Life & Love

Here are your Miss FQ Colgate Optic White Influencer Award winners!

We celebrate the winners of the inaugural Miss FQ Influencer Awards in association with Colgate Optic White.

At Miss FQ, we’re lucky enough to collaborate with a constant stream of amazing home-grown talent, killing it in every field. We might be in an influential position at the helm of a magazine, but these women are the true influencers, and we wanted a way to celebrate them, which is why we launched the Miss FQ x Colgate Optic White Influencer Awards.

In July, we asked you to nominate the Kiwi bloggers, vloggers and ’grammers you can’t get enough of. From these nominations, we selected five finalists across eight categories — Beauty, Business, Fashion, Fitspo, Food & Culture, Personality & Smile, Travel and Up & Comer — then turned it over to you to vote for your winners. We were blown away by every nomination, and could have found a deserving winner in each one. But you let us know loud and clear who you look up to the most, so without further ado, here are your top influencers of 2017.


Riley Hemson, @healthychick101

Miss FQ Influencer Awards: Winners

WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Having always struggled with her weight, in 2015 Riley Hemson decided to make some lifestyle changes and launched Instagram account @healthychick101 to hold herself accountable. “Just a huge girl tryna get some abs” she wrote in her bio, setting the tone for a fitspo journey that would soon be punctuated by pics of her progress, workout routines, healthy recipes and, most importantly, expressions of self-love. That’s right, rather than restrictive dieting and punishing gym seshes (okay, maybe a few of those!), the focus of 21-year-old Riley’s journey has been fuelling her body with the good stuff and making her health, not her appearance, the priority. It’s this attitude that’s seen her absolutely smash her fitness goals, lose an impressive 30kg, and pick up 60,000 Instagram followers along the way — not a bad cheer squad, if you ask us. Like, the best, actually. As in, Riley not only blitzed the awards’ Fitspo category, with three times the number of votes received by the runner-up, but also got the most votes of any category winner by far, which is why, when it came to selecting a supreme winner, there was no contest.

For the way she balances work with working out while looking absolutely on point, you guys told us that Riley epitomises the Miss FQ reader, and we couldn’t agree more — or be happier to present your 2017 Miss FQ x Colgate Optic White Influencer Awards Supreme Winner. Congrats Riley!

YOU SAID: “Riley’s real, raw and moving content is what makes her a clear candidate for this award and the most genuine fitspo guru I’ve come across. Her health journey emphasises that curves are okay — as long as your body and mind are healthy, the scales don’t mean a thing!”

SHE SAID: “Never in a million years did I think I’d be an inspiration to anyone. Throughout my journey, having someone to look up to has some days been the difference between sitting on my ass and going to the gym. It was such an important motivator, so to be that important to you leaves me speechless.”


Shannon Harris, @shaaanxo


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Named the fifth most powerful beauty influencer in the world by Forbes this year, Shannon Harris — better known as Shaaanxo — is unequivocally New Zealand’s golden girl of social media. A student at Palmerston North’s Freyberg High School when she uploaded her first beauty vlog to YouTube in 2009, Shannon (25)  had no idea that what she was doing could — and would — make her a living one day, not to mention a household name around the world. Averaging more than 300,000 views on her thrice-weekly videos (which range from makeup tutorials, to unboxings and reviews, to GRWM sessions), Shannon’s consistency is what sets her apart from the hundreds of thousands of others in the beauty vloggerverse. Add to that her mad skills, her generosity in laying open all aspects of her life to her followers (including a decent amount of camera time given to BF Hamish Kennard, and of course doggos Lewie and Zeus), and the fact that, despite being one of the highest-earning influencers in NZ with the Porsche, Range Rover and beach house to prove it, she’s clearly as humble as they come, and  it’s easy to see why we keep tuning in.

YOU SAID: “As a makeup lover, I appreciate when beauty vloggers don’t sugar-coat things. Her reviews are honest, which helps me know what products to get and what to pass on. She’s also so positive and nice to listen to, caring and down to earth, and she always tries to help people in need.”


Matilda Rice, @matootles |


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: While Art Green — the first star of The Bachelor New Zealand — was falling in love with Matilda Rice and her megawatt smile, so were we. Smart, sassy and sweet, Matilda’s the complete package, so none of us were surprised when she received that final rose.

But since the show wrapped in 2015, Matilda (26) has become so much more than Art’s plus-one — in fact, as far as we can tell, he’s hers! Not only does she totally smoke him (and everyone else) on the red carpet, she’s also built and leveraged her own personal brand into maje partnerships with the likes of Jockey, Ford Focus and Colgate Optic White, and has just released a book, The
Lazy Girl’s Guide to Living a Beautiful Life, which we’re picking will sell like paleo hotcakes. Suffice to say Matilda’s star is on the rise, and Art clearly knows he’s hit the jackpot because in September he put a ring on it. Of course, no diamond can outshine the woman herself, and that’s why we can’t get enough of her.

YOU SAID: “Matilda’s always smiling and happy in all her Insta posts. She totally looks like she’s just enjoying life and having fun… I love that she can laugh at herself.”


Donielle Brooke, @designerwardrobe |


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Just 25 years old in 2012 when she found out she had thyroid cancer, Donielle Brooke was up against a wall not only in terms of her health, but also her finances. Unable to work and struggling to pay her bills, she decided to sell some of her clothing, but realised the right marketplace to do so didn’t exist in NZ. Her solution? Create one, duh.
Originating as a Facebook group, Designer Wardrobe (DW) was the platform Donielle set up to facilitate the buying and selling of pre-loved designer clothes. To say it took off is an understatement — quickly accumulating 15,000 members, it outgrew Facebook within the year and has become a website run by a staff of 10. Having kicked cancer’s ass, Donielle is now focused on building the DW empire, and given she’s recently raised $1.7 million in private equity, all we’ll say is: watch this space.

YOU SAID: “Not only is she absolute girlboss goals, she’s living proof of what triumphing over adversity looks like. I also couldn’t have made it through 21st- birthday-party season without Designer Wardrobe.”


Julia and Libby Matthews, @juliaandlibby |

FOOD & CULTURE AWARD WINNER: Julia and Libby Matthews
WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Sisters Julia (31) and Libby (28) Matthews broke onto the wellness scene in 2012 and since then have been converting us to their clean-eating ways one green smoothie at a time. Not just recipe-based, their blog Julia & Libby covers everything from beauty and baby tips to stress management and supplements, and is supplemented itself by a ’gram that looks good enough to eat.

Almost two years after the release of their cookbook, Julia and Libby’s Wholefood Kitchen, the siblings have a follow-up coming out in November. In the meantime, they’re keeping us captivated on the daily with their encouraging, accessible and super-stylish content.

YOU SAID: “These two are absolutely amazing. They’re both so real and inspire me and my friends every day. I love their food content and that they’re not afraid to post the occasional treat… We’re all human!”


Chloe Zara, @chloezara   |


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Auckland-based hairstylist Chloe Zara (29) knows her way around a head of foils. An alum of the prestigious Stephen Marr salon, she started working for herself in 2012 and her appointment diary has basically been booked solid ever since.

But it’s not just a session in Chloe’s chair we covet, it’s her flawless wardrobe. Known for her impeccable style, which sees high-fashion pieces (frequently the It-item of the season) dressed down with quality basics, her look is as effortless as a bronde, balayage lob, and the woman herself is #stylegoals personified.

YOU SAID: “I wish I had Chloe Zara’s wardrobe. She always looks so chic and polished, even when wearing activewear.”


Courtney Tyler, @courts_tyler


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Courtney Tyler became something of an accidental travel blogger two years ago after deciding to document a trip to Europe on Instagram for her friends and family. Her wanderlust-worthy adventures and crisp grid aesthetic quickly caught the attention of a wider social network that now holidays vicariously through the well-travelled 26-year-old, following her from the sun-drenched beaches of Tulum to the hot air balloon-filled skies of Turkey and back again.

YOU SAID: “I’m obsessed with Courtney’s ’gram! I get so much FOMO looking at her feed, but it offers such a beautiful window to the world and Courtney always comes across as so grateful for her situation that I can’t help but keep on coming back for more. One of my favourite Insta accounts, hands down.”


Ash Owens, @ashowens_ |


WHY WE’RE OBSESSED: Only 18 months after establishing her self-titled blog, 21-year-old Ash Owens has tapped into a community of young women as smart as they are stylish, with whom she shares fashion and beauty content as well as her thoughts on dealing with mental health, break-ups and bullying. Her followers are her top priority, and she spends hours every day commenting and DMing all who reach out to her.

Committed to “influencing positively”, Ash is always on the money when it comes to what should be on our radar, but rather than just pushing product, she sees her rising social media status as an opportunity to influence others “to be good people, chase their dreams and be wholeheartedly true to themselves”.

YOU SAID: “Ash is a driven, passionate blogger who has a meaningful and engaging relationship with her audience. She promotes products authentically, and her reputability is evidenced by her affiliation with top brands.”