The Rise of the Stronger Woman
Tamara Ecclestone Rutland was born with that rare combination of beauty, brains and, of course, money.
The daughter of multi-billionaire Bernie Ecclestone of Formula One fame, and Slavica, his Slovakian model wife, Tamara was born in Milan in 1984 and speaks fluent Italian and Croatian. She freely admits that being Bernie’s daughter has been a major influence in her life.
“My father was obviously a huge inspiration to us. He was self-made, and worked from a very young age. I’ve definitely grasped some of his business knowledge and the way he worked so hard to provide for his family. Everything I do now with the businesses is about making sure my own daughter, Fifi, is provided for when she grows up.”
It would be easy to simply enjoy the life of a wealthy celebrity, but Tamara is not only wife to businessman Jay Rutland, and mother of their daughter, she’s also a successful businesswoman.
Any tips for managing stress?
“Life’s too short to be stressed all the time,” Tamara replies. “I definitely take time out for beauty treatments, and have a massage if I’m feeling that life is getting on top of me. But I would encourage anyone to remember that business is business – it’s just a job and you can only do your best; always remember that we are only human.”
As well as her own brands, SHOW DRY and SHOW BEAUTY, which were launched in this country in Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges, Tamara has also developed a range of products for her daughter.
“They say when you start a business you need to stick to what you know and it won’t go wrong – and having good hair and looking after my four-year-old daughter are things I know a lot about. ‘Fifi and Friends’ was born purely because, when I had a baby, I wanted to use products that didn’t contain ‘nasties’ – so we started from there.
“I wasn’t confident in putting any other brand on my daughter’s skin, so I developed my own. Both brands have been a labour of love. I’m just pleased that SHOW is being used across the hairdressing industry and is known for being such a strong brand now, while Fifi and Friends has really taken off. It’s so exciting to see.”
But is Sophia – Fifi for short – too young to understand what’s been created for her? “Sophia is quite a character and, to be honest, every aspect of the range was tried and tested with her, from the design of the packaging to the testing of the products, before they went out on the shelves and were available online. She doesn’t hold back and her opinion is the most important thing to me.”
Fifi has just started school, which can be a traumatic time for both parent and child. Tamara, like any other young mum, is relieved it was a relatively easy transition. “She’s loving it! We’ve had a few tricky days but she’s settling in really well and I couldn’t be prouder of her. I feel that being at school is only going to enhance her life – especially as she’s our only child for the moment.”
You may have seen the recent headlines about Tamara breastfeeding her four-year-old daughter and you may also have seen her defending her case on television.
“Things like Loose Women are a great platform for getting your point across. I do feel as if I’ve become the spokesperson for breastfeeding, and that’s slightly strange to me. I never even thought I’d be the type to breastfeed. I think overall you need to go with becoming a mother – and see what happens. Planning what’s going to happen goes instantly out of the window. Breastfeeding your child is the most natural thing in the world – and we can’t judge any other mother on how they choose to be a parent.”
Now Tamara has more time to concentrate on her business: with global brands and the London market doing well, her brands are also available in Manchester at Harvey Nichols– so why here?
“That was an easy decision – Manchester is just as cosmopolitan a city as London is and, just because I’m not based there, it doesn’t mean I can’t have the brand there. It’s been a great success and I’m so happy everybody loves it as much as the London customers have, so far.”
It must be a constant irritant that because of your glamorous looks, some may question your abilities as a businesswoman; how do you deal with that?
“Women will always face a tougher challenge when it comes to business, but I’d like to think that, in 2018, times are changing and we don’t face too much of an uphill battle. Most of the people behind my brands are strong women, so I feel right at home in all our meetings.”
The former model is constantly in the public eye, but we could all do with some of her beauty tips. “Firstly, if I’m at home and not working, then you won’t find me with a scrap of makeup on. Any chance I can get to stay in my PJs, I take. I’d say take any opportunity you can to be make-up free, for sure. My SHOW Beauty Dry Shampoo is a godsend if you have a busy life, and I also use our SHOW Beauty Sublime Repair Mask every week as an intensive treatment to keep my hair looking and feeling healthy. Other brands I love include Charlotte Tilbury, Nars and Dr Perricone, No Foundation Foundation – which is fantastic if you’re on the move.
With Tamara’s Instagram account registering 424.1k followers and the ever-present online bullying, how does she deal with it and does she ever wish she could switch off social media completely?
“I’ve developed a very thick skin when it comes to trolls, to be honest. They rarely get to me; they annoy Jay more. Social media are fantastic in so many ways but they’re very addictive. I’d definitely suggest taking time out on Instagram as much as you can during the day. Saying that, I’m constantly on it.”
Your charity work is less well known. “I’m a massive fundraiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital and do whatever I can for them. Each Christmas we visit the wards with presents for the children, and the work they do is amazing. I also sell a lot of my clothes via eBay and all proceeds go directly to them. Right now I’m supporting my sister Petra’s foundation, and she’s opening up a centre supporting children on the autistic spectrum in Fulham. It’s called Petra’s Place and you can find out more at www.petrasplace.co.uk.”
Perhaps critics will now know a bit more about Tamara who is a strong supporter of women. Indeed she has an inspiring mantra on her Instagram:
Here’s to strong women–May we know them–May we be them–May we raise them.