When you’re invited to interview a stylist and blogger who also happens to be the wife of Australian singing royalty and a former Miss Universe Australia during Fashion Week, naturally you jump at the opportunity.

I first spot Jules Sebastian and Renae Ayris sitting front row at IXIAH’s Fashion Week presentation, held in April, but when the show finishes, they are nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, their PR manager calls, and we’re quickly ushered outside. Sebastian and Ayris, originally from Adelaide and Perth respectively – Sebastian is now based in Sydney – are pleased to discover that the TUS team are Adelaide-based.

“That’s why you’re so nice,” Sebastian says.

Buoyed by her kind compliment, I promise the interview will only take a matter of minutes and that our video camera is ready to roll.

So what happens when technology fails you and your video interview suddenly turns into a few quick photographs and an interview recorded via iPhone instead?

Unlike the diva-esque celebrities we so often come across, Sebastian and Ayris are understanding, posing for snaps and giving us their full attention. (Crisis averted!)

Jules SebastianRenae Ayris TUS: What’s been your favourite collection this Fashion Week? 
Ayris: Mine’s been Alice McCall for sure.  There were so many amazing pieces. I love jumpsuits and there was a lot of pretty jumpsuits, so that was definitely my favourite.
Sebastian: Maticevski… I know everyone’s going to say it but wow! He’s just.. he’s a genius of some degree, everything he does. I love it because it’s so fashion, but it’s very girly and it’s very wearable as well, so you can wear it out for dinner or you can wear it to a red carpet event.

TUS: What are your style tips? 
Ayris: I have a simple style. I just throw jeans, a shirt and boots on and that’s me. I’m not a real fashionista like Jules here, but obviously because I have so many events and stuff I like to dress down during the day and then when I go out I have to wear a cocktail dress or a nice skirt and top, so when I can I just throw on my jeans and cons and that’s my everyday style pretty much.
Sebastian: I’m the same because I’m a mother, so I have to get down and dirty with the babies. And I’m a stylist, and I know that might seem like a glamorous thing, but really I am getting down and dirty most days on the floor pinning something, clipping something, it’s not a glamorous job at all. There are moments of glamour, but mostly the moments of glamour are for the person you’re dressing. I just happen to be on the flip-side because I’m attached to somebody who does those red carpets and those sorts of things, so I get to be a part of that glamorous part as well, so I get the best of both worlds I think.

TUS: What are some of the key trends for Autumn/Winter?
Sebastian: I call them skivvies because I’m from Adelaide and people think in talking about The Wiggles – but you know, big scroll necks, big oversized woollen jumpers and everything oversized, which I LOVE!

TUS: Renae, which shows have you attended this week?
Ayris: I only got back from Perth on Sunday night. I flew in at 11 o’clock and then I went to Bec and Bridge; Bec and Bridge was amazing. Aje was good, by johnny. was amazing and Steven Khalil. Oh, the Swarovski lunch was beautiful and delicious, the dessert was really great. A lot of people didn’t eat it, but I ate it.

Sebastian: Yes, Renae is a model who eats. On the first day I met her she ate hot chips and I was so happy.

Models at Maticevski

Models at Maticevski

TUS: So what’s your secret to looking phenomenal – a lot of working out?
Ayris: I think it’s genetics if I’m being honest. I do work out every now and then because I have a personal trainer that makes me – and I live with her, so she makes me go. I still know I have to keep my body fit, so I do go for walks and lift weights every now and then.

TUS: You’re just one of those blessed people!

TUS: So Jules, tell us about Tea with Jules!
Sebastian: I just had an idea one day and I thought ‘I’m going to do this’, so that’s really what happened. You know, we’re from Adelaide so we like the pop in, where you just pop in to someone’s house. It’s not really a thing in Sydney, I’ve discovered. I’m kind of renowned in my friendship circle for coming over to someone’s house, having a cup of tea, sitting down on the couch, just you know, talking it out. So I thought wouldn’t it be a cool idea if I could talk to other people that are awesome and inspiring in the industry and get the low-down on how they got from where they were in life to where they are now? So I’ve just chosen people that I’ve met along the way working in the industry and people I’ve never met that I love, and I’ve just sort of reached out.

TUS: Has there been anyone where you’ve thought ‘I can’t believe I get to talk to this person?’
Sebastian: Yeah, pretty much everyone. My dream person was Lisa Messenger. I’ve read her books and I love the magazine and I thought that would be really awesome, but it’s probably not going to happen. And so I somehow got a hold of her direct email like a stalker and I wrote the email and it took me two hours to send it because I re-read it that many times, and I sent it to my manager and was like, ‘I need a pep-talk’. So I sent it off and she wrote back straight away saying ‘I’d love to’, so it was great.

Yeah, I spoke with her last week. I was doing nervous wees and everything, but she was so nice it was nothing to worry about at all. It’s one of those weird things where… you discover very fast .. that everyone is very normal. People are just people at the end of the day, and even though they are achieving amazing things, and they’re up there in the spotlight and whatever, they’re still people and they still have feelings and they still have their own journeys and their own stories. We all know the shiny bits – you can see that from Instagram and from their career – but I like the grit and finding out how they got there; that’s what I’m really interested in. So that’s what it’s all about: the stories and journeys of people and finding out the goss.

TUS: And you did an interview with Guy as well.
Sebastian: I did.


TUS: Was that weird? Were any of his answers surprising?
Sebastian: yeah, there’s a bit of drama around that one. I did ask him annoying questions because I know him so well and I know there’s questions he gets asked about 50 times a day, so I went in with those ones first just to annoy him. So it got off to a really bad start, because he didn’t appreciate that at all. So yeah, I’ll let you see how that unfolds – it’s pretty funny. But we’re okay now, everything’s fine.

TUS: No surprises like extra children he wants that you don’t, or anything like that?
Sebastian: No nothing like that, thank god. No we’re done, I’m done; I’m happy with my 2 boys.

TUS: We saw photos of your boys on Instagram; they’re gorgeous!
Sebastian: Yeah they’re awesome, they’re so cute.

TUS: Being from Adelaide, do you miss it? How often do you go back?
Sebastian: Not as often as I would like to! My parents are there, and my brother and my two nieces are there. And most of Guy’s family are there, so we try to get back as much as we can. We just went for Christmas, which was an ordeal because there are so many kids, but it’s fun; it’s fun to get everyone together. I do miss it; I miss my friends, and that familiarity. Sydney probably feels like home now that I’ve been here for a while, but Adelaide will always be home too, it will always be special to me.

TUS: That’s lovely.
Sebastian: No it is, it’s such a nice place to grow up and I wish I could give my kids that experience as well. Growing up in Sydney, you know, Guy and I are looking for schools and that sort of thing… I have no idea where to send them! Oh and the parking – parking for 15 minutes is $12 in Sydney. It’s a different life and a different pace. I’m still an Adelaide girl at heart; I’m still a country girl.

TUS: Yeah, we’re like a big country town, aren’t we?
Sebastian: Yeah I do like it and I like how slow people drive, it’s really refreshing… well, not slow, but on the speed limit! They’re mean and furious here – I’m mean and furious to survive!