Frédérique Verley thrives in nature, is an animal lover and highly sensitive to the vibrational frequencies of her environment.
As French Vogue's Beauty Editor in Chief for the past 14 years, Frédérique makes kindness among her team a priority and, not surprisingly, she loves wellness, nutrition and sports.
Introducing an unconventional and humane woman who has made the practice of compassion a way of life.
Inside/Out: What would you like to share about being a woman and your career working in the beauty industry?
Frédérique Verley: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a boy to escape the pettiness of some of the girls. I found the boys to be more straightforward. My grandmother told me that because of girls could never be as strong as boys because of our charming and sensitive nature. I have never forgotten this. It definitely shaped my style which consists of boyish outfits and minimal make up. Later, though my work, I met interesting players in the wellness industry who, year after year, helped me create a daily routine that makes me feel good.
How would you define your work?
My job demands that I capture the 'spirit of the times' ('l'air du temps' in French) like identifying new trends and discovering new places and products to share with our readers.
In your opinion, how is the fitness space influencing the beauty industry?
For so long, beauty has been something we discuss in regard to superficial care. Let's shape up the outside for appearances sake. However, people are becoming increasingly aware that the way we feed ourselves, stress, how we care for our physical bodies - all of this has an influence on our health, our beauty, our skin.
What has changed, especially in Paris, in the social practice of sports in recent years and how does this impact beauty routines?
The number of studios in Paris has grown exponentially. The modalities as well, like meditation, cycling, boxing, all kings of yoga. There is a real passion today for activities that are good for us, for our minds, our bodies and our souls. Beauty evolves alongside of the more holistic options, ones that see the skin as an ecosystem. The leitmotif of the moment to me? Organic, respectful of the skin, the individual, the environment and meaningful.
Have we seen the emergence of a new language dedicated to the subject?
Yes, we have seen this whole wave of 'athleisure' products destined to be used before or after working out or copying the effects (such as the fractional laser peel modeled on High Intensity Interval Training). Not to mention all of the vocabulary inspired by holistic wellbeing.
Beauty has a strong mental and emotional component. How can we create bridges between beauty, the mind and the soul?
Through smells, colors and the areas where products are applied and on the chakras in particular. We can totally act directly on the mind. With benevolent beauty, meaning treatments and products that are respectful and gentle on our skin, that supports it rather than constraining it, we are moving towards an approach that is more zen.
Are natural ingredients becoming a prerequisite?
Yes, 100%. All natural, plant based, even vegan products are becoming a priority for more and more women. There is also an increased demand for cosmetics brands that are committed to the environment, women, children, animals. People want more meaning. Personally, I alternate between two brands: Hervé Hérau (Face Cleanser, Concentrated Active Serum, Cream Extra Rich Gel and Ointment) and Omoyé (the Sacred Serum with the baobab pulp and Magic Balm).
Are you physically active?
Yes, every morning wherever I am and regardless of the time zone, I practice 30 minutes of Qi Gong mixed with some Wushu (a Chinese martial art), Tai Chi movements topped off with some Hatha yoga. And then on Sundays, I do a full 90 minute Hatha yoga session at home.
When at my home in Brittany, I practice barefoot on my terrace facing the sea.
Any pre- or post- workout routines?
I drink water at room temperature before starting and finish off with a smoothie made of apple, banana, spinach, spirulina, chlorella and turmeric.
What are kinds of challenges or obstacles are you currently facing?
Learning how to manage my stress and live life rather than trying to swim against the tides. To identify what brings me up and what weighs me down, then to favor the first and dismiss the second.
How do you achieve balance professionally and in your personal life?
By forcing myself to make time for sports every morning, through mental relaxation (with mini-meditation sessions whenever and wherever I can - in my bath, in a park, in the car) and through breath. I am lucky enough to work in an office with a large bay window overlooking a garden, so simply looking outside while taking deep breaths throughout the day can really calm my nervous system. Dividing my time between Paris and Brittany is a huge factor, as well. Just like the contrast between my work at Vogue and working on animal rescue through my Sauvade organization, something I have been committed to for the past 5 years.
Thoughts on women's empowerment?
There is often a fine line between having enough self-confidence to be respected and using this power to crush others. Women need to use confidence towards a good cause.
How can we create positive messaging for women around beauty?
By not confining them to a pre-established model, by not asking them to follow so many rules. By giving them, on the contrary, tools for feeling better, more sure of themselves, encouraging them to cultivate their individuality and their strengths.
Through your work, as on a personal level, you take care of people (and many animals), who takes care of you?
In my work, I surround myself with caring and kind people, I hate conflictual ambiances, so the people on my team take care of me, in a way. To reset myself both physically and emotionally, I go to Mont Kaïlash every week for a massage. These Tibetans, often ancient Buddhist monks, are extremely kind. Their benevolence and their fabulous hands always put me back on my feet.
Do you have a mantra?
'What you can not change, accept it.' It saves me a lot of stress, frustration and disappointment.
Do you ever fall off the wellness wagon?
Oh yes, and especially with chocolate! I just cannot resist it.
What resources would you recommend to our community?
The YogaPlay app to do yoga at home. Jake Mace on You Tube, for Qee Gong and Tai Chi. Stopping to breathe during the day. Doing cardiac coherence exercises: the calming effect is immediate. I also like listening to Tibetan mantras when working on headphones writing.
What makes you happy?
Saving animals through Sauvade. Helping others. Being at home in Brittany facing the sea with my family and my animals.
Where can our community find you?
In Brittany, often. In the Vogue pages, regularly, and on my Instagram always.
To be more serene and save more animals.