What brought you to London from California?
I wanted to travel after I completed university so I went to Cape Town to model for a season. There, I met my London agent, Mike Illes of MOT Models, who encouraged me to come to London for a summer. I wanted to see Europe, had met a group of girlfriends who where going and MOT sorted out a work visa for me, so I came.
Your blog The Model Foodie scooped a Cosmo Blog Award. What are your tops tips for foodies watching their waistlines?
If you’re watching your waistline or just want to clean up your diet and live more healthily my biggest tip is to eat whole foods, meaning nothing processed – food that is grown or raised on an organic farm and hasn’t been messed with too much before it gets to your plate. Your body will naturally find its healthy weight if you choose to eat this way.
What’s your most memorable meal?
A few years ago I took my husband – then boyfriend – to Gordon Ramsey’s Hospital Road for his 30th birthday. I really couldn’t afford the extravagance at the time, but it was so worth it. I’d never had a tasting menu before and it completely opened my eyes to the beauty of food. After we finished swooning over the dishes, our waiter kindly took us on a tour of the kitchen. Seeing this stainless steel wonder, I was inspired enough to start cooking and give up boring food – it was an education.
How would you describe a typical workday?
Today is pretty typical: up at 5.45am to shower and out of the house by 6.15am. I jump on the tube to one of London’s train stations and catch a 7.15am train to the job’s location. I grab a coffee and banana somewhere along the way and promise myself I am not going to eat the chocolate croissants on set. Once on the train, I work on a few blog-related things, usually writing posts or editing photographs. I’m in hair and make-up by 9am and on set for 10.30am.
Today is a half-day, so it’s back to the station by 1.30pm and I am back in London around 3pm. I pop into a casting to meet a future client (forever the optimist) and then rush to make a 5.30pm yoga class. Sweaty, but feeling great, I’ll grab stir-fry ingredients on the way home. After I get cleaned up and into my baggies, I make dinner for me and the husband. We’ll then watch whatever series has us hooked. Tonight it’s House of Cards before bed at 10pm.
The model industry gets a lot of bad press. What has been your personal worst experience of it?
It’s a tough place – there is no denying that – but, if you have a thick skin and find your niche, it can offer some incredible experiences. Considering I don’t fit the model mold perfectly, the industry has been pretty kind to me. It has allowed me to travel extensively, paid for my master’s degree and has given me the gift of time to explore my other passions such as The Model Foodie.
And what has been your biggest highlight so far?
I adore working on big commercial productions. You really feel like you’re helping to build something grand. Shooting a three-part Crest commercial campaign last summer in Budapest was a massive highlight. It had everything from fake snow to night shoots and turntables. It was wonderful to be a part of it. I always promised my parents I would repay them for my dental work if I every booked a big detail campaign. I still owe them, but they where so chuffed when their friends started recognising me in that commercial.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere where the sun shines, the water is warm and great margaritas are served. Fiji is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been but Ibiza is a little closer to home, without the jet lag and I am always happy to dine at Juan y Andrea, Formentera.
What do you miss when you’re away?
My husband. Soppy, I know, but I don’t care what anyone says, travelling for work is not glamorous. I find empty hotel rooms very lonely. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the location – if you don’t have someone to share it with it’s just not that much fun.
Who would you most like to work with?
I’d love to shoot with Rankin. His images are alive with energy and his reputation is something I’d like to experience. He sounds difficult but incredible to work with.
How would you describe your personal style?
The attempt is to look pulled together with a little nod to fashion. I’m a sucker for beautiful things and naturally quite preppy. It doesn’t always work but I enjoy trying.
What’s your life motto?
Don’t wait for the storm to pass; learn to dance in the rain, and the greatness lesson my parents taught me was not to fear failure. Learn from it and keep moving forward.
How would you spend a lost day in west London?
Oh there is so much to do! A free day just to mosey would be bliss. I’d start in South Ken and wonder up to the V&A to pick up some gifts from the museum shop. It’s such a perfect place for unique presents and cards. I’d then wonder down Walton Street and Draycott Avenue, popping into the boutiques along the way. I’d meet a girlfriend for lunch at The Good Life Eatery and then maybe pop into the Saatchi Gallery and a few shops on the King’s Road. If I not completely over budget by then, I’d have to head to Pandora’s Dress Agency to hunt out some design finds.
When day dreaming, I’d like to shoot a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, grace a cover of Vogue, write a cookbook and have a hit culinary show. Too much? Seriously, in 2014 I’d like The Model Foodie to continue to build its readership, my photography to improve, I’d like to find a nutritionist course that reflects my personal understanding of healthy eating and begin the process of becoming certified, and from the day job, for this to be my best financial year yet. It’s a lot but I’m going to give it my best.