First, a little background: The Brown Shoe Company is based in St Louis. And as a self appointed cultural mayor of the Midwest city, it was my duty to go downtown last night to celebrate the company’s 100th Anniversary of the company, which was one of the very first to join the New York stock market. (I wasn’t the only one from the Lou who was down there either. Nelly, of St Lunatics and ‘Hot in Here’ fame, was also in attendance.) But what I didn’t expect at the bash was the performance from Jennifer Hudson. The Academy Award winning American Idol semi finalist waltzed onto stage singing, and by the end of her performance had the entire room gobsmacked. This was no cocktail fair. Effie White was back, and she brought the place down. I was in the DJ booth when she started, so I managed to sneak over to the side of the stage to steal this video. Doing St Louis proud!
If I had to make a list of my least favorite things, these three would be on the top: sunburns, large groups, and lines that snake through metal barricades. But perhaps the thing I like the least – and something that my therapist (if I had a therapist, that is) would have a field day with – is missing out. So, when my friend Poppy Delevingne invited me to celebrate her bachelorette party, or hen party as the English call it, at the Coachella music festival, I vacillated on the subject. I’ve never done Coachella before. All those girls in tiny denim shorts and boys with farmers tans, a large portion of which seem to be under the influence of some mind altering substances? Not for me. But, I rationed, is this my one chance to experience Southern California’s largest outdoor music festival? After all, every year I get a little older, and no one wants to see the creepy old dude rocking out in the back of the lawn.
So, I went. And I’m happy I did. My first and most likely last Coachella experience was a rewarding one. It combined the joys of celebrating the last few moments of unmarried bliss of a close friend with the enjoyment of some of Pop music’s biggest acts. Beyonce made a surprise appearance when her sister Solange performed. Pharrell wore the hat. Again. I fell in love with Lorde. Again. Outkaste was pretty good. Calvin Harris was really good. Alexander Wang’s party had a set from Iggy Azaela, followed by Major Lazer; Jeremy Scott’s party was in Frank Sinatra’s old Palm Springs pad and I had a dance off with a freshly bobbed and blonded Zoe Kravitz. And, oh, my friend’s bachelorette party was like the adult version of my favorite high school pool party: We ate too much, drank spiked punch, played on inflatable animals in the pool, unintentionally stole each other’s sunglasses, and didn’t get enough sleep. In fact, I plan on recovering from the weekend just in time for Poppy’s wedding next month.
Captions, from top: Cara, Poppy and Sienna at the bachelorette party; Alexander Skarsgaard and me; sunset in Palm Springs; Michael Polish and Kate Bosworth; a live set from Major Lazer; Rosie, Fergie and me; nightfall at the festival; Poppy’s crown, which I stole (sorry, Poppy); me and Kate; Michael, Noah and Alex; Conrad and his girlfriend with Petey, Gabriella and Gaby; poolside giggles; Cara about to leap on an inflatable; Caroline de Maigret at Alex’s party; Lily and Poppy showing off their locks on the dancefloor; Rita Ora at Frank Sinatra’s house; and a final shot on the way home
Todd Selby and I met at a New Year’s party (well, I guess you could call it a party) in a small town in the Yucatan Penninsula a half decade ago. A mutual friend, who we love but is a little bonkers, had promised a disco rave in an old school Aztec village. What we got was an iPod dock and some Red Bulls in an abandoned town square. But, wow was it fun. Todd is the sort of guy who can have fun anywhere. Which is the reason why I like his style of photography so much: He notices the little things, shoots the quirky things, has an eye for something special when it might be easy to miss it. His newest book, seen here, is all about fashion people. Here, we talk about it.
TS: I was definitely considering it. But I just didn’t know how I could pull it off.
I shot him for ‘The Selby is in Your’ place and have known him for quite a long time. I’ve photographed him in his closet so you’ll have to check it out yourself!
UPDATE: Since I’ve posted this, the New York Times has done a fabulous review of the xx at the Armory. But be warned: There are spoilers.
We weren’t given that many details. The woman from Burberry who had invited us sent this scary email that said if we weren’t on time we wouldn’t be let in, which gave me a bit of anxiety. It was a Vogue party. Who can’t be fashionably late to a Vogue party? But I followed directions, showed up on time, turned off my phones, left my camera at home. And I was happy I did. We were lead through an underground tunnel of the Park Avenue Armory in New York, and then emerged in a small tent with the band The xx. I won’t tell you what happened next. It wouldn’t be fair to the band, or to someone who is reading this that goes. Suffice it to see it was emotionally fulfilling. It was epic. It was a live gig that melded an art show with a light installation. There was a reception afterward and the band came in, and I was something that I haven’t been in a long time: Speechless. Last night was the first night of a 10 night gig in New York. Do whatever you have to do to get tickets. But if you don’t, do what I did for most of today: Just watch their videos on Youtube. Here, I’ll help you out.
I felt like a schoolboy playing hookie: This season, I skipped Paris fashion week to be in LA, replacing fashion with art and the Academy Awards. There are a few reasons for this, mind you. First of all, the artist Taryn Simon had an opening at the Beverly Hills outpost of Gagosian. And secondly, I hadn’t been in LA for Oscars weekend in a few years and I could have used an injection of sunny glamour after such a brutal winter. (The irony that it rained for most of the time wasn’t lost on me.) Besides, I had just been in Paris for the couture shows last month, and I had already done Milan.
Oscars weekend in LA is a very peculiar thing. It’s like all four fashion weeks combined into one, but stripped of fashion show runways and replaced with red carpets. The faces are just as beautiful but more familiar. In fact, the quotient of famous people in a small space becomes to intense that suddenly the existence of fame itself becomes a desensitizing commodity. It hits the saturating point where it becomes, Eh, who cares? Suddenly, seeing Lupita Nyong’o in the Chateau Marmont lobby isn’t as impressive because you just bumped into Olivia Wilde’s baby bump waiting for your rental car at the valet. (Though, for the record, my highlight of the weekend: Literally being in a corner with Baby from Dirty Dancing.)
For someone who doesn’t work in Hollywood, the pressure is off. In fact, it’s all fun and jolly and – this is a pretty perfect for it – gay. I spent the first part of Oscars night eating pizza in bed with my friend Jacqui, and then threw on a tuxedo after I watched Jared Leto accept the Best Supporting Actor Award. I adore Jared, a friend I had interviewed about the part of Rayon for the cover of Candy magazine last year, when she was just a character and not a career defining role. (READ THE ARTICLE HERE.) Then I went first to Elton John’s viewing dinner (I was there when Kelly Osborne strangled Lady Gaga in the ultimate photo op); then to the Vanity Fair Oscar party, which involved two security checkpoints and a level of glitz that is to be expected from the legendary party. My night ended – or rather the next morning started – at a party high in the Hills that I probably shouldn’t talk about if I ever want to be invited back. (Suffice it to say a legend who’s name starts with the letter M was the mistress of ceremonies.)
Before the Oscar weekend festivities, the weekend was anchored in something serious: The American artist Taryn Simon’s opening at Gagosian. Titled ‘Birds of the West Indies,’ it’s an obsessive observation at creating the legacy that has become the James Bond franchise. From the show notes: “In 1936, an ornithologist called James Bond released the definitive taxonomy of birds found in the Caribbean, titled Birds of the West Indies. Ian Fleming, an active bird watcher living in Jamaica, subsequently appropriated the name for his novel’s lead character. This co-opting of names was the first in a series of substitutions that would become central to the construction of the James Bond narrative. In a meticulous and comprehensive dissection of the Bond films, artist Taryn Simon inventoried women, weapons and vehicles, constant elements in the films between 1962 and 2012.”
My father has been a fan of the Bond films for as long as I can remember. Watching ‘Live and Let Die’ at our condo, which smelled like mildew, at the Lake of the Ozarks is one of my most wonderful childhood memories. So to see the components of these films, like Jane Seymour (who was Solitaire in ‘Live and Let Die’) and the speed boats and the handguns, was a peculiarly touching experience. This being LA, however, Taryn’s opening was as star studded as ever. Jared was there, and so were a bunch of other West Coast lumanaries, like Cameron and even Gwyneth. (Taryn is married to Gwyneth’s brother, Jake.) Seeing all that Bond memorabilia reminded me of the depth and the warmth of my childhood in Missouri, which are emotions that are sometimes hard to find in this town on this weekend.
CAPTIONS, from top: The prince of the weekend, Jared Leto, and I at Taryn Simon’s opening; Lady Gaga, Kate Hudson and Leslie Mann at the Vanity Fair party; Behati Prinsloo, Hilary Rhoda, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Lily Aldridge; Poppy Delevingne and Sienna Miller at the Chanel dinner; the French filmmaker Alexandre Espigares, who won best Short for “Mr Hublot,” with his wife and Jason Stathom, who he said he had a shrine of at his house and was nearly shaking when I introduced hem; Rosie and me making a Gayle King sandwich at VF; the highlight of my weekend: being in a corner with Baby from Dirty Dancing; Tayrn Simon after her opening; Jacqui Getty, Wendi Murdoch and Eva Chow at Taryn’s dinner; Elle Fanning, Terry Richardson and Jared at Taryn’s opening; coming up Rosie; the Oscar nominated Barkhad Abdi and his friend, who I bumped into on the street walking up to the Vanity Fair party; Anne V, Ashley Green and Angela Lindvall with Dan and Dean from DSquared2 at Elton John’s party; Rosie and Erin Wasson causing trouble; Sean Avery and Noah Mills; Rosie and four K’s: Karolina Kurkova and Karlie Kloss; me and Annie Hathaway
I’m not a Milan fashion week regular. In fact, before this season, the super stylist Katie Grand had only got me to the Italian fashion capital for 24 hours to launch her Hogan collection. But this week, since I was missing the shows in Paris (more on that in a future post), I figured I should pay homage to the Italian capital. Another reason? Three of my favorite people celebrated their birthdays.
‘Twas an above average Saturday night of fashion week. First up was Meenal Mistry, who had an Italian and pizza dinner (carbs? What carbs?) at the writer JJ Martin’s house. Sped through that one and then headed to Margherita Missoni’s birthday dinner. (Margherita has been like a sister to me, and who could forget how lovely she looked on her wedding?) And then my final stop: The infamous nightclub Plastic, where W’s Edward Enninful was celebrating his birthday with a midnight dance party. I checked every box this night: a sweet and intimate casual affair, a seated Italian feast, and a sweaty dance party that ended mere hours before my first show.
Edward owned this season: Not only was it his birthday, his ‘Iconoclast’ collaboration with the Prada stores debuted. It was a sensation: He turned to the Harlem Renaissance for inspiration, so there was colors and textures and a feeling of excited extravagance. At the mens store, a live jazz band played while Maria Carla Boscono and Jamie Bochert cut a rug. Also, to be noted here: The Prada show earlier that afternoon was a sensation. It was all deep V-necks with giant coats and sheer dresses.
Confession: I did briefly escape the Milan collections to attend a friend’s dinner in St. Moritz. That was an ordeal all of its own because, umm, I crossed the border without a passport. Somehow, my Missouri driver’s license sufficed after some begging, pleading, lower lip puckering.
When I got back to Milan, it was a decadent ending: Dolce & Gabbana’s show of fairy tales, armor clad power girls and even a little red riding hood finale. The shoes at D&G were works of art in themselves. That was followed by Missoni, which proved a colorful ending to my Milanese weekend.
Captions from top: Margherita Missoni and Jamie Bochert sandwiching Edward Enninful; the last look at Dolce & Gabanna; three generations of Missoni women: Angela and her daughter Margherita, and her mother Rosita; Stefan Beckman, Edward, Joan Smalls and Pat McGrath; Franca Sozzani and Giancarlo Giammetti; me and Margherita; Hanne Gaby on the Prada runway; the group shot at Meenal Mistry’s birthday party at JJ Martin’s house; Margherita on her birthday; Edward at his birthday; Joan and Georgia May Jagger at the Principe Hotel; my favorite fashion week females: Vogue’s Tabitha Simmons, Vanity Fair’s Jessica Diehl and WSJ. Magazine’s Kristina O’Neill; Cara Delevingne on the Fendi runway; handsome fellas George Cortina and Magnus Berger; the dinner scene at Margherita’s birthday; Kate King coming into the Dolce & Gabbana show; Anna Dello Russo, Lily McMenemy and Sophia Hesketh at Plastic nighclub; a Principe pileup in the bar with me, MariaCarla and Joan
London was hit with a double whammy this week: In a glamorous snafu of schedules, it was both London fashion week and the BAFTA awards, which meant that the British capital was infiltrated by the world’s biggest movie stars as well as its top models. I’ll just come out and say my highlight now: Sharing an elevator with Brad and Angelina at the Edition Hotel after the BAFTA’s. I had thought of all these really creative things to say: “Brad, I’m from Missouri too.” Or, “Angelina, I used to date women too.” But instead I just pressed my floor and sucked in the famous air. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The biggest trend in New York – crappy weather – continued on the first day of #LFW. The winds in London diverted a few planes, including Anna Wintour’s, who ended up in Newcastle, and The New York Times’ Kate Lanphear, who ended up in Dublin. Somehow, I managed to land as scheduled (for once in my life, good flight kharma), and then the rest of the weekend was sunny and sweet.
My first show? My friend JW Anderson. I sat next to Amanda Harlech, who has become one of his most ardent supporters. Jonathan, the designer, and I met through mutual friends and I’ve watched with pride as he’s become a toast of London and – soon enough – Paris, when he debuts his first collection for Bally next season. LVMH invested in him last year, and this season his show was expectedly unexpected. Later that day, I caught another friend’s show, Henry Holland, who always puts a smile on my face. His shows are always silly, colorful and have a wink to them. It’s clear to see why he’s one of the London fashion scene’s most popular boys. That night was Charles Finch’s pre-BAFTA dinner, cohosted by Chanel. The perfect way to end a debut of fashion week. Again, I was sat next to Amanda, and on my other side was the impossibly beautiful Elisa Sednaoui. We gawked at Bradley Cooper, mainly, and probably drank too much.
Cara Delevingne owned the following day when she debuted her own handbag with Mulberry. It’s in three sizes, but my favorite was the largest, which turned into a backpack. Cara showed up at dinner at the Claridges wearing it. That dinner was, err, interesting, since I had to reconcile the fact that I’m finally an adult. Cara sat me next to her father, Charles, who’s as charming as ever, a seemingly family trait.
If Cara owned the day, the BAFTA’s owned the night. When we got back to the Edition Hotel, Ian Schrager’s fabulous new property on Berners Street, just off Soho, a BAFTA after party was in full swing. (This is when I not-so-accidentally ended up in the elevator with Brad & Angie.) Nupita and Oprah and a bunch of familiar faces were all there – and so was someone who captivated everyone’s attention, Michael Fassbender. My friend Jessica and I ended up fake-smoking cigarettes in a top-secret conference room on the second floor, just to watch him. That’s normal, right?
Monday at London Fashion week is a packed day. It starts with Christopher Kane, which was subversive and sweet and full of trash bags and fur coats; then to Erdem, which was polished and lacey and embroidered; Burberry was tricky for me because, well, some lady was in my seat and wouldn’t move (so I had to watch the whole thing on Instagram); and finally Tom Ford, which was expectedly glamorous. But the ensemble we’re all going to remember from tom’s show was the one that was a sequined sports jersey mini dress that paid homage to Jay-Z’s lyric that he doesn’t pop molly, he rocks Tom Ford.
London fashion week ends with the Elle Style Awards, and this year I was the date (well, one of the dates of) Lily Allen, who won for Most Stylish Recording Artist wearing a dress by Roland Mouret, who was another of her dates. She’s their March cover, after all. Which is the fourth time she was on the cover. As far as fashion ‘do’s go, this one was pretty fabulous. You can get by with so much more in London than you can in other cities. There’s an irreverence that you lets you get by with almost anything. Or so it seemed with some of the one-liners that popped out of host Nick Grimshaw’s mouth. Katy Perry was Woman of the Year. Tom Ford gave an award to David Bailey, who said that he liked the awards show because the set reminded him of the opening sequence of the Fox cartoon Family Guy. If that’s not British irreverence, I don’t know what is.
Captions, from top: The London eye in the distance of Poppy Delevingne’s London eyes; Katy Perry, who was the Elle Woman of the Year, with her stylist Johnny Wuchek and Henry Holland; me and Joan Smalls; Roland Mouret and Lily Allen; an antiquity in Spencer House; Camilla al Fayed and her father, the Egyptian businessman Mohammed; Joan and Jourdan Dunn getting frisky at Cara Delevingne’s party; Karen Elson, Katie Grand and Luella Bartley at the Love party; Karen on the Tom Ford catwalk; Elisa Sednaoui, me and Lady Amanda Harlech at the Chanel dinner; Mark Ronson at Chanel’s dinner; Tati at the Firehouse; Laura Love, Geordon Nicol, Harley Viera Newton and Atlanta de Cadenet; Camilla and Elisa in a sandwich with Lucas and Benji; Charlotte Stockdale and her Dries van Noten dress; Fran Hickman and Caroline Sieber at the Chanel dinner; a kissing sandwich with Kelly Osborne and Cara Delevingne; Jourdan getting snuggly with Charles Delevingne, Cara’s dad; Kelly being unzipped by Joan; Hamish Bowles in the front row at JW Anderson’s show; Angel Haze; Poppy offering some glamour to a city block; David Thielebeule and Kate Lanphear at the Edition Hotel; Edie Campbell and Stefano Tonchi; Henry with Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane at Hoi Palloi; Elizabeth Saltzman and Jefferson Hack; Poppy and the BFC president Natalie Massenet at the Style Awards; Leigh Lezark, Daisy Lowe and Lily at the Firehouse.
I’m a recent Chelsea transplant. (After living amidst yummy mummys and bankers in Tribeca for a few years, being so close to art galleries and the Highline was a welcomed change of pace.) My buddies at the mens label Berluti asked for a tour of my new New York neighborhood, and I was only too happy to give it to them. Even if we nearly froze our fingertips off. Watch me wander around my favorite hotspots, including the 192 Books shop, both Gagosian galleries, the Chelsea market, Cookshop restaurant and the abrasive symphony that is New York City traffic.
No matter how self important we fashion people may become, Mother Nature proved that she’s the one calling the shots during New York fashion week. The defining trend this season: The cold. Not in recent memory has there been so many women wearing down jackets and Wellington boots during fashion week. Pity the street style photographers.
Despite what was happening on the streets, however, the city still brought the glamour the industry has come to expect from New York, the first stop on the month long fashion season.
Red was big this season: There was the last look at Donna Karan, which was Karlie Kloss in a flowing chiffon cape. And then there was Tabitha Simmons’ birthday dinner at the Bowery Hotel where she found herself in a ginger sandwich, courtesy of fashion’s favorite red heads Karen Elson and Grace Coddington. (Also at Tabby’s birthday, I met the actor called Kit from Game of the Thrones. I haven’t yet seen that show, but Kit was reason enough for me to add it to my Netflix queue.)
Perhaps the most poignant moment during fashion week was a dinner that Barney’s organized at the Swiss Institute on Wooster Street to celebrate their spring campaign, which Bruce Weber photographed using exclusively transgendered models. Fashion week dinners can be tedious, and using transgendered models could be seen as a gimmick. But Bruce’s 35 minute film, served during the first course, was an endearing tribute to some of the world’s strongest, most inspiring young people. I was sat next to a girl called Valentijn, who had been born a boy and started taking hormones when she was 5. She wanted to be a ballerina, and has used the poise she used as a young dancer to grow into an elegant – and extremely tall – model based in Holland.
Other memorable moments? Alexander Wang’s dance party, which was held in a much more convenient venue than his fashion show. Grace Jones performing at AMFAR. Moncler’s presentation at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which had an acapella group on stilts swinging around a stage that was filled with a Hollywood Squares-inspired grid of their outwear. Prabal Gurung had a streaker at his show, which was amusing and sort of annoying. (To work for six months on a show, and then some Urkanian douchebag mucks it up? Not cool.) The Purple party was cooler than school. And just as the snow started to come down, Proenza Schouler hosted an afterparty for their show — which was one of my favorites of the week — at Westway.
Finally, on the snowiest, slushiest, coldest day, it all ended: Marc Jacobs presented a sparkled and ruffled fantasy of a show under plushy clouds. It made me think that even on a cloudy day, in fashion we can find beauty. After the show, I ended fashion week in the most fabulous way I could think of: At a crappy midtown karaoke bar to celebrate my friend Kristina’s birthday. Not to brag, but I killed it on the mic to ‘Fergilious’ and ‘Jesus Walks.’
My good pal Emma asked me if I’d interview her for the newest issue of Wonderland magazine, which is on stands now. As with everything she does, she took on the project of a guest editor of the magazine with gusto. And I was only too happy to get lost in her enthusiasm. Below is our chat.
My mother is the first person to say I always wanted a little brother or sister. I was the youngest in my entire family, and I always felt like it was a disservice to humanity that there wasn’t someone after me onto whom I could dispel my pearls of wisdom. So, when Emma Watson – then a smiley, sweet, super smart teenager – and I became buddies, I felt like my childhood prayers had been answered. There was only one striking difference: Emma, wise beyond her years, already knew more than I did about just about everything and didn’t need any such advice. Emma is one of those rare breeds of people who have an intuition, a good head on their shoulders, a quick judgment. I can’t be certain that, as her adopted big bro, she’s learned any of that from me, but I will say she’s taught me a thing or two. She is concise, put together, organised, forthright and reliable. (Which are not the sorts of adjectives that apply to most child actors.) Back when I’d visit her on the Harry Potter sets, her dressing areas would be tidy(ish) and her well worn and bookmarked books would be stacked everywhere. She navigated the pressures of filming the world’s most successful cinema franchise with elegance and grace, and she didn’t forget to do the little things, like send funny postcards from vacations and fruit baskets at the holidays. After Potter, I watched her grow into a beautiful young woman who is navigating a career that’s entirely her own. It’s been an interesting transition: As she herself says, she felt she was an adult even when she was in the body a little girl waving a magic wand. Now, it’s as though she has caught up with herself. In the film Perks of Being a Wallflower, she charmingly captured the end of an American innocence. In Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, she made me smile as she poked fun at the pitfalls of teenage American materialism. In the upcoming Noah, she tackles the role of a biblical daughter-in-law in an epic adventure. Behold: Emma, a thoroughly modern woman.
DEREK BLASBERG: Where are you right now and what are you doing?
EMMA WATSON: Right now I’m on holiday. I’m stood on the balcony of my hotel room and I’m scratching my feet because I’ve been eaten alive by mosquitos. I look like I have a disease. I’m told I have sweet blood.
D: Well, I’m freezing in New York, so you won’t get much mosquito sympathy from me.
E: Well, I miss New York. I loved living there.
D: You were in New York during Hurricane Sandy. How surreal was that?
E: It was surreal for a couple of reasons. It delayed the end of our shooting for a few weeks, so we got the irony of filming an epic biblical movie about a flood, and then a storm comes and floods much of New York. It even damaged the ark, which was what set us back. The other reason that it was surreal was because you and I were on the Upper East Side, which was completely unfazed by the storm. We had high speed Internet and our phones. All the shops were open and, even weirder, people were shopping in them. The Carlyle Hotel was packed with people getting drinks. I remember calling you and asking, ‘Isn’t there something we can do I feel like such a waste of space?’ And you took me on a meal delivery with Citymeals on Wheels. That was amazing that we could do that. Do you remember Pearl?
D: How could I forget Pearl?
E: She was the spritely 90-year-old woman who was listening to Elvis Prestley records when we knocked on her door and delivered her food. Pearl was a babe.
D: Were you ever scared during the storm?
E: I remember not taking it very seriously, and then my dad called and said I should fill the bath with water. And I said, ‘Why would I do that?’ He said to put on the news and then I realized it was going to be a serious thing in some areas. When I showed up at Brown they warned me that it was going to get cold, and I said, ‘ I’m from England. I know what cold is.’ But I soon learned that, no, I didn’t know what cold is. My first semester at Brown [in Providence, Rhode Island], when it got into the negative temperatures, I just didn’t want to leave my dorm room. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I’d only go out to get supplies. The cold makes me miserable!
D: Speaking of Brown, I’m very proud that you are going to be an official Ivy League graduate soon.
E: Yes! I’m going to graduate in May, which I can’t believe. I can’t. I just can’t! Very exciting.
D: So, tell me: What do you plan on doing with that major?
E: Tough question… I’ve been very fulfilled by my studies. English has helped me think in an analytical way. It’s helped me see the world from new perspectives. Diving into these stories and characters has given richness to my own life. And now, when I read scripts or look at stories, I have these references for a larger understanding of humanity. I’m sure it will make my job as an actress more interesting.
D: I visited you on the Harry Potter set a few times, and it was like a little family and everyone knew each other.
E: It was. I miss the people too. I miss the familiarity.
D: And to go from that to a new place, a new school, with new friends – must not have been easy, right?
E: I really wanted a new experience. I loved not knowing anyone. It felt very exciting, and I felt like I was striking out on my own in a very real, very new way. But there’s this thing called the Sophomore Slump, which is a phenomenon that is apparently known and recognized, though I had never heard of it. It caught me by surprise. For the first year at university, everything is new and exciting. You don’t realize that you don’t have your support structure, your home comforts, and all those touchstones that help keep you on track. Then, after the first year, when the adrenaline wears off, you find yourself in a slump. That’s what happened to me by the end of my third term. I felt very unsettled and lost.
D: My mother always told me that in struggles we find strength.
E: She’s right. Now I really know how to take care of myself, how to be alone, how to deal with stress. If I hadn’t been through that time, I wouldn’t have got there. I never knew I had limits. You make good friends and you make bad friends, and you have to figure it all out. You realize you can’t do everything. I really did think I could do it all – commute back to the UK for Potter filming and press, then go to Brown for finals, and keep up with my friends and family. You can’t do by the way. You do have to take breaks. It’s how I became interested in meditation and yoga. I developed bedtime rituals.
D: Like what?
E: You’re going to laugh, but now every night before I go to bed I make a hot water bottle. It’s a ritual that makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself, and that’s important.
D: Learning how to be alone is a good lesson, and one I don’t think a lot of actresses learn.
E: I realized that. When you’re on a film set you’re watched and you’re never alone and there are all these demands on your time. Everyone knows where you are at every moment of the day. Then, I went to Brown and suddenly I was all alone. At first I hated it. Now, I’m happy to be by myself. I can be calm and productive and content, alone in my apartment.
D: Now, be honest: Have you ever wanted to go off the rails? Like, get drunk and get a tattoo?
E: Ha, I love tattoos. But I love them on other people. In fact, I have a Pinterest account and a whole board of tattoos that I like – but I would never want one for myself. I don’t think I could pull it off. My own self-image would not allow it.
D: But you’re not as puritanical as that, Emma.
E: I feel like I’ve been given a lot of credit where it isn’t due that I don’t like to party. The truth is that I’m genuinely a shy, socially awkward, introverted person. At a big party, I’m like Bambie in the headlights. It’s too much stimulation for me, which is why I end up going to the bathroom! I need time outs! You’ve seen me at parties, Derek. I get anxious. I’m terrible at small talk and I have a ridiculously short attention span.
D: That, I have noticed. Is part of that because you’ve become this big public figure?
E: Probably. I feel a pressure when I’m meeting new people because I’m aware of their expectations. That makes socializing difficult. Which isn’t to say that when I’m in a small group and around my friends, I don’t love to dance and be extroverted. I am just extremely self-conscious in public.
D: On that note, I’d like to formally apologize for being so shocked when you cut off all your hair.
E: Why? I loved that you were one of the first people to see it. I loved your reaction. You were utterly shocked. It was an appropriate reaction for a big brother.
D: You caught me off guard. It was so unexpected.
E: It wasn’t unexpected to me. I had been crafting it in my mind for years. So, when the time came, I went ahead and did it.
D: Have you ever thought of the psychology behind it? Like, did you do it because you were done with Harry Potter and you wanted to craft yourself a new image? Like Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games?
E: I think Jennifer Lawrence needed to cut hers off. But I see the parallel you’re trying to make. Maybe Miley Cyrus is a better example?
D: Ha! Exactly.
E: My mother always had really short hair, always had a pixie. So for me, it wasn’t as crazy as it was to you. To be honest, I felt more myself with that haircut. I felt bold, and it felt empowering because it was my choice. It felt sexy too. Maybe it was the bare neck, but for some reason I felt super, super sexy.
D: So, one day you’ll cut it again?
E: Absolutely. I miss it so much. The minute I get pregnant, the first thing I’m going to do is cut my hair off because I know I won’t be working for a time. If I wasn’t an actress, I’d keep it that way. I could wash it in the sink and shake it out like a dog. It’s so low maintenance!!!!
D: Let’s continue discussing appearances. Has fashion been any sort of fulfillment for you?
E: I love fashion as a thing. And I very much still follow it and find it interesting and when I come across something really great I get excited and I’m inspired. But there was a moment when I took a step away from fashion.
D: I was once sat next to Gwen Stefani at some fashion event, and she told me she always often feels like she’s in a Saturday Night Live skit at those things.
E: I find it slightly surreal too. I can remember my first Paris fashion week, and the insanity and hysteria that went along with it. Just to get into a fashion show? It’s more intense than a movie premiere. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t go to more shows, but to be honest I’d rather watch it on the internet. Fashion is this massive, huge industry, which I like to dip my toes into. But it’s not my industry.
D: That’s true. Film is. Do you remember the day that you and me went to see the Francis Bacon retrospective at the Tate, and I told you that I could see you being a producer or director one day? And you looked at me like I had ten heads.
E: Yes! People say that to me a lot now. Maybe I will one day.
D: Are you still looking for something else you enjoy doing?
E: Do you remember that time I called you up and asked if you knew anyone who needed an intern? And you almost died laughing?
D: Yes. You asked if I knew anyone who wanted you to be their personal assistant for a week.
E: I was serious! I am interested in everything!!! This year, I’m turning 24. A lot of my friends are really worried about turning 24, but I like that I’m getting older. In a way, I started out like this old lady, and now I feel like my age is catching up with me. And I’m excited by all these new things for me to do. I feel like I have so much more to accomplish as an actress. I’d love to try theater and that’s a whole other thing. But when I finish my degree, I will have a lot more time to pursue other passions, and I want to figure out what those will be. I love having something completely unrelated to the film industry. I want to find something that will let me use my brain in another way. I like connecting people who aren’t part of that world too.
D: I’ve seen your paintings, they’re swell.
E: I love painting. So maybe I hone in on that and do more art classes? Or maybe something different.
D: Well, I know you’re great at yoga.
E: Then, there you go. I can be a full time actress and a personal part-time yoga teacher?
D: It’s a plan.