From model to actor to designer, Suki Does It All
The British it-girl talks about breaking barriers, denim dreams, and the time she ended up riding Jim Carrey's bike through the desert.
Many moons ago, a modelling scout walked into a pub and discovered Suki Waterhouse. Ten years later the British stunner has managed to pursue basically every dream imaginable – from becoming a super successful model to starring in international blockbuster films to launching a namesake accessories brand with her best friend.
If you think her professional life is exciting, just wait till you hear how she spends her free time (hint: it includes travelling to remote mountain villages, hanging out with female icons Anita Pallenberg and Julia Roberts, and talking about life with Jim Carrey in the desert).
In an exclusive interview, we catch up with the very talented, very busy and very British model-turned-actor-turned-designer, while on her way home from yet another adventure.
I struggled with feeling inadequate growing up. Our society doesn't want you to feel beautiful, it wants to keep you yearning for it.
WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW?
"I'm in Moscow, on the plane back to London. I've been here for two days sightseeing and crying my eyes out at an Elton John concert!"
YOU MODEL, ACT, SING AND DESIGN. WHAT ARE YOU MOST HOOKED ON?
"I'd say I'm the most committed to working on acting, because I'm the least experienced in that, but I'm equally hooked on making music. I have a really natural drive for it where I want to be writing songs and taking them into the studio. I guess I'm hooked on it all."
IS THERE ANY OTHER CREATIVE FIELD YOU WANT TO EXPLORE?
"More photography, and art that ties into music."
WHAT'S THE COOLEST THING YOU'VE DONE IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
"The coolest thing I've ever done is talk about life with Jim Carrey in the desert. And then ride his bike. Careerwise, the coolest thing may be just breaking through barriers I thought I couldn't break through."
WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO COMPROMISE WITH AFTER BECOMING FAMOUS?
"I can't really think of anything I've had to compromise, but maybe I've just become more sensitive to how I choose to live out my personal life."
WHAT DID YOU DREAM OF BECOMING WHEN YOU WERE A KID?
"I was really into the idea of being a karate master!"
WHAT'S THE BEST BEAUTY TRICK YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
"Wash your face twice at night. Oooh, and floss your teeth!"
WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL?
"Oh god. This question is weird. What is beautiful? I know what unspoken codes in society suggest it to be, but luckily, I think they are changing. I know what beauty is to me, it's something that moves me. The turn of a phrase, listening to music, laughing with somebody, seeing my own humanity in another's eyes, caring for someone or being cared for."
"Like most people, I struggled with feeling inadequate growing up. Our society doesn't want you to feel beautiful, it wants to keep you yearning for it. I think growing up is the battle to define beauty on your own terms. It's the crazy cycle of self-doubting ourselves because we are told what is beautiful over and over again. But it helps that culture is shifting and not just stuck with celebrating thin and tall people as being beautiful, although they are beautiful too. Representation matters so much."
WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU COULD ACT?
"I don't think you ever know that you can act. You just play make-believe every time and do your best not to 'act'."
WHEN DO YOU GET NERVOUS?
"Sometimes I get that deep stomach pit fear, thinking that I'm just completely ridiculous and not good enough. I really believe that in order to take any steps forward in what you're passionate about, you must also accept that you will fail all the time. You'll have bad ideas, meet people who will no longer serve you, try, and try again. I don't see any setbacks as a waste of time. A setback or a 'no' happens more than a 'yes' moment. It's about not being afraid of that, and how to act in the next moment. Mistakes, failures and self-doubt are re-directions somewhere else where you're meant to be going."
There's nothing like going out in an outfit you love.
WHO IS THE LAST PERSON THAT MADE YOU STAR STRUCK?
"Julia Roberts. She was walking around at a party with no shoes on and no makeup on and I just couldn't speak and instead blurted out 'thank you'. She was really kind about it. A lot of the time if I see a well-known person who I admire, I run away from them and don't say hello, I don't want to break the illusion."
DO YOU HAVE A STYLE ICON?
"I don't have one person in particular, but Anita Pallenberg was one of my favourites. I got to meet her last year and I'll never forget her presence, she was wearing a tracksuit, a fedora and a fabulous leopard print coat."
TELL US ABOUT A BIG FASHION RISK YOU TOOK THAT PAID OFF – AND ONE
THAT DEFINITELY DIDN'T PAY OFF.
"There's an outfit I wore last year that my sister claims looked like a Sriracha sauce bottle. I wore an orange patent dress with a green hat and leopard print shoes. In retrospect, it was a lot. There have been so many fashion mistakes, I cringe and also laugh at many images on Google."
"I'd say the Burberry dress I wore to the Met Gala is my all-time favourite outfit, it felt like I was at my own wedding. That dress was massive in a light dusty pink colour. There's nothing like going out in an outfit you love."
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE FAVOURITE DENIM PIECES?
"Denim jeans, denim jackets and denim dungarees!"
YOU'RE A FREQUENT TRAVELLER. WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU
COME HOME TO ENGLAND?
"I have the two coolest dogs, Marvin and Billie. Marv is particularly ridiculous, he likes to sit on Billie's head. Coming to England and going to my parents’ house, to the dogs and a cup of tea is ideal."
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
"It's impossible to know... I don't really have any set plans, and life makes decisions for you anyway. You have to just go with what is coming."
Suki Waterhouse is the star of H&M's latest campaign Denim Decoded. Press play to see how she creates the perfect denim jacket.
… CITIES: "Rio de Janiero, Rome, Tokyo."
… FILMS: "Breathless, Sceyendouche New York, Magnolia. I watched Love Actually the other night, it's so unrealistic it's borderline love propaganda! Though I can't help feeling so filled with hope after watching it."
… BOOKS: "The Rules Don't Apply, I Hate the Internet, The Power of Myth by Bill Moyers, Master and Margarita, Crying On Lot 49."
… MUSIC: "Colin Blunstone, Cat Power, Judee Sill, No Doubt's Just a Girl is on repeat at the moment. Also, Zombie by The Cranberries and Torn by Natalie Imbruglia."
… FOOD: "Cauliflower and cheese, and I love crème fraiche on a jacket potato with baked beans."