Country Road // Q&A with Carla and Jeet

Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, has a focus on inner and outer wellbeing, with all-round happiness at the heart of her business. Here, she shares her entrepreneurial spirit and viewpoint on motherhood, accompanied by gorgeous model daughter Jeet.


You head up your own business, The Beauty Chef, and are also a devoted mother of two – to Otis and Jeet – it must be difficult at times to find balance. Can you describe your viewpoint on motherhood?

“Motherhood is powerful and all encompassing. There is a big part of my brain that is completely dedicated to thinking about my children – happy for them, worried about them, thinking of how I can help them, what they should do next. And then the biggest part of my heart is completely devoted to them, too. Sometimes my heart feels bursting with happiness and pride and other times it hurts if they are in pain. It is both a passion and a job and the greatest responsibility of all, but it is by far the most rewarding role I’ve ever had. I love the quote: “It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary – it’s an act of infinite optimism,” by Gilda Radner.

Can you share a favourite memory with your daughter?

“When Jeet was little we had a cubby house in our backyard and it was called The Super Yum Café. Jeet would spend hours making things in there and serving them up to us – she was always creating concoctions – of sticks, twigs and other inedible things. She was very funny and had really curly hair with dimples, she was so cute. My favourite memories are doing creative things with her, making things, she was always in her element being creative and still is.”

What is the greatest lesson your children have taught you?

“To be patient, open-minded, to practise gratitude and to pick my battles. And that as long as they are happy and healthy, nothing else really matters.”

Describe your personal style, which pieces are you drawn to?

“I am drawn to pieces that are simple, but beautiful and well made. I prefer to invest in a few good pieces that will last a long time. I love natural fabrics from an aesthetic and tactile perspective. I like how they look, the natural detail in their fibres and also how they feel on my skin and that they breathe – especially in summer.”

Have you taken style cues from your daughter over the years, do you share a similar approach to style?

“Jeet has a very acute eye when it comes to fashion, design and art and also she has golden ears for music. She is very cool and so occasionally I will pick up on something that she is wearing, but then I must ask her, “Am I too old to wear or do that?" and she generally says – “No, I think it would look great, Mum”. I really value her advice and opinions. She is clever and intuitive when it comes to many things including fashion. She and I are similar in that we are not afraid to be individuals when it comes to self-expression.”

Lastly, what is your idea of perfect happiness?

“My idea of perfect happiness right now is when my family are all together eating a homemade meal on a beautiful sunny day and I know that each and every one of them are in a good place, physically, mentally and emotionally and I can soak all of that up, be in the moment, and feel absolute joy.”

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Can you share a favourite memory with your mum?

“When we both lay face and body down on the gravel pavement on the Bondi promenade from a head over heels crash from doubling up on my scooter. We both lay there, immobile, mutually staring into each others eyes with extreme embarrassment, love and deep deep empathy. We went down together and back up.”

What inspires you most about your mum?

“She’s a cool mum, not an ordinary mum. She’s gracefully ambitious, strong, annoyingly intelligent, her unconditional love, generosity and her Benjamin Button beauty.”

What is the great lesson your mum has taught you?

“Be grateful, it’s okay to say no, and to always be inspired.”

Describe your personal style, which pieces are you drawn to?

“I’m always in a pair of jeans. I love anything baggy and comfy. I love wearing boy’s sportswear, baggy shirts, big jumpers and vintage clothes.”

Have you taken style cues from your mum over the years, do you share a similar approach to style?

“My mum’s style has definitely inspired my jean obsession and feminine side of dressing. She always wears beautiful fabrics, mid-length loose dresses, turtleneck soft jumpers and textured coats. These items have influenced the way I dress quite a lot. Most of our arguments arise from me stealing her clothes.”

Lastly, what is your idea of perfect happiness?

“My idea of perfect happiness is embracing vulnerability, accepting change and embarking on as many experiences and adventures as possible.”

This interview originally appeared on Live With Us by Country Road.


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