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MY FASHION LIFE AMBER ANDERSON

She’s the star of Steve McQueen’s Mr Burberry fragrance campaign. Georgina Lucas meets the model and actress in London’s Notting Hill.

Photographs by Jasper Clarke.
Fashion by Helen Thomson.

Dewy skin, grey-blue eyes and sky-high cheekbones smattered with freckles: 24-year-old British model and actress Amber Anderson is camera ready, even without make-up. Arriving at the The Laslett hotel in London’s Notting Hill on a fresh February morning, Anderson looks every inch the off-duty model in straight-leg jeans, trainers and a leather biker jacket over a round-neck wool sweater.

Perhaps surprisingly, given Anderson’s effortless style, ‘fashion was not on the radar growing up’. She was born in Somerset, and spent the majority of her childhood in the north of Scotland, playing the piano and violin and dreaming of a career on the stage. The self-confessed tomboy was scouted in her early teens. Her first campaign for Burberry put her on the modelling map. She recently returned to the house to star alongside Josh Whitehouse in the Steve McQueen-directed short film for the Mr Burberry fragrance.

Alongside her stellar modelling resume, Anderson has turned her easy charm and engaging charisma to acting. Following a string of indie films, last year she starred alongside Rowan Atkinson in TV film Maigret’s Dead Man as Francine, a dancer in 1950s Paris. Her latest project is as supermodel Ciara Porter in the HBO/BBC adaptation of JK Rowling’s pseudonym-written thriller series, Cormoran Strike. She tells The Style Report more.

I think choosing [film] roles is a little like style; it depends on your mood...
At the moment, I’m a real tomboy.

ON GROWING UP ‘I grew up in the north of Scotland and in Somerset – I wasn’t fashion conscious at all. I was Steiner educated until I was 10, which is very performance-centric and creative. When I was 11, I went to music school. I always wanted to be an actress; to be on stage. I come from a musical family: my mum plays three instruments and my dad toured France in his early twenties as a folk singer – I have his poster in my bedroom. I was scouted quite young. I began acting and modelling full time when I was about 17, and I moved to London.’

ON MODELLING ‘Burberry was my first major fashion campaign, when I was 19. In late 2015, they approached me about the Mr Burberry fragrance campaign with Josh Whitehouse and iconic director Steve McQueen. Then I did the show in London, and other beauty and fashion campaigns. Burberry is the epitome of British fashion, so as a Brit, it’s the dream. The label is loyal, they get behind people. And they always use a very interesting range of actors, models, artists, musicians.

‘I’ve picked up some great Burberry pieces along the way – my poncho, which has my initials on it, is pretty well worn. And the rucksack I take everywhere with my books or sheet music in. And I have a phenomenal rainbow blouse, from maybe two shows ago – dark blue, with rainbow flowers – it’s very Prince; it’s beautiful.’

ON ACTING ‘I’ve just finished filming Cormoran Strike, an HBO and BBC series based on the books JK Rowling wrote under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. I’ve spent the last two to three months filming on location in London with Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke. Before that, I was doing was a film with Natalie Dormer [Game of Thrones] called In Darkness. It’s nice to play someone intelligent; a character with a brain. So far, I’ve always played characters with a warmth about them. I’d like to play someone really bad – it would be fun to play a sociopath.’

ON STYLE ‘I think choosing roles is a little like style; it depends on your mood. In my teens and early twenties I was much more girlie and experimental – lots of prints. At the moment, I’m a real tomboy. I still love prints, but on tailored trousers rather than a crazy dress. I’m wondering what to do with my collection of dresses that I don’t wear anymore. My life goal at the moment is to get a place with a walk-in wardrobe. And I’d love to steal Charlotte Olympia’s wardrobe – it’s amazing.

‘I have a Victorian diamond ring that I bought myself when I turned 22. It was the first big thing I bought with my own money. I’m a fan of antique jewellery. I feel like I’ve grown up a lot in the last year; that means I want everything to be a bit more refined, a bit simpler, a bit more practical. I wear flats, always – even for my own birthday party, I’d wear flats. Although, I am a magpie, and have developed an addiction to sparkly dresses…’

ON DOWNTIME ‘I live in Notting Hill with my cats, Sooty and Jasper. I like being on my own. My work is people-centric so when I go home, I really value my space. I do a lot of reading: fiction, psychology books, plays. And I exercise with boxing and yoga. I started violin lessons again for In Darkness, and I was really happily surprised – everything was still there in my head. Music has always been important to me. I still play the piano every day. And I sing – but that’s more shower stuff... ’

TAP FOR CREDITS

HAIR AND MAKE-UP MICHAEL GRAY AT DEVID ARTISTS. SPECIAL THANKS TO THE LASLETT.

The Style Report
The Style Report
THE STYLE REPORT