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Photography by Chris Thorn


Age: 50 TraceyDrakeB

Occupation: Editor in Chief & Creative Director, NICHE magazine

Describe yourself in under 100 words.

I am a woman first; daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother second and from these important roles, I have also become an exceptional publishing professional, a dynamic public speaker and a fierce advocate and mentor to young women in business. I love getting up in the morning and seeing what challenges each day presents. Admittedly, I have an A-type personality and I don’t think anyone that knows me would disagree. I love life, I believe in giving back and paying it forward, and I feel blessed with the many amazing experiences I’ve had and people I continue to meet on my incredible journey.

Beauty can be defined in so many ways. What is your definition of ‘beautiful’?

Beauty comes from within. We definitely beautify our exterior selves every day with fashion, makeup and skin care. However, true beauty radiates from the inside out. I define beautiful as someone that loves unconditionally, laughs uncontrollably and is not afraid to let their hair down and be their authentic self.

Why did you decide to participate in the RAW photo shoot and how was the experience?

Initially my interest was in the RAW Beauty initiative, and how I could raise awareness via NICHE magazine for this important social issue. Until Erin asked me, it never occurred to me to get in front of the camera and be a participant. However, I am so glad that I did. Once I got over the initial shock of being photographed ‘raw’ in a public place, it was really a fun morning. I loved every minute of it!

When do you feel most beautiful?

If the question is an expression of outer beauty, I feel most beautiful when I am laughing with my husband. If the question is an expression of inner beauty, I feel most beautiful when I am empowering others to try something new, step out of their comfort zone and be their best self. Perhaps that comes from my philosophy that beauty is truly “inside out”.

You and your husband seem to have an amazing relationship and you even run the magazine together.  Can you ask him right now what he finds most beautiful about you and write it down below.

“Her honest approach to everyone she meets, day in and day out.  She gives back far more than she ever takes and to me, this is real beauty.”

On average how much do you spend each month on cosmetic items such as make-up, hair cuts/colouring, waxing, clothing, nails, tanning, creams etc.

I work in the fashion and beauty industry. How I look each day, for better or worse, reflect on my position as well as my publication. On average, I spend $400 a month on hair, spa treatments, manicures and cosmetics.

Have you ever struggled with confidence, body image or insecurities in your life?

Oh gosh YES! As a young teen model, I struggled with achieving a body that the industry demanded (I was 5’9.5” tall, a size 6/8 and was asked to lose weight) so I left the modelling profession. I was a senior executive at 28, and constantly struggled with not only being the only woman in the boardroom, but often the tallest too! I learned to use my height as a business tool to command presence instead of accepting it as a hindrance or insecurity. In my early 30s, as my professional career grew, I often had to overcome stereotypical behaviour surrounding the myth that a pretty girl certainly couldn’t be a smart business woman as well. This is where my desire to help other young women was born. As an older woman now, I still struggle with my weight but I am at peace with my curves. I have a gaggle of grown children, a grandson that is 2 ½ and I have learned to accept who I am (all of me) and celebrate (most of) the wrinkles, lines, bumps and body quirks that come with ageing. I work in an industry where perfection is expected and beauty is often a skewed concept. Each day, I try to use NICHE as a vehicle for positive change by not altering images and retouching photos to make models appear slimmer or more perfect. If I can make others understand and accept that there is tremendous beauty in imperfection, I will be happy.

TraceyDrakeFHave you ever had cosmetic surgery or treatments?  Please share your thoughts on this.

I have not had any cosmetic surgery. I have a low tolerance for pain and cannot sit still for more than 10 minutes, so weeks of recuperation aren’t for me! However, I have trusted my face to my clinicians at Heaven Spa and they have taken good care of my face, including a photo facial, and a few Venus Swan skin rejuvenating treatments on my face and neck. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I used baby oil to tan instead of sunscreen. So, I had sunspots on my face that I was not comfortable with. These treatments are non-invasive and helped me to look and feel better. Recently, I have started to have regular facials that use water therapy (HydraFacial) and I swear by it now. I wear less makeup and feel more confident.

You are the Editor in Chief & Creative Director of NICHE Magazine, a gorgeous fashion, beauty and lifestyle publication.  One of the things we talk to people about at RAW is the power of photo restructuring and how commonly it is used to alter the appearance of people in print.  It seems that the majority of people would like to see the end of it when it comes to altering the bodies and faces of men and women.  What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think advertisers would ever jump on board with this?

At NICHE, we do very little photo retouching, especially compared to other fashion publications. We do believe in authentic beauty here, and personally, I want to ensure that what our younger readers are seeing in NICHE is a true representation. It doesn’t mean that we don’t use Photoshop, because we do. However, we do not alter body size, swap body parts or overly enhance the look of a model digitally. Even our cover shots are very minimally altered. For example, on our current cover (Spring COLOUR ISSUE 2014), the only alterations made to that image included brightening the colour of the nail polish, getting rid of a strand of hair that fell across her face, and removing red lipstick that was on the model’s teeth. There were no changes made to lines, hair smoothing, or body contouring.

You have the opportunity to see the “behind-the-scenes” of the production of a magazine.   Are there any secrets, fun facts or reminders that you would like to share with girls/women reading magazines?

So the one thing I would like young women to understand is that beauty seen in a fashion magazine is not altogether real. It is like watching a television show like Big Brother or Real Housewives. It is a distorted version of reality – scripted, planned and produced. I have met young fans and readers who aspire to live the life they ‘see’ in a fashion magazine. I tell these young women that the life they live now is SO much better – more authentic, more fun and certainly more important. By all means, please use fashion magazines for inspiration, to help curate a personal style and to learn about trends, beauty tips and fashion designers. However, don’t think that the life in the pages of a fashion magazine is better than the authentic life you can live now, every day in the real world. It is not.


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Instagram Handle: NICHEmagazine

Twitter Handle: tracey_NICHE

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