Swing Time writer Zadie Smith has one major rule when it comes to beauty: it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. The novelist tells Grazie Daily that she established the 15-minute rule after observing how much time it took her 7-year-old daughter, Katherine, to get dressed in comparison with her son, Harvey

“I saw that she had just started spending a lot of time looking in mirrors,” the celebrity mom reveals. “It was infuriating me. I decided to spontaneously decide on a principle: that if it takes longer than 15 minutes, don’t do it.”


The 15-minute rule extends beyond fashion and into the world of cosmetics. “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this,” Zadie shares. “Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a sh*t if you waste an hour and a half doing your makeup.”

Fans of Zadie Smith got an inside look on her perception of the superficial in the author’s 2005 book, On Beauty. The story follows two mixed-race families living in the United States who must grapple with the illusion of beauty among other things in the country. Kiki, the African-American wife of a white professor at Howard University, loathes her responsibility to parent daughters because “she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust.” The central character tries to protect her girls from the superficial by prohibiting television and other forms of marketing that promote a false perception of beauty.

Perhaps Zadie Smith is carrying out the mission of her created character with the 15-minute rule. Or, perhaps the celebrity mom is just tired of seeing her 7-year-old spending too much time getting dressed. Who knows? In any case, Zadie Smith is the proud mother of two kids.

Photo: Getty Images



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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