Lara Worthington On Beauty, Business & Life In New York

By Ashleigh Cometti
Lara Worthington. Photo / Alex Nataf

For one of Australia’s most famous faces, Lara Worthington is refreshingly earnest.

Her glittering career has seen her on covers of the likes of Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle (and today, Viva), walk the runway for some of the world's most esteemed designers, develop capsule collections with Melbourne-based fashion label Atoir and eyewear brand Local Supply, not to mention founding her own disruptive beauty brand (but more on that later).

And despite our call taking place at 9.30pm EST, her energy is electric.

She’s dialling in from the New York home she shares with actor husband Sam Worthington and their three sons Rocket, Racer and River.

Private and present, the start of our interview is waylaid with Lara’s sons’ bedtime routine. Something I can relate to all too well with a toddler of my own.

But it isn’t just family values that pervade much of her adult life, she remains intensely grounded in philosophies that align with her own something that attracted her to an ambassadorship with Emma Lewisham in the first place.

Both celebrated beauty entrepreneurs, Lara explains she’s admired Emma’s approach to business for some time not to mention her ability to field Lara’s many skincare questions with ease.

“Emma is incredibly smart. She’s well-researched she knows the market and her business inside and out. I can ask her almost anything about skincare and she’ll have the perfect answer,” Lara says.

Swapping skincare tips aside, Lara’s long-time love of Emma Lewisham’s products and the efficacy of her formulations was what naturally drew the fashion icon to Emma and her brand in the first place.

“It’s really important to know your business if you’re coming out with a new beauty brand because there are so many on the market now. You’ve really got to zero in on what you’re bringing out and if it works. Emma is up there with the smartest and most well-researched entrepreneurs I know,” Lara says.

The announcement of Lara as the face of Emma Lewisham coincided with the unveiling of the brand's newest offering: the Supernatural Sleeping Mask. Photo / Alex Nataf
The announcement of Lara as the face of Emma Lewisham coincided with the unveiling of the brand's newest offering: the Supernatural Sleeping Mask. Photo / Alex Nataf

Lara’s outdoorsy upbringing in Cronulla, Sydney, fostered a natural curiosity for the environment something she says cemented her bond with Emma.

“Emma is doing everything to alleviate the impact on the environment. Our values align really nicely with each other. It’s probably why we get along so well. Being passionate about the environment is something we both value a lot,” Lara says. “It’s really great that brands like hers exist, because plastic pollution poses such a risk to the environment and the beauty industry has many flaws. She’s so conscious about sustainability and closing the circle which is something that’s really important to me. We all could learn a lot from her.”

The business of beauty is all-too-familiar territory for Lara, who disrupted the Australian beauty market when she launched The Base back in 2014.

What began as a line of tanning products quickly evolved to encompass a range of skincare-laced tinted moisturisers known as the LB Cream, but Lara changed tack in 2018 when she renamed and reframed her business as a not-for-profit entity.

It's a move she says she'd never dare make if investors had their say, and for that reason she's grateful Share The Base was a self-funded operation from the start.

“I always wanted to create something slow and steady. I’m glad looking back that I never took investment so I could make these kinds of decisions 10 years later,” she says.

Today, Share The Base donates 100 per cent of its profits to three charities that remain close to Lara’s heart. The first, Bowel Cancer Australia, in memory of her late father, who passed away in 2008. “They’re part of my family in a way, I’ve always been connected to them through my father. I feel like I’m building his legacy by giving back in that way,” she says.

Flanked by nature conservationist organisation WWF Australia and children’s charity Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which supplies life-saving medical equipment to 380 healthcare facilities across Australia, Lara says since changing her business model four years ago, profits have quadrupled. “I didn’t realise it would go so well since I turned it into a charity,” she says.

“It’s been really nice to donate large sums over the years. It’s impactful; I get a lot of inspiration from it.”

Like any busy mother-of-three, Lara says she doesn’t have the time to indulge in nightly beauty rituals, but looks to a curated edit of products to keep her complexion glowing.

"I have three or four Emma Lewisham products I use religiously, like the Illuminating Oil Cleanser, Skin Reset Eye Creme, Skin Reset Serum and Supernatural Face Oil. And now that she's launched the new Supernatural Sleeping Mask, I'll also use that two to three times per week before bed," Lara says.

Lara’s hallmark bob is nothing short of iconic and, sadly for us, it is as effortlessly elegant as we’re led to believe. “I don’t have any top secrets. I wash my hair every day and let it dry naturally. I part it in the middle and tuck it behind my ears, which gives it that kink when it dries,” she says.

But when it comes to work, Lara is happy to be a little more experimental. “I’m very open to trying new things and playing into different versions of myself. I sometimes try and put these styles into my normal, everyday life, but generally I just get out of the shower and tuck my hair behind my ears. I don’t really have the time to blow dry or use a curling wand,” she says.

The Worthington family have put down roots in New York, but Lara says she aims to return home to Australia as often as possible. Photo / Alex Nataf
The Worthington family have put down roots in New York, but Lara says she aims to return home to Australia as often as possible. Photo / Alex Nataf

Her minimalistic approach to hair extends into makeup, too, and involves applying SPF and a light layer of Share The Base LB Cream, mascara and a quick brow tidy by filling in the tails of her eyebrows.

Despite splitting her time between New York and Sydney, Lara’s love of the ocean is proof that her bronzed, beach babe aura so many of us once associated her with, lives on.

“I really love the ocean. I’m a Cancerian and a real water baby. My family and I live in New York, so we make sure we have those moments where we can go to Australia and spend time at the beach. I really value those experiences for my children. We’re all just so happy when we have that balance of nature and ocean,” she says.

“Being by the ocean is like one of my skin rituals.” But when she is residing in the Big Apple, Lara frequents the many bath houses dotted around the city. “I go from Brooklyn to Midtown everywhere. I love to try all different bath houses,” she says.

Her split residency suits her, given the nature of Sam’s work (Lara says the majority of his films are shot in America or Europe) but adds that New York can feel “pretty full-on at times”.

“It’s only good for three months of the year. It’s either freezing cold or extremely hot. You’ve got to find the balance within this city. I enjoy the contrast between the New York pace and intensity, with the relaxed outlook in Australia.”

Lara says she manages frequent solo trips Downunder for work, but enjoys planning family holidays where she can. Her mother and brother visit the Worthingtons regularly in New York.

“Generally, I do solo trips for work for a week and then fly back. It’s so nice, I love to go and see all my friends and tell them I’m still alive,” she jokes. “I guess that some positives to come out of the pandemic is that you can Zoom anyone and it just feels normal. I see a lot more of my friends. I FaceTime them and it feels like I’m there.”

It’s been almost two decades since Lara burst onto our screens as the fresh-faced beauty who eagerly quipped: “Where the bloody hell are ya?” on a Tourism Australia ad, but says she feels more comfortable in her skin now than ever.

“I think as we age, we become less critical. We judge ourselves less,” Lara says. "My husband always says to me: ‘When you reach your 40s, you won’t care about anything.’ And that I’ll look back on my 30s and think: ‘Why did I worry about that?’ He’s 11 years older than me so he can say that. I think being comfortable with your faults is a good one. We’re forever evolving.”

Motherhood has provided a new lens over Lara’s life, and pulled things into perspective in ways she didn’t anticipate. “Children are like a mirror you see yourself in them and vice versa. It’s nice to be shown that,” she says.

Now in her mid-30s, Lara says she feels more comfortable in her skin than ever. Photo / Alex Nataf
Now in her mid-30s, Lara says she feels more comfortable in her skin than ever. Photo / Alex Nataf

She counts her husband and long-time agent and friend Patrick Devlin as the other two grounding forces in her life, alongside her family and her core group of girlfriends who are spread all over the world.

“I’ve got a really good group of women around me, but we’re all living in different places. Two of them live in New York, but some are in London. There’s five of us who have been friends for a really long time. We’re all mums,” Lara says. “We’re all really work-driven and have businesses, so we balance each other out. It’s nice to find solace in friendships like that. Women these days take on a lot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Ambassadorship aside, Lara's ties with Aotearoa run much deeper, especially given Sam has spent much of the last three years here filming the latest instalment in the Avatar franchise Avatar: The Way Of Water (and its subsequent sequels) which hits cinemas on December 16.

"My husband has been entering the next phase and next step in his career with Avatar 2, which is partly filmed in New Zealand," she says proudly.

She speaks candidly about Sam’s starring role in the new film, which sees him reprise his role as Jake Sully, a now permanent member of the Na’vi tribe adjusting to his new life on Pandora.

"Avatar reminds me of New Zealand so much, also because [director] James Cameron has a place there. We always want to visit. He loves New Zealand and so do we. It's been such a big part of our lives for the past eight years, my time with Sam, but for him it's pushing 20 years. It's really exciting," she says.


Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. My friend Phoebe Tonkin told me to read it. I only started reading it last night.

Watching old films with my husband. We love watching TV shows but we couldn't find anything recently, so we've been watching these instead. But he's seen so many films in his life so he wants me to work my way up to see the ones he thinks I'm ready for. Right now I'm watching The Fugitive, Mean Streets and La Haine.

Cooking a lot of soups at home for myself and for my family. I downloaded the New York Times cooking app and it's brilliant. I get a lot of recipes from there. I definitely work off recipes, I'm not just a "throw everything in there" kind of person.

Listening to the Euphoria soundtrack. It's quite good. Other than that, I spend a lot of time on Spotify, all different mixes. The Row Mary Kate and Ashley's brand brings out a new playlist every month and I get it sent via email. I just let it play in the house. It's a mix of old and new songs.

Emma Lewisham is available from selected day spas and department stores including Mecca and online at or visit

Photography / Alex Nataf. Hair / Ward. Skin / Benjamin Puckey. Production / Bridge Artists, Patrick Devlin, Liam Sharma

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