In the city where you can do anything and be anything, originality is not just embraced – it’s expected. Creativity is part of London’s DNA. It pulses through its veins making it electric and fearlessly non-conformist. At the forefront of art, literature, design and theatre, meet the go-getting girls keeping London’s good name alive.
CHLOE HAYWARD: ACTRESS/MODEL
Born and raised in London, Chloe Hayward is a modern-day bombshell, effortlessly recalling the va-va-voom of ‘60s-era muses Brigitte Bardot and Veruschka. While Chloe’s modeling career boasts campaigns for Agent Provocateur and editorial in Italian Vogue, acting is her creative focus. With both a feature film by Stephen Frear and Television series by award-winning artist Jake Chapman released in months to come, Chloe’s year ahead is set to be a game-changer.
CAREER: “I love the uncertainty that comes with being an actress, the life changing phone calls when you book something you really want – but it’s a double-edged sword. Dealing with the quiet time in-between the jobs takes a steely determination. The DIY approach really helps – I’ve made short films with friends and I’m part of an ongoing Meisner group (an American acting technique), which provides me with a special place to fall on my face and get back up again.”
HIGHLIGHTS: “Working with Ellen Von Unwerth for Italian Vogue and featuring in campaigns for Agent Provocateur. But I can honestly say I’m at my happiest on a film set, I love the energy of the team working together. It’s like capturing magic.
PHILOSOPHY: “‘Don’t let the fuckers get you down’ – Harold Pinter.”
PERSONAL STYLE: “In another life I would be Brigitte Bardot living in Saint Tropez, swathed in a pool of suede and fur jackets, knee-high boots and jumpsuits. I dress like it's 1975 whenever possible."
FASHION FAUX PAS: “My biggest faux pas was when I wore a lilac crop-top with a necklace made from invisible thread with the same shade lilac feathers and beads. Around the same time I was giving the peace sign to everyone and saying zigga zig-ga.”
LONDON LIFE: “I live in De Beauvoir – it’s right in the middle of Islington and Hackney, but it feels as though I’m in a little village with tree-lined streets and my own garden. London is something special. Everyone has something cool going on – you can walk into any coffee shop and are guaranteed to meet a screenwriter behind the counter, or the person ordering a croissant in front of you is a designer or artist.'
BIGGEST VICE: “My biggest vice is karaoke. But not only in karaoke bars. In public, on trains, walking and in coffee shops. I just sing to the soundtrack in my own head. My friends call me a jukebox.”
UPCOMING PROJECTS: “I have a film coming out this year, ‘Icon’, Stephen Frear’s latest film with Ben Foster playing Lance Armstrong. I play his wife, not Sheryl Crow. And I’ve just finished a TV series directed by artist Jake Chapman called ‘The Marriage of Reason and Squalor’, out this year on Sky Arts. I am currently putting together a short film I wrote with an all-female production team based around the concept of strangers. And I’m road-tripping with my best friend in California in the summer too.”
GRETA BELLAMACINA: POET
Introducing a new generation to a neglected artform, 24-year-old Greta Bellamacina has won renown for her captivating poetry. With two published volumes and a third on its way, and collaborations with iconic British brands including Vivienne Westwood and Fortnum & Mason, the prolific writer is poised for big things – to begin with, an artist residency at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont.
BEGINNINGS: “I’ve always written poetry. It wasn’t really until I had my first editing job a few years ago for a collection entitled ‘Nature’s Jewels’ did I fully appreciate its power. Selecting and translating poems from the 16th century through to the 21st Century gave me a true understanding of this ancient heart.
HIGHLIGHTS: “I recently edited ‘Contemporary British Love Poetry’ published by Faber & Faber. It was amazing to be able to publish poetry written over the last 80 years, including poets like Alice Oswald, Wendy Cope and Dane Weatherman. I am currently co-writing a collection of poems entitled ‘Points For Time in the Sky’ with text-artist and poet Robert Montgomery. Most of our poems go back to the idea of being British and love which is leftover.”
LOVE OF POETRY: “I love poetry for its honesty, intimacy and freedom. I don’t think I ever aspired to become a poet as such, but it seems to be an art form that speaks most clearly to me. Poetry is for the everyman, the mother, the farmer the train driver."
LONDON: “I love the endless hum of the city with writing on the walls. I live in Bloomsbury – it’s sort of an old-fashioned forgotten neighborhood. I am from London, the Camden Town area. I always felt some kind of regeneration growing up there around the ‘90s. There was a sort of surreal madness to the way travellers flock there as a symbol of nostalgic love.
ADVICE: “To any creative, I say this. Focus on your art form – make the work! Everything else follows, and is often minor in comparison.”
HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m currently learning to play the harmonica once a week at the Working Men’s Club in King’s Cross.”
ALEXANDRA CARL: STYLIST
“As stylists we create characters and visualize dreams,” says Danish-born stylist Alexandra Carl. Getting into fashion via modeling at age 16, Alex quickly began styling for Elle and DANSK magazines, scoring a major gig with Adidas while still a teen. Living in London from the age of 18, Alexandra is currently Fashion Director for Rika Magazine and designer behind new fashion label, X of Copenhagen.
WHAT GETS YOU UP IN THE MORNING: “The feeling that something unexpected is waiting around every corner. London has such an incredible energy that really excites me.”
LIFE MANTRA: “’Just do it…’ I know it’s a cheesy brand rip-off but it works in so many parts of my life. Throw yourself in the challenge and have fun with it, then you can never really go wrong. If you put your heart into something your passion will lead the way.”
HOMETOWN: “I grew up in Copenhagen and moved to London at 18. I studied film and psychology there and graduated, all the while working at DANSK magazine and contributing to V, Elle and working with Adidas. But Copenhagen is tiny cand the industry there even smaller – I was so bothered by people always judging my age before looking at my work. London gave me the opportunity to grow and express myself without people questioning my age. Age shouldn't be an issue if your creative output is exciting and new.”
ON LONDON: “Freedom is a very simple way of describing my love for London. Freedom to be who you are without people pointing fingers, talking behind your back or turning their heads. Freedom to express your passions and succeed in doing what you love. And then there is a surprise around every corner. People are so ready to give you new opportunities. I feel like its always bit of a test, and if you succeed – you’re in the game."
ADVICE: “Remember to chill out and don’t be afraid to take holidays – people will still be there when you come back – actually advice I’m still trying to take seriously!
SUPERSTITIONS: “I’m really superstitious – have always been actually – it was quite an issue when I was a kid as all my neighbors had black cats!”
DREAMS: “My life is an open road and I love to be spontaneous. My boyfriend and I want to live in NY and maybe LA for a bit – but I think I’ll always come back to London. I want to carry on being challenged every day in my work.”
UPCOMING PROJECTS: “I just launched a capsule collection, X OF COPENHAGEN, in collaboration with a jewelry designer and a leather tailor, both from Copenhagen. I was itching to create iconic pieces that weren’t throw-away or seasonal. They’re tailor-made in Copenhagen from the finest suede, inspired by my interest in sustainability. I’m trying to promote an ethos to think before you buy – do you really need those Zara sweaters you’ll wear once or could you invest the same money in some special pieces you’ll have for ten years? I’m also participating in a charity event for the “Oceania” foundation – taking place in London in March, hosted by Pixie Geldof and Nick Grimshaw.”
REBECCA CALDER: ACTRESS
With an aesthetic reminiscent of a ‘90s Calvin Klein jeans advert and delicate, striking features, Rebecca Calder can’t help but command attention. The Australian-born actress, based in London’s vibrant neighbourhood of Dalston, has three feature films slated for release in 2015 including award-winning director, Paolo Sorrentino’s anticipated, ‘The Early Years’, with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.
ON ACTING: “It’s a truthful exploration of the human character, lifting a story off the page. With every audition and job, I learn something new on a variety of subjects, I love that side of it. As a career, acting is extremely challenging to realise, it can mess with your head if you’re not careful. I work hard and put in the hours so I give myself the best shot.”
HIGHLIGHTS: “Screen testing with Lars Von Trier at his studio in Copenhagen was definitely the most intense and amazing experience I’ve had. It didn’t come off and it almost broke me not getting that job, but I learnt a lot from it and ultimately knowing he believed in me has kept me going at times. Kevin Costner mentored me through screen acting on Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. His generosity taught me so much.”
PHILOSOPHY: “Be kind. Always be kind.”
HOMETOWN: “I grew up all over the place. I was born in the North East England near Newcastle, then my family trotted around the globe. Mostly I was schooled in Sydney, Australia. I moved to London at 19 from Naples, Italy, where I’d been living since I was 17.”
PERSONAL STYLE: “I play so many different characters with definite style choices, I prefer to be quite relaxed with my own style. I’m not girly, but I do like tight jeans and t-shirts tucked into them to spark some femininity. Those Calvin Klein 90s adverts had a major influence on me!”
LONDON LIFE: “It's hard to beat London for variety and creativity. Anything goes. London makes you a better person because it forces you to be less judgemental. I’ve traveled a lot and I’m never more aware of creativity then when I’m in London. But London is a tough city to live in – it’s cold, expensive and you’ve really got to work for your goals, but that’s where the creativity lies."
HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m really good at building and carpentry – you name it I’ve probably done it. Restoring things to their past glory, I freakin’ love it! Representing all the DIY ladies!”
ON THE HORIZON: “I’m in Paolo Sorrentino’s next film, ‘The Early Years’ with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, it premieres in Italy this May. I have an independent French Film called ‘Nous Sommes Tourists’ out later in the year, and a film I’m very proud of, ‘Love me Do’, directed by Martin Stitt is currently in post-production.”
FANNY USHER: VIDEO ART DIRECTOR
Funny, charming and endlessly creative, Fanny Usher is a girl of many talents. Finding success at a young age with her witty and innovative label, Fanny and Jessy, she soon progressed from fashion design to film: creating conceptual fashion shorts, Gifs and Cinemagraphs for luxury brands including Burberry, for whom she works as Video Art Director.
CAREER: “I have always enjoyed making film, but it was through fashion – in particular while working on my own fashion label Fanny and Jessy – that I became interested in it as a career. It was a big challenge to move away from the design side of fashion and let go of the label. But it was also the best decision I have made.”
HIGHLIGHTS: “When we first started Fanny and Jessy, Lady Gaga took a load of our collection on tour with her and ended up buying pieces from our subsequent collections. As two young girls straight out of university, this was crazy exciting. Recently I’ve been making Gifs and Cinemagraphs for the shows at Burberry, and this has meant learning a whole new skill while having access to their amazing footage, which has been so much fun.”
MANTRA: “Try not to take work too seriously. Always make time for friends.”
PERSONAL STYLE: “Tomboy Sass! I don't feel comfortable if I'm too dressed up and I rarely wear dresses or skirts. I'm relatively laid-back and the way I dress reflects this. I enjoy making an effort and owning nice clothes, but I'm more likely to spend money on a nice men's bomber jacket than a cocktail dress.”
LONDON LIFE: “I live in Hackney, which is East London. I have lived in South London as well but have always found myself returning here. It feels like home and most of my best friends live within walking distance, I'm not sure if I could be happy without being able to pop round to their places uninvited on a Sunday morning.”
CREATIVITY: “London is such a creatively inspiring city. From a fashion perspective, London seems a step ahead of the game with trends that quite obviously bubble up from street-wear to mainstream. We have some of the top art schools in the world and there is no doubt in the part this plays in keeping London at the forefront of creative development.
WORDS OF WISDOM: “Accept change, know when to let go. Enjoy it. You never who you'll meet next or where life might lead you.”
UNEXPECTED QUIRKS: “That I can be painfully shy and anti-social if I'm not in the mood. I also have an extra muscle in my lip that I can twitch – it looks really weird. I’m superstitious, one of my best friends gave me tarot cards recently so I read them when I’m feeling like something needs to change, I also keep lucky talismans.
UPCOMING PLANS: “This year I’ll be working on more film projects with Burberry, but I also have exciting projects with friends coming up – I’ll have to keep you posted about those!”