People & Living | Parents We Love
‘I like being in the spotlight’
Steffi Hidber has the self-confidence of 20 skinny models combined. As the most successful beauty blogger in Switzerland and the mother of two daughters, she doesn’t wear make-up because she feels insignificant. Quite the opposite.
You are hugely confident. How did that come about?
Part of it is that that’s just how I am. Another part of it is down to living in America. I grew up in the US until I was 12. I loved going to school. The teachers are rather over the top there. They always make you feel like you’re truly gifted in the areas that you’re good at. That helps.
Did it help when you came to Switzerland?
I like being in the spotlight. When I got here and said to my new class: ‘Hi I’m Steffi and I’m from California,’ they probably all thought I wasn’t quite all there. I was loud, confident, hardly spoke any German, was terrible at maths and wanted one thing above all else: to go back home.
‘I’ve been self-employed for 12 years.’
Was it hard?
Very. I found everything rather stupid here. In America, we were always told: you’ll go to college and you’ll be able to be a writer. Here it was more like: if you’re lucky, you’ll be a florist.
So, you planned your return. Yet we find ourselves sitting here today in Zurich.
I wanted to go back to the US after secondary school and go to high school there. It was all arranged. Then luckily, I went on my own to stay with my friends in America the summer before.
Bei Tadah dreht sich alles um die Vereinbarkeit – im Online-Magazin mit spannenden Interviews mit Eltern und im ersten Schweizer Coworking Space mit Kinderbetreuung. Ob mit oder ohne Kind – schaut doch vorbei auf tadah.ch. Oder direkt im wunderschön eingerichteten Space in Zürich Albisrieden.
‘I find there’s nothing worse than boring people.’
They’d all gone so strange. One only had Jesus on the brain, the second only drugs and the third only sex. And that’s when I realised that I didn’t belong there any more. I was ready to go back to Switzerland then, and to stay here. It’s like I’d only just arrived.
Thinking good things about yourself – does it help or not?
It helps me enormously. But I am also able to judge myself. I’ve been self-employed for 12 years. At first, I trained to be a bookseller, then I ended up working on the radio – without any training. I wanted to do it, so I did it. And it was the same with writing.
How did you start with that?
It also had a lot to do with the kids. I really liked the idea of working from home. So, I turned myself into a freelance copywriter and journalist. And the first thing I did was apply to the Annabelle fashion magazine. Start right at the top, I thought – and it worked. That probably wouldn’t happen today.
You write about the things you like, and you achieve the things you want.
Exactly. I find there’s nothing worse than boring people. I’m a popcorn journalist. I like making fluffy things. Things that are fun – I have a nose for a good story. And I’ve always found it easy to understand what people want to read – even if they might not want to admit to it. A profile of a successful architect and his marvellous construction? That bores me. And I’m probably no good at it. There are people that have learnt how to do it, so let them get on and do it.
What made you start your blog?
In 2006, I took over the beauty pages on the Wir Eltern website. I found that really exciting, because I had to learn the ropes of an entirely new field and had zero contacts. But I love beauty and the products that go along with it. When I had links to all these PR contacts in the beauty industry, I was asked whether I knew a beauty blog in Switzerland that they could work with. There wasn’t one. I thought blogging was cool, and that I’d be able to do it – so I did.
What do your daughters think of you? And your blog?
They still think I’m cool, if not sometimes a bit embarrassing – I ask them all the time. Because for a while, I had a family column on Wir Eltern, and one day they said to me they weren’t comfortable with people looking in on our family life and asking my children: have you still got lice? In short, I have to protect my children. Now they think it’s quite cool again and want to be part of it.
How do you perceive the youth of today?
They’re very adjusted. They’re well-behaved and respectable. But there are these other elements that I find difficult: our children are at home a lot because everything happens on their phones. They don’t go out any more. And when they do meet up, it’s a house party via WhatsApp.
Are they overwhelmed by the real world because they only experience it through a screen?
I get the feeling that that’s the case. They can explore so many things on the internet that they think they don’t need reality any more. But hopefully that will change – the teenage years will pass.
Is the world of online blogging a world of perfection?
A bit. I’m glad there weren’t any blogs for mums when I had small children. They make people think they don’t have a handle on things. I’m lucky as a beauty blogger that it’s a very staged world – that’s just the nature of it. And sometimes it’s good to dip into an imaginary reality. It’s a bit like reading Vogue: you know it’s not reality, or even better that it’s not our reality.
‘I don’t wear make-up because I think I’m ugly.’
Do women hide behind make-up?
Some do. But actually, make-up is an art and a form of expression. I see very few people wearing make-up because they want to hide themselves. I think it’s the opposite.
Are there typical make-up fails?
Oh yes. The Instagram eyebrows. These chunky eyebrows are a fad that just don’t look good in real life. In photos, on the other hand, they’re great. Using the wrong colour make-up also drives me mad. So if you see that someone is wearing foundation and their neck is a different colour, I find that hideous. Or foundation that’s too thick, overpowering the complexion. But in general, I’m all for experimenting: it’s OK to wear glitter and blue once in a while.
Would you leave the house without make-up?
No. But then I would never be at home without make-up, either.
Is it a contradiction to be confident and still wear make-up and go on a diet?
I need to lose ten kilos. But I don’t make that decision because I feel insignificant. I don’t wear make-up because I think I’m ugly. And I don’t lose weight because I think it’s bad to be fat. If I do something, I do it because I want to improve my quality of life in some way or another.
This interview appeared on Tadah.ch in July 2018. Steffi’s daughters are now 16 and 18. She works 110% and loves it.