We sat down with the Olympic champion diver & activist for a deep-dive into his love of nail art, knitting & disco, & what he hopes his role as Rimmel’s first male global ambassador will help bring to the wider beauty conversation

They say no celebrity is as friendly as they appear on screen. Those people have clearly never met Tom Daley.

Greeting us with a megawatt smile and massive hug in a room full of knitted seats, throws and chairs, he encourages us to pull up a floor cushion and get comfy (we warn him there’s a danger we may not be able to get up) to chat all things arts, crafts and beauty to ring in the launch of his first colour collection for Rimmel London – a nail range called Made With Love By Tom Daley.

Inspired by his ‘Made With Love’ knitwear collection, the walls are decked with campaign shots of him rocking his signature nail art, and tops all knitted or crocheted by him. In many ways the collab’s the perfect combo of Tom’s personal passions and mission to help make beauty more inclusive as the brand’s first ever male ambassador.

Following in the footsteps of Rimmel London ambassadors including Kate Moss, Adwoa Aboah and Cara Delevingne, the Olympic champion diver, activist and dad of two – with husband, American filmmaker and screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black (to Robbie, five, and Phoenix who was born earlier this year) – sat down to talk with us; on all things self-care and ‘Daley’ skincare, what’s on his workout playlist, the favourite things he’s knitted and how he hopes his role can help inspire confidence in others.

On being Rimmel’s first male global ambassador

“It was super exciting to get that call. Past Rimmel ambassadors have been so iconic, so being able to be involved with the brand, be a male ambassador and help break down the stereotypes of what it means to wear make-up has been amazing.

It’s never talked about that every guy in magazines and on the red carpet is wearing some form of make-up

“Lots of people think wearing make-up means it has to be thick and heavy and really obvious, but it can also be about being able to put on layers to make yourself feel a little bit better.

“Sometimes you’ll see a guy at a premiere for a movie or in a magazine and it’s never talked about that every male in those magazines and on the red carpet is wearing some form of make-up and has had some sort of grooming, styling or whatever it may be. Being able to help normalise that a little bit more is great.”

On the joy of nail art

I found painting my nails was really therapeutic and it brought me lots of joy – there’s something about that I thought that I’d love to share

“When we announced the [Rimmel] partnership last year, I got two nails painted and I was obsessed with them! It was so much fun and I kept the polish on for as long as possible, basically until it grew out.

“Afterwards, I started painting my nails different colours and then matching them with my outfits – it was really therapeutic, but it also brought me lots of joy and ended up being a great conversation starter with people.

“There was something about it that I thought I’d love to share. It was very much in line with what I do with Made With Love, which is being able to share my passion of making things yourself and doing things for yourself that are rewarding. It’s something that’s slow, that allows you to unwind and just be mindful for a moment.

“It’s also the one thing that I can wear in the pool when I'm diving that helps show a bit of my personality. The thought of being able to go into a competition and have these nails on that the judges can see – a little pop of colour – is exciting because there aren’t that many products you can wear in a pool that aren’t going to come off when you’re using a shammy [a water-absorbent towel] to rub your face every two seconds.”

SPF is a non-negotiable for me

On his ‘Daley’ beauty & grooming routine…

“It’s changed recently, since Phoenix was born, because I’m not really leaving the house that much!

“During the day, depending on what I’ve got on, SPF is a non-negotiable for me. Then if I’m getting ready to go on a night out, Rimmel Matte Primer is my go-to product to start with, followed by a little bit of Match Perfection Foundation SPF20. I’ve been spending a lot of time in California recently, so I’ve had to adjust my shades a bit because I’ve started to get more of a tan. I need a few different colours to see me through the year.

“Then I use a little bit of mascara for my eyebrows, to make them look a little thicker and more defined. I find that if I have my eyebrows looking a little more ‘there’ it makes a difference.

“For me, there’s beauty but then there’s beauty that’s realistic to do on the daily – something that’s quick and easy that you don’t really need to think about. You don’t have to spend hours doing it, and some days you may feel you need more than others, but it’s all about practising and figuring out what’s your favourite way to feel your best self.”

On the best beauty tips he’s learned

With a good base, you’re set

“There are two: the first was given to me by Stefie [celebrity nail artist, Stephanie Staunton, who painted Tom’s amazing Union Jack nail art last year.] When I first started painting my nails, I was always painting backwards in one stroke but she suggested I push the brush into the cuticle first and then pull back. It gave me that extra bit of control to get that proper edge without going all over the cuticles and sides of my nails.

“The second was given to me by Brady [hair stylist and groomer, Brady Lea] who I work with quite often on grooming and shoots. One of the first tips he gave me was the importance of having a well moisturised face and using primer to help my base feel lighter and something I’d wear everyday. He was like, ‘with a good base, you’re set.’”

On his most embarrassing beauty moment

“There was one time when I was diving outdoors and I forgot to wear sunscreen on my face. I ended up having a really red face that there was nothing I could do about it. I think I was about 15 and I’ve never forgotten it to this day – that’s why I now wear sunscreen religiously!”

On his self-care rituals

Baking together is really bonding for us as a family

“I like to cook and bake, often with Robbie, as it’s really bonding for us. We also love to play pickleball together, but Robbie can’t quite get the hang of it just yet so what we do instead is blow up a balloon and play tennis with it, so it’s easier for him to hit. There’s something about not letting it touch the ground that’s just really fun.”

On what he likes to work out to…

Some people like to wake up gently, I like to wake up and it be like 2am in a club

“I’m a huge disco music fan (I feel like Chic could be one of my most-played artists) and I like to listen to it when I’m knitting, too.

“I also like anything electronic or dance – no matter what time of day it is. David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Tiesto – there are all kinds of different artists on the playlists I listen to. There's a remix of California Dreamin’ that I’m loving at the moment and also Padam Padam by Kylie. Some people like to wake up gently, I like to wake up and it be like 2am in a club, but it’s not, it’s 7am and I’m making my eggs! It makes me feel good.”

On the favourite thing he’s knitted…

“The Olympic cardigan I made because that’s what started everything. It was what made people realise that I knit. But before that, I’d made my mum a scarf. It was the first thing I’d ever knitted that sparked that passion. Then I started making random things. I like to use recycled materials and so for one top [pictured above], I used some leftover Christmas wrapping string that I had. All of the photography for the campaign is me wearing things that I’ve made.

“I’m also working on a shoelace project at the moment. You know how you always get an extra packet of shoelaces with your shoes? I’m slowly but surely making my way knitting through them…”

On when he feels most confident…

“Oh gosh there are so many different ways to go with that one! I’d say that I feel most confident when I’m with my family doing some sort of arts and crafts. I don’t know why that is but there’s something about being with Robbie, when we’re painting something and we’re all together, that makes me feel very happy and confident.”

The Rimmel London Made With Love By Tom Daley nail collection is available online and in Boots stores now.

Photography courtesy of Rimmel London