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Issue 11 New Rules Cover

HATC Magazine Issue 11 New Rules Cover Spring 2023 A new generation of HATC magazine is here! With a continued focus of culture and mental health we are ecstatic to introduce a new and bigger size of A4 and aesthetic. Featuring Alma, Naomi Schiff, Busted, Louis Dunford, Glume, Akini, Thora Valdimars and more. Official launch 27th March 2023.

HATC Magazine Issue 11 New Rules Cover

Spring 2023



A new generation of HATC magazine is here! With a continued focus of culture and mental health we are ecstatic to introduce a new and bigger size of A4 and aesthetic.



Featuring Alma, Naomi Schiff, Busted, Louis Dunford, Glume, Akini, Thora Valdimars and more.



Official launch 27th March 2023.

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HATC<br />

Culture and Mental Health<br />

Photography By Aaron Hurley<br />

NEW RULES


MASTHEAD<br />

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF<br />

ALICE GEE<br />

HATC TEAM<br />

ALICE GEE<br />

JADE POULTERS<br />

BRONTE EVANS<br />

MADISON DREW<br />

CONTRIBUTORS.<br />

ALICE GEE<br />

JADE POULTERS<br />

BRONTE EVANS<br />

MADISON DREW<br />

WILL<br />

FEATURING<br />

NAOMI SCHIFF<br />

LOUIS DUNFORD<br />

NEW RULES<br />

ALMA<br />

BUSTED<br />

AKINI<br />

GLÜME<br />

THORA VALDIMARS<br />

ROTATE<br />

SHAB<br />

LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE<br />

OPUS KINK<br />

CONTRIBUTING STYLISTS.<br />

PHOEBE BRANNICK<br />

SAM THOMPSON<br />

CONTRIBUTING MUA<br />

CHANTELLE PHILLIPS<br />

GIORGIA VENTURINO<br />

EMILY WOODS<br />

CONTRIBUTING STYLING<br />

ASSISTANTS.<br />

BEATRIZ FRANCIS<br />

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY<br />

ASSISTANTS.<br />

HEATHER ROTHNEY<br />

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS.<br />

BETTY OXLADE-MARTIN<br />

AARON J HURLEY<br />

RAY BURMISTON<br />

ANDREA RIBA<br />

POLINA VINOGRADOVA<br />

JORDAN ROSSI<br />

OLIVIA FÖLLCH<br />

2


3


COVERS<br />

Words Alice Gee<br />

Photography Betty Oxlade-Martin<br />

Styling Phoebe Brannick<br />

MUA Giorgia Venturino<br />

Words Madison Drew<br />

Photography Aaron J Hurley<br />

Styling Phoebe Brannick<br />

MUA Chantelle Phillips<br />

Words Alice Gee<br />

Photography Jordan Rossi<br />

Words Madison Drew<br />

Photography Tom Cockram<br />

Styling Sam Thompson<br />

MUA Emily Woods<br />

Words Bronte Evans<br />

Photography Ray Burmiston<br />

4


5


CONTENTS<br />

8 EDITORS NOTE<br />

10 ALMA<br />

16 LOUIS DUNFORD<br />

26 NAOMI SCHIFF<br />

38 NEW RULES<br />

52 ROTATE<br />

60 THE OTHER BRONTE SISTER<br />

62 THORA VALDIMARS<br />

70 AKINI<br />

84 GLUME<br />

90 BUSTED<br />

98 REVIEW: OPUS KINK<br />

100 SHAB<br />

106 LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE<br />

6


7


EDITORS<br />

Here at HATC, a new age is beginning.<br />

Over the last two years, our journey leading<br />

the conversation on mental health and<br />

culture has inspired meaningful conversations,<br />

with every guest placing trust in us<br />

and delivering their truths. As we reach <strong>Issue</strong><br />

<strong>11</strong>, nearly three years on, we are ready<br />

to welcome change with more conversations,<br />

elevated visuals, and an even bigger<br />

format. As our format changes, we are<br />

committed to your experience, developing<br />

and encapsulating what’s happening<br />

around us. We want HATC to be the best<br />

it can be with honesty at the forefront, so<br />

with that in mind, it’s time to wear my heart<br />

on my sleeve.<br />

Growing up and living with bipolar and various<br />

mental health experiences has often<br />

felt like both a blessing and a curse. I’ve often<br />

experienced the nasty and toxic stigma<br />

surrounding people’s opinions, intentions,<br />

and misinformation. But I have also experienced<br />

immense kindness and empathy<br />

from loved ones and strangers. My journey<br />

has often been met with fear about the future,<br />

quality of life and the lack of control.<br />

It’s led me to question the world around me<br />

personally and from others’ perspectives.<br />

As much as I see the environment change<br />

with those around me taking a step in the<br />

right direction with mental health, this will<br />

only continue if we consciously expect and<br />

envisage better. With my intention behind<br />

HATC ultimately the same: moments of<br />

respite and escapism, they have also matured<br />

in ensuring we find balance in all areas<br />

from personal experiences, good and<br />

bad, and the ever-changing world around<br />

us. For us breaking down the stigma, creating<br />

safe spaces and moments of escapism<br />

is integral to us and our core beliefs. Those<br />

who know me know integrity lies at the<br />

heart of HATC, so I’m excited to implement<br />

positive changes to our brand. From issue<br />

<strong>11</strong>, you’ll notice we’ve grown in size, bringing<br />

you even more content, unheard narratives,<br />

and immersive editorial experiences<br />

while tackling some of the most engaging,<br />

candid, and essential conversations.<br />

<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>11</strong> represents an array of strengths.<br />

8


LETTER<br />

Our first cover of <strong>Issue</strong> <strong>11</strong> is Naomi Schiff.<br />

I’ve been a fan of Naomi’s for quite some<br />

time. For me, Naomi has always been an<br />

unapologetic woman powerhouse, paving<br />

the way for others in an often dominated<br />

male and underrepresented world of racing.<br />

Naomi opens up about her definition<br />

of winning and the balance and often huge<br />

sacrifice that comes alongside being at the<br />

top of your game.<br />

With the success of their first ep, <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong><br />

are making waves with new music and ever<br />

sold our tour dates both in the UK and internationally.<br />

<strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> have proved that<br />

a new boy band era is in full swing. Anyone<br />

who meets them knows the genuine care<br />

and sincerity they bring to the table, so it is<br />

no surprise they quickly became a favourite<br />

cover, with fans going wild for images<br />

from their shoot.<br />

As were in full swing with our boy band era,<br />

what is culture without a bit of nostalgia?<br />

Well, busted are here to tell you. Celebrating<br />

20 years of the band, christ, that hits me<br />

hard; my younger self is in a complete meltdown.<br />

Interviewing with me, they discuss<br />

the formation of busted and everything<br />

in between. <strong>Issue</strong> <strong>11</strong> continues to follow a<br />

common theme of unapologetic guests,<br />

including cyborg Chinese singer Akini,<br />

Glüme who bares all about her childhood<br />

and debut album, Alma: new music, and being<br />

back on the road, co-founding mother<br />

of Rotate Thora Valdimars and her styling<br />

journey, and our final cover Louis Dunford<br />

welcoming us with open arms a year and a<br />

half after our first interview for an exclusive<br />

following the success of his music career<br />

and confronting his demons.<br />

Say hello to a new beginning with us and<br />

the continuation of all important conversations<br />

on mental health.<br />

Editor-in-Chief<br />

Alice Gee<br />

9


10<br />

ALMA


Early morning London, Chinatown is still quiet<br />

and even a little sleepy. Having climbed the Century<br />

Club’s stairs, I grab a coffee, sit, and wait for<br />

Finland’s rising pop star to arrive.<br />

Do I really need to introduce her? Known for her<br />

tracks that pack a pop punch and her punkish<br />

looks, ALMA has reimagined what it is to be a<br />

pop singer, with vibrancy and fun at the heart of<br />

every track. As ALMA returns with a new album<br />

in tow ‘Time Machine’ out on the 21st April, it’s the<br />

most personal album she has made, shining a<br />

light on subject matters that she’s not discussed<br />

before. Following the success of her debut album<br />

‘Have U Seen Her?’ - the new tracks ‘Summer<br />

Really Hurt Us’, ‘Hey Mom, Hey Dad’ and ‘I<br />

Forgive Me’ indicate that this album will deliver<br />

more hits. Since her debut, the world has welcomed<br />

ALMA with open arms as she continues<br />

to sell out tours, including her returning show at<br />

London’s Omeara last year. As we chat about<br />

her rise to fame, ALMA let’s me in on what’s important<br />

to her, the cities she loved performing<br />

in and those close to her that share her journey,<br />

including her twin sister.<br />

ALMA: Music came into my life pretty early. I’d<br />

never dreamt of doing anything like I’m doing<br />

now until it happened, I never understood that it<br />

was even possible. I always thought being a musician<br />

meant being rich and from America. It felt<br />

so far away. I wasn’t the greatest in school and so<br />

I skipped a lot of school. Then when I was 16, me<br />

and my twin sister stopped going. I was home for<br />

a couple years and didn’t do anything. Eventually,<br />

I met this guy who believed in me and encouraged<br />

me to start making music and that was the<br />

first time I started writing music. But I was always<br />

singing from a young age. One memory I have<br />

is sometimes I had to walk through this forest<br />

alone and I was so scared so I would just sing to<br />

make me feel safe. I was signed at 17 years, and<br />

they flew me to America within a month – it all<br />

happened so fast.<br />

A: Coming to the UK for the first time must have<br />

been exciting!<br />

ALMA: I took my twin sister with me every time<br />

until she went back to school for a while. It was<br />

crazy, the first couple of years were super wild.<br />

A: Is it still a pinch moment, even after all your<br />

success?<br />

ALMA: There is an element of that. My life has<br />

just changed so dramatically. Plus every country<br />

is very different in how they treat celebrities.<br />

A: Who’s been the most significant person<br />

you’ve been star-struck by?<br />

ALMA: I’ve actually met many, which is interesting.<br />

But if I had to have a favourite, it would be<br />

Lady Gaga. It was in 2019 when she won an Oscar<br />

for 'Shallow'. Andrew called me and asked<br />

me to come to the after-party. It was mad! There<br />

were people there like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry,<br />

Adele. Meeting Adele was fucking crazy, but for<br />

me, Lady Gaga is an absolute steal. She was so<br />

lovely to me. Andrew told her all these things<br />

about me and then Lady Gaga was like, “You’re<br />

the shit” three times in a row, and I remember<br />

thinking, ‘Oh, God, Lady Gaga just told me I’m<br />

the shit!’. She’s incredibly inspirational. For her to<br />

even know a little of my story was incredible. It<br />

gave me a lot of motivation to keep on going. It<br />

was a moment I will remember forever.<br />

Photographer<br />

Jordan Rossi<br />

Words<br />

Alice Gee<br />

<strong>11</strong>


A: Seeing your music do so well over the years,<br />

is it like a form of validation when you see it in the<br />

charts, and it’s doing really well? Or was it the extra<br />

cherry on top?<br />

ALMA: At first, it was just crazy, unbelievable,<br />

and very unexpected. Like, I didn’t even have<br />

Spotify for artists that you could check at the<br />

time. When they told me it was in the top 20, I<br />

didn’t understand enough about the industry.<br />

COVID allowed me to sit down and think about<br />

what’s important. It can start to consume you:<br />

money and success. I remember when I won a<br />

Finnish version of the Brits and won four in a row,<br />

I thought to myself…now I need to win a Grammy!<br />

I never felt proud of what I had achieved and<br />

wanted more success. I think this is partly because<br />

I have always been so focused, and at one<br />

point, I just became focused on the charts and<br />

wasn’t making music that I loved. So on this new<br />

album, it was so lovely to have a change. It gave<br />

me a lot of freedom to do what matters to me.<br />

A: There’s a lot of pressure, though. We’ve seen<br />

it often with people we speak to, especially with<br />

social media and what is expected. Amazingly,<br />

you’ve found that perspective. Did COVID mean<br />

you hit the pause button?<br />

ALMA: I actually went to Sweden. It was the only<br />

place where I was allowed to travel. I was there<br />

for two years and put the album together there.<br />

The time off with covid gave me time to answer a<br />

lot of questions I had about myself.<br />

A: What’s been your experience with Mental<br />

Health? You mentioned that you’ve written<br />

things based on how you feel at that moment.<br />

ALMA: I’m not afraid to talk about it. I’ve talked<br />

about it a lot. I come from a family who got very<br />

sick, and that affected me. Having a twin has<br />

also influenced me a lot. I think my career has<br />

been both a blessing and a curse. I still struggle<br />

with it all.<br />

A: I’m sure there have been many good moments,<br />

but has that impacted you?<br />

ALMA: I’m constantly battling stuff to have an<br />

everyday life. It’s not easy. It’s like a roller coaster<br />

that comes and goes, some days are more accessible<br />

than others.<br />

A: It’s all about management. Does the music<br />

help you?<br />

ALMA: Music has been more like a thrill than<br />

safety. Every time I go backstage, I can be very<br />

anxious and want to run into another room, but<br />

then when I force myself to go on stage not<br />

knowing what’s going to happen, it just disappears.<br />

That’s like magic to me. When I’m home<br />

with my friends, I might be way more lost than<br />

when I’m ALMA on stage.<br />

A: How is it being vulnerable when you write? Do<br />

you get nervous about people seeing that side<br />

of you?<br />

ALMA: Obviously, it’s not the easiest topic to<br />

suddenly open up to people about. For this new<br />

album I worked with Elvira Anderfjärd - a female<br />

producer from Sweden. She’s about 24, a genius.<br />

I open up more to women than men, but 90%<br />

of the music industry is men so it’s hard to find<br />

women you connect with. It’s a lot to do with energy<br />

when I get into the room, and the energy impacts<br />

how I work. So it’s taken me a while to feel<br />

12


"I can be very anxious and want to run into another room, but then when I force myself to go on stage not knowing what’s going to happen, it just disappears. That’s like magic to me."<br />

Lady Gaga was like, “you’re the shit” three times in a row, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, God, Lady Gaga just told me I’m the shit!’<br />

13


14


secure. I always talk and work with people that I<br />

think have some understanding of me.<br />

A: Because you said you’ve got people who<br />

come with you, is that nice to have an entourage?<br />

Does it offer comfort, being able to enjoy<br />

these moments with others?<br />

ALMA: I always have my friends. My twin sister<br />

used to travel with me. I bring my family everywhere<br />

I can when touring, and my girlfriend is<br />

usually there. That keeps me very sane. It’s a<br />

win-win situation to share it with others. It’s lonely<br />

to see the world and do all of this without your<br />

friends.<br />

A: You’ve got new music coming out. Not long<br />

now!<br />

ALMA: I’m super excited. The new singles are<br />

working super well here. I think, it’s the best body<br />

of work that I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine that I’ll<br />

ever make a better one. I’m going to be touring<br />

this summer, we’re going to be doing festivals,<br />

and then we’re going to be traveling with other<br />

artists. I’m going to announce that soon!<br />

A: Where is your favourite place to go perform?<br />

Is it home?<br />

ALMA: I love London. Like, I’m not even just saying<br />

this because we’re here. Finland is lovely, but<br />

it’s a lot of fucking pressure. All eyes are on me,<br />

including critics. I really appreciate everyone<br />

that buys tickets to see me play in London and<br />

hopefully I can play some festivals soon, especially<br />

like Reading and Leeds!<br />

‘Time Machine’ is out on the 21st April.<br />

15


16<br />

LOUIS DUNFORD


17


18


19


His rapidly growing success has not changed<br />

Louis Dunford. We meet via Zoom to be greeted<br />

by Louis wearing a navy flat cap like a Peaky<br />

Blinder. Fresh from the barbers with his phone<br />

propped up on the kitchen countertop, that just<br />

ever so slowly slips throughout the interview, it<br />

feels like a reunion.<br />

Since HATC last spoke to the singer-songwriter,<br />

Louis has had quite the journey. With many<br />

songs now in his wheelhouse, including the anthem<br />

for Arsenal. He has played many shows<br />

in just under two years after his signing. Louis<br />

himself still feels the same. "I'm probably still<br />

just as full of self-doubt. It's a weird sort of job to<br />

find yourself doing when you don't have much<br />

confidence".<br />

Now the 30-year-old is preparing for his show<br />

next month at O2 Forum Kentish Town. "[It's<br />

the] biggest show I've done. I've not slept the<br />

last three nights. I don't know if that's something<br />

to do with it."<br />

"You put these shows in, and they're six months<br />

away, and it feels like it's going to take forever to<br />

get there. And then all of a sudden, they come<br />

around, and I think I'm actually going to have<br />

to do this. That's when I tell myself, I'm going<br />

to manage it. We're going to do this. And then<br />

there's this anxiety about it selling tickets"<br />

The 2,300-capacity venue sold out in just under<br />

a minute which (metaphorically) "blew [his]<br />

head off." The London show is a part of his upcoming<br />

headline UK tour. Far away from the<br />

open mic at the Highbury pub and his ultimate<br />

dream gig at Union Chapel.<br />

Photographer<br />

Tom Cockram<br />

Louis is in constant battle with his confidence<br />

as venues get bigger 'I'd probably be a little bit<br />

more relaxed, but then, you can do the 900-capacity<br />

venue like Union chapel. And you think,<br />

'Oh, we've sort of conquered that maybe now<br />

I'm confident.' and then the venue goes up<br />

again." Although, he admits he loves an intimate<br />

gig as much as those in bigger venues.<br />

<strong>New</strong> music is in the works. Starting with Louis'<br />

new single, 'Lucy', released 6th April. His recent<br />

writing sessions have inspired more music<br />

about these "characters." Dunford is exceptionally<br />

proud of his songs, calling them his children.<br />

A worry that pops up naturally is people's<br />

reactions. "It's like putting your diary to music,<br />

and then you put it out into the world." He usually<br />

takes a break from social media until the<br />

feeling subsides and tries to focus on positive<br />

comments. "100 people could say, this is the<br />

best song I've ever heard in my life. It changes<br />

my world, and I'll forget all about them as I remember<br />

that one person on Twitter".<br />

"I've sort of come to terms with it. I'm really<br />

proud of it and the reaction. If people would<br />

love it as well, that would be great. That's kind of<br />

how I manage my anxiety." He explains, "I have<br />

to make sure that I'm very content with something<br />

for it to go out there. And then there's<br />

been times before, looking back I think I should<br />

have been that honest. And so now I go sing it<br />

every time and think, is it good?"<br />

Those songs are undoubtedly good and<br />

adored by fans outside his North London town.<br />

He's "very thankful" to supporters travelling<br />

from all over to his gigs, whether from Scotland<br />

or abroad. The dedication doesn't go unno-<br />

Words<br />

Madison Drew<br />

20


ticed. "It's crazy to me. It's like a beautiful thing.<br />

When it does reach people outside of this tiny<br />

little corner of London, it kind of blows my mind.<br />

I don't really know how to put it into words."<br />

The homegrown support of Islington locals<br />

are the first to grow fond of the musician. "It<br />

was always a lot of love and support from the<br />

off." The Angels have become like a brood for<br />

Louis. "The shows are like reunions for people<br />

who come to the shows, half of the Angel are in<br />

the crowd. It's always nice to have drinks in the<br />

pubs afterwards, it feels like it's been a wedding<br />

or something."<br />

People have been asking him to play "all over<br />

the gaff" which is his way of saying across the<br />

globe. He reveals a fear of flying may have to be<br />

conquered before this. "Europe would be nice.<br />

I don't know about America. That's far for me."<br />

He recalls his "incredible experience" playing in<br />

Dublin, where some of his family are from, and<br />

would love to revisit there.<br />

His EPs' The Morland' and 'The Popham' -aptly<br />

named after places in his North London<br />

town- are edged with sorrow and vulnerability<br />

in different situations. His openness on mental<br />

health in his tracks has been applauded. As<br />

Louis admits it's rare to discuss it for men, especially<br />

where he grew up in London. "My best<br />

friends are a group of working-class lads. It's<br />

almost cliche, but they're the type of boys that<br />

would never even admit that they've cried before."<br />

"So when I write about my own experiences, if<br />

I ever feel a little bit vulnerable, which is always<br />

the way I feel, a bit awkward about really putting<br />

Stylist<br />

Sam Thompson<br />

something out there, that's very honest, I sort of<br />

think, well, you know, ultimately, the boys hear<br />

it, and it will make them think about how they're<br />

feeling, or make them think about talking to<br />

someone about how they're feeling."<br />

His songs have had an impact on many. Whether<br />

it's the tragedies of life or nostalgia for youth,<br />

"I get messages all the time from young lads<br />

that have been affected by the music or that say<br />

the tunes resonate with them. And that's worth<br />

me feeling a bit awkward or a bit vulnerable.<br />

You know, to give someone that feeling of not<br />

being alone, I'll take being a bit vulnerable and a<br />

bit embarrassed. If it makes someone feel less<br />

lonely". For some, the personal experiences<br />

from Dunford are reciprocated. "The thing that<br />

I always find most difficult is how alone I feel. So<br />

if you write something so specific, and people<br />

say I feel that way, too, sometimes it makes me<br />

feel less alone, which is always a really lovely<br />

feeling."<br />

No matter where the music takes him, his heart<br />

will forever be with London. The born and bred<br />

North Londoner pens many songs about the<br />

city's diverse culture. Spending time away by<br />

the sea and countryside is great, but after a<br />

while, for him, it gets "a bit too positive now. I<br />

need to get back to the negativity of London,<br />

and the air is slightly too clean. I need some<br />

smoke in the lungs" he jokes. Outside of music,<br />

his life is relatively ordinary, spending time with<br />

his dad working on the market stall or dropping<br />

his two nieces off at school.<br />

Upon reflection of even just the last year of music,<br />

his favourite moment has to be getting his<br />

band. "When growing up, all I ever wanted to do<br />

Grooming<br />

Emily Woods<br />

21


22


23


was be in a band." As he admits he's struggled<br />

to convince his friends to join a band in school.<br />

The dream has become a reality, with his musicians<br />

joining him in recording and playing live<br />

shows.<br />

"We get to go up and down the country doing<br />

shows, and we did a residential recording<br />

week, which was just probably one of the best<br />

weeks of my life. We stayed at a studio in the<br />

middle of the countryside. We just work all day<br />

and record music that we love. And then just<br />

have dinner and a few beers every night, life's<br />

not going to get much better than this."<br />

Louis has already ticked off his biggest goal of<br />

playing Union Chapel. When asked if there are<br />

new goals, he responds with "Happy."<br />

"And that my family can be happy and healthy."<br />

he adds.<br />

"I've kind of fell into doing this as an accident.<br />

And it's amazing. And I take it a day at a time. I'm<br />

more successful in music than I ever dreamed<br />

I would be. I never dreamed I'd be playing this<br />

set of shows".<br />

"This is sort of chugging along. Kind of going<br />

above and beyond what I ever dreamed. My<br />

ambition really lies in happiness. That's a terrible<br />

TED Talk." he laughs. Life comes with its<br />

difficulties, but the songs are worth the content<br />

they bring. "All these other shows, all these other<br />

records that are written or put out there are<br />

just the sort of cherry on the top." Music is sure<br />

to remain exciting for the singer. Who knows<br />

what the world of Louis Dunford will be like<br />

when we next meet.<br />

24


"I get messages all the time from young lads that have been affected by the music or that say the tunes resonate with them. And that's worth me feeling a bit awkward or a bit vulnerable."<br />

"It's like putting your diary to music, and then you put it out into the world."<br />

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NAOMI SCHIFF<br />

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Naomi wears: Jacket and Skirt: Nadine Merabi. Shoes: H&M. Earrings: Retro Chic


Sat in La Nouvelle Republique’s vinyl room in Paris, sipping<br />

on tea, Naomi Schiff starts our interview by responding<br />

in her own words to my question how would you best introduce<br />

yourself. She takes a moment to let me know it’s<br />

a tough one, as although she’s a retired racing driver, she<br />

hasn’t in her heart of hearts. But if we are to go with an answer<br />

at that moment, “I’m a racing driver and a Sky Sports<br />

F1 Analyst,” she proudly declares.<br />

I’ve been a fan of Naomi’s for quite some time. Naomi has<br />

always been an unapologetic female powerhouse, paving<br />

the way for others in often male and underrepresented<br />

community. Having found huge success in racing, punditry,<br />

and ambassador roles, you can’t help but admire her<br />

charming and utterly authentic self, paving the way for future<br />

women in sport on and off the track.<br />

Having so many accomplishment’s at the ripe age of 28,<br />

it’s hard to know where to begin in asking how she digests<br />

those moments. “There are a lot of moments where you<br />

sit back and go, holy crap. I think there’s been a lot of moments<br />

that have come full circle, especially in the last year<br />

of my life. So although I’m not exactly on the path I set out<br />

to be on, it feels like I’m where I’m meant to be. As much<br />

as they are an achievement, I don’t look at it and think, oh,<br />

it’s an achievement, because, to me, past achievements<br />

were always trophies and standing on the podium.” It can’t<br />

be easy adjusting to a definition of success, having had<br />

one so deeply ingrained in her life. “In a way, it’s been quite<br />

special to see after all that hard work we put in, and I say<br />

we because it took a lot of people to get me to where I am<br />

today.” I’m curious to know what’s always been the goal<br />

for Naomi. “I guess the ultimate goal when you set out in a<br />

sport is to have a professional career. And although I had<br />

somewhat of a professional racing career for 16 years,<br />

paying my bills and living my passion was the goal. I was<br />

able to do it in the last few years of my career. My work<br />

now is a way for me to stay in the sport that I absolutely<br />

love.”<br />

How old were you when you first began, I ask? “It was<br />

the year that I was turning 12 that I started racing,” noting<br />

that it was pretty late in terms of racing standards. “When<br />

I started, most of the competition I was racing within my<br />

age group had about eight years of experience on me. So<br />

I was quite late to the party, to be fair.” It seems it’s something<br />

she thinks is better in many ways. “It’s all good to<br />

Photographer<br />

Betty Oxlade-Martin<br />

have your pedigree, but I sometimes think when kids start<br />

so young, they often also move on sooner because they<br />

either get tired or realise that it wasn’t really their number<br />

one choice. Whereas it was definitely my choice, I could<br />

make those decisions for myself. I stuck to it because I<br />

knew that I believed in it.”<br />

With racing, it’s easy to assume some form of calling drew<br />

Naomi towards the sport, be it a naturally competitive nature,<br />

the thrill of the adrenaline, or simply the love of cars.<br />

“I don’t know if I can really pinpoint it. I was invited to an indoor<br />

go karting birthday party, and that’s when I was first<br />

really exposed to the sport. Going into it, I didn’t have any<br />

thoughts about it. I wasn’t necessarily into motorsport.”<br />

Her eyes glisten as she admits her competitive nature.<br />

“I’ve always been quite competitive. I was always involved<br />

in sports at school. I did mostly Judo, but there was swimming<br />

and athletics.” With most not being exposed to motorsports<br />

in the average physical education class, it wasn’t<br />

initially on her list growing up. “It wasn’t even on my radar,<br />

but I do remember always wanting to have one of those<br />

electric cars kids get to drive around the garden in. That<br />

was always my dream gift, but it took me coming to that<br />

indoor go-karting birthday party to realise that I actually<br />

enjoyed driving and was good at it too.” Naomi laughs,<br />

admitting there’s no worse feeling as a kid not being good<br />

at something you love. “Some people think it’s just about<br />

putting your foot on the throttle, pressing the brake, and<br />

turning the steering wheel, but a lot goes into it to make it<br />

perfect. A perfect lap is an art. It’s that element that I really<br />

enjoyed.”<br />

When up against stiff competition, I wondered how easy<br />

it was to stay on track, literally. “On one hand, I tried to<br />

have my cake and eat it. I was always told if you want to<br />

succeed, you’ve got to sacrifice” something we all know<br />

doesn’t come easy to the average teenager. “In the years<br />

that I was really getting into racing, and I was starting to<br />

perform on quite a high level, I was 14/15, that time where<br />

you’re teenagers and people start going out and having<br />

crushers and things like that. So I saw my friends living<br />

their teenage lives, and I spend most of my weekends at<br />

the racetrack, and often some afternoons after school.”<br />

As Naomi opened up to me, the fact of the matter was she<br />

loved racing, and she clearly loved being good at it. To succeed,<br />

Naomi tells me about the number of hours needed<br />

to be put in to hone the craft, something around 10,000,<br />

something she tells me even she didn’t quite get to. “When<br />

Stylist<br />

Phoebe Brannick<br />

29


you break it down, it’s a crazy amount of hours per day<br />

that you need to do. But I understood that if I wanted to be<br />

good, I had to sacrifice my time and be super dedicated.”<br />

I can’t imagine many teenagers doing it, let alone myself<br />

being so dedicated at 15. “Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t<br />

come naturally. I mean, there was always an internal battle.<br />

It takes discipline. I definitely had parents who helped me<br />

stick on the right path. When I started to waver, they were<br />

there to remind me of what my goals were. I thank them<br />

for that today.”<br />

Although I'm a massive fan of F1 and aware of the age Kids<br />

begin racing and competing, I find it fascinating the dedication,<br />

discipline, and sacrifice involved by all, which extends<br />

further than those in the cars.<br />

“Honestly, it was tough, maybe more so than in other<br />

sports. Of course, every sport, from a parent’s perspective,<br />

requires time, dedication, and sacrifice from them as<br />

well. But motorsports is such an expensive sport. There’s<br />

a massive financial sacrifice as well, which I think was quite<br />

difficult to deal with as a kid.” As we break down more of<br />

what’s involved, Naomi gets candid with me about the<br />

pressures she felt. “On the bad days, when things were<br />

terrible, you were reminded of the position you were putting<br />

your family in to be there. And if you’re weren't delivering,<br />

it was a lot to take on. For the very first few years of<br />

my career, my dad was extremely hands-on in being at the<br />

track for every practice, and every race, working on the<br />

go-karts with me, so he was super, super involved. And<br />

sometimes, that was too much for me because it meant<br />

that from morning to evening, we would talk about racing,<br />

go to the track, everything was racing, and then when<br />

things didn’t go well, I felt we would bring that back home<br />

with us. Sometimes that’s a lot to deal with. And as I mentioned,<br />

there’s obviously this massive financial burden.<br />

And as kids, you understand that. Sometimes I think people<br />

underestimate how much kids feel that pressure. So I<br />

wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”<br />

Speaking earlier, before Naomi’s cover shoot and our<br />

podcast, I was able to spend the morning getting to know<br />

Naomi a little more. From the moment we were personally<br />

introduced, the drive surrounding Naomi’s aspirations<br />

was apparent. Knowing we’d touched upon the pressures<br />

involved before our formal podcast conversation, I wondered<br />

if being so headstrong had been the reason behind<br />

her staying on course to achieve her dreams.<br />

"At that time, I was very focused on that sacrifice and ensuring<br />

I could do everything correctly to get where I wanted<br />

to be. As I’ve aged and grown up, I’ve realised there’s<br />

much more to life than just racing.” A lonely period can be<br />

involved in working your way to the top. “Where I was racing<br />

in Asia, and I was doing really well, I was bringing home<br />

loads of trophies but experiencing all those moments by<br />

myself. It was tough. I didn’t have family or friends with me.<br />

So I wondered what’s the point if I do it by myself and sacrifice<br />

everything. You don’t hear much about missing out on<br />

many things like friends, birthdays, or special moments.”<br />

Now standing back from being in the car, Naomi hopes<br />

there’s less sacrifice involved. “I guess it still is a bit of an<br />

issue, you know, two of my friends are getting married this<br />

year, and their weddings fall on race weekends, and I have<br />

to think, these are my best friends. Am I really going to<br />

miss their wedding because, like, that’s a once in a lifetime.<br />

I think I’m a little more conscious of having that work and<br />

life balance. I’m lucky now because I’m not in that racing<br />

seat. When you’re in the seat, you’ve got sponsors and the<br />

teams counting on you. You can’t just take a day off. You<br />

have to show up and do your job. Whereas now, with the<br />

job I’m in, there’s a little more room for flexibility. I don’t do<br />

every single race on the calendar. I can prioritise the ones<br />

they want me to prioritise within reason, and if there is a<br />

super special event happening, my employers are nice<br />

enough to allow me to have that time to have these special<br />

moments. Life is short; anything can happen, and I don’t<br />

want to look back on something and think, damn, I prioritised<br />

work over these people that mean so much to me.”<br />

Regarding mental health, I wonder where the tricky question<br />

of how Naomi copes falls alongside herself becoming<br />

her priority. “That’s a tough question. I would say that for<br />

me, it’s been coming out of the sport, as there’s so much<br />

pressure. As much as it is a team sport, there’s a massive<br />

focus on the person in the cockpit. Compared to other<br />

sports, let’s take football. You have a 50/50 chance of<br />

winning or losing. In racing, the odds of succeeding in one<br />

race are way less. There are also so many other factors<br />

around it that play into your ability to compete at the level<br />

you’d like. There’s a lot of pressure, sacrifices, and failures,<br />

and that’s really tough, especially when there’s been so<br />

much sacrifice from other people for you to be where you<br />

are. So you carry this burden with you. I was always close<br />

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with compete to these nice, so women was “It instead of us competition."<br />

as immediately other pinning each


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Naomi wears: Jumpsuit: Nadine Merabi. Shoes: H&M,<br />

Earrings: Retro Chic.


to making it work. But it was always compromised to an<br />

extent, and it was very frustrating. Now I’m able to control<br />

my narrative. I don’t have this burden of needing to succeed<br />

or get a result. Mental health balance is something<br />

taken more seriously now. They are talking about it more,<br />

but change is happening very slowly, I believe it can happen<br />

faster.”<br />

As Naomi steps out of the cockpit into a world she has<br />

firm control over, I wanted to ask not so much what’s next<br />

but what’s on her radar, as and when suits her. “I’ve been<br />

asked that question quite a lot in the six months about<br />

what I want to be doing in the next few years. I think I’m so<br />

lucky to say I am where I want to be, working alongside<br />

such amazing people in a space I love. I feel honoured and<br />

lucky that I have this potential time to hone in on what I’m<br />

doing now and make the absolute most of it.”<br />

“But if there is anything on the horizon for me, I want to<br />

step outside of sport a little bit because, as I said, when I<br />

was younger, I didn’t know who I was without being a racing<br />

driver. It was the biggest part of my identity and still is<br />

the most significant part of my identity. I love racing. I love<br />

motorsports. But I want to start to define myself. And I<br />

want that to be outside of sports because I’ve spent so<br />

much time in the space. I want to explore something different<br />

in the lifestyle space. I don’t know what it is yet, but<br />

I know that I’m happy where I’m at in terms of sports. That<br />

base is covered."<br />

I know from our time together how seriously Naomi takes<br />

her ambassador roles within sports as she hopes it willcreate<br />

a brighter and more accessible future for all. “If<br />

I go back to the beginning, when I started racing, when I<br />

rocked up to the track and looked around me, there were<br />

very few women, maybe two or three, as opposed to 60<br />

or 70 guys. And there were definitely no women of colour.<br />

Being a teenager is a key time for young people, not just<br />

girls, but when you are becoming socially aware and want<br />

to fit in. So to stand out wasn’t necessarily the greatest<br />

feeling.”<br />

As Naomi tells me more about the years that followed her<br />

introduction to racing, it’s apparent how monumental the<br />

arrival of 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was for<br />

representation in sport for her and others. “I remember<br />

the same year that I started racing when Lewis got into<br />

Formula One. It was great timing for me because looking<br />

around me in motorsport, specifically, the pathway I wanted<br />

to take, which was Formula One, there were no female<br />

role models. Danica Patrick was obviously a huge female<br />

character in motorsport, but she was on a different path<br />

than my one. For me, it was important when Lewis ended<br />

up entering Formula One. It shone a big light on him. He<br />

was obviously really successful, but he was an identifiable<br />

role model for me. He may not be exactly like me, but he<br />

was something like me. And that already meant so much.”<br />

Fast forward 16 years, Naomi found herself in the driving<br />

seat for the W Series, the first time she competed directly<br />

against women. “It was so nice to compete with these<br />

women instead of us immediately pinning each other<br />

as competition. We understood that we were there for a<br />

bigger reason, that this platform was giving us that opportunity<br />

to speak and to showcase the talent that females<br />

have in the sport. The last race was at Brands Hatch. I remember<br />

they brought down a group of girls from a youth<br />

program called Goals for Girls. They were so shocked<br />

that it was just women who were racing, and many of the<br />

girls were girls of colour and different ethnicities, so they<br />

all gravitated towards me because I was still the only woman<br />

of colour on the grid. All of a sudden, at that moment, I<br />

realised how big that was. I guess for me, at that moment,<br />

the penny dropped, and I realised I could be this identifiable<br />

role model for other young girls, which I remember is<br />

something my 16-year-old self didn’t have. I feel like there’s<br />

a bigger reason for me to be involved in the sport. I can<br />

support women in sports and bring people from other<br />

ethnic groups into the sport. That was a massive moment<br />

for me that day.”<br />

For Naomi, her future means something other than something<br />

motorsport. It seems Naomi is ready to spread her<br />

wings and explore new possibilities. “There’s a couple<br />

of different areas where it all still ties into the same thing.<br />

I mean, there are a lot of initiatives out there now to help<br />

women come into the sport or to get people from different<br />

ethnic groups involved in the sport. So if I could be a part<br />

of making that change that would be incredible” It’s clearly<br />

about giving back for her. “I want to remember where I<br />

came from and grew up. It’s all about making a difference<br />

and helping change things. Those are the things that<br />

are on the top of my mind. I feel like if I can be a part of a<br />

change, I can do something good.”<br />

MUA<br />

Giorgia Venturino<br />

Words<br />

Alice Gee<br />

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NEW RULES<br />

38<br />

Ryan wears, Shirt: Jaeger. Vest: Gant. Jeans: Levi's. Belt: Vintage. Shoes: Clarks. Alec wears. Shirt: Alexandar<br />

Nikolich. Jeans: Levi's. Shoes:Converse. Nathan wears, Jumper: Chateau Orlando. Jeans: Levi's. Shoes:-<br />

Converse.


You know what they say about boy bands that<br />

live together. They record demos in their living<br />

room together.<br />

They also do a lot of songwriting in the house.<br />

“We kind of say a man wouldn’t mind it to look a<br />

bit more scenic in there. We need some art on<br />

the walls and stuff like that, just to make it feel<br />

like we’re not going to lose our minds”.<br />

The band members have lived together for a<br />

long time now as I ask about spending so much<br />

time together. ‘We know how to give each other<br />

space when needed because we work together.<br />

We socialise together. We’re always doing<br />

things together.”<br />

<strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> have gone headfirst into the boy<br />

band phenomenon. Their sold-out headline<br />

London show at Lafayette saw members Alec<br />

McGarry, Nathan Lambert, and Ryan Meaney<br />

take to the stage to sing songs that, for some,<br />

was the first time live since the pandemic scuppered<br />

plans for the band. There was a silver lining,<br />

as quarantine did help create viral hit songs<br />

with the help of their online presence. The band<br />

currently stands at 1.2 million followers on Tik-<br />

Tok and their song about a simple bowl of pasta<br />

has 19 million streams on Spotify.<br />

“I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but it's like a little<br />

family,” explaining the vibes of their fanbase.<br />

“And I think everyone’s on the same page. When<br />

you walk into a <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> gig, it’s like everyone’s<br />

part of the same thing. Which is nice.”<br />

Reflecting on one of their most significant gigs<br />

since their formation they tell me about one of<br />

their favourite shows and quintessentially what<br />

a <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> show should feel like. What shines<br />

through is their appreciation of the support<br />

they’ve gained since their debut in 2019.<br />

Nathan didn’t realise starting a band would be<br />

on the cards when meeting fellow members<br />

Alec McGarry and Ryan Meaney. “My goal was<br />

looking for people to write songs with. But I<br />

met these guys on Instagram and YouTube for<br />

Ryan” Nathan recalls their first meet-up, where<br />

they wrote their first two singles that same day.<br />

“We just wrote a tonne of songs. We just wrote<br />

a few that we kind of fell in love with”. Afterward,<br />

he realised that a band would be the way forward.<br />

“We’ve got different voices, but when you<br />

put them together, it really works. I think that<br />

was a bit of a lightbulb moment.”<br />

The pressures of being a boyband in the industry<br />

are demanding. Finding their voice in the<br />

boyband hall of fame can be tricky, but the English<br />

Irish pop band has begun to find their sound<br />

once seen in previous groups that gained rapid<br />

popularity including the likes of One Direction<br />

and The Vamps.<br />

“I think we’re still working it out. It’s always<br />

changing." After several writing sessions, they<br />

have hundreds of songs. “That’s not to say<br />

they’re usable because a lot of them are just<br />

us figuring out what we want to sound like and<br />

what we want to say.” Like anyone growing up<br />

and starting out young, things change over<br />

time. Though the boys believe they have now<br />

found what they were looking for. “It definitely<br />

feels like we’ve found our voice. Especially<br />

more recently.”<br />

Something they aren't afraid of is experiment-<br />

Photographer<br />

Aaron J Hurley<br />

Styling<br />

Phoebe Brannick<br />

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Alec wears: Shirt: Levi's. Jeans: Levi's. Shoes: Converse.


Ryan wears, Jacket: Gant. Vest: Gant. Jeans: Levi's. Shoes: Clarks<br />

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Skin: Elemis, Nars. Hair: Oribe.


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Ryan wears, Shirt: Norse Project, Jewellery: own, Trousers: Levi's, Shoes: Weejuns. Alec wears, Blazer:<br />

Topman, Vest: Gant, Jewellery: own, Jeans: Levi's, Shoes: Dr Martens. Nathan wears, Shirt & Trousers:<br />

Alexandar Nikolich, Shoes: Schuh. 47


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ing with their music, where they all have a hand<br />

in writing songs, playing the instruments, and<br />

singing.<br />

“We’ve never been afraid to try anything once,<br />

and that’s one thing that I love about the three<br />

of us is that we will try everything just to see if<br />

it works. And if it doesn’t, then we haven’t lost<br />

anything.<br />

I do think people can tell when you’re not being<br />

authentic.” <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> thrive on creating songs<br />

that they love and cater to the fans. “We just<br />

want to make sure that we’re doing what’s really<br />

true to us, and then, people will probably love<br />

that or hate it. That’s what it’s about.”<br />

Their most recent US tour found the boys sightseeing<br />

around the country, which they try to do<br />

in their free time. They found some fun places<br />

they'd like to go back to including Atlanta as<br />

they tell us of their surprise at the Whitehouse<br />

“It's very small. More like a white shed in comparison<br />

to how big we thought it would be, it’s<br />

just got a big garden. That’s about it. Yeah, it’s<br />

not what you expect. We love the fans over<br />

there. The fans are so great and loud, consistently.”<br />

They make the most of the fun tour antics on<br />

their days off to maintain their health for performances.”<br />

It's just the three of us. We don’t have<br />

a band with us at the minute. We can’t really hide<br />

behind any loud noises. We have to be really<br />

good. It does mean if one of us loses our voices,<br />

the show is fucked.”<br />

During these moments, the trio have each other<br />

to rely on in these unfamiliar situations. Something<br />

at the heart of <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> is supporting<br />

each other through it all.<br />

“If somebody’s having a bad day, we just give<br />

each other space, and you don’t push whoever<br />

it is, you pick up a bit of slack for someone else.<br />

And then when they are ready, they’ll come<br />

back. It’s definitely easier just having two more<br />

people.”<br />

“And when you go on tour as well, I think your<br />

crew and everything becomes your family,<br />

which is the best thing in the world. But at the<br />

same time, I don’t think any one outside us understands<br />

the three of us. So, it’s quite nice”.<br />

It may seem highly daunting being an upcoming<br />

pop band in an online bubble during the pandemic<br />

to being unleashed into the world of touring<br />

with songs that started in their living room.<br />

The boys talk about what it’s like to juggle tours<br />

and everyday life afterward.<br />

“You know that feeling where it’s just like,<br />

everything’s funny and you, like, can’t breathe?<br />

Yeah, yeah, that’s what being on tour is like.”<br />

“I think a few days or weeks feels like that because<br />

you get in this mindset where you’re so<br />

tired and then crash at the end. You’re all going<br />

through it together."<br />

“At the minute, being on tour is exciting and fun.<br />

It’s more when we’re just back in the house when<br />

you get in your head the most about things.”<br />

“When you’re on the road, moving around, it<br />

feels like something’s constantly happening."<br />

MUA<br />

Chantelle Phillips<br />

50


The boys couldn’t see doing music and all the<br />

thrills that come with it without each other “My<br />

hat comes off to the people who do it solo. It’s<br />

more special going through and experiencing<br />

it together, having that to share. I wouldn’t want<br />

to do it if it was just me. I wouldn’t enjoy it as<br />

much, and having two other people who are in<br />

the same thing means you can bounce off each<br />

other. It makes it special."<br />

And more shows are on the <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> list.<br />

“This next batch of music we’re really excited<br />

about, as it will take us to places we haven’t<br />

been.” Somewhere they'd love to visit is Europe.<br />

“We’ve never toured Europe, which I think is a bit<br />

strange because we’ve toured many places.”<br />

“We’ve been to states, the Philippines, and<br />

Mexico, and they were special trips. We want to<br />

go back and build on those.”<br />

<strong>New</strong> music is coming, with the band working<br />

on an EP. They are also planning for bigger<br />

projects in the future. “We’re just going to keep<br />

trying to get songs out as fast as possible. It’s<br />

exciting that we’re writing so much right now.”<br />

“The only problem is it can give us a headache<br />

regarding what we sort of release next.”<br />

With new releases on the horizon, further tours,<br />

and the boys continuing to be their authentic<br />

charming selves, there's no doubt you'll<br />

fall in love with them. So keep an ear out for<br />

what's next and an eye out on their socials for<br />

everything <strong>New</strong> <strong>Rules</strong> 2023.<br />

Words<br />

Madison Drew<br />

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100<br />

MILES.<br />

Words<br />

Bronte Evans<br />

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Here at Head Above The Clouds, we want to<br />

provide those suffering from mental illness a<br />

chance to learn, have a voice, and a place to<br />

change prejudices surrounding the everyday<br />

battle for better mental health. Mental Health<br />

has been extremely important to us from the<br />

beginning. We aim to produce content to help<br />

understand and tackle mental health struggles.<br />

That being said, I am taking on Mind’s 100 miles<br />

in the March challenge. For those who don’t<br />

know Mind are a charity that do incredible work<br />

to raise mental health awareness. Mind strives<br />

to change minds across England and Wales by<br />

prioritising mental health. Mind stands up for<br />

injustices in healthcare, workplaces, law, peer<br />

support, helplines, and materials. They provide<br />

support and education materials for those who<br />

professionally want to train in the mental health<br />

sector to help others. The information is clear,<br />

accurate, and digestible whether you seek to be<br />

a clinician or broaden your knowledge.<br />

I work for the local NHS Community Mental<br />

Health Administration Team by day, and by night<br />

I am part of a fantastic team at Head Above the<br />

Clouds. I understand the importance of Minds<br />

support and information services that are free<br />

and accessible to all.<br />

I’ll complete 100 miles this May, by walking<br />

and running to raise money and mental health<br />

awareness.<br />

Following signing up, it was suggested I join a<br />

Facebook Group called ‘100 Miles in March<br />

2023’. The page has thousands of people sharing<br />

their journey and reasons for participating.<br />

Every single one of those people has been inspiring,<br />

and the feeling of community is immense.<br />

The page is full of kind encouragement, top tips,<br />

and personal stories of mental health. Talking<br />

about mental health isn’t always easy, but a conversation<br />

has the power to change lives, and this<br />

event has brought strangers together in unity.<br />

Last year, 100 Miles in March raised over<br />

£300,000. Following this, Mind shared that due<br />

to this, they could support 36,000 calls on the<br />

Mind info line needing urgent help.<br />

I have been very thankful for Mind over the<br />

years. Their content is simple and digestible<br />

when needing support or wanting to learn more<br />

about mental health and wellness. For people<br />

with lived experience of mental health problems,<br />

the charity provides community platforms that<br />

are safe and trustworthy. Mind’s materials include<br />

self-help information to give you the tools<br />

for your toolbox to help you build confidence<br />

and learn about yourself. And Minds resources<br />

are trusted and used by the NHS.<br />

I have a monthly Pause subscription with Mind,<br />

where I receive a peaceful package each month.<br />

A little me-time treat to my door. It provides a craft<br />

or activity with mental health support resources<br />

and is a little box of happiness you forget about<br />

until the pretty little box greets you. I have been<br />

an avid user of their website to understand my<br />

mental health better.<br />

Each of us is touched by mental illness, whether<br />

directly or indirectly. 100 Miles in March is a<br />

fundraising challenge for Mind. Check out their<br />

website for fundraising ideas and how to get involved.<br />

Learn how can you support Mind? Visit https://<br />

www.mind.org.uk/donate/#donatetoday<br />

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THORA VALDIMARS<br />

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Thora Valdimars, stylist, mother, fashionista brilliance,<br />

and half of the Scandi-born fashion brand<br />

Rotate Birger Christensen. As I sit down online,<br />

waiting for Thora to join me, I reflect on how long<br />

I’ve been a fan of hers, following her every fashion<br />

move on social media. Ever since I was introduced<br />

to Rotate, I’ve been fascinated by the<br />

power it encapsulates, encouraging women to<br />

feel sexy and powerful. Like Thora, the brand is<br />

unapologetically bold and outgoing, celebrating<br />

partywear and everyday glamour. Sat in my Rotate<br />

camouflage track pants, correctly paying<br />

homage to Thora and her co-director Jeanette’s<br />

work, I come to find that her love for fashion is<br />

and has always been part of her identity.<br />

For me I am a firm believer that the clothes you<br />

wear have the power to alter your entire being.<br />

Over the years, my love for fashion and identity<br />

has blossomed. I’ve never been one to shy away<br />

from something I love for the benefit of what<br />

others may think. All you have to do is ask my<br />

friends about some of my fashion choices, and<br />

you’ll learn I wear what I love, not what society<br />

and the mainstream say I should affirm. Clothing<br />

should give me confidence so that even on my<br />

most insecure days I can wear my faith through<br />

the designers I put on my back. Fashion to me is<br />

an expression, and Rotate Birger Christensen is<br />

to me confidence.<br />

Starting at the beginning I ask Thora about her<br />

movement in fashion and the inspiration that’s<br />

called her from the very beginning. “I’ve always<br />

been really creative,” she tells me, “I remember<br />

the first time someone planted the seed in me. I<br />

was getting dressed in the soccer locker room<br />

when one of my friends said, ‘Oh, my God, you<br />

really should be a stylist’.”<br />

With her fashion being duplicated by her online<br />

followers, I can’t say I’m surprised it’s always<br />

been her calling. At the ripe age of 12/13, Thora<br />

tells me how her older sister’s influence inspired<br />

her as she eventually turned to one of the UK’s<br />

top fashion schools. “I moved to London when<br />

I was 20 to study. While I was there, this whole<br />

new world opened up. I was around all these<br />

creative people. In a way, it was much easier with<br />

schools there than here in Copenhagen. Here<br />

there are about two schools you go to for design,<br />

whereas in London there are some of the<br />

most prestigious schools with so many options.<br />

A whole world opened up to me when I moved<br />

there.”<br />

Introduced at a party to Jess Hallett while out<br />

with her cousin, who herself has modeled, Thora,<br />

later became her assistant. It was another<br />

deciding factor that she was destined to be in<br />

the world of fashion.<br />

Slightly Biased (living in London myself) about<br />

what makes London one of the world’s best cities,<br />

I wonder about Thora’s opportunities in the<br />

capital city and how the city became the love<br />

language behind her personal style.<br />

“I think because I worked for a fashion magazine<br />

as the fashion editor and then as the fashion director,<br />

I learned so much. Copenhagen is special<br />

because there’s this Scandi minimalism, so it<br />

was very different when I returned to Denmark. I<br />

just came from London, where everything is out<br />

there; you know, you go to the vintage store and<br />

find big sequined tops with tight trousers. It was<br />

just a different kind of creative vibe in London<br />

compared to returning to Denmark. My style<br />

doesn’t fit in with the Danish magazine side of<br />

things. When I started styling shoots, it was such<br />

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a relief to be able to do what I wanted to do creatively.<br />

I could finally adapt to my creativity and<br />

style and do what I was inspired by.”<br />

Born in Iceland, Thora has found home in Copenhagen,<br />

known for its style, becoming the<br />

host of its own fashion week. Its attendance<br />

quickly became sought after by fashionistas<br />

globally. Known for its minimalist and incumbent<br />

styling, I can’t help but point out the difference in<br />

aesthetic, assuming it’s another reason Thora<br />

loved London’s street style.<br />

“Don’t get me wrong, I love that Scandi, minimalistic<br />

look, but I just think I always wanted to have<br />

more of a sexy or street element. It was always<br />

so difficult for me to do the knit-with-nothing<br />

style. I need to put chains on or pair them with<br />

baggy trousers. I would always kind of fuck the<br />

norm up.”<br />

I’m here for it, telling Thora that subtlety is not my<br />

thing ask how musing for fashion affected her<br />

every day?<br />

“For me, it’s totally therapeutic. First of all, I think<br />

that it’s so much fun to look at people, old music<br />

videos, to get inspired and think, if I put this with<br />

that, that’s gonna look insane, or when I see what<br />

someone is wearing, I need to go home and try<br />

to recreate it and do my own version of it. For<br />

me, that is my outlet, my creativity. It’s super important<br />

to me. I’ve found out that once you meet<br />

people that actually understand your sense of<br />

style and the way that you think and what you<br />

want to say with it, then you’re on top.”<br />

Working in one of the most demanding industries,<br />

I’m intrigued as to how she’s found strength<br />

in being a female powerhouse, making her voice<br />

heard, and the support those around her have<br />

had on her confidence in finding her identity<br />

in an often loud environment. It’s an unapologetic<br />

attitude I’ve sought for years that exudes<br />

from Thora. But even with certainty, there often<br />

comes imposter syndrome.<br />

“It’s funny. I was talking to my CEO about it the<br />

other day. My parents raised me to know there<br />

are no limits to what you can do. No matter how<br />

crazy I sounded, they never said, ‘Are you sure?’<br />

They always said, "Okay, if that’s what you want<br />

to do, then it’s fine. We’ll support you." Back<br />

in the day, I would have all these crazy ideas,<br />

and I would always tell them to my parents and<br />

friends. They would always support me. Sometimes<br />

I didn’t know where to put them, but then<br />

all of a sudden, everything added up. My crazy<br />

vision was paired with another, and then it just<br />

happened suddenly. So you have to believe in<br />

that. There’s a place where everyone fits, and if<br />

you have dreams, even if they’re big, they can<br />

still happen.”<br />

Jumping on the ideas train, I’m here for the craziness;<br />

the bigger, the better. “The way I like to<br />

think of it,” Thora explains, “Is like how people<br />

figured out that the planet was round. All these<br />

crazy ideas. Maybe 1000 of your ideas are crazy,<br />

but 1001 may work. We’re programmed to<br />

think it’s so easy, and if not, it will never happen.<br />

The difficult thing is to persevere and keep telling<br />

people more about it. Don’t get me wrong it’s<br />

still a real pinch-me moment. Maybe it’s because<br />

every time you do something, like every time we<br />

finish a collection, there’s a new collection that<br />

must be done. So that whole process keeps me<br />

humble.”<br />

As Rotate approaches the launch of its S/S23<br />

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collection, I wonder what’s on the cards for Thora<br />

in the future?<br />

“I’ve been so focused on my work life for many<br />

years. So I’m now more focused on myself, my<br />

son, and my family. I travel to Paris twice a year,<br />

and my son has been asking me for years if we<br />

can go, so it’s time to do that. It’s about creating a<br />

balance of family and work. I really want to keep<br />

developing Rotate. Both Jeanette and I are so<br />

happy with what we’re doing. We see all these<br />

as opportunities. We want to do everything. So,<br />

it will continue. We’re talking about an accessory<br />

line and a shoe line. It’s in an extremely exciting<br />

place at the moment.”<br />

At this point, I may as well sign over my bank<br />

account. If I wasn’t obsessed enough with their<br />

clothing line, I have no doubt I’ll fall in love with an<br />

accessory and shoe line. As we go a little deeper,<br />

I want to pay homage to her life as a mum, and<br />

the determination I can only imagine goes into<br />

balancing both worlds.<br />

“I think there are different factors that have made<br />

it hard. I am alone here with my son. His dad lives<br />

in London, so it’s not like I have every other week<br />

or weekend off. He’s with me nonstop, and then<br />

they see each other maybe, once a month. It’s a<br />

little bit of a different way of being a single mom,<br />

but I have the most amazing mum who helps<br />

me. My dad was also sick for the past few years<br />

before passing away last year. So I was a single<br />

mum, and I cared for my dad as well. That wasn’t<br />

easy in terms of balancing everything on the go.<br />

I’d be at Fashion Week and then sit on Saturday<br />

at my son’s basketball game, and then I’d go and<br />

take care of my dad. Just before COVID happened,<br />

I think my body just kind of stopped. I went<br />

to fashion week and I was so sick. I would go to<br />

shows then I would go to the hotel. If I had to go<br />

to dinner, I would pull myself together, stay for an<br />

hour, and then return to the hotel. It was tough.<br />

I was here, there, and everywhere abroad. And<br />

then COVID happened and I thought to myself I<br />

really need to take care of myself.”<br />

The complications often go alongside the recognition<br />

that she isn't invinsible, with burnout<br />

being at the heart of her recent experience with<br />

both her physical and mental health.<br />

“I went down with stress because I was overworked<br />

and had too much on my plate. I couldn’t<br />

do it anymore. I don’t want to define that, but I<br />

can still feel those things that made me sick. It<br />

comes back to my body if I get too stressed or<br />

do too much. I reached the point where I had to<br />

take care of myself.”<br />

With that in mind, I’m curious about the advice<br />

she would give her younger self, knowing what<br />

she knows now.<br />

“I would probably say don't change to fit in. You<br />

don’t have to fit in and it’s okay. You will find the<br />

people you know you are meant to be with in your<br />

life, and they will love you the way you are. And if<br />

I’m honest, the same for your work life, never do<br />

anything to fit in because that will change you.<br />

Always remember, you’re unique for a reason.”<br />

Photographer<br />

Polina Vinogradova<br />

Words<br />

Alice Gee<br />

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"Never do anything to fiit in because that will change you. Always remember, you’re unique for a reason."<br />

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70<br />

AKINI


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What was important to include or<br />

inspire you when making 'Plastic<br />

Heaven' as a concept album?<br />

I’m more focused on how I want to<br />

express rather than about how fans<br />

might feel… but if it can bring fans some<br />

inspiration and encourage<br />

them to observe<br />

themselves and the<br />

world with different<br />

perspectives<br />

and imagination,<br />

I would be very<br />

happy.<br />

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What inspires your musical style?<br />

Music is a part of my art aesthetic,<br />

and it’s always inspired by the time<br />

that I’m living in, and the environment<br />

that I’m interacting with. We’re living<br />

in a technological golden age, but it<br />

also has its conflicts and confusions.<br />

Eastern roots and nature<br />

meets western modernisation<br />

and culture is the<br />

environment that I’m<br />

experiencing now. For<br />

example, the traditional<br />

eastern music and<br />

global underground<br />

scene are both inspiration<br />

for me.<br />

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You played homage to<br />

your roots through your<br />

work and music including<br />

artwork, how important to<br />

you is your history and roots?<br />

It’s just in my human<br />

nature. It comes from the<br />

love and nourishment that I<br />

received from this land.<br />

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What is it about creating a world that<br />

intrigues you, is it moments of escapism?<br />

I don’t think it’s true escapism… but maybe<br />

half! I created a persona to observe myself<br />

from non-human perspective. It’s not really<br />

escapism, it’s more like creating some<br />

space. Just enough distance so I could<br />

view my life from a different perspective. In<br />

a way, this was a practice of dissolving the<br />

ego, my version of reality that I had become<br />

attached to. Also, some of<br />

my works are actually very realistic;<br />

I just try to reflect the reality<br />

with a poetic way.<br />

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Who do you look up to musically<br />

who inspires you?<br />

There’s a long list, but Massive<br />

Attack is my top music hero of all<br />

time. The late Ryuichi Sakamoto<br />

also inspires me and encourages<br />

me to be brave in my sincerity.<br />

You just released new music, 'Pump<br />

Up' which fans are loving, what's<br />

in the pipeline this year?<br />

I’m actually preparing<br />

my next project. It’s a<br />

continuation of my oriental<br />

cyberpunk world, but more<br />

dimensional. And I’m planning<br />

to play more shows and<br />

exhibitions worldwide.<br />

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84<br />

GLÜME


Touch down in London, and it’s all go for Glüme.<br />

Meeting at her London hub SATELLITE414, we<br />

get comfortable at both ends of a corner sofa.<br />

Having stepped off a flight from LA the day before,<br />

jet lag becomes her, oozing her signature<br />

old Hollywood glamour aesthetic. In the next 24<br />

hours, Glüme, ever the busy woman, will host<br />

her first-ever premiere, perform at Londons The<br />

Standard, and head to Paris.<br />

Glüme is no stranger to the realities of life.<br />

There’s no doubt in my mind from the moment<br />

we begin to talk about her life that she’s a woman<br />

beyond her years. Her story is engaging;<br />

she was a Child actor from age six with an air<br />

surrounding the pressures of being financially<br />

relied on from such a young age, her desire to<br />

heal, find her voice, especially creatively, and in<br />

many ways, someone who raised herself. But in<br />

the process of finding herself, she’s found her<br />

people. Those who see the creative genius she<br />

creates. It’s been quite the dream. With a look of<br />

gratitude, she tells me how different life is now<br />

she gets to travel the globe.<br />

G: I left America for the first time in November,<br />

and now I’m Never in America. Now it’s required<br />

for music, and I’m not mad about it.<br />

A: What was it like starting acting so young?<br />

G: I started when I was six. I was Shirley Temple<br />

on Broadway. My mum and I did child acting until<br />

I was 17. And then, I decided to quit after my last<br />

audition, which was for Hannah Montana. After<br />

that, I fancied myself to be a genuine intellectual<br />

musician, those bratty 17-year-old years. At the<br />

time, my agents sent me out for many 12 and<br />

13-year-old roles because I looked very young.<br />

When all I wanted to do something was something<br />

meaty. My agent didn’t see that for me at<br />

that time. So I decided to make music, thinking I’ll<br />

return to acting. So I made music, got signed to<br />

a publishing company, and wrote many songs.<br />

I was trying to find someone who would like to<br />

listen to my music and understand what I was<br />

doing. When I emailed my current manager and<br />

label with an album that I had made, they emailed<br />

it back in a half hour and said, “We’d like to put out<br />

your album and sign you.” After so many years<br />

of meetings with labels that never came to anything,<br />

it had always seemed complicated, and<br />

then it came through so simply. I’m still really<br />

thankful.<br />

It’s been quite a dream. My team has been so<br />

supportive. They’re incredible and so dedicated.<br />

We had our first album out two years ago, and I’ll<br />

be releasing this one this week.<br />

I decided to work exclusively with my manager.<br />

In all honesty, she’s a lifesaver. I recently joined<br />

a production company called Femina Films.<br />

We’re putting out a short film called Child actor<br />

which goes with the album. We’ll be premiering<br />

that tonight at The Standard. I’m incredibly excited<br />

about that. It’s cool to see different sides,<br />

significantly growing up as a child actor. I’ve executive-produced<br />

things before but have only<br />

partially been on that side. I really enjoyed it.<br />

I wrote part of the script and I'm excited to see<br />

where that goes. And what’s really special is the<br />

production company is complete with two other<br />

women and me; being an all-female production<br />

company is really important. Making films and<br />

making my music, it’s all just intertwined. And I’m<br />

just having a blast right now.<br />

A: Sounds like one hell of a ride. I love how it’s all<br />

synced up as well.<br />

G: It feels just like the universe is in the right place.<br />

You can try so hard to force things, but if it’s not<br />

going to happen, it probably won’t. I mean, do the<br />

work. You have to work. But you’ll only be able to<br />

make it if both things are aligned.<br />

A: You’ve got to trust the process, especially in<br />

film.<br />

G: It’s a male-dominated industry. But I met the<br />

girl who directed the film, Andrea Riba, my colleague,<br />

and her sister Sofia Riba. They adopted<br />

me into the Riba family and asked if I wanted to<br />

join their production company because they<br />

liked working with me. I still feel so deeply honored.<br />

Like Steven Spielberg, she’s like a genius.<br />

She’s gonna be one of the prominent directors<br />

in the industry.<br />

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It’s really a blast. I had a hard childhood performing<br />

and creating art day in and day out, so it’s<br />

nice to have a little break and love what I’m doing<br />

so wholly.<br />

A: Often in the industry, it’s not about trusting<br />

the creative moreso relinquishing control. So to<br />

have that must be a breath of fresh air.<br />

G: I’m obsessed with my team. I actually went to<br />

a psychic. I’ve always been so skeptical about all<br />

of that. But this girl messaged me, and she said<br />

"I just did this reading, and you actually came up<br />

in the reading, and I wanted to share it with you".<br />

She knew something no one else knew. The<br />

whole story. So I had a reading done, and she<br />

gave me this advice, and I did it. It was centered<br />

around building the right team. And I now have<br />

the perfect team that I work with. It’s worked out<br />

so well.<br />

In the beginning, I was like, can I totally buy into<br />

it but then I thought, how would she know what<br />

she did? I was bamboozled. Now I consult her<br />

about literally everything. At first, it was funny<br />

how my team and I approached her, but she’s always<br />

right about everything. You know, to cross<br />

your t’s and dot your I’s.<br />

A: I love that you’ve found people who want to<br />

come through for you. How do you cope with<br />

such pressure when you’re a kid, especially<br />

when there’s supposed to be an element of innocence<br />

and a carefree nature.<br />

G: I didn’t have a childhood, and I definitely have<br />

some pretty severe PTSD that I didn’t always<br />

know until it hit me. I find that I have blocked a lot<br />

of things out. I recently found an old journal from<br />

when I was 12. And it was all news to me. It’s crazy,<br />

as you would think I would remember my life.<br />

And then you’re like, I don’t know any of this. So<br />

I guess my Brain has taken my trauma and been<br />

like we’re gonna put it here so you can survive<br />

and function. I ended up burning the journal. It<br />

was incredibly freeing. I think that we learn to<br />

accept so much of our hardships as we become<br />

adults and grow into our adult selves. Whether<br />

you have an absent parent or something else, I<br />

think no one’s perfect, right? Or the parents did<br />

their best. But I think we have a right to heal that<br />

hole, that inner child, the thing that that person<br />

or that little kid wants or didn’t get. Often I think<br />

we try to get that as an adult, and if you don’t<br />

work through healing, it can be painful. I can see<br />

her, that little girl, the self-sabotage.<br />

If I look at my dating life, I often say things to<br />

push people away or test people because I’m<br />

scared they’ll find something out about me and<br />

then leave. So I say it all at once. Unconditional<br />

love is still an interesting concept. Because<br />

for me previously, it was all about earning, you<br />

know, getting a paycheck to pay for my parent’s<br />

mortgage. And so when I go into the thing, I automatically<br />

offer a lot of extras, features, like I’m<br />

a hotel with amenities. I don’t need to do that, but<br />

I have a hard time understanding that because,<br />

as a kid, I never got to be the main character because<br />

of my mum was. Growing up with a narcissist<br />

is hard because you get nothing. I did the<br />

parenting. It took me a couple of years to learn<br />

to check in with myself, like, what do you want<br />

for breakfast? What do you want to do tonight?<br />

Or do you want to go with the flow? I didn’t think<br />

about what I wanted. I took care of myself.<br />

A: It’s so ingrained in you, right? A sense of overcompensation.<br />

G: That’s why I wanted so much for this album. I<br />

did some stuff recently to fulfill and impress my<br />

mother. And I realised that I was never gonna get<br />

that, so I needed to make good with myself. I had<br />

this idea of bringing my inner child back out and<br />

letting it say what it needed to say. That’s why I<br />

made the album. That’s why I hired the little girl<br />

to sing the last song on it. I wanted it to be the kid<br />

saying what needed to be told and what I wish I<br />

had been able to speak at 10 years old. It was really<br />

cathartic to hear a 10-year-old say my words.<br />

Many people who wish they could say things like<br />

that when they were kids weren’t allowed to, so<br />

I wanted to give my inner child a voice, and that’s<br />

why I made the film, and those songs have been<br />

really healing.<br />

The undertone of the story is everyone relates<br />

to that. Everyone’s inner child should think<br />

should I check in with myself? Because it’s like,<br />

87


that’s what’s running a lot of us and I need to give<br />

compassion to that area. And then set it free.<br />

A: I love that you’ve addressed it in a way that<br />

seems to be what’s right for you.<br />

G: It’s interesting as in making the film, I thought if<br />

it was me that was hearing some of those home<br />

truths, I would be really uncomfortable. It isn’t<br />

easy because we cherish our parents. They’ve<br />

raised us. Still, being unable to talk about it, especially<br />

to mums as they birthed us, is an uncomfortable<br />

experience. A lot of people are very<br />

uncomfortable with that. But with my mum, all<br />

she thought about was when the premiere was.<br />

For a lot of people their experiences lie with<br />

their dads, but my dad is solid. My dad fucking<br />

rocks. My mum had too much going on with her.<br />

You know, she grew up on a farm. It was a very<br />

oppressive environment. She has a lot of mental<br />

health issues that she was caring for and<br />

couldn’t be present. Those are weird things for<br />

a kid to think about, so when I got cast in Shirley<br />

Temple, I decided to live the rest of my life as<br />

Shirley Temple. It’s only just this year that I felt I<br />

was allowed to grow up and I was allowed to be<br />

an adult. And that’s life.<br />

American dream. I did get married. We’re not<br />

married anymore. But I want a better relationship<br />

with love if I could have anything. Because I<br />

love, love. I love falling in love. I love all of that. But<br />

I want to ensure I’m not doing the same thing repeatedly.<br />

But after everything Glüme has been through,<br />

she isn’t one to dwell. Instead, she looks to the<br />

future, hoping for something ‘meatier,’ with the<br />

confidence that the work she brings to the table<br />

is enough, and more, she is her own star and will<br />

continue shining her light.<br />

Glüme’s debut album is out now!<br />

I’ve just taught myself that I must be OK with<br />

things. So I’m OK with it. It’s just instilled in me,<br />

but where’s that line?<br />

A: Having your own back and others must be essential?<br />

G: Music is really important. I care about people<br />

and humanity not feeling alone. I really care<br />

about standing up for people. After all, I noticed<br />

that I go hard on my friends because I realised as<br />

a kid that no one did that for me.<br />

A: You have your album coming out, as well as<br />

your film, living in those moments and schedule,<br />

but what’s something you want to do for yourself?<br />

G: I literally have a song I released two years<br />

ago. The opening line was I want to get married. I<br />

want a house and a farm and some chickens,the<br />

Photographer<br />

Andrea Riba<br />

88


"Everyone’s inner child should think should I check in with myself?"<br />

89


90<br />

BUSTED


91


Busted are back, baby, returning to the road for<br />

a greatest hits tour to celebrate their 20th anniversary.<br />

Matt, James, and Charlie join Alice from<br />

Head Above The Clouds to reminisce on their<br />

20-year career. They discuss mental health,<br />

stigma, and self-care. As well as what impressive<br />

forthcoming adventures the band has in<br />

store.<br />

HATC: What initially brought you all together, tell<br />

us how you started. Did you want to be a band to<br />

create good music, travel the world, and bring<br />

out albums?<br />

M: "I mean, I never really thought about traveling<br />

the world or anything like that. I just wanted to<br />

be in a band. It was just James and me. We had<br />

been around for a couple of years when we<br />

started writing songs together. It wasn't till we<br />

wrote 'What I Go To School For' that everything<br />

went boom. Before then, we were writing songs,<br />

but they could have been better. And then we<br />

held an audition which is where Charlie came<br />

in."<br />

J: "My goal, if I'm honest, was to get out of going<br />

to college. I hated going to college. I thought<br />

to myself, I love making music. So I thought it'd<br />

be cool if this could be my life instead of going<br />

to college and trying to figure out another career.<br />

Being a musician or being in a band felt like<br />

I would be living the dream. And you know what,<br />

it kind of was. I was doing music Technology.<br />

Honestly, it was three days a week, so it wasn't<br />

a big commitment. Ultimately, it became annoying<br />

because I had four days a week off anyway.<br />

At the time, I was committed to the band and<br />

prioritising the band over the college. It was a<br />

lot more important to me anyway. Naturally, I<br />

ended up just dropping out. They handed me<br />

the papers. I didn't even have to ask. It was like,<br />

follow me and sign here and you can go. And as I<br />

walked out the door, they went, maybe we'll see<br />

you on Top of the Pops.<br />

HATC: What was the audition process like for<br />

you (Charlie) then?<br />

C: " I was about to turn 16 at the time, I was very<br />

young. I came down to London on the train by<br />

myself and told my parents I was going down<br />

to audition for a band. It was my music teacher<br />

that told me to go to the audition. He said, "you<br />

should leave school and go and be in a band<br />

now." Mr. French was his name. I remember him<br />

telling me don't tell them I told you that because<br />

the school will fire me. He's now a classical musician.<br />

There were funny characters at the audition.<br />

It was your classic audition, and I was the<br />

only one with a guitar. It was one of those classic<br />

corny X Factor audition moments with the<br />

boys, Matt and James, sitting like Simon Cowell<br />

behind the desk."<br />

J: "I spent a lot of time with my head hidden<br />

behind a piano. Because I couldn't stop laughing,<br />

there's something tough about keeping<br />

a straight face. When someone opens their<br />

mouth in front of you and starts performing or<br />

singing a certain way, even if they're quite good<br />

and talented, there's something about it that<br />

can be funny. It's like a nervous energy that sets<br />

you off. And you can't stop yourself."<br />

M: "We had to sit apart because otherwise, we<br />

would just set each other off. I remember it so<br />

well. It will sound a bit cheesy, but everything we<br />

wanted to happen was happening before us. I<br />

remember Charlie in these Dubious trousers.'<br />

J: "Oh god, with huge flares. They were so big.<br />

My whole body could have fitted in one of the<br />

legs.'<br />

HATC: Was it an epiphany, where you were like,<br />

THIS is the guy?<br />

M: "We were living at the Intercontinental Hyde<br />

Park. We were like, let's call it now. This guy's<br />

in the band. And management kept playing<br />

devil's advocate about him with every reason<br />

they could think of not to have him in the band<br />

straight away."<br />

C: "It was funny because once we did get going,<br />

our manager had convinced my parents to<br />

let me leave school at 16 as well. I got a shot at<br />

92


getting a record deal. Then two weeks later, I<br />

was living in the Intercontinental Hotel. We went<br />

around every Rock company in town, playing<br />

the songs. And it was kind of like a fairy tale<br />

thing. You just don't hear about that anymore.'<br />

M: "We were jumping up and down on the road<br />

outside BMG in Putney because our meeting<br />

had gone so well. Also, meeting with an A&R<br />

guy is a big deal. To get a chance to meet them<br />

and to go to a label was huge. I mean, afterward,<br />

you'd see people hanging out outside busking.<br />

So we knew we were lucky to get in the door.<br />

From then on, It was just this crazy ride, and it<br />

never really stopped when we signed the record<br />

deal. Every day it rocketed. There wasn't a<br />

get up after that.'<br />

J: "There was a moment when the first single<br />

came out, and it went to number three. We were<br />

kind of scared that we would get dropped. It<br />

was another disaster, especially as we signed<br />

for a lot of money and a five-album deal. It felt<br />

like we underdelivered on the first single. And<br />

then 'Year 3000' came out, and everything was<br />

just mad.'<br />

M: "If you got a number three single now, you'd<br />

be so happy, but it was different. The way to look<br />

at it is at the time, me and Charlie had to share<br />

a hotel room. And then, all of a sudden, we had<br />

our own. You know, you've made it when you get<br />

your own hotel room."<br />

HATC: What do you do with all that success at<br />

that young age?<br />

J: "I'll tell you what you do. You go straight to<br />

Denmark Street and buy whatever guitar you<br />

want. You pick it off the shelf, and you take it<br />

home. It was funny, I remember being in Denmark<br />

Street and looking at all the guitars we'd<br />

wished we could have had. I got this like a blue<br />

Gibson SG, which was my dream guitar at the<br />

time. I then went into a shop and Charlie was in<br />

the shop negotiating a deal on a PRS guitar. I remember<br />

he was smoking while he was doing it.<br />

After we signed the agreement, we went to Tescos<br />

in North Finchley and filled the trolleys with<br />

needless shit. Everyone knows what happens<br />

when you give three teenagers a lot of money.<br />

We were pulling shirts off the rack, every DVD,<br />

massive TV's, and lazy boys. It was a complete<br />

first. We went to IKEA and put everything on<br />

one of those forklift trucks. And it was filled with<br />

stuff, and we got there…my card declined, so we<br />

just left it there."<br />

M: "We accumulated about three or four hours'<br />

worth of stuff for our apartment in Ikea, like palm<br />

trees and furniture. You know we bought a ping<br />

pong table. Charlie got a Mini Cooper and we<br />

went to this retail park and we bought this ping<br />

pong table. They said we could deliver it next<br />

week, but all we were thinking about was taking<br />

our ping pong table home there and then. So<br />

we called Charlie. Charlie drove his Mini Cooper<br />

around, we balanced the cardboard box on<br />

the roof, and we walked either side of the Mini<br />

Cooper holding the ping pong table on the roof<br />

down a main road."<br />

C: "It's just funny because it was one of those<br />

moments you don't think will happen. When<br />

you're that age, five grand is a fortune. So it was<br />

a lot when you've just signed a record deal and<br />

a publishing deal at the same time. So we found<br />

ourselves in this place where we had made<br />

quite a lot of money before we'd even had any<br />

real success. I guess the money showed their<br />

belief in us.'<br />

J: "There's no way that you put teenagers in<br />

a situation like that and don't expect that outcome.'<br />

HATC: So you had another single drop and a fan<br />

base. What happened next?<br />

C: "It got pretty crazy. The first tour was a theatre<br />

tour we didn't start doing until we had our<br />

first number one. What's crazy is I don't remember<br />

us doing promo for the tour. We would just<br />

get told one day that we would go to a television<br />

studio and walk around the corner and see it<br />

was sold out.'<br />

93


94


95


HATC: I know 20 years is a long time to pick<br />

something out. But everyone has like them<br />

standalone moments, whether it's a stadium<br />

tour or a record that they've created that went<br />

out. What do you each look back on that sticks<br />

in your mind?<br />

M: "I think it was The Brit Awards for me when I<br />

thought, wow. The fact that we were there, not<br />

as someone's guest, but that we were nominated,<br />

was amazing. I remember being on the<br />

red carpet, and they were screaming, 'Busted,<br />

Busted. Busted!' We'd gone two years before,<br />

but the record company had invited us. So to go<br />

back two years later and perform as one of the<br />

main bands was wicked."<br />

C: "It was a massive night because backstage<br />

felt like a theme park. There were tents everywhere<br />

with people's dresses. The Black Eyed<br />

Peas were there, I mean Beyonce had a room,<br />

Shanaya Twain and we were there."<br />

HATC: How do you deal with that?<br />

M: "We always felt like the weirdo outsiders, so<br />

I never felt we had a chance. We weren't like<br />

any of those pop stars. We were very different.<br />

I guess the pop world didn't accept us. But we<br />

weren't accepted by the rock world either. We<br />

had our own little thing going on. We never really<br />

fit that description."<br />

C: "I think a lot of stuff came after us that hadn't<br />

before. But that's why I think we opened a new<br />

gate.'<br />

M: "We weren't trying to follow in anyone's<br />

footsteps. We were just the first version of ourselves.<br />

I think that's why we did so well, like there<br />

was a place for us because we created it. The<br />

fact that we didn't belong anywhere was why I<br />

think we did very well."<br />

HATC: Being a band has advantages when we<br />

speak to people about having that kind of brotherhood.<br />

C: "The camaraderie in a band made the experience.<br />

With other people, you feel like there's<br />

less of a burden. I mean, you're much less exposed.<br />

With the band, there's a brotherhood in<br />

the fact everything is shared. The responsibility<br />

is shared. If you fuck up on stage, you know that<br />

one of these guys will jump in. You have each<br />

other's backs."<br />

HATC: With it being 20 years, what does that<br />

mean for you to hit this milestone?<br />

C: " Recording old songs in a new way and getting<br />

artists we love to perform with us is exciting.<br />

We got loads of great people we haven't<br />

announced yet.'<br />

HATC: How do you guys stay grounded and<br />

look after your mental health with such busy<br />

schedules?<br />

C: "I think I have moments where I feel like I need<br />

to live a clean life for a while, including not drinking<br />

and then going to the gym. I have periods of<br />

very clean living, resetting my mind and thinking.<br />

That's what gets me out of it. Sometimes I can<br />

go down a hole. I start drinking too much, which<br />

is bad for my mental health. So taking a break<br />

sort of resets me. I never used to have this when<br />

I was younger. It's more as I've gotten older. But<br />

it's nice to have periods of having a clear head. I<br />

enjoy going out for walks every day rather than<br />

going out partying. I mean, I don't do that so<br />

much anymore anyway, but I feel with alcohol, it<br />

is always good to keep a tab on it."<br />

M: "I have a daily practice. I do my routine every<br />

day. I've had moments where it's gotten really<br />

bad. So I now have a level which I have to work<br />

at as maintenance. I don't allow myself to slip<br />

in any way. When I do, it's generally because<br />

I'm not doing one of these things that keep<br />

me clean, sober, and steady-headed. I have a<br />

morning routine that I am religious about. I have<br />

individual check-ins with people I do daily, and<br />

I have a gratitude list that is really important to<br />

me. I share it with the guys, and we do that daily.<br />

My morning routine is about an hour long. I<br />

maybe need to cut that down as it's getting a bit<br />

much. But I'm scared too. I'm fucking terrified of<br />

96


elapse like it's an irrational fear, but at the same<br />

time, it's not unreasonable because it could<br />

happen at any moment. But I can't allow that to<br />

happen. So I have these pillars in my life, which I<br />

always try to keep. And when one of them starts<br />

to drop, I have to pick it up.<br />

It's not the healthiest to be motivated by fear.<br />

But in some ways, it keeps me where I need to<br />

be. Sometimes I don't think about it as a fearful<br />

act. More so, self-care. It's incredibly important<br />

to me because otherwise, I can spiral out of<br />

control quickly."<br />

C: "I have OCD quite chronically. It can get out<br />

of control quickly. It's quite easy for it to snowball.<br />

I felt like therapy is a great thing for me. I've<br />

turned for that, and it's been brilliant for me.'<br />

J: "I like to sit in my garden. I don't like being home<br />

if I feel like I'm isolated. Where I live now, you can<br />

feel like you're in the middle of things without<br />

leaving your home. I find that makes me very<br />

calm. I can be in my bedroom, and it could be 8<br />

pm when something might happen, or something<br />

might not happen, but I won't be stressed<br />

about what I will do with my night. I could be out<br />

in five minutes, or watching Top Gun Maverick,<br />

and go to bed. It's an open possibility that brings<br />

me a lot of peace."<br />

HATC: Matt, you have a documentary coming<br />

out. When is it coming out?<br />

M: "We're still finishing it right now. We've been<br />

working on it for about 12 months, so it's been a<br />

long process. It's changed from what I set out to<br />

do with it. What I've learned along the way has<br />

made the documentary change dramatically.<br />

It's kind of taken a lot of swirly roads. But we're<br />

very close to the finishing line.'<br />

M: "It was all about stigma. There's so much stigma<br />

about addicts; none of it is my experience<br />

with anyone I've met. It's all just pain that's manifested<br />

in a way that soothes you. So it was my<br />

quest to learn more about that, and open people<br />

up to the idea that these are not people that<br />

are born fucked up; it's something happen to<br />

anybody. It can happen to your best friend, your<br />

mother, your husband, anyone. That's been my<br />

experience with people that I've met along the<br />

way. I was always shy to talk about it because<br />

whenever I did, a Daily Mail article would appear,<br />

and I would always think I shouldn't have said<br />

anything. So I kept quiet for ages and always<br />

had someone from PR saying, 'Can we move on,<br />

please?' whenever the topic was approached,<br />

even though it was all out in the open anyway.<br />

Once I started talking about my own experiences<br />

and narrative, I only got positives from it and<br />

the people I interacted with. It seemed to spark<br />

something in them that I thought was valid, and<br />

that was my experience. So I was helped by<br />

others, not by myself or by someone who didn't<br />

have any experience with it, other people like<br />

me have helped me, and that's what I wanted to<br />

achieve with it. I think talking about it can be so<br />

fucking good. It's crucial. Sometimes, you don't<br />

want to be brave and air your dirty laundry. But<br />

that's limiting. The more people can talk and be<br />

open and honest. It's only going to be positive.'<br />

As Busted takes to the road, welcoming both<br />

old and new fans, they do with a new lease on<br />

life, hoping to celebrate their 20th anniversary<br />

in style.<br />

See Busted live and book tickets below! https://<br />

tourlink.to/BustedTour2023<br />

HATC: How has it been being so open about it in<br />

a way that people will see?<br />

Photographer<br />

Ray Burmiston<br />

Words<br />

Bronte Evans<br />

97


OPUS KINK<br />

‘DUST’ REVIEW<br />

98


I was due to write this piece following a gig back<br />

in February at my hometown venue Bedford<br />

Esquires so the creative juices could get flowing.<br />

Due to unforeseen circumstances this has<br />

been rescheduled to June. We wish them swift<br />

recuperation and healing vibes. So, instead, I am<br />

currently writing to you in a chaotic blaze: a pot<br />

of tea, sat in candlelight and Opus Kink on full<br />

blast with my house convulsing from the bass of<br />

the speakers.<br />

Someone once asked me, how would you describe<br />

Opus Kink? I am afraid that is a question<br />

I could never answer. I said a bit punky but a bit<br />

jazzy, fantastic sexy brass sections but even<br />

that does them no justice. They are wild. I have<br />

had the pleasure of seeing them twice already<br />

but it never quite quenches my thirst as each<br />

show comes with even more energy each one<br />

better than the last. The last time I saw them I<br />

did go to work a bit stiff the next day from some<br />

involuntary head banging, it merely had to be<br />

done. I challenge you to listen to ‘I love you, baby’<br />

and not move and groove. Impossibly they are<br />

infectious.<br />

there imminent 7-track EP ‘My Eyes, Brother!’,<br />

out in May with Nice Swan Records. The track<br />

begins with the smash of a cowbell and we are<br />

off. Who would have thought a cowbell would be<br />

the opening star of the show? After two minutes<br />

it settles to almost orgasmic murmurs coming<br />

through the speakers. The track concludes and<br />

touches like a monumental show tune. With the<br />

styles of the music epically tossing and turning<br />

throughout, you are not sure if you are coming<br />

or going… in the most wonderful way. The song<br />

probes western vibes and feels as if you need a<br />

cowboy hat and a horse, but also a 1950’s theatre<br />

and dry martini.<br />

What’s hot right now? Opus Kink that’s who.<br />

Thanks lads for reigniting my passion for music<br />

and getting me out of my rut. They are boss.<br />

The greatest band going right now. If you need<br />

a plunge into adoration you must tune in. Keep<br />

your eyes peeled for the EP landing in May too,<br />

I for one am on the edge of my seat and eager<br />

for more.<br />

Bronte Evans<br />

But who is Opus Kink you ask? The Brighton<br />

band consists of members; Angus Rogers,<br />

Sam Abbo, Fin Abbo, Jed Morgans, Jazz Pope<br />

and Jack Banjo Courtney. They are a breath of<br />

fresh air, you cannot help but stare in admiration.<br />

6 figures on stage bedazzling you as the lights<br />

hit against the golden brass as you give in your<br />

body and mind. It is evident this band have been<br />

put on this earth to perform live, I know that is<br />

the purpose of most musicians, but it is so much<br />

more than observing someone on stage, it's an<br />

adventure. You feel passionate, enraged, liberated<br />

and exhilarated. I had to pre-warn a friend<br />

once that you are going to feel all the feels but<br />

sit back and relish the ride. Their music is irresistible.<br />

If I am being honest as a young woman<br />

it is not a common thing to feel uplifted by an allmale<br />

band but when it comes to Opus Kink I EAT<br />

MY DUST. (If you pardon the upcoming pun.) It’s<br />

an indisputable inclusive venture.<br />

Here I go, off on a tangent. The reason I write today<br />

is Opus Kink’s new single ‘Dust’ is out now<br />

across streaming platforms. It’s the first from<br />

Words<br />

Bronte Evans<br />

99


100


SHAB<br />

101


On a bright and beautiful day in the heart of London,<br />

I had the pleasure of chatting with SHAB,<br />

the Persian/American singer-songwriter who<br />

has been making waves in the UK charts. SHAB<br />

exuded superstar vibes in her stylish coat and<br />

heels, but behind the glamour is a grounded and<br />

thoughtful artist committed to spreading positivity<br />

through her music and life.<br />

We began by discussing her latest single, ‘Dolce<br />

Vita,’ a catchy, upbeat new single that celebrates<br />

the sweet life, inspired by the 1960s classic film<br />

of the same name. “Living a sweet life is not always<br />

about materialism,” SHAB explains, “to<br />

me, a sweet life is about spending time with your<br />

friends, family, and people you love, treating<br />

people well. Living a sweet life is about having a<br />

positive mindset and creating a positive life. It’s<br />

about enjoying life as much as you can. I always<br />

say, don’t sweat the small stuff. You have to let<br />

it go. It’s not worth it. Enjoy life. This is your one<br />

chance. This is the only life you get. Take care of<br />

yourself. Work out, eat healthily, and treat people<br />

like you'd want to be treated. To me, that’s a<br />

sweet life.”<br />

The music video for the single shows perhaps a<br />

more glamorous day in the life of SHAB, but she<br />

was quick to emphasise that her most important<br />

job in the world is being a mother. “I brought two<br />

angels to this world, and I want to make sure that<br />

I give them the right guiding system, protection,<br />

love, and teachings,” she said. “So there are<br />

times where it’s glamorous, and there are times<br />

where it’s a normal real life. I love being home<br />

with them, cooking and playing soccer.”<br />

Despite her busy schedule, SHAB makes selfcare<br />

a top priority. “For me, gratitude is so important.<br />

When I wake up first thing in the morning,<br />

I always try to think of three things I’m grateful<br />

for.” She also takes time for yoga poses that feel<br />

right that day. "I feel like my body channels open<br />

up so that if I’m having a difficult day or there are<br />

challenges, I can deal with them better because<br />

my mind is already open.”<br />

This positive energy has helped SHAB make a<br />

name for herself in the music industry. Her previous<br />

singles, ‘Sexual (Li Da Di)’ and ‘Serenity,’<br />

were both big hits, and she has found success<br />

on the UK commercial pop charts. But she’s not<br />

content to rest on her laurels - she’s already finishing<br />

up her second album, ‘Euphoria,’ and is<br />

even thinking about her third.<br />

Her sound blends elements of pop, dance, and<br />

Latin music, fusing together different sounds<br />

and cultures, “I think of myself international, and I<br />

love the world-pop sound because that’s just really<br />

me,” she said. “What I want to do is bring the<br />

world together somehow, figure my way of helping<br />

the world with my own way to bring people<br />

together.”<br />

As we wrapped up our discussion, I asked SHAB<br />

about her views on mental health, how she stays<br />

mentally healthy amid a demanding music career<br />

and the stresses of international touring.<br />

She was very open and shared her thoughts on<br />

the importance of mental health, especially in<br />

the music industry.<br />

“Having a positive mindset is very important,”<br />

SHAB emphasised. “Mental health is key in<br />

music. People look up to us and want to see us<br />

doing well, but sometimes we forget that we are<br />

human too. We all have struggles, and we must<br />

prioritise our mental health to create and perform.”<br />

She went on to explain how she manages to<br />

stay mentally healthy despite the demands of<br />

her career. “I meditate, read, and write down my<br />

feelings. I also make sure to surround myself<br />

with positive people who uplift me and encourage<br />

me. And most importantly, I know when to<br />

take a break and rest. I am responsible to myself<br />

and my family for caring for my mental health.”<br />

An artist’s commitment to prioritising their mental<br />

health is not often discussed in the music<br />

industry, but it is so important. SHAB’s perspective<br />

on the subject is refreshing and reminds us<br />

all that no matter what our profession is, mental<br />

health should always come first.<br />

As our conversation comes to a close, SHAB<br />

leaves me with some inspiring words: “Never<br />

give up on yourself, always believe in yourself,<br />

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and never stop working hard for what you want.<br />

And always remember that you are not alone.<br />

There is always someone out there willing to<br />

help you.”<br />

I couldn’t help but feel inspired by SHAB’s positive<br />

attitude and commitment to making a difference<br />

in the world. With her catchy beats and<br />

uplifting lyrics, she will continue winning over UK<br />

fans and beyond.<br />

Words<br />

Will<br />

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We have a busy week ahead as we land in Paris<br />

to shoot cover star, Naomi Schiff. As we arrive<br />

at Charles de Gaulle following a relatively early<br />

flight that morning, we catch our train to Gare du<br />

Nord before jumping in a taxi to our base for the<br />

week, La Nouvelle Republique Hotel – Spa and<br />

Hammam. Arriving in Paris, we are met by miserable<br />

weather, typical following weeks of beautiful<br />

weather in the city. With the hopes of the sun<br />

making a rare appearance for our shoot the next<br />

day, we arrive slightly exhausted from a long<br />

morning. La Nouvelle Republique boasting six<br />

floors of Parisian architecture, feels like a home<br />

away from home with a relaxed yet chic aesthetic<br />

throughout the hotel and restaurant. Easy to<br />

find, we are greeted by staff immediately, keen to<br />

show us around before we retire to our rooms to<br />

freshen up. With the usual check-in time of 3 pm,<br />

La Nouvelle Republique kindly takes the time to<br />

be flexible, securing our rooms for a much earli-<br />

seating, muted lighting, a vinyl player, and dozens<br />

of records. As I go through the area with a cup<br />

of tea (thanks to their coffee and tea machine at<br />

your disposal), I get a little more work done before<br />

we head out for a Vietnamese dinner, with the <strong>11</strong>th<br />

District being known for its Vietnamese food.<br />

Following a feast, we stroll back to the hotel for<br />

an early night before tomorrow’s antics. The bedrooms<br />

in La Nouvelle Republique are surprisingly<br />

large, alongside respectably sized bathrooms.<br />

As we head down to breakfast, the team gathers<br />

and reviews the day’s plan before finishing some<br />

last bits of work. Breakfast is lengthily running<br />

from 7:30-10:30am am with a continental breakfast<br />

boasting croissants, fruit, yogurt, bread, and<br />

more. As someone who only drinks decaf coffee,<br />

I was pleasantly surprised with the wide choice of<br />

teas. Paris is not known like many European cit-<br />

ies for its decaffeinated drinks. I take a little more<br />

er midday arrival. With our jam-packed schedule,<br />

we use the hotel’s lift to cart up bags of luggage<br />

filled to the brim with looks for Naomi’s shoot.<br />

With our rooms found, we unpack and prepare to<br />

do a run-through of tomorrow’s outfits. With the<br />

shoot’s creative theme focused on the unapologetic<br />

woman, the looks are beautiful yet demand<br />

the attention and respect of those around them.<br />

From detailed sequined jumpsuits and a feathered<br />

two-piece to delicate golden jewelry, Naomi<br />

is set to command Paris.<br />

For the remainder of the day, we make ourselves<br />

at home in the hotel’s eatery space to finish some<br />

work. Thankfully the hotel has a range of snacks<br />

and drinks ready to help us recharge. Following<br />

the shoot, we will record a podcast episode with<br />

Naomi. Luckily, there’s no better place to record<br />

the episode than La Nouvelle Republique’s Vinyl<br />

room, a nested space within the hotel with comfy<br />

breakfast to go as our stylist finishes the final<br />

touches upstairs. Naomi arrives, and the day ficially begins. When I said that Nouvelle Repub-<br />

oflique’s<br />

bedrooms were surprisingly large, I meant<br />

it with a team of 6 easily fitting with enough room<br />

to move around, fit clothes and apply makeup. We<br />

run through several looks before Naomi takes a<br />

seat for our MUA to work her magic. As we hold<br />

our breath for the weather to let up from torrential<br />

rain, we gather a change of looks and jump into<br />

a cab. If the weather wasn’t enough, Paris is on<br />

strike—nothing quite like chaos to play with the<br />

organisation of a shoot.<br />

As we get close to our original location minutes<br />

later, we decide to jump out and begin shooting<br />

on a typical Parisian mall parade. With Naomi<br />

in place, the shoot starts with all eyes on her.<br />

Thankfully, the weather decides to take a moment<br />

allowing us to move into Carrousel Gar-<br />

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den to take full advantage of the beautiful Grand<br />

Bassin Ronda and the Louvre. Being a big fan of<br />

Naomi, I was determined to counter some of the<br />

stereotypical assumptions in a male-dominated<br />

sport. I wanted all eyes to be on Naomi as an<br />

unapologetic woman taking the world by storm.<br />

No reservations, just strength, and beauty. It’s a<br />

creative direction I had no doubt Naomi could pull<br />

off. It came naturally, with shot after shot being<br />

enough to command your attention and take your<br />

breath away. After a quick change and a look later,<br />

the heavens opened. You’ve got to take what you<br />

can get. We all file into taxis and head back to the<br />

Nouvelle Republique, thankfully in half the time it<br />

took us to reach this afternoon’s locations. Once<br />

inside, Naomi returns to the room to change into<br />

something comfier. We head down La Nouvelle<br />

Republiques spiraling Parisian stairs and take<br />

our place in their Vinyl Room. As Naomi sips on<br />

a tea, I set up the podcast equipment before we<br />

Hammam is located in the basement of the hotel,<br />

designed traditionally with La Savonnerie Du Pilon<br />

Du Roy, made with traditional ingredients designed<br />

to help you unwind. For me, it’s the perfect<br />

place to relax and care for my body and mind in<br />

the steam bath or under the hands of the hotel’s<br />

masseur. For a timeless break, the spa combines<br />

water treatments and wellness rituals to help you<br />

relax while absorbing tradition. After an hour of<br />

relaxing in the steam room, shower, and relaxing<br />

spaces, I wash down, collect a towel and head<br />

back upstairs. With a busy day to come, I order<br />

from a local Parisian restaurant before settling in<br />

for the night. I wake early and grab a quick breakfast<br />

before starting a day’s work. A couple of<br />

hours before I’m due at Charles du Gaulle, I take<br />

the time to work before packing up my room for<br />

checkout at Midday. Throughout the morning, I<br />

snack on the treats set out by the hotel’s staff as<br />

I work from the main space downstairs. As I pack<br />

get comfortable, and the interview commences.<br />

No matter where or when, I always feel a sense of<br />

pride and gratitude being able to share people’s<br />

thoughts, narratives, and opinions. So being In<br />

Paris and sitting with someone so inspiring is not<br />

lost on me. It’s a sense of excitement that will be<br />

hard to unwind from after. As Naomi bids farewell<br />

to the team and the podcast recorded ready for<br />

editing, I have one last night in Paris and one I’m<br />

prepared to spend in La Nouvelle Republiques<br />

Spa and Hammam.<br />

For those who don’t know, Hammams or Turkish<br />

Baths, as they are also known, are often known<br />

as spaces where people can come and relax,<br />

prominent in the Muslim culture. As you enter<br />

the Hammam, its muted yet warm design balances<br />

tradition and modernity, with relaxation at the<br />

forefront. Ran by 100% renewable energy, something<br />

La Nouvelle Republique is known for, the<br />

up, I feel relaxed, most likely from the Hammam<br />

the night before. Unsure how long that relaxation<br />

will last, as we all know, flying takes it out of whether<br />

you enjoy it or not. I bid farewell to the hotel, the<br />

staff warmly offering to call a taxi. I decided to take<br />

a stroll, and it would be criminal if I didn’t get out of<br />

Paris, even if it was on the way back to the airport.<br />

When shooting abroad, there’s often a moment<br />

where you hold your breathing, praying all goes<br />

to plan, but with the hotel being spacious and the<br />

staff being so helpful, I head to the metro safely,<br />

knowing I hope to return to La Nouvelle Republique<br />

hopefully in the not-so-distant future.<br />

Join the ritual at La Nouvelle Republique Hotel -<br />

Spa – Hammam today!<br />

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