LXE are amazing! I feel like ‘Chi Khi’, they are really considered in their designs and they’ve made bold choices. They are comfortable. I have a few of their pieces now and they stand out. Everything you buy from them feels like a statement piece. You can mix and match and go from day to night. I love that combination!
Scanlan and Theodore, I pretty much own everything! Every time they bring out new stuff I’m in there buying everything. You can wear it in so many different ways and it fits so well.
What’s your go-to outfit when you’re in a rush and you want to look good?
I have 4 pairs of Scanlan and Theodore low crotch pants, half jean – half pants. I wear them every day with my Louboutin loafers. It dresses it up a bit and you’re not wearing heels so you can run around in them.
Then usually a t-shirt, there is a brand in Melbourne called Nique that I adore. They make fabulous bamboo tees. It’s an effortless outfit, just add a good bag.
Any plans to return to singing?
Every time I do X-Factor I want to get up there and sing but then when I go back to my real life I don’t know how I would fit it in. One thing I’ve learnt about being an artist over all these years is the commitment takes so much of your time.
You have to write and record an album. You have to promote it and tour. I’m not quite sure I could fit it in right now but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to get up and sing.
You’re so busy, flying back and forth, designing the range, family life.. how do you find work, like, balance?
That’s the biggest juggle, as any working mum would say. I don’t know if it’s ever easy. The biggest thing for me is I have an amazing husband. We genuinely share the workload of being a parent.
We are both from the entertainment industry so we don’t have Mon – Fri, 9-5 jobs. We juggle, we have a big calender and we sit down and balance it out.
The only things that are definite every week is my daughter goes to kindy Wednesdays and Fridays, both kids have gymnastics on Tuesdays and swimming on Thursdays.
Outside of that we try and fit work. We’ll always have one of us with the kids and we have help 2 days a week. We’ll also try and do work when the kids have gone to bed from 8-11pm. I’m dying to have a night just sitting in front of the TV.
What are your future plans for Chi Khi?
We are developing skincare for babies and we’re hoping to launch some of that in August this year. My kids were my guinea pigs. We knew we were using great ingredients that were good for kids with sensitive skin.
We’ve got the most beautiful moisturizer and also nappy balm. I used it on my son and the next day all the redness was completely gone. So we’re really excited about launching that and then we’ll be stuck into the Spring/Summer range.
But today I’m off to the gym for the first time in ages!
Thanks for that Nat! You are an absolute angel, such a pleasure to talk to you. I could have chatted all day!
About Chi Khi
Chi Khi’s designs are perfect for style proud little people. Versatile and adjustable, they cater for those fast growing bodies.
Chi Khi, has recently released gorgeous gift packs perfect for new Mums and just in time for Mother’s Day.