It’s all about Esme Creed-Miles
Meet fashion’s new muse: the 20-year-old multi-hyphenate writer, director, musician, model, Miu Miu campaign star and lead actress in Amazon Prime’s runaway hit Hanna
By Louis Wise Photography by Charlotte Hadden Video by James Canavan Styling by Grace Joel Hair by Anna Cofone Make-up by Amy Wright Wednesday 23 September, 2020. Above: dress, Ganni; headpiece, HOOD LONDON
‘I mean, acting is a wonderful privilege,’ Creed-Miles adds, and she sounds sincere – but she’s also direct and self-aware. ‘I get to travel and meet incredible artists. But, for me, it’s not a career path. If I’m lucky enough to do it with wonderful people, I feel very grateful for that, but I have other ambitions.’
‘It was the first time that I was doing something where I felt a real affinity with every single part of the process,’ she says. ‘It was just the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.’
There’s a fierceness and fluency to Creed-Miles that was evident from a young age. She once described herself as being brought up a ‘mini-adult’ and she confirms this today with a small laugh. ‘You know, my parents were very young when they had me and I was an only child growing up, so…’. She says that her life is still ‘pretty solitary at the best of times’, with her beloved Brussels Griffon dog remaining her favourite company. She has well-defined opinions on life and art, and is a well-read feminist and a fan of writers such as Eileen Myles, Maggie Nelson and Hélène Cixous, all of whom will only work with female producers. ‘I remember interviewing a male director of photography,’ Creed-Miles recalls. ‘He said, “This shot sounds a bit self-indulgent” and I was just like, “Goodbye! Get out!”’ Is all this something her mother taught her, then?
‘No,’ she says firmly. ‘My mum sent me to boarding school when I was very young, so I don’t really have any conversations with her about art, or my career, or what I’m interested in.’ We both laugh at the snap of it. Asked if her family heritage is more privilege or baggage, she is again remarkably precise. ‘Growing up with a family of creatives is not the easiest thing in the world,’ she says. ‘But I wouldn’t change it, because I’m so privileged. I’ve grown up with access to whatever I need – I got to do the things that I wanted to do, professionally and creatively, and very few people have that.’
‘I’ve always loved fashion. Because I’ve had low self-esteem, finding clothes that make me feel better about myself has been a godsend’
Above: cape, WED. Below: dress, tights and shoes, all Miu Miu
‘There’s this narrative that when people make things about themselves in art, specifically about their mental health, it’s “brave”. I think that can go hand in hand with glamorising the issues we’re talking about, and I think that’s dangerous’
Top: jacket and trousers, John Lawrence Sullivan; bra, WED. Above left: cape, WED. Above right: jacket, WED; bonnet, HOOD; boots, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
She was already a Miu Miu fan before landing the autumn campaign (she even wore a dress by the designer to her mother’s wedding to her stepfather Harry Holm), but she is also a huge admirer of designers like Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens. In fact, she wore a Demeulemeester suit to the Hanna premiere, having been alerted to the brand when she realised the Belgian had designed clothes for a PJ Harvey tour – one of Creed-Miles’ all-time idols. ‘It was probably my favourite thing I’ve ever worn on the red carpet,’ she sighs. The question is, how many more red carpets will we see her on? Actually, no – the only real question is, in what capacity?
Series two of Hanna is streaming now on Amazon Prime. The short film, Jamie, is available to stream here.