Jessica Mauboy on body image, diversity and creating her new fragrance.

Since being crowned Australian Idol runner-up at just 16, Jessica Mauboy‘s achieved platinum sales and numerous top 10 singles. She’s also starred in The Sapphires and Bran Nue Dae, represented Australia in its very first Eurovision performance, and has even dabbled in fashion design.

Now, the 26-year-old has turned her hand to fragrance, teaming up with BrandPoint to create Be Beautiful (FYI, she even designed the bottle). It hits stores next month, and it won’t burn a hole in your bank account — the 100mL bottle is just $34.95.

Here’s what Jess told us about the perfume process, her views on body image and diversity, and the challenges of long-distance relationships.

On Australian Idol, judge Kyle Sandilands made a comment about your body that still makes us cringe. How did it feel to be subjected to that scrutiny at such a young age?

“It was hard. I was a little tough cookie, I must say. At the age of 16 I had already been travelling with music, so I understood how that entertainment world works and sometimes makes you feel at your lowest. So I never let it get to me, I think that was important as a 16-year-old. I really think at that age you shouldn’t be thinking about your body that way — obviously, being healthy and having a regimen you do, but not to the point where it makes you feel sick.

Mauboy in her Australian Idol days. (Getty)


"You have to have a balance and good people around you. I had strong parents who helped me get through some of those comments and I had a community backing me, the whole country. I think [Kyle]'s remark was certainly wrong especially with me being 16-year-old at the time, but I was a strong kid. I was switched on and didn't really take it to heart and I had good people to say to me, 'You don't need that'."

Looking back, what do you wish 16-year-old Jess knew about body image?

"My gut feeling was always saying, 'You just do you. You do what feels right and what feels good'. I think that's how everyone should live their life mentally and physically. You do what's best for you. Sometimes those spurts of inspiration as well — there's no harm in getting advice and looking to someone for inspiration. Mine are Mariah [Carey] and J-Lo. Mariah's all about being funny and having a bit of a play but she's so solid in her business. J-Lo's so fit and she has a business mind, and she's just on it."


What were you hoping to evoke with Be Beautiful?

"I wanted something that identified me coming from Darwin. That's where I spent my days as a child, being outdoors and barefoot playing in the sand and the saltwater and freshwater. It was the smell of the rain and the freshness that always threw me and kept me standing there and daydreaming. That's what I wanted. Going through the process of breaking those smells down was really interesting and challenging, it was like talking another language."

How do you hope women will feel when they wear it?

"I think the three key words are comfortable, warm and alive. It's meant to make you feel like everything's possible."

What's a budget beauty product you swear by?

"It's a mascara from L'Oreal, the 4D — the silver bullet mascara [Lash Architect 4D False Lashes Mascara]. It's one of my favourites because it's thick, and if I just want to have a 'plain Jane' day I just smack that on and it makes my eyes bigger and fuller. I love Priceline, I'm always there!" (Post continues after gallery.)

Your Sapphires co-star Miranda Tapsell has spoken recently about the need for more diversity in Australia's entertainment industry. Have you noticed a change during your time as a musician?

"Absolutely, a mega change. It's one where you go, wouldn't you think that would be happening? I think it goes with people who have strong voices and who have the guts to stand up for themselves and spread the word. What Miranda did made me feel really proud to not just be the one up there. I want the kids from the community to have that opportunity to be able to do that, or [if] you're from Blacktown or Penrith.


Diversity is important and we need that in this country, and to continuously fight for that. I think it's a good thing to be able to fight for something that feels right, and to be having debates about that, because it's a conversation we need to be having. I love it. I think it's great that we're moving and in a transition of finding ourselves as a country, and building — as a community and individually as well, but together."

Jessica with The Glow's writer, Kahla

You've been with your partner for such a long time, and you're often in different parts of the country or world. How do you make that work?

"It makes it easy to be open and to talk about it and to not be too personal. It is difficult being away from him, I think the more I am with him and then I go away makes it so much harder. I was recently home for three days and I was just getting the rhythm and the pace of being home and all of a sudden I had to fly out again, and I remember crying on the plane. I was like, 'I'm happy... but I'm sad?'

It was good to realise that I have something that's good and it's solid and it's real. And I'm open to it. Both of us are on that plane where we're still getting to know each other every time we're together. It's always a butterfly feeling getting to see him for the first time [after being away]."

You're close friends with your MUA, Victoria Baron. What's the best trick she's taught you?

"She's taught me a lot about eyebrow work — she's helped me grow my eyebrows back! She's got me using a lighter colour — I'm using the Tom Ford [Brow Sculpter], the 'Chestnut' colour. She's taught me that trick of when your hair goes lighter and you want to wear darker makeup, try lightening your eyebrows. It lightens everything up." (Post continues after gallery.)


What's your favourite workout?

"I love running, outdoor running, indoor running. I always have trip-up moments [while running]; I always envision myself falling before it actually happens, which sometimes it does. And often melodies and music just fill my brain. Also, more than anywhere else, I waste time at the gym, doing weights, running... being in that environment really gets you going."

What's your workout jam?

"I've been constantly listening to the '90s — Sonique's Feels So Good, that is my jam. It's a good one to get you in the mood, a good starting one."

Jess is the current face of Target Womenswear (Getty)

You always nail a bright lip. What's your go-to shade?

For every corporate event I do when I have to do my makeup myself, NARS is the one to go to. I'm loving Red Square and Dragon Girl. And their matte lip pencils, they go on like... Oh my God. I love a good matte lip. Kat von D has come out with some good ones too, the burgandy is my favourite. If you feel like being a bad girl, put that on!"

Jessica Mauboy's fragrance Be Beautiful EDT will be available at retail chains from October 30.