360° Me: Fenn O'Meally

Woman sat with head in hands on stoop

The award-winning filmmaker, presenter, model and Shoreditch House member shares her love for old-school tunes, Art Deco villas and how a vintage trouser suit became her go-to look

By Katie Macdougall   Friday 5 July, 2019

Fenn O'Meally is the poster-child for the multi-hyphenate generation. An award-winning filmmaker and journalist, she explores various aspects of creative culture as the UK face of Highsnobiety, the Girl on the Ground for BBC Radio 1Xtra and a producer and director of films for brands including Chanel, Paul Smith and Nike. Her portfolio also includes a roster of photography and modelling, too. Here, the Londoner shares what keeps her inspired.

The book
‘I’m actually enjoying a lot of factual books and biography at the moment. I think it's because I'm a bit nosy and like to know people's stories and what's going on around me. I just read Graham Norton's autobiography, which was brilliant, and the very funny Humans: A Brief History Of How We Picked It All Up by Tom Phillips. I was also recently given Pam Grout's £-Squared by Reggie Yates, who's a bit of a mentor to me. It's about a series of experiments you can do to prove that our thoughts are powerful enough to create our reality.' 

The tune
"'Get Down" by Nas is the track I always come back to. I love old school R&B and hip-hop like James Brown and De La Soul, and working with BBC Radio 1Xtra, I have become a big fan of urban music. My parents have always been into rhythm and blues and my brother had a massive influence over my music taste. We used to watch Top Of The Pops together and he had this huge rack of CDs in his bedroom that we listened to. I remember him playing me Kanye West's The College Dropout for the first time and dancing crazily around his room to it.' 

The film
'City Of God is such a masterpiece. As a filmmaker I aspire to create something as timeless and classic as that, but I would also like to see more female directors working today. I loved Dee Rees' films Bessie and Mudbound, which stars Mary J Blige. She directed it so beautifully. You can't beat a good cheesy movie though, and the one I would put on again and again is The Holiday.' 

The look
‘I’m a bit of a boy when it comes to clothes. I love a good, solid trouser, possibly matched with something more feminine. I was in a vintage shop last year and found this old Dolce & Gabbana pinstripe suit for my brother but it looked so good when I tried it on that I kept it for myself. It's perfectly oversized and I wear it with a Nike crop top or even just my gym kit. I'm a massive fan of Nike. It manages to create the perfect balance between luxury and sportswear.'
The artwork
‘I’m drawn to photography more than anything else. Tyler Mitchell is amazing. He was the first black photographer to shoot the cover for American Vogue. The shot was of Beyonce and it was incredibly empowering. I rent so I can't put any art up on my walls but if I could I would love something from Rupi Kaur. I love her combination of poetry and image. It's so delicate and beautiful.' 

The interior
'My all-time dream interior is the set from the film I am Love. It was shot in Milan in this beautiful 1930s Art Deco mansion and it's just so elegant and glamorous. When I'm in New York I love rumaging around all the vintage interior shops in Brooklyn. I always seem to end up spending far too much money. I recently bought my parents some gorgeous HAY pieces over there too - it is a very sleek Danish design company and I literally wanted to buy everything.' 

The nightspot
'I'm from the Midlands but I live in east London at the moment. If anyone comes to visit me in my neighbourhood I take them to Sager + Wilde on Hackney Road for a glass of wine. It's a very chilled place. I had an amazing evening recently at Glasserie in Brooklyn - it's a bar in an old glass factory in the Greenpoint area - but I'm actually far more of a day person than a night owl. My favourite spot in all of London is me Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park It's right around the corner from me and where I spend a lot of my time.'
The back of a house covered in ivy and a swimming pool
Inside a crowded restaurant at night with a long bar
The meal
'I was in the south of France earlier in the month making a short film for Chanel. We shot it in the perfume fields around Grasse and while we were there we went to La Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence. It's a restaurant and hotel up in the hills overlooking the riviera, and Picasso and Matisse used to go and pay for their food with paintings and sculptures. The art is all around you as you eat, which makes for a pretty amazing meal. When I'm not working though, it's all about home­cooked food. For me, a home-cooked meal is the ultimate luxury.' 

The hero
'My dream dinner party guest would be Will Smith. He would be so brilliant to chat to, although I don't think you'd get to eat anything as you’d be laughing so much. I get my drive and ambition from my dad, but my mum is definitely my all-time hero. She had breast cancer two years ago and she just sailed through it all while working as a headteacher. She's one of the strongest people I know.' 

The routine
'I use a lot of Origins beauty products, particularly its GinZing range, but I'm also loving the Hydra products from Chanel at the moment. The Camellia Water Cream is just amazing. It's funny because I've been using Chanel's Bronze Universe} for years now and when I started working with them recently I told them how obsessed I was with it. They were very sweet and sent me a stash of it. I don't really wear much make-up but ifI put Bronze Universel on, it just sort of sets me up for the day and helps me feel polished. I use an SPF too and brush out my eyebrows but my beauty routine is fairly low-maintenance. I've been travelling a lot this year and I'm realising how important it is to drink loads of water on flights to make sure you stay hydrated.' 

The detox/retox
'I run almost every day or do classes at BLOK gym in Shoreditch. For me, detox and retox are really the same thing, as long as you get me balance right. It's exercise that gives me life and helps me get into the right headspace. I just did the Hackney Half Marathon and I was on such an unbelievable high afterwards. Endorphins are so powerful, you really don't need anything else.’ 


Images from top: Fenn O'Meally (Stefano Sciuto, iD Italia); I Am Love; Will Smith (Getty); American Vogue (Vogue); La Colombe d'Or (Getty) Sager and Wilde
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