The influencer, who reaches a collective two million followers, tells Danielle Snyder about working with her husband, drinking with Lisa Vanderpump and her fearless approach to new challenges.
Danielle Snyder with Louise Roe in Dannijo's Chelsea showroom.
Louise Roe has it all going on. She's a journalist, author, and television host, as well as one of the most popular lifestyle influencers on social media. She’s also a new mom, and her Instagram feed suggests a masterful juggling act.
But on the latest episode of #NoFilter with Danielle Snyder, Louise insists she’s every bit like the rest of us. “A friend of mine said to me recently—another influencer who has a child and is about to give birth again—she was like, ‘Balance is such a sort of bullshit.’ She said, ‘You'll get balance for five minutes or maybe a day, and then it goes away again.’ It's very fleeting… That made me kind of go, ‘Ah, okay. So I'm normal and it's all right.’ Because I left my baby who's eight months old for the longest I've ever left her, and I cried lots.”
But both women agree that the Instagram grid isn’t for their bleaker moments. “It's nice to put up pictures that are either fashion inspiration or beauty inspiration or a really cool moment, but I do try and reflect the real story across different social media platforms,” Louise explains. “Instagram Stories or perhaps YouTube—where I have a vlog that Mackenzie [Hunkin, Louise’s husband] and I do regularly together—that is us being happy, sad, looking awful, no makeup, just worked out.”
Louise, whose social media presence reaches a collective two million followers, began her career in her native UK as the news editor of Vogue.com. Video reporting proved her talent on camera, and she moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to pursue a career in television. “I was in my mid-20s, and I was way braver and ballsier than I am now,” Louise admits. “My dad always says, ‘That was so brave,’ and at the time I was like, ‘No big deal, Dad. I'm just going to LA.’ I didn't have too many expectations. I was ambitious, yes, but I was also quite realistic that it will probably fail.”
Louise with baby daughter Honor.
Of course, failure wasn’t on the cards for Louise. Her fashion instincts won her a role as host of MTV makeover dating show, Plain Jane, as well as NBC’s Fashion Star, appearances alongside Joan Rivers on E!'s Fashion Police, a role in The City, and red carpet coverage for ABC and Access Hollywood.
“There was a very cool moment when I anchored the live Oscars coverage for ABC,” she remembers. “I had my own stage on the red carpet. Normally, you're jostling for position. And we were live, and there were 32 million people apparently.” Louise thrives on that kind of pressure. “I love live TV more than recorded because there's only one go,” she says. “It's always the funniest the first time. You don't have to do 10 takes.”
With so much red carpet experience under her belt, Louise doesn’t get starstruck. Or at least not with the people you would expect. “I've met all the sort of movie stars,” she says. “If I met someone from Below Deck or Vanderpump Rules on Bravo, I'd freak out way more.” In fact, she now counts Lisa Vanderpump as a friend. “She's an absolute rockstar. She can drink anyone under the table and still be fabulous.”
Generally speaking, making friends in LA didn’t come easy. “I struggled for many years,” Louise says. “I still do sometimes. It's a very transient city. It's a city where people are constantly coming and going … It's taken me a long time to find very close-knit girlfriends. I've been let down by people to be honest.”
In fact, unlike the parodies we see on screen, Louise has found the fashion industry to be a source of her longest-standing friendships. “Some of my best, best friends, all four of my bridesmaids I met through the fashion industry, granted it was in London,” she says. “I worked at Vogue.com, at Condé Nast, notably one of the scariest, but not really. There are scary people in every office building.”
I've met all sorts of movie stars. If I met someone from Below Deck or Vanderpump Rules on Bravo, I'd freak out way more.
The approach to business is different in LA too. “I quickly learnt that in LA you can have the most amazing meeting, and in London, people don't tend to get overexcited,” she says. “They'll be quite realistic with you in a meeting. In LA, they’ll be, ‘Yes, and when you're on this show, and when you do this…’ And you're like, oh my god, I've nailed it. I've got it. Let's just sign the contract. And then you just never hear anything. I think that was a bit of a learning curve.”
Louise’s transition from TV personality to influencer began when she started fielding questions from viewers on Facebook and Twitter. She had also been missing styling photo shoots and writing articles. “I thought, ‘Okay. I need to perhaps create a hub, where people can ask questions,’” she says. “And it was genuinely created, the blog—it's called Front Roe—for the purpose of answering people's questions rather than turning it into a business. Of course, in the back of my mind, I hoped it one day would, but there was no rush on that.”
Today, being Louise Roe is very much a business, one she runs with her husband, who was her director on Plain Jane. (Mackenzie, incidentally, is a distant relation of Bing Crosby. “I was like, ‘Stop. Hold on,’” she says. “I was like, ‘I would've married you sooner if I knew you were related to the Rat Pack.’ White Christmas me up.”)
“My husband and I, we worked together for years, we had a real connection and a bond.” Louise says of Mackenzie, who she married in 2016. “We were both in different relationships, so I don't think we even thought of it that way, but when I look back now, I know that we made each other laugh a lot … We just had a good rapport, and I think it was the final series when we kind of realized there was some more going on, but it took us a minute.”
Louise Roe in Dannijo earrings and slip dress at the Dannijo 10th anniversary dinner at Le Turtle in New York City.
Working with one’s spouse 24/7 isn’t easy though. “There are moments when you have to kind of take it back to being professional,” she says. “We'll be on a shoot and he'll go, ‘Would you speak to a normal photographer that way!?’ And I’ll say, ‘Would you speak to a normal model this way!?’
“You have to remember to be polite. But I love it. I wouldn't swap it. It gives us the ability to travel together, because any work job where I would normally have to hire a videographer or an editor or a photographer, it's us together, and it also means that we see more of our baby and I love that. I feel very lucky for that.”
Louise describes Honor, their daughter, as “the coolest thing ever,” though she didn’t really enjoy pregnancy. “It goes on, and on, and on, but I think that really prepares you for all the lifestyle changes [of motherhood],” she says. “You're already not really sleeping very well and you're already sacrificing a lot ... Your body has kind of not been yours. And so when she was born, I was like, ‘Oh, finally. There's a reward here. Here you are. This is all worth it.’”
And despite the exhaustion and toothaches and mess that come with a baby, she’s enjoying being a mother. “I love being a mom way more than I thought I would,” she says. “Even friends have turned around, lots of friends, have said, ‘I'm really surprised how amazing you are at this.’ I'm like, ‘What did you think!?’”
Louise on vacation with husband Mackenzie.
It’s also inspired her to tackle different subject matter on Front Roe. “I'm writing a lot more emotionally driven or even politically driven pieces,” she says. “I put up a piece about how I thought maternity leave was appalling in the US, because the more you look into it, it is so much shorter than Europe and other parts of the world. There are even other countries that are worse than the US. I wrote a piece, did some research, asked people their thoughts and the piece blew up. People magazine asked to print it.”
She’s found pumping to be another issue that’s sparked dialogue. “When you breastfeed, you have to pump, right? Oh my god. There's nowhere to bloody well do it,” she says. “I have crouched in airport toilets, and it's not very sanitary. It's not fun. It's quite soul-destroying to be honest.”
Louise says her fearlessness when it comes to new ideas, projects and challenges comes from her mother. “I remember my mum turning around to me in the kitchen at home before I left [for LA] and she said, ‘It's not failing, just come home. No big deal. You tried.’ And it was that permission to not feel like, ‘Oh my god, how embarrassing if I fail,’” she remembers.
“I think that has actually changed the way I look at all scary prospects now. It's like, just give it a go, and it's okay if you turn around and say, ‘That's not right for me.’ You don't have to stick something out.”