“I like statement frames”
Alice Zaslavsky, author, television host and cookery columnist, on her love of colourful eyewear
11 November 2022
How many pairs of spectacles and sunglasses do you own?I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 10 and haven’t shed a pair, so I would be up to about 80 or so. Maybe 10 of those are still on active duty.
What frame shapes, colours or styles do you usually go for?I have frameless pairs with titanium arms for exercising, or for when I want to keep things lighter. I’ve got lots of larger cat’s eyes frames in different colours, because I like the lift they give to a face. Then I have some more experimental pairs – like literal rose-tinted lenses on a round frame.
Can you describe your favourite pair?My favourite pair of all time are a vintage frame I picked up on Carlisle Street in Melbourne, which is known as an area with a lot of older people – mostly migrants from Eastern Europe. You could imagine these on a babushka, but instead they’re on me. They’re acetate, oversized, 80s, vintage, Jenny Kee. I wore them on MasterChef Australia.
Who would you pick as your style icon when it comes to eyewear and why?The singer, Nana Mouskouri. I love her audacious frames and bold colour choices.
How long have you worn spectacles for, and what prompted you to go for your first sight test?I have worn glasses for 27 years. I actually desperately wanted glasses, and the first time I convinced my parents I needed an eye test, I tested 20-20.
Do you wear contact lenses?I have before. But these days, if I go to an event in contact lenses, no one will know who I am. I’m like the glasses’ plus-one.
If I go to an event in contact lenses, no one will know who I am. I’m like the glasses’ plus-one
What does good vision and eye health mean to you?It’s everything. I have a family history of glaucoma. Most of my relatives wear glasses in some capacity, so I take it very seriously.
How important is eyewear to reflecting your personality?
I like statement frames – I like to think of glasses as a piece of face jewellery, and they absolutely need to suit my mood and purpose.
What are your top three tips for selecting the right pair of frames?
- Go somewhere where they know what they’re talking about. They’ll be able to help you whittle things down from experience
- Choose a quality frame that won’t snap or warp
- Don’t be afraid to be bold – make a statement.
I never expected it to be such a signature, but these days, I see the importance of young people (young girls especially) seeing someone celebrated for embracing their specs
You’re well remembered for your spectacles on Masterchef Australia, and you are known across social media as ‘aliceinframes’ – does eyewear play a role in your profile as a writer, culinary consultant and broadcaster? How does it feel to be celebrating spectacles in these spaces and what reactions do you receive?
It absolutely does. I never expected it to be such a signature, but these days, I see the importance of young people (young girls especially) seeing someone celebrated for embracing their specs. I remember trying on new frames at my favourite optician in Elwood in Melbourne (Wink Optometry) and there was a five-year-old girl trying on glasses for her first pair. She looked over at me, and I could tell she felt better about joining the club immediately. We’ve gotta stick together, us four eyes.
“A feast for the eyes”
Could you tell us about your book and what you hope it offers to readers?
The Joy of Better Cooking: Life-changing skills & thrills for enthusiastic eaters is about helping to build confidence in cooks of all abilities and attitudes
I love how many pages the publisher has given me per recipe to really drill down into why recipes work, what we can do to make them better, what ingredients work, and what gadgets are best to splurge on. It’s really all a chinwag with me – plus delicious food and a feast for the eyes.
You’ve previously described your thirst for learning and aim to inspire curiosity and fun with food. How does this drive your work?
I’m always learning and always connecting. Food is such an easy way to start a conversation with someone, and I’m still discovering new aspects of food and cookery every day. It brings joy to my life, and to bring that to others brings me the greatest joy of all.
The Joy of Better Cooking: Life-changing skills & thrills for enthusiastic eaters by Alice Zaslavsky (Murdoch Books, £25). Photography by Ben Dearnley.