You might recognise her as the woman with blue hair. Or pink hair. Or fiery red… actually, it could be any colour of the rainbow, but it will never be beige.
In fact, Chantelle Otten’s colourful world is much more colourful than that. A psycho-sexologist, scientist and sex and relationship expert, Chantelle has quite the impressive CV. She has also just released her first book, The Sex Ed You Never Had —which she wrote in just a few weeks—and most recently, was crowned a Kérastase ambassador, which, of course, is a very chic world leader in luxurious professional haircare. On her new role, Chantelle, who grew up in Melbourne with her mum, dad, sister and two brothers, says it’s a perfect fit.
“I like to have fun with my hair!” she laughs, blue eyes beaming. “I’ve gone from blonde to black, to pink highlights, to blue highlights to full blue and now, thanks to Kérastase, spicy red. I love playing with my appearance and different versions of myself.”
That’s just one of the reasons behind Chantelle’s immense magnetism. She manages to combine achievements beyond her years (she has had numerous scientific and medical papers published in international peer reviews and received international awards and she is only 31), with a playful fashion approach, wears her heart on her bubble sleeve and has an energy that lights up the room.
“I’ve always needed variety in my appearance and fashion has been a passion of mine,” she explains. “I love colour and texture and anything but beige. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, but I’ve also loved dressing up and feeling the energy from a new look. I don’t like to fit in a mould. I think it’s important to experiment with your appearance and find new ways of expressing yourself.”
Here, we reveal why Chantelle Otten is the Aussie It Girl we’ve been waiting for…
#1 She’s happy to fake it
Not the ‘faking it in the bedroom’ kind of way. Faking it in a way that totally propels her forward.
“I’ve always been a little ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ gal,” explains Chantelle. “I truly believe that if you act confident and fake it, eventually it will become second nature and you will be confident. So that’s what I’ve been doing for most of my life.”
#2 She embraces her ‘weird’
Chantelle says while she wasn’t really self-critical growing up, her appearance was judged by others.
“My look, my weight, my outfits, my behaviours… were definitely criticised by others—mainly male figures,” she remembers. “At some point you have to say, ‘What the? Do I really want to listen to these people? No.’
“I was so young when this judgment started too, which is sad because I know so many others have also felt this way. So even though I never really listened to outside opinions, I stopped altogether. They really had no idea about what is right for me. I make my own decisions, respect myself and others, stay kind and just have fun. Lots of fun!
“I really feel like we all need to build our confidence by embracing our weird and owning it. Who wants to worry so much about what others think? It could be a full-time job if you let it! Embrace your eccentric side and others will feel more comfortable to do so around you as well.”
#3 She was diagnosed with ADHD at age 30
Chantelle says being officially diagnosed with ADHD put so much of her struggles into perspective.
“I always felt like I was ‘a bit odd’ and people also thought that about me! I didn’t mind though. I have a fun time in my own little world. But you do tend to get used to hiding away a lot of yourself when you have ADHD. I also see it as a superpower—I get a lot of shit done!
“I always struggled academically. I was getting high grades but I was always active, never paying attention, never doing homework, skipping school, and just didn’t love it. I was told by my careers counsellor that I was ‘too dumb’ to finish school and to drop out. They thought I had low IQ, so I guess neurodiversity was not picked up on.
“However I didn’t, and I managed to get through a lot of higher education with success. I can hyper focus on tasks generally and then I crash and burn afterwards. This is how I got my diagnosis. I work differently to other people and always have. I wrote my book The Sex Ed You Never Had hyper-focused in a few weeks. Then crashed and burned afterwards… really badly. I had used all my energy and fell into fatigue and depression. I was so tired and had sensory overload all the time, losing things, disorganised more than usual. I found my TV remote in the washing machine and a 12 pack of eggs in the freezer. I had to take Ubers for a week because I couldn’t find my car keys. It was the middle of lockdown and I was living by myself as Dylan was chasing his dreams overseas, so I guess I just was slipping. Because I didn’t know that I had ADHD, my coping mechanisms were poor and my brain was all over the shop.
“My friends and family and partner all asked me to get some help and I did. I listen to others and was aware that they were worried. So I saw a wonderful psychiatrist who has helped me with the diagnosis and with my depression. I take daily medication and my superpowers are back! I am also seeing an ADHD coach who is helping me.”
#4 She and Dylan Alcott see a couple’s therapist (and think you should, too)
“My relationship with Dylan is fun and exciting—and we love each other so much. We both work very hard and it doesn’t leave us with much quality time together, so when we are together, we chill and do normal things like binge TV shows and get Uber Eats, but mainly snuggle with our sausage dog, Sauce. We are crazy dog parents.
“We prioritise doing fun things like music festivals and now that he has finished tennis, vacations! We tend to work really hard and then relax and enjoy ourselves on vacation. I believe travelling is such a privilege and am so excited that we can travel again!
“We are a very normal couple in many ways and are figuring out things like how to work with each other’s triggers and ‘argue right’. We are growing together. But if we need some guidance then we see our own couples’ therapist! I believe everyone should do therapy, and I see an individual therapist too, and have for many years on and off. Therapy is fascinating and has made me a better person, a better partner and a better therapist myself.
Brought to you by Kérastase.