Can you remember when and where you were scouted? How old were you?
I actually wasn’t scouted the normal way. I entered a competition on a teen magazine when I was 15 and was a finalist on the competition.
What is the earliest memory of a model burnt into your mind?
My earliest memory of a model would have to be Agyness Deyn for Dr Martens. Weird memeory but that’s when I first heard of her.
Can you tell me an iconic model whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at images of them?
Since I was young I’d always admired Linda Evangelista. She’s a true modeling icon. I also loved Agyness Deyn and her short cropped rock n roll hair and attitude. Maybe one day I will cut my hair like that…
I think I’ve always been drawn to the androgyny, especially when the model is so beautiful looking like a boy or a girl.
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
The male gaze has always been at the forefront of the modeling industry in my eyes, however it isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. There are so many talented male designers, photographers and stylists who deserve their work to be admired and praised.
In recent years the female gaze has become more powerful and inspiring amongst people in the fashion world and beyond. I’d like the idea of the ‘human gaze’ to become the norm.
What was your first fashion shoot?
My first fashion shoot was for a hair brand which I actually can’t remember the name of. I remember turning up with my mum and she stayed for the whole day. I was 16 at the time and this was before it was a legal requirement for a parent to accompany a 16-year-old on shoots/castings etc. I think I was really bad on the day, I didn’t know how to model confidently and it was the first time I properly looked like a woman in full hair, makeup and a gown. The people on the shoot were very lovely but I wasn’t preforming my best and I think they could tell. It takes a lot of practice to become confident in front the camera and a crew of people on set.
What do you love most about being a model
The thing I love most about being a model is the freedom of doing something different every day. Also the down time which sometimes is great, allowing me to work on other projects or just getting time to do the mundane stuff like cleaning my flat, seeing friends and getting coffee or doing gym classes in during the day. Sometimes it can get lonely as you have too much free time and you feel useless and unfulfilled. I try and make a schedule for myself during these ‘harder’ days to keep my mind occupied.
What do you most hate about being a model?
The stigma you get about being boring or dumb or vain. The majority of models I know are really intelligent and have lots going on outside of their modeling lives. Also people thinking modeling is easy. Yes, sometimes the opportunities or money that comes with modelling is amazing however people don’t always see the bad side. Not knowing when your next job will be, when you will next get paid or if you will make it home for your boyfriend’s birthday because of an over-running job.
How do people react when they find out you are a model?
Being a model is more common these days. Lots of people can get into the modeling industry or have dabbled in it, so nowadays people aren’t as shocked/ amazed when it comes to modelling.
What is the most common question you get asked as a model?
Do you get to keep the clothes…?
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
That’s a really good questions. Sometimes I find myself asking this question a lot. If I could go back and start over, I’d try and be more confident at shoots and castings. Whether it was about how I used to think I had to dress, act or speak.
I’ve been lucky with the clients and brands I’ve worked with in the past so I wouldn’t change that side of things.
How does it feel to be shot by a female photographer vs a male photographer — is there a difference, if so how?
For me I’m very much comfortable shooting with male or female photographers. It depends on their personality and the situation of the shoot i.e what clothing you’re shooting, the location and the team on set.
What makes you feel comfortable in front of a camera?
Praise and music haha!
If the shoot’s going well and you think you’re doing a good job it always makes you more confident and happy. Music is key as well, having a beat or background music always make you feel more lively and happy. It also makes everyone’s attitude on set change when there’s good music playing and people feel like they’re not at work but having a good time with friends.
Besides modelling what do you do?
I’ve recently started my own brand called OhLydia Intimates. It’s a basics brand which specializes in comfy loungewear type underwear for women of all sizes. I’ve really loved doing this on the side, it keeps my mind occupied and allows me to be creative and have creative control over something very personal to me.
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to feel like a master of a craft?
If we’re talking about modeling, then I think it took me around 3-4 years to truly become confident and feel like I was a good model. Maybe it was to do with age as well. When I first started I was 16 so by the time I was 19-20 I had grown up a lot and become the woman I am today. Even after all this time, I don’t by any means feel like a master of the craft.
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
There’s too many to write down! My three favorites would have to be, Corinne Day, Nadia Lee and Rineke Dijkstra. All for different reasons. Ones to watch for me are actually people that I know, Katie Silvester’s work is so beautiful and a touching and also my friend Sam Khoury is an amazing photographer whom I admire.
Who is your female designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
My favourite female designer icon is Coco Chanel. Ones to watch has to be Louisa Ballou, a friend of mine that does swimwear. Her designs are incredible and she’s worked so hard to get where she is.
What do say about the charge that all fashion imagery is predominantly sexist?
I can see both arguments. The majority of fashion images have previously been seen in the ‘male gaze’ even if it wasn’t obvious to the naked eye. It was always about sex, and sex sells. However, the change in the industry has shown us that this isn’t always the direction we need to go in to sell.
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect fashion image making?
I think it’s a great thing! Rather than seeing it as the feminists are taking over I see it as women getting their time in the spotlight which they’ve always deserved.
When I look at your work as a model, one of my favorite images of you is the one of you smiling for Chantelle by Sam Khoury. What is yours?
Aw I’m so glad you love that image. I love it too! That was a fun shoot, Chantelle had sent me some garments and I wanted to do them justice by putting in effort to make beautiful images for them and myself. Me and Sammy shot that together at her old flat in 30 minutes. They are the kind of shoots that I love!
What was your relation to design/fashion prior to modeling? Has it changed?
Before modelling I had no clue about the real world of fashion/design. Modeling has opened a door into a world that I’ve always wanted to be a part of but just had no clue about.
What qualities do you value in an agent or booker?
Having a good booker/agent is so important. They are your manager, boss, mum, consultant and best friend all at the same time. You need to be honest with each other for things to work.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
My most valued piece of advice would have to be, Be your own boss. My dad has always said this to me and it’s so true. Whether you really are your own boss or just taking control of your life.
If I could have given myself some advice at the beginning of my career it would’ve been, don’t be fooled by what everyone else is doing around you. Concentrate on yourself and what’s in front of you rather than what everyone else is doing.