Walking into Penny McNamee’s home for WHO’s very special Most Beautiful cover shoot, there’s a different sense of anticipation and joy in the air. Just three weeks prior to our photo shoot, the gorgeous Home and Away star welcomed her second child, a baby girl, Neve.
It’s clear McNamee, completely wrapped up in the newborn bubble, is in awe of her tiny creation and is excited to show her off. Already mum to 4-year-old Jack, McNamee and husband Matt Tooker count Neve’s arrival as a blessing, after struggling through endometriosis complications trying to conceive her.
“If I’m honest, I don’t like being pregnant, I don’t enjoy the experience,” the 36-year-old says. “I wish I was an earth mother who loved every minute. But I was pregnant so I could have a baby. Now I’ve had a baby, I’m happy.”
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How are you feeling? How’s the second time around with a newborn?
People say going from one child to two is a real juggle, and in some ways it is. However, because we have quite a large age gap – Jack’s already 4, he’s able to get himself dressed in the morning and pack his bag for preschool and he understands if I can’t help him with something when I’m feeding her.
Thank you so much for being a part of our Beautiful issue – there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a mum with their baby! What do you think of when you hear the word ‘beautiful’?
It goes twofold, with kindness and generosity, in terms of beautiful character traits. And then from a physical point of view, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? It’s feeling confident and good within, knowing you’re a good person. Beauty can shine through from there.
What would you say is your most beautiful feature?
I would say my eyes. I got my mother’s Irish blue eyes. All my siblings have the same eyes.
Does Neve have the same eyes?
She’s starting to. She’s starting to get the eyes. Her middle name is Helen, after my mum, so hopefully she’ll inherit Mum’s blue eyes, too.
Photo by Jason Ierace, Styling by Jess Pecoraro and Sophie Whitmore
What would you say is your most beautiful quality?
I think I’m thoughtful. I think about people and the situation they’re in and I try to check up on them if I think they’re having a rough time. I think about the people in my life that I love, particularly if they’re having a hard time. I try to be an emotional support for them.
What’s one feature or quality that you find beautiful in your husband?
I would say Matt has a gift for finding the person in the room who’s feeling the most uncomfortable or out of place and always seeks to make them feel included – that’s his most beautiful quality. And in terms of physical, I’d have to say his eyes and his eyelashes. He has exceptionally long, beautiful eyelashes!
I also think it’s the everyday things that make me love Matt and make him beautiful. At the moment, I have to wake up every few hours to feed in the night and every time he wakes up and asks if I need anything or any help. So those little things are really special – I’ll take that over a grand gesture any day. Middle-of-the-night offers to help are very appreciated and they’re very beautiful!
What does he find beautiful about you?
He always says my hair is my best feature! So whenever I ask him if I should wear it up or down, he always gives me a look, like, “It’s your best feature! Wear it out!”
Who’s the most beautiful person you’ve met?
My grandmother is 94 and not only is she incredibly stunning – she still puts on her makeup every day and does her hair and wears beautiful clothes, she’s very elegant. But I’ve known her for 36 years and never heard her say a harsh word about anyone. So she’s one of those people that’s equally beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Her name is Mardi.
Ali CromartyObsessed with all things TV, entertainment and celebrity, Ali is your go-to gal for anything Bachelor, Love Island or Real Housewives related. In her spare time, you’ll find her feeding her serious beauty addiction, ordering anything and everything from Mecca Cosmetica.