An Interview with the Face of ELVI SS16: Charlotte McGuinness

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In-between travelling the world one shoot at a time, popping down to her local theatre and taking outrageously cool Instagram snaps, model Charlotte McGuiness, the face of the ELVI SS16 campaign, took five minutes to catch up with us for a little Q&A…

Describe your style in three words.

Patterned, eclectic, vintage.

How did you get into modelling?

Bizarrely – through a hashtag. I entered an Instagram competition run by Cosmopolitan magazine, MiLK management and SimplyBe. It was the last day to enter the competition and of course, being Britain, it was pouring with rain. I made my dad go outside and take a photo of me in front of the garage – we were both soaked through and freezing. The photo was uploaded onto Instagram with the hashtag #catwalkcontender. I didn’t think I’d hear anything more after that!

What has been your career highlight so far?

Generally, the travelling. I didn’t go on a plane until I was 19, so catching regular flights is still a novelty to me. Also, appearing in Harpers Bizarre, Italian Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. These were the magazines I grew up reading. The creativity of the adverts and editorials inspired me – I would tear out my favourites (usually the most outlandish) and stick them on my bedroom wall. At the time, the images seemed like something from another world.

Walking down Oxford St and seeing myself on giant size posters splashed across the front of two stores, that was incredibly surreal.

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Out of all the locations you have visited for shoots, which has been your favourite?

Ahhhh Chile or South Africa. South Africa was amazing as we were there for a week shooting on different locations in and around Capetown. Location shooting is definitely a perk of the job. It enables you to see unusual and photogenic parts of a country which are off the usual tourist destinations.

My grandad had been stationed in Cape Town during the war and my dad had stopped off on his way to Australia, so I had always wanted to visit. Now we have photos of three generations of our family pictured on the same part of the coastline, spanning over seventy years. Also the food was incredible. I felt like I was on a culinary tour.

Chile was unusual as I had a day off (a rare luxury!). I tried to fit in as much as possible – Everything from the Museum of Human Rights, which was harrowing, to the amazing Santiago Modern Art Gallery. I’m a fan of Mad Men, so I was delighted to discover an exhibition of the shows’ costumes at the Museum of Fashion. I also picked up a few bargains in Santiago’s vintage shops.

What are your travel essentials?

Blistex Lip Relief, I-Pad and a decent pair of flight socks.

What beauty secrets do you swear by?

I religiously use Superdrug Vitamin E oil on my eyebrows. Blasting my eyelash curlers (Shu Uemura) with a hairdryer for 20 seconds before using them. I have straight lashes and this makes the curl set and last all day. Drink tons of water.

Also Nivea for Men shaving balm makes a great primer.

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Who were your icons growing up?

Elizabeth Taylor, French & Saunders and Buffy.

Model wise, Crystal Renn was the first woman to open my eyes to other body types being included in mainstream fashion. She featured in an Evans campaign and her image was emblazoned across the side of the shop in my hometown. I remember being stopped in my tracks and thinking “Wow, that girl has a body like mine.” It was the first time I had seen a curve model in mainstream advertising.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Pursuing my passions – acting, photography, fashion, interior design, comedy. Surrounded by friends and family in a house by the sea with a real fire and a cat (or five).

What do you do in your spare time to unwind?

I go to the theatre. People, Places and Things at the Wyndham’s is incredible. Please go and see it! I find the cinema relaxing – I’m a member of Hackney Picturehouse and go at least once a week. The last thing I saw was High Rise. I want to see The Witch next.

I like to eat out for breakfast with my boyfriend, Matt. Hash E8 is our local cafe. They do the best pancakes in London.

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What are you reading/watching at the moment?

I’m watching The Walking Dead on Now TV. That obsession has got a little out of control. Every time someone coughs I think ‘the apocalypse has started.’

I’m reading The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve recently joined Our Shared Shelf (Emma Watsons book club) after I received a Kindle for Christmas.

What song is your guilty pleasure?

Forever Young by Alphabeat

Favourite food?

Goats cheese. Anything with salted caramel involved.

What would your desert island item be if you could only choose one?

My favourite Instagram cat @Utamaruru.

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