Today we’re speaking to Rosie Huntington Whiteley, the founder and model of a cosmetics and skin-care company that focuses on making high-performance, sustainable products.
She discusses how growing up in a rural town has kept her grounded and how her acne struggles helped inform the product formulations for Rose Inc.
“It is a rural area, and I grew up outdoors. I am the oldest of three siblings. I have a brother, and a sister. We grew up in a tiny farmhouse and went to school in a small community.
My parents dreamed of having a little farm and some animals to grow on their own. My dad was a chartered surveyor so he is very familiar with agriculture and farmland. My mom wore many hats during my childhood. She was a stay at home mum for various periods, but she also worked in a jewelry shop and a cafe. My childhood was idyllic and simple.
But as a teenager, I knew I wanted more. London was a place I loved and where I could fulfill my dreams. In the sense that fashion was something I was attracted to at an early age, I was very different from my classmates at school. My bedroom walls were not covered in pictures of movie stars and boy bands; instead, they were covered in images from fashion campaigns.
Beauty and fashion was certainly not exposed to me in any way because of where I come from. It was more popular with my mother. Funny because even though my mother is very ‘country’, she will always get her nails done. She loves lipstick. She has always been glamorous.
At 16 years old, I started modeling, and when I was 17 years old, I began to pursue it full-time. I quit school at an early age and began traveling the world. At 18 I moved to New York. It was a very simple start that helped me stay grounded all my life.
When I first moved to New York, I noticed that there was so much more available here. Every block has a nail salon. American women are more polished and up-to-date on beauty trends than I have ever seen. On the other hand, the UK places more emphasis on your uniqueness and personality.
When I started modeling, I was so excited to work in the fashion industry. At first, I thought I would be behind the scenes as a stylist/makeup artist. I have always been fascinated by the process of creating beautiful visuals. My family and I were shocked when the modeling business took off. When I began this career, I was excited and confident about the new experiences that I would have. The reality of modeling began to sink in. You’re constantly being told you have to improve this, and that you don’t have enough of it. There’s so much rejection, and that certainly has an impact on you.
My skin was too oily, my skin was too dull, and everything. I have been told this for years. It was a blessing that I was raised in a family that accepted me and loved me for being who I am. These were the things that I would always say to myself when I heard them. It doesn’t matter what you think. I have always been resilient and I have been able find clients and brands that celebrate what I bring to the table.
From an early age, my mum drilled into me the importance of being independent as a woman. She didn’t graduate from school with the education she wanted. She struggled with the realization that she could not bring more to her marriage. She instilled in me from an early age the importance of hard work and good manners. Many opportunities have come my way, and I am so grateful for them. But opportunity is only possible if you work hard, are strategic, willing to sacrifice, and persevere. My mum’s repeated encouragements to me to start my own business and have my own company has influenced my desire to be an entrepreneur.
I’ve dealt with acne-prone skin ever since I was a young teenager; my mother dealt with the same concern, as well. I have spent the last 18 years trying to manage this condition. This has led me on a research trip, meeting different dermatologists, doctors, and experts.
Switching to non-comedogenic makeup and skin care products was the one thing I found transformative. I made a list of 75 potential pore-clogging ingredients, and got rid all products that contained them. My acne was much easier to manage after I did this. Rose Inc. was a company that leaned heavily on my past experiences. It was crucial to ensure that the products were non-comedogenic. It’ll be a transformative experience for customers and I’m looking forward to it.”