A Day in the Life of Shelley Sullivan, CEO of ModelCo


"I keep my diary as free as possible."

Photo courtesy of ModelCo

If anyone would be an authority on hectic schedules, it’s Shelley Sullivan. She’s been running her own businesses since she was 18 years old, starting with a production agency, then a modelling agency and now beauty giant ModelCo. When we sat down with the beauty brand’s founder and CEO in Issue 22, she wasn’t scared to admit that she finds striking a balance between work and play an “incredible challenge”.

“I try not to over-commit too far in advance,” says Shelley, a rule which she insists is key to controlling a demanding schedule. “I keep my diary as free as possible.”

Here Shelley gives us an insider’s glimpse into her day from start to finish among Sydney’s hustle and bustle, revealing that while she never truly switches off from work, it’s her small daily rituals that keep her balanced.


I like to start my day spending time with my two gorgeous daughters Lucy and Emily. I always make sitting down for breakfast with the girls a priority before my hectic day takes over. I usually do a quick scan of my emails and correspond with the US market. I also whip through both ModelCo’s and my personal social media accounts.


I am a big fan of a morning coffee/breakfast catch up. My usual is a skim piccolo latte (usually two!) and an egg white, feta and spinach omelette at Flat White in Woollahra. It’s my favourite haunt – you’ll find me there at least 3-4 days per week. As hard as it is, maintaining a sense of work/life balance is so important to me and I try to schedule face time with friends and family in the mornings. Flowers are another one of my daily rituals, I can never resist buying a fresh bunch in the morning.

Photo via @shelley_barrett Instagram


I place calls to ModelCo HQ from my car while I’m driving to work.


I am involved in all facets of the business so mid-morning I’m running from one department to the next overseeing new product development, PR and marketing events, digital strategy, packaging and design, warehouse orders, retailer activities and finances. I love bringing my cavoodle Molly to work with me. She’s happy to wander around the office during the day and the team love the distraction and the cuddles. We’re in the middle of launching a new product, so today I have back-to-back press meetings.


Today’s lunch is a “working” one with key industry contacts. My favourite spot is Catalina in Rose Bay but I also am quite partial to ordering in Miss Chu when I can’t leave my desk.

Photo via @modelco_cosmetics Instagram


More meetings!


It’s now the morning for our contacts over in Europe so I touch base with them in the afternoon. I also try to connect with ModelCo brand ambassador Rosie Huntington-Whiteley when our schedules allow.


Quite often I have an evening launch or an event which gives me the perfect excuse to glam up. Tonight my schedule is free, so I leave the office and go straight home to cook. Cooking for my family and friends is one of my biggest indulgences and the perfect way to wind down after a big day. Current dinners on rotation are chicken stir fries with lots of chilli, grilled salmon with salad or anything Thai.


After dinner I make sure to spend some quality time with the girls. Then it’s a quick business call to Europe and one last email check before bed.

Photo via @shelley_barrett Instagram


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