admin | Mar 04, 2024
Gwendoline Christie’s My London: From St John to Judy Blame

The actor and model Gwendoline Christie tucks in to fish pie at St John, stocks up on pens and paper at Choosing Keeping and can’t avoid herself in the National Portrait Gallery

Home is…

I realised recently that I’ve lived in London for over 20 years. It’s passed very quickly. I moved here permanently when I went to Drama Centre in Chalk Farm. The streets around there always felt so full of promise. It’s where I first embraced the idea of being an actor and an artist.

Where do you stay?

Well it’s quite a strange story. Obviously Claridge’s is an extraordinary place, a legendary place. I’ve become sort of a friend of Claridge’s because their resident artist David Downton asked to do a painting of me and now that does actually hang in Claridge’s as part of their permanent collection. It’s like something from another world, an extraordinary thing. In my own small way I’ve become a little part of it. It’s a fabulous thing to be able to show off to people if you meet there. A real thrill.

What was your first job?

I was in a production of Great Expectations, directed by Declan Donnellan. The auditions had been at Keats House in Hampstead, it was summer, the area was in full bloom and the sunlight was glinting off the building. I found it incredibly romantic. It was a poetic start to my professional life.

Best place for a first date?

I love the South Bank. There’s the National Theatre and the BFI, and those are places that I absolutely cherish. It’s so romantic to walk along the Thames. I think the National Portrait Gallery is an amazing place. Witnessing art together is a really romantic thing to do, it’s a shared experience and gives you something to talk about.

Is there a portrait of you in there, too?

There is! By Rafael Pavarotti. I’m very lucky.

What shops do you rely on?

I truly love John Sandoe Books, off King’s Road in Chelsea. It’s a curiosity shop of brilliance and I truly believe in supporting independent bookstores. I really love Choosing Keeping for all my stationery needs, it’s a beautiful shop. And I love Dover Street Market — it is the most phenomenal store, it will expand your mind. I have to say Sarabande, too, which was set up by Lee Alexander McQueen. That is a place that is so off grid, it believes in supporting different kinds of artists to be the best artist they can be. It’s a really rich art space.

Most memorable meal?

Every meal I’ve ever had at St John. Fergus Henderson and I shared a fish pie and he told me all about his restaurant and how he believes in no waste. It never fails, St John.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

I’d grab every bit of money I could and invest it into the arts and make all art that day free. And in order to make black cab drivers happy I’d lift all the driving restrictions for them.

The best thing a cabbie has said to you?

‘I love your work.’

Who is the most iconic Londoner?

We could say something like Samuel Pepys but for me, I think it is Judy Blame. An iconoclastic punk and a revolution in himself. Judy believed in radical acts of kindness, which is an extraordinary focus. He truly believed in making treasure out of trash.

What are you up to for work at the moment?

I partnered with Highland Park to create this film called Orkney Stories. It was very beautiful to create. I’ve always been fascinated by the Scottish islands and felt a strong connection to them. Orkney has the most stunning landscape and being able to explore and see how the community impacts Highland Park, what they produce and how integral that is to the whisky was fascinating.

Finally, what was it like closing for the recent Maison Margiela couture 2024 fashion show?

It was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was an impossible dream of over 30 years and I am profoundly moved by it. I am so grateful and honoured to be a part of John Galliano’s spectacular collection for Maison Margiela. It was a real honour to be a part of that outstanding work.

‘Orkney Stories’, starring Gwendoline Christie, is available to watch now on Highland Park’s social media platforms and at highlandparkwhisky.com [Source]

TAGS: Interviews

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