FAULT Focus Events: Stand Up for EU Nationals

As we gear up for the launch of our ‘Made In America’ issue which chronicles all the popular artists who have managed to excel despite growing racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment in the land they call home, we’ve been keeping our ear to the ground to find more creatives/events who highlight and embody this role. Today that comes in the form of “Stand Up for EU Nationals”, a celebration of, and show of solidarity for, EU nationals who (for now at least) call the UK “home”. 

As Article 50 is triggered with no guarantees for EU citizens in the UK, this event celebrates their contribution to our community.
In the first half Ian Dunt, author of Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? and the LSE’s Philippe Legrain will reveal the facts about immigration to the UK and how the press fail to report the enormous economic, cultural and social contributions newcomers make to our country.
In the second half, comedians Shazia Mirza, Sindhu Vee and Grainne Maguire will give their hilarious take on what it’s like to live in Brexit Britain.

The event will also feature an EU citizen picked from a crowdsourcing campaign, who will talk about what it is like to live in the UK, both pre- and post-Brexit.

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stand-up-for-eu-nationals-tickets-32688631577#tickets

Come for a night of celebration and laughter, as we refuse to despair in the face of Brexit or give up on our friends and neighbours.

Tickets just £8 (concessions), £12 and £18 for a celebratory night of information and comedy.

FAULT MEETS KATELL QUILLEVERE

Adapted from Maylis de Kerangal’s internationally acclaimed 2014 novel Mend the Living, Katell Quillévéré’s Heal the Living opens with three teenagers deploying their surfboards on a deserted beach at dawn, throwing themselves into the curls of deep blue waves. Pure sensation is the order of the day, and a prelude to a tragedy in their lives. Before long, a fatal car crash takes one of them.

Upon arriving at a hospital in Le Havre, 16-year-old Simon (Gabin Verdet) is pronounced brain-dead. Doctors broach the delicate yet urgent matter of organ donation to his distraught parents Marianne (Emmanuelle Seigner) and Vincent (Kool Shen). Here, Quillévéré steps back—let’s consider the enormity of the situation—and shifts her attention to the peripheral hospital staff: a disheveled surgeon (Bouli Lanners), a mousy organ donation coordinator (Tahar Rahim), and a put-upon new nurse (Monia Chokri). Meanwhile, Simon’s misfortune opens up the possibility for the continuation of life for another. In Paris, middle-aged mother Claire (Anne Dorval), whose degenerative heart condition is worsening, is put on a waiting list to receive a potential transplant.

Heal the Living is a meditation on human suffering, both literally and figuratively embroidered around hearts: the rhythm of our lives and a sound box for our emotions. Quiet human details, like parents’ farewells whispered into the ears of unconscious children, are magnified with soaring visual and sonic acumen—Tom Harari shoots, Alexandre Desplat scores—and it’s life affirming.

 

The César-nominated filmmaker spoke to FAULT about her big career lessons, discovering newcomer Gabin Verdet, and her dazzling elegy to life Heal the Living.

 

Could you describe your first encounter with Maylis de Kerangal’s novel?

 

It was somewhat accidental how I made contact with the material because it was actually David [Thion], one of the producers on the film, who introduced me to the novel. He had already put the idea in his head that it should be made into a film. When I first read the novel, I was already working on an original screenplay, so I wasn’t particularly interested in adapting it. But it was so powerful. I could see that there was something special there, so I made it a point to meet with Maylis. It was over time in the writing process that I really came to understand my intimate connection to the novel. It conjured up my memories of loss in the hospital and it replayed in my mind. Sometimes when you’re making a film, you confront and deal with things like loss, as well as desire. I hope this is the same kind of experience people take away after watching the film.

 

Was this a very cathartic experience looking back?

 

Yes, and I think that’s the essence of what cinema is. It should have this cathartic effect, both for the people making the film as well as for the people watching it. If you think back to the start of cinema and the whole fairgrounds thing, it was a way for people to confront fear, laughter, tears and even some danger, but at the same time, with a bit of distance from it all.

 

The film centers on Simon, then his parents, then the hospital staff, and then Claire and everyone in her orbit. This feels deliberate—underscoring the interconnectedness of us all.

 

You’re correct in your analysis because the movie is all about the human link. There’s no direct translation for this from French to English, but it’s almost like the film is in a relay where each character passes the torch on to the next person. That’s how this film was conceived. As you said, it begins with an individual, broadens out to include a larger community, and then society as a whole.

 

 

 

The opening moments with the surfers are absolutely breathtaking. I understand it was quite difficult to pull off. Why was it important that we see them at sea before tragedy strikes?

 

This was the most difficult thing to shoot. The water, the sea—it’s very powerful and something you can’t control. It was important that the film begins in the sea because it’s where all of humanity began. The idea of showing surfers at sea is a way of referencing the start of life and the end of life. It’s a metaphoric image when we see the surfers inside the waves. It’s almost as if they’re inside the mother’s womb. When the sea ejects the surfers, it’s as if a mother ejects the child during birth.

 

There are moments of fantasy that make scenes explode. The road the surfers are driving on turns into ocean waves, for example. How do you know when to indulge and daydream?

 

It was a challenge to achieve this kind of subtle balance between dream and reality. I found that, by striking this balance, it provided access into what is very profound in the film. On one level, the film is medical. On another level, the film is very physical. But then we’re also dealing with a film that’s metaphysical. To experience all of them and to have this trajectory from the trivial to the sacred when you’re watching the film, I needed to find the balance that you’re talking about. I think that’s what we’re really striving for in cinema. In life, you have the life you’re living, the life you’re perhaps afraid to live, and the life that you would like to live. I think cinema unites these three different ways of looking at life, which requires that balance between fantasy and reality.

 

You somehow managed to cobble together many of my favorite French-speaking actors into one ensemble, from Anne Dorval to Finnegan Oldfield. What was your approach to casting?

 

I can tell you that nobody came first. I really tried to build a team and think about it as an ensemble—something closer to a symphony. This is my first film where the casting felt like roulette. Prior to this, I had always thought about the person who came before and after in the casting process. I considered the physicality of actors, the emotional boundaries of actors, and also diversity. I wanted a diverse cast to reflect society. So I was interested in pulling actors from different kinds of movies and actors of different origins. I really wanted true personalities to encompass this story.

 

In order to experience the magic of seeing a transplanted heart beat again in a stranger’s body, you need the trivial details as much as the sacred ones.

 

I’m very curious about Gabin Verdet. Did you find him through street casting?

Yes, Gabin is an actual surfer. He had never acted before this film. It was a long casting process to find him and his friends. We saw like 200 surfers. I was always convinced that the person playing Simon would have to be an actual surfer because I wanted to shoot him at sea. It had to be real. Simon had to have the body of a surfer, which is very specific in its own way. [Surfing is] also a state of mind, so I really needed someone who had that special relationship to the sea. When you’re a passionate surfer, you risk your life. Gabin is a really passionate guy. He really wakes up at five in the morning every day to surf. [Laughs] I think you can feel that on his face, in his smile, and everything. I loved that he had a limitless potential. I didn’t have much time to warm this young guy up to the audience, so it had to be really strong while it lasted. And it had to be really lively.

 

There are other technical wonders: How did you film the painstaking open-heart surgery?

 

We spent a long, long time working with real surgeons to make it believable. There are many reasons why I wanted it to look exactly like reality. First of all, the science behind transplants always fascinated me and I wanted to do it justice. The idea of getting all the protocols and requirements correct on film excited me. Also, I’m convinced that the more realistic you are about capturing life on film, the more magical things become. In order to experience the magic of seeing a transplanted heart beat again in a stranger’s body, you need the trivial details as much as the sacred ones. Triviality is totally related to scared life. One doesn’t work without the other.

 

Heal the Living marks your third feature as a director. What are some of the more important things that you’ve picked up over the years about the key to making a very good film?

 

One of the important things that I learned is that, to have a successful film, you really need to start off with an excellent screenplay. You really have to work on the writing so that it’s really good before you start anything else. Also, once you have the solid foundation of a good screenplay and you’re ready to make the film, you have to be open to whatever might happen. You have to be able to deal with the weather, with suggestions that are made from other people… It’s really this line between mastering and controlling the script, and being open to what might happen once you begin shooting. This is extremely important and difficult. [Laughs] Controlling, and then letting it go.

 

Can you recall an early memory where you decided you wanted to become a filmmaker?

 

The earliest image I can recall is watching The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when I was three years old. I remember being fascinated by these two guys playing hooky. They were really unique and left an impression on me. I wasn’t at all programmed in an artistic way. I don’t come from a family of artists. I didn’t know people from the arts. My way of playing hooky became cinema.

 

Heal the Living was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the César Awards in 2017. The film is set to open across UK cinemas on April 28.

 

WORDS—Reto Sterchi 

PHOTOGRAPHY—Ilaria Orsini 

 

FAULT Focus: How Mariatu Turay Overcame Homelessness To Run The Successful Fashion Brand, Gitas Portal.

As we gear up for the launch of our ‘Made In America’ issue which chronicles all the popular artists who have managed to excel despite growing racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment in the land they call home, we’ve been keeping our ear to the ground for more artists to highlight who embody this role. Today that comes in the form of African-Caribbean Fashion Designer Mariatu Tura who is on a mission to help woman stand out with her bold designs and inspirational story

Mariatu Turay is London based fashion designer and owner of Gitas Portal, a brand which wants women to stand out, be bold and win in all areas of their lives. Born in London and raised in Freetown, Mariatu was forced to leave Sierra Leone at age 16 due to the Civil War, her father was a government official and her family was targeted.  She moved to the USA and started working as a hair braider at the age of 16 in a salon to make ends meet for her family. She then learnt secretarial and office skills as a way into corporate America. By the time Mariatu returned to the UK, her entrepreneurial spirit was fully fledged and she used her hairdressing skills to pay her way through university. After brief periods of homelessness in the US and the UK she found her way back on track: “My family life and dreams were interrupted overnight – I went from having a good life to having nothing. No one in their right mind wants to be homeless and face the uncertainty of having nothing. The trauma is on all levels but I never lost my way at the most challenging of times. Always knew with hard work and kindness I’d make it.”

After a successful career as a civil servant in the UK, Mariatu decided to tap into her passion for fashion and creativity. With her dual Sierra Leonean and Barbadian heritage, Mariatu has been able to merge different multicultural influences from fashion, art, culture and feminine attributes into her work giving her brand a broader appeal.

Established in 2011, Gitas Portal is an affordable, mid-market, luxury brand that is known for sophisticated, feminine cuts and a creative use of West African textiles in beautiful elegant styles. The Gitas Portal motto – Be Bold, WIN, Wear Colour – is for the woman who is unapologetic about her beauty and expresses her style with confidence.

Mariatu opened the first Gitas Portal boutique in London in 2016.  As a self-taught designer-maker, Mariatu’s goal is to set a benchmark for African inspired fashion pieces, promoting quality, beautiful and well-made designs that will challenge and balance the sometimes poor perception of ‘brand Africa’.  As a designer and a wearer of her own pieces, Mariatu celebrates fashion and sees it as a unique expression of individual flair and the emancipation of one’s inner beauty. Her journey is indicative of her tenacity and is a testimony that despite any of life’s turmoil’s anyone can make their dreams come true.

FAULT meets rising star Fisayo Akinade

With a number of theatre accolades already under his belt, Fisayo Akinade first graced our screens in C4’s “channel-defining” series “Banana”, “Cucumber” and “Tofu.” After adding a big screen debut to his resume in “The Girl With All The Gifts,” we caught up with Fisayo to delve a little deeper into the life of this rising star.

Jacket by Levi’s

Your breakout role was in “Cucumber” and “Banana.” Can you talk a little bit about what it was like?

I had never really done screen before. I did a tiny role in “Fresh Meat,” which is a Channel 4 comedy. And so I had never really had an opportunity to do screen properly for the first time. When the audition came through for “Cucumber,” I was sort of really baffled, thinking: “I’ve never done screen; I don’t really know any of the producers.” Normally, you know somebody to get a role like that in a drama written by someone as prestigious as Russell T. Davies. I soon discovered that Russell likes to find new talent as does the casting director. And so, I just thought: “I’ll go in, I’ll do my best, and see what happens,” and then I ended up getting the role. Honestly, it changed my life. It changed my entire career path. It changed the agent I was with. It changed the work I was going up for. It was a real baptism by fire, because I had to learn very quickly how to be on a set, but luckily, we had the most wonderful, welcome cast and crew imaginable. You have Vincent Franklin leading the whole thing, and he was just so wonderful with me. Any questions I had, he answered without hesitation or without annoyance and you had Julie Hesmondhalgh; she was just wonderful. Although it was a bit of a baptism by fire, it very quickly became a joy and I was able to understand the inner workings of television drama. It was a real learning experience, but a joy, because I was surrounded by the most generous bunch of people. Also, I got to do a lot of crazy things at that job; I was very, very naked a lot of the time! Once you do that, then you can sort of do anything. It made me much bolder, I think, because you can’t half-do those things; you can’t half-do a sex scene ornude scene. You just have to do it. And so, it really emboldened me — the jobs I took afterward. It was a real eye-opener and a real formative experience for me.

 

It really kind of rerouted your career path. What were some of the best aspects of that happening?

You’re suddenly being seen for roles that you would never have in your wildest dreams considered. You’re suddenly up for a film that has Glenn Close and Paddy Considine and Gemma Arterton. “This is insane! When have I ever been afforded that opportunity?” You’re suddenly doing plays with Judi Dench and Mark Gatiss and Nina Sosanya and Hadley Fraser. You’re sort of thrust; it takes your career and not only raises it a level, but sort of shoves a rocket up its ass and fires you forward! So, I was suddenly in rooms, meeting and working with people that I never imagined I would work with.

 

That series explores 21st-century gay life. Obviously, that’s a hugely culturally important issue. How do you feel that’s impacted the prevailing culture?

The trouble with any drama that focuses on homosexuality is that because there are so few of them, all the hopes of the gay community get pinned onto this one drama, and no drama could ever hope to represent 100 percent of a particular community. And so, as true to life as I think it was and as honest a representation of certain types of gay men it was, I also feel that it couldn’t please everybody. I don’t think any show could. But for the character of Dean, I knew [people by the name of] Dean. I had met Deans. I had spoken to Deans. For me, it was very true to life, as was the character that Vincent Franklin played, Henry. I had seen them and I had heard about them and read about them or met these people in real life, so to see them represented was sort of amazing. It was odd, because we split audiences. Some audiences were going: “oh my god, it’s so true! That’s so me. That’s how I am.” And then a lot of people were going: “I’ve never met a gay person that speaks like that or talks that way in my life.” And so, it split audiences. But I think for me personally, I loved it. One, because the strength of the writing was just phenomenal: it was so raw and honest and so fully realized. The characters that were created were so real and vivid and unafraid to express their genuine feelings, whether that was “I’m really scared, but I won’t have another taste of adventure again, so I’m going to go live with a bunch of teenagers.” Or whether that was “I think my life is pretty boring, so I’m going to lie about my life.” All those sort of themes were the best things about it — those truly relatable things that people have, that they feel they are boring, so they fabricate stories, or they lack adventure, or they get intrigued by a slightly dangerous but incredibly sexy younger man, or whatever it is. The strength of the show laid in those universal truths.

 

Shirt by Natural Selection

You mentioned Glenn Close. What was it like working with her on “The Girl With All the Gifts”?

It was incredible. So, I was in my hotel room, and I got a phone call from the second assistant director. He said: “Glenn would like to run some lines, and she’s asked me. I told her it’d probably be better if she read them with an actor. Would you like to do it?” I said, “yes! Absolutely!” And so they sent the car and I went into her massive trailer and read the scene with her a couple of times, and then we just chatted. It was really lovely. And I said, “I’m so sorry; I have to talk to you about ‘Dangerous Liasions.’” And then she just told me all these stories: how much fun she had working with John Malkovich. It was incredible. The thing that I love about her is that she’s so generous, because she’s had such an extraordinary career, and she’s so generous with stories from all the films she’s worked on. She’s really wonderful in that respect and so much fun! I think you can build up an image of a person in your head, and you may think: “I hope she’s not this Hollywood diva who keeps to herself,” but she was with us the whole time, played backgammon. It was just wonderful. She was really a part of the team.

 

One thing that intrigues me when it comes to acting is the horror genre. Specifically, it produces by virtue of the genre itself some very surreal scenarios. What’s it like for you as an actor to try to put yourself realistically into these surreal scenarios and adapt to that world around you and act within it?

It’s odd! We all know the tropes of genre movies. And so when I was reading the script and I knew Gallagher is going to die, you know he’s going to die. I think everyone in the audience knows: “well, he’s going to die. He’s going off on his own in a zombie movie, of course.” And I think the thing is to get rid of that analytical part of your brain that says: “this is the bit where Gallagher goes off and dies” and just go: “no, this is the scene in which Gallagher wants to help his friends and find some food and bring it back to prove himself.” And you start to live in the mindset of the character, which then eliminates that second after-brain that’s floating above you, going “I know exactly where this is headed.” If you focus it down to what the character wants, then hopefully what you’re portraying is completely realistic and believable, even though we are adhering to the horror movie trope of “man goes out on his own and dies.” If you bring it into the mindset of the character, it eliminates that bit, and then you try to pour as much belief into the fake scenario that script-writers worked out as possible in order to make that situation hopefully set apart from all the others that have come before. There will be things that are always repeated in every genre movie, things that are staples. But what you hope is that you can put either a unique spin or an emotional spin or just a new beat in there that just slightly tweaks it, so it is the same trope or the thing we’ve seen before, but it’s slightly different. People go: “Oh, the way it happened wasn’t the way I’ve seen it happen before,” I think. I think that comes from rooting it in the reality of your mindset of the character.

 

So then, in preparing for the role, how does that differ from a normal role?

Honestly, it’s hard because I don’t think it does differ; I just think there are things you’re aware of. You’re aware that you’re in a genre movie and you’re aware that “this is the scene when,” but I think like with any role, you prepare it through the script and the character and his interactions with the other characters in the screenplay. You go: “so, he’s like this. He’s not seen the outside world for ten years and he’s sort of afraid of Melanie, but also is really intrigued by her. There’s a really nice mirror image of her discovering the world for the first time and him being discovered in the world that he’s not known for ten years. There’s a really nice mirror image there, and that could potentially bring them closer.” All that sort of stuff that is exciting less so than the shooting guns and all that stuff. It’s the character stuff that you focus on rather than the genre stuff, because that will happen anyway, but the thing that makes it interesting and the thing that will hopefully keep audiences coming back for more will be the depth at which you play the characters.

 

You’re starring in “In the Dark.” Tell me a bit about that.

So, that is a four-part drama based off two novels. They’re completely separate stories. The first two episodes are set in a country setting and have nothing to do with the following two episodes. But the thing that links them is our lead actress, played by MyAnna Buring. She’s a pregnant police officer. She’s the thing that links these two separate situations. In my two episodes, I play a young guy who has a new baby and is desperate for money and like a lot of young people, he doesn’t have a lot of options. He’s not particularly well educated, and so decides in order to get money, he will join a local gang and join in their drug operation. What happens is as part of his initiation, he has to shoot a car. That car happens to kill a police officer. Then, slowly but surely, members of the gang start being killed, and they don’t know whether it’s the police getting revenge or somebody else, and then, there’s a big mystery as to who’s killing off these young boys and why that particular car drove into that bus stop at that time, killing that police officer. So, it’s a mystery that deals with gang culture and being a female police officer in a very male-heavy world. That’s where the two characters meet, and what happens happens. It has a really cool conclusion.

Jumper and jeans by Uniqlo

I grew up in Cleveland, which has a big gun violence problem, so gun culture is always interesting and relevant to me.

I think what’s sort of amazing about it is actually the reason why you get into it. The co-director and I had a lot of conversations about why people get into it in the first place, and I think a lot of the time, it isn’t about wanting to be the big, tough guy on the street. It’s actually just about survival, and they’ve got no other options. They have seen they have no other options. Even the gang leaders, they become father figures, I think, to a lot of these boys, because a lot of the time, they don’t have fathers in their lives, and so, this guy with all this money not only gives them work and money, but also protects them. I think there can be a sort of genuine love there with those characters.

 

What are some of your hobbies when you’re not working?

I am very into comic books. I’ve just started the new Batman 52. It’s absolutely stunning. There is a myth, a Gotham myth, about a Court of Owls that have been running Gotham City for centuries. Batman doesn’t believe in it because it’s a myth. He’s never met them, and he thinks it’s just ridiculous and silly. There’s going to be a new mayor of Gotham. Bruce Wayne is helping this new mayor get into power because he thinks he’s the right guy, and they meet at one of the old Wayne buildings, and an assassin from the Court of Owls turns up, almost kills the guy who’s running for mayor and almost kills Batman. It’s incredible, and you go, “whoa! Who are these guys?” So, then they write the very next day on a wall in fire, “Bruce Wayne will die in 24 hours.” That’s before this assassin shows up and attacks Batman. So, you go: “do they know he’s Bruce Wayne?” As the comic goes on, you realize how powerful these guys are and how many people they’ve killed. They seem to always target Waynes, and so, there’s a mystery about whether they were responsible for Bruce’s parents’ deaths. It just gets more complex and complicated and dark. It’s very dark and scary, actually. There’s a point in the comic where he’s in a labyrinth. You have to turn the comic landscape, then upside-down, then the other way around. So, it sort of reflects what’s happening in Batman’s head. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s really beautifully drawn as well. It’s incredible. You have to read it. So, that’s sort of my main hobby, and I’ve started writing. I have a few writer friends, and I’ve spoken to them, and they’ve sort of given me the confidence to put pen to paper and start to write, which is really scary, actually and really daunting. But if you have an idea, I think it’s only best to follow through, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m writing a short film at the moment and I’ve got an idea for a series that I’m hoping to make eventually.

 

What’s the short film about?

The short film is about bereavement and the lengths a person will go to to achieve their desires, I suppose. I don’t want to say too much.

 

What’s it like coming from one side of the script to the other?

It’s quite daunting, but one of my friends said to me that if you watch a film and it isn’t a particularly good film and you sit with your friends and say: “oh, what they should have done is this, and they should have taken out that scene and done that” — he says what you’re already doing is editing the script. So, if you can edit a script, then you understand the story structure and narrative structures, which means that you can create your own narrative structure. And then, what it all becomes about is your voice as a writer and how you like to write, rather than whether you can or can’t, because you can, because you understand narrative structures. Then it becomes what your voice is like, how you want to present your story, your narrative to the world, your attitudes about your narrative voice. So, I think it’s quite nice and quite freeing, and it’s really nice to type three pages and see it, and go: “that’s the beginning of something.” And then you write a bit more and go: “actually, I can take out those first three pages and just start here.” And that’s really exciting. You’re building something, sort of like how a carpenter makes a table. It’s just a big hunk of wood, this really ugly thing, then it becomes this beautiful, ornate table or chair. I think it’s sort of the same thing; you just have an idea, you plop it onto the page, then you start chipping away until you’ve made a narrative you’re happy with, I think.

 

What would your dream role be?

Oh gosh! Theater-wise, I would love to play Belize in “Angels in America” or Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Those are two roles that I loved when I first read them and have stuck with me ever since. And then in terms of tele and film, it’s less about roles and more about genre. I’d love to do a big blockbuster film, just because I think it would be fun — like a proper big space odyssey blockbuster would be really fun. I’d really love to also work Paul Thomas Anderson. I think he’s one of the best directors in the world and his films constantly fascinate me. He shoots in a way that is really interesting and he writes in a way that’s really interesting and really dynamic. He really gets into people’s heads and his ideas are always so well-thought. I just think he’s incredible. And then you know, everything else! They’re the sort of main things. Also, I think TV is heading in such an amazing direction; over the last couple of years, we’ve seen some of the most outstanding writing from people and on TV. That’s something I’d love to get involved with, whether it be Netflix or HBO — whomever it is. I’m really interested in complex characters and fine writing.

Shearling jacket and Jeans by Levi’s, shirt by Universal Works.

You’ve worked in stage, TV, and movies. How does it compare, what’s your favorite? Tell me about the contrasts.

It’s hard because I don’t really have a favorite. They all offer merits of their own. Theater is such a great training, and it keeps you so sharp and alert, because you have no choice but to be completely in the moment with a person, because it’s happening live. So, it’s such great training: being in the moment, being spontaneous, because anything could happen. You could forget a prop, a set could fall apart, the actors could forget their lines and instead of saying: “can we go again?”, you’ve got to just improvise something and help your fellow actor. It’s such a collaborative, wonderful thing, theater, and I really love doing it. And then you’ve got film, which again is another medium that challenges you to be honest. You can’t really lie in front of the camera, because it picks it up. As soon as you lie or have a false moment, the whole illusion is shattered, and the audience go: “huh? That was weird.” And so I think the challenge for TV and screen is to be as truthful as you can, which is often about being relaxed. It’s about being relaxed and knowing your lines. I think what you need to do is be so relaxed and confident with your lines that all you are thinking about when you’re acting is what you are doing to the other person and what they are doing to you, so you can just react. So you’re not going: “what am I saying next?” Because all the audience will get is a sort of confused, half-performance, because your brain is occupied with remembering lines rather than being in the moment with your other actor.

 

Speaking of stage, you’re starring in “Saint Joan” at the Donmar. How did you prepare for that role?

Because it’s all based off historical fact, I read as much as I could about Joan and particularly about King Charles VII. It was fascinating, and the thing is: all that research, the audience won’t see about 90 percent of it. A lot of it isn’t in the script. What it does is color certain lines. If I hadn’t done the research, I wouldn’t have known that his mother and father disowned him, and that has an effect on a person. It’s suggested in the script that he’s a coward, he can’t fight, and he’s not a soldier. He’s not a military leader in the way that a lot of kings were. He was more of a strategist. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t done the research. So, what happens is as you do more research, it props up and fills the text that is already there with another layer of complexity, which is always really interesting to play, because then, rather than just saying the lines, you’re saying the lines with a sense of the history where that line has come from and what that line means. So, when he talks about his father or talks about his great-grandfather, it has a certain weight to it that wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t done the research. Then, you just go into the script and you read it as many times as you can and get those lines in your head and make some choices and then get in the rehearsal room and genuinely just play: “I wonder if I could try it like this. And do that thing there…” And then you slowly, with the director and writers, build something that makes sense and serves the play and the story.

 

He’s historically such a complex character. I imagine that’s a really rich character to play.

It’s so lovely, because he’s incredibly funny. He’s written incredibly comically. That comes from a sense of wit, which is again George Bernard Shaw highlighting the character as much more brains than brawn, because wit is about a sort of intellectual dexterity, I suppose. So, you’re able, through his wit, to see that he has brains, and his brains ended up winning the Hundred Years War. It wasn’t him going into battle and wearing armor, it was him going: “if we make a treaty with these people, ally ourselves with these people, then we can amass these numbers and go to war with them and prepare ourselves.” He was much more a thinker. So, then at the same time, having that strategic brain, he’s a terrible coward — just likes to stay in bed and eat sweets and cakes and be looked after and not really have to do anything or have any responsibility. And so, you’ve got these two sides of him that are doing battle, I suppose, which it is his birthright that he should be king, but he’s terrified of what that means, which is really lovely and fascinating to play.

 

What do you want to do in the future then?

I’ve been very, very lucky, I think, actually. I’ve been able to work with some fine people. I mean “fine” from casts, to crews, to directors, to writers, and I just would like that to continue in whichever medium it takes, whether that be screen, stage, or TV. I’m just interested in good, complex, interesting work, work that I can stretch myself in, because sometimes, I think there can be a danger of being typecast, and so you end up playing very similar roles. I feel I’ve been quite lucky in that I’m not really too many parts too similar. I’d like to keep that trend going, because I think it stretches you as an actor and as a person, because you get to learn about a varied range of people and situations. I had no knowledge of the Hundred Years War or of Joan of Arc or of Charles VII at all until I started “Joan.” I’d like to say now I can hold my own in a conversation about them, and I think that’s a real asset. I think it’s one of the big positives of being an actor: you get to explore things you wouldn’t normally choose to look into. On an average day, I wouldn’t decide to pick up a book about Joan of Arc, but I have been — quite a few of them now — and it’s opened my mind to Joan and the Hundred Years War and all of that stuff. I think that’s the one of the best things about being an actor: you get to explore things you wouldn’t normally choose to.

Jacket and t-shirt by Natural Selection

You mentioned that you’re getting into writing. Are you looking to try your hand at anything else like directing or?

I would quite like, because I have a visual brain, to direct. I’ve done a bit of tele and a bit of film, but I don’t know the inner workings of directing yet. I’m getting there, and every time I do a job, I ask everybody: “what’s that you do? How do you do it? How does that feed into this? What’s your role? Ok cool.” And so I’m amassing a knowledge of how to direct and how one would even begin trying to. I would love to direct something, something I’ve written as well, but not star in. I don’t think I have the sort of impartiality to watch me. I think we’d end up doing my scenes for weeks on end until they were perfect. I’d give that to someone else. There are amazing people that can direct and star in their own stuff. I don’t think I could do it. I’ll hand it over to someone else.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to chat about?

The cast of “Saint Joan” are so collaborative and open. I’ve been so lucky with casts, actually. It genuinely feels fresh every night, because everybody is so on it and so focused that the tiniest little change in intonation is picked up by everyone, and sometimes, entire scenes can feel differently because one person does something slightly different, which then has an effect on everyone on stage. You can only achieve that stuff if you are working with actors that are completely and totally with you. They’re not acting for their own sense of ego, they’re acting to serve the story. So, what happens is a collective “ok, we’re moving in this direction.” It’s really, really wonderful to be a part of and to work with people that intensely connected. I just want to give shout-out to them, because they’re amazing.

 

That sounds like a wonderful experience.

I’ve been lucky. My “Cucumber” and “Banana” cast were exactly the same. It was just wonderful; it was a joy every day. And the thing is, to me personally, I have to work from a place of joy. I can’t do it otherwise, I don’t think. I think if I’m not happy or there’s just something amiss, I find it really hard to then give the best of myself. I think you’ve got to come from place of joy and warmth. I’ve been very lucky with the casts I’ve had over the years. They’ve all been wonderfully joyous. It just helps.

 

What is your fault?

I think I’m quite ambitious, which is great, because it means I work hard at the roles I get and the work I get, but it also means that when things aren’t going my way or I feel like they’re not going my way, it can really negatively affect me. I do get a bit down when an opportunity that I’m really excited about passes me by or a job that could lead me close to say my goal of working with Paul Thomas Anderson or HBO — whatever it is — slips through my fingers. I think the fact that I’m so ambitious and the fact that I want those things so badly or to experience those things so badly can sometimes make me get a bit down in the dumps about it. Me being ambitious is a double-edged sword, because it propels me to do well, but also, when things don’t go my way, it makes me a little sad.

 

“SAINT JOAN will be broadcast live to cinemas on Thursday, 16th February. For tickets go to: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout20-saint-joan

Words – Alex Cooke

Photography – Stephanie YT

Styling – Plum O’Keeffe

Grooming – Justine Jenkins

Photography Assistant – Erica Fletcher

Styling Assistant – Natalia Schegg

FAULT Magazine Reviews: The Detox Kitchen

The festive season is now a distant memory for most but for those in the fashion industry, we’ve only now gotten over the month long hangover brought on by the early January LFWM. From December’s Christmas parties to glutinous Christmas dinners and champagne filled fashion events, you’d be forgiven for letting your health regimes slide in the past months. However, it’s a new year and now it’s our turn to get back on our health kick with a good old fashion detox.

This is no way my first detox, but in truth, it is the first one I’ve ever kept to. I’ve found that with a hectic lifestyle and the lack of local restaurants offering nutritious selections that I’ve never been able to find the correct food to fit my diet. Whether shooting in studio or out on location with a very unhealthy 9am-9pm work schedule, I’ve never found to time to precook my meals for the days ahead.

Enter, ‘The Detox Kitchen’ – a food delivery service which promises to “take away the stress of planning, shopping and cooking healthy meals.” This certainly isn’t the first product on the market to deliver fresh food to your door but it is however, one of the few who will deliver the food pre-cooked and pre-packaged early each morning. In the past I’ve tried services who deliver fresh food once a week with cooking instructions but as everyone in the creative industry knows, finding time to cook a different meal every day is certainly a luxury we don’t have. In that vein, we imagine The Detox Kitchen will be a much welcome solution to our very common problem.

For my trial, I opted for the Green with Protein package which included three meals a day, three fresh juices as well as snacks, teas and natural wheatgrass, spirulina and ginger shots to keep the immune system and energy levels going strong each day. All in all, the package equalled 1200 calories with 50g of that being lean-protein which fit well into the workout meal plan that I was also conducting at the same time.

Before we continue it’s important that I mention that I like food; I really like food. I like spicy, well seasoned and often mightily unhealthy food so I was not at all expecting to enjoy the meals that came – I’m happy that I was proved wrong.

Starting my morning with a bean pot is rather unusual for me but all things considered, it was rather tasty. Enjoyed alongside a shot of wheatgrass and ginger I was satisfied with the portion size. In truth, a light breakfast was a far better way to start my day than the usual café pastry and overpriced coffee I’d become accustomed to.

Each meal also comes with a paired cold press bottle juice which I packed in my bag with the rest of my meals for the day. This day’s juices consisted of Apple, celery and ginger, Broccoli, kiwi and lime and Pear, celery, mint and lemon – all were pleasant. On other detox programs, I’ve found that their juices were far sweeter and more flavoursome than The Detox Kitchen and after totting up the grammes of sugar in the smoothies provided by other companies, The Detox Kitchen offerings were far healthier. It’s commendable to find a service who truly cares about the wellbeing of their consumers. Instead of supplying a crowd-pleasing sugar-rich smoothie, the Detox Kitchen have done their research and found a blend which is both pleasing to the palette but one that also fits into the dietary requirements of the customers drinking them.

Throughout the day I snacked on the nuts and grains included in the pack as an energy boost which took the place of my standard packet of “healthy” salted popcorn. They were a nice pick me up between appointments and a good addition to help you stick to the detox diet when you’re feeling a little peckish between meals.

The lunch was surprisingly filling, I couldn’t actually finish it in one sitting and as said, I love food! It was a celery and tomato salad which came with a dressing containing hints of lemon and coriander. At this point, I’d only eating salads and drank smoothies and a tea but I was never wanting for more or different foods. I’ve tried many…many diets in my time and always felt that I was forcing myself to stick to them. There’s something in the convenience of a pre-packaged lunch that made this detox so easy to stick to. Also note: you won’t just be eating vegetables for a week long detox! Depending on your selected dietary needs, you can expect to receive burgers and other foods previously thought to be on the detox blacklist.

Arriving home for dinner and it was time to eat the Salmon which as a fussy eater I was a little apprehensive of. The food packages arrive at around 5am (don’t worry they’ll leave it in a convenient predetermined spot of your choosing) and I usually would collect them at 6:30 and pop my dinner in the fridge and pack everything else into my bag. I was expecting the salmon to be dry and not well seasoned but to my surprise it was unbelievably fresh. This might seem like a small feat but remembering that it had been cooked at least 12 hours ago and no indication of when it was caught – the fact the dish tasted anywhere near fresh was an amazing discovery. Well seasoned and accompanied by a hefty salad, I was extremely pleased with the results.

After three days, I had enjoyed a wide variety of meals and juices from the service. It is important to fit the calories into your own daily routine. Be sure to do a personal health check to find out how many calories someone with your lifestyle should be consuming and match the plan to your results. As I was exercising and work an active job which doesn’t tie me to a desk, I did prop up my calories while on the plan to meet my macros.

Depending on your diet, The Detox Kitchen costs between £30-40 which might seem steep but after tallying up all the café bottled juices and sandwiches and snacks which I’d grab between appointments we found that all things considered The Detox Kitchen is in fact rather reasonably priced. The food you receive is of restaurant standard and on the high street alone, a pressed juice can set you back more around £5; we’d go as far as saying the price point is a great deal for the amount you’re receiving.

Would we recommend The Detox Kitchen I hear you ask? If you have an active lifestyle which doesn’t allow you to prepare your meals in advance – then by all means The Detox Kitchen is for you. We found that the times we really depended on the service was during London Fashion Week and other times when our schedules were anything but fixed. With a relatively low-calorie count for myself, it’s not a sustainable diet nor do I believe it’s meant to be. The Detox Kitchen isn’t a service meant to replace the standard ‘once a week food delivery services’. Instead, it’s most effective when you work your food orders around your own lifestyle. On their website, you can move your deliveries for the dates which best work with your schedule. If you’re looking for a short term detox or want to ensure that a day in your diary is filled with the nutrient dense and balanced meal, then look no further than The Detox Kitchen.

For more information, head over to wwwdetoxkitchen.co.uk/

FAULT Magazine Travel to the Caribbean Island of Grenada

(TAKEN FROM THE FULL ARTICLE PUBLISHED WITHIN FAULT ISSUE #24)

House of Chocolate

If like us you aren’t aware of the intertwined history of chocolate and the island of the Grenada, House of Chocolate in a must. Part museum, part café and another part chocolate store, here you can learn the history of cocoa and it’s many used from one of the friendly staff members. Of course, you’ll also be able to sample the many chocolate treats they have on offer from milkshakes to icecream or of course, just grab a bar of their great Grenada made chocolate to bring back home with you. House of Chocolate is located at #10 Young Street, Saint George’s, Grenada.

Concord Waterfalls

Simply put, the Concord Falls are a Grenada must see. Located in the St John Parish and easily by car, the falls have two pools the bottom of which is extremely deep and the perfect cool down following the short trek there. Some choose to dive from the high cliffs down into the around eighteen feet pool below, which we won’t say we can recommend but locals from the area have been known to take the deep plunge. We recommend booking Concord waterfall & River Antoine distillery as part of an island tour book with Caribbean Horizons (www.caribbeanhorizons.com), prices depend on number booked for the full day tour. Or, hire a car from £55per day from the same company and self-drive: both attractions are free to enter and open to the public.

Rainforest Walk

If you’re looking for a hike through the Grenadian rainforest it’s best you find an expert of the land and Telfor Bedau has you covered. Whatever your fitness level, Telfor can find a walking route to suit you and your travel group. Taking us through Grand Etang National Park, Telfor proved his genius as he pointed out the various fruits, plants and animals in the area and regaled us with tales of his amazing walking career and kayaking feats. If walking is not your thing, we’d highly recommend taking a short trip if only to spend an hour in Telfor’s company and hear his amazing stories about his life and history of Grenada.

Contact Telfor to discuss a bespoke rate (around £45pp). 00 1 473 442-6200.

Crayfish Bay Estate Chocolate

While Grenada is well known for its spices, few know about the great work being done on cocoa farms across the island and there’s no better place to learn than on the Crayfish Bay Organic Estate. The fully organic farm is run by the wonderfully charismatic and informative Kim Russell and his wife, Lylette who taught us about the history of cocoa farming and chocolate making on the island.

This isn’t your run of the mill guided tour, Kim showed us his homemade workstations and really took the time to talk us through his process and their upcoming products and schemes to pump money back into the local farming economy. They also offer self-catering accommodation in a pleasant little house starting at $50USD a night perfect for anyone looking to experience rural Grenada.

Adventure Jeep Tour and River Tubing

Those travelling with teenagers or just looking for a thrilling ride, then the Adventure Grenada have you covered. A short 45-minute drive out of St Georges you’ll reach the Balthazar River also known as Grenada’s great river.  After a quick safety briefing you’re in your tube and zooming down the scenic river surrounded by tropical flowers and the echo of gushing water and the various exotic birds in the area.

Throughout the ride you’ll stop natural pools giving you the chance to take a dip in the refreshing water and relax from the exhilarating experience. At the end of the ride you’ll be treated to a (albeit strong) rum punch because it’d Grenada and if it’s not rum punch, it’s not a drink worth having. [Enjoy responsibly]

 

Patrick’s Homestyle Cooking

Lagoon Road,St. George’s 11473, Grenada If you’re looking to try a bit of everything while in Grenada then Patrick’s is a great starting point. Opt for the tapas styled small plates and taste a little bit of all the slands amazing dishes. Placing a visit near the start of your trip will give you a great idea of what the whole island has to offer. With everything from callaloo soup to curry goat and saltfish, you’ll leave satisfied and ready to explore the sland. Each dish is unique and just when you think you’ve tasted it all, Patrick will surprise you with new flavours found only in Grenada.

The Aquarium Restaurant

Point Salines, Saint George, Grenada For lunch/dinner with a beach view, look no further than The Aquarium Restaurant. I ordered the Tuna Steak from the grill and it was cooked to perfection and you could taste the freshness through the great spices. Nothing is more romantic than watching the crashing waves and listening to their live reggae band who perform from 3pm onwards. There’s also an Aquarium inside the restaurant filled with tropical fish and turtles! It’s clear to see why honeymooners, families, solo travellers and locals all felt at home at this wonderful spot. Reservations are advised especially in peak holiday times.

BB’s Crabback

Grand Etang Road, St George’s, Grenada Quite simply, do not leave Greneda without stopping into BB’s! Located on the waterfront you can enjoy a rum punch and watch as the boats sail through The Carenage. The crab backs which give BB’s its name are simply to die for. I would say this was hands down the if not one of the best local restaurant on the island with a simple and traditional Grenadan menu and friendly service – the good really speaks for itself. Offering an extensive food and drinks menu, even locals regularly choose to dine at BB’s and their legendary cuisine is known throughout the Caribbean.

 

Sandals La Source

www.sandals.co.uk

If you’ve ever stayed in one of the Sandals resorts elsewhere, you’ll know that you’ll be greeted like royalty the second you land. If you are or travelling with anybody that’s elderly, with children or just anyone that’s a nervous to be in such a different landscape; we highly recommend booking a stay if only for the first nights with Sandals just to ease your group into what can become quite a frantic holiday.

The resort features 10 restaurants, butler service, unlimited premium brand drinks, anytime airport transfer, free wifi, 3 freshwater swimming pools and 2 river pools or just enjoy the private beach right on your doorstep. Just a note for anyone who isn’t used to all-inclusive, the price you pay on booking is all you pay. That means there is no need to bring your cash down to the bar or restaurant at any point and it allows for you to be more adventurous with your dining choices.

With 10 restaurants, you’ll be hard pressed to try all the varying cuisine on offer but it does allow for great collective dining experiences as you and your party get to a try a bit of everything on offer. Unlimited use of their tennis and volleyball courts, nightly entertainment and the only resort to offer unlimited scuba diving as standard, it’s surprisingly easy to indulge your holiday away without having to leave the resort. It must also be said that the staff as Sandals La Source are without question some of the most hospitable, competent and friendly hotel staff I have ever come across. No request is too outlandish nor was any quibble (not that we had many) too small for them to fix, they felt truly invested in making sure you had the best time while staying with them. It’s understandable, the staff are mostly locals and brimming with pride when discussing their homeland and they are happy to have Sandals and to meet so many different people who have chosen their small island for their summer getaways.

Sandals certainly has its place in Grenada for the traveller looking to unwind without any stress or chance of stress. At Sandals, you’ll escape the fear of an unknown environment and different lifestyles and just enjoy your time on a beautiful resort. Newlyweds, mature travellers and returning visitors will enjoy Sandals and every last amenity it has to offer.

Kalinago Beach Resort

www.kalinagobeachresort.com

If you prefer the lore of a more real experience, we suggest you stay Kalinago Beach Resort. The resort is located right on the beachfront and you’ll receive a very local experience as studentsand locals head down to enjoy their weekend

While Kalinago has a wonderful private bar, a few steps down the beach you’ll find ‘La Ply Wood Beach Bar Cafe’ where the medical students and locals young and old like to hang out. The colourful bar is also home to, in my opinion, one of the best rum punches Grenada has to offer. On weekends expect to find local students and travellers alike down on the water. One thing to remember about Grenada is that everyone is so friendly that even as a solo traveller you’ll find plenty of opportunities for great conversation and you’d prefer chilled alone time, park yourself by the hotel’s pool and dive into a good book.

Located on Morne Rouge Bay which is also known as BBC Beach, you’ll find many attractions in the area. If you’re the betting type, head forThe Owl Sports a short walk from the resort and witness their crab racing events for a truly unique experience.

You can also hire out kayaks and snorkel gear free of charge which we highly recommend you take advantage of. Many boat tours include Morne Rouge Bay as a viewpoint so definitely take advantage of the wonderful view from the sea in your own time and at your own pace. The rooms are spacious and the breakfast simple but very tasty featuring Grenadian classics such as plantain and Caribbean fish fritters. Their lunch and dinner menus offer a mixture of Creole and international gourmet dishes infused with spices from the island.

The staff on the resort are all very friendly and happy to help with transfers to and from the airport and anywhere else on the island that you need to go. If you can, definitely attend their weekly manager’s drinks to chat with the great running the resort who all offer great insights and tips for your stay.

We’d recommend Kalinago for the younger, solo and adventurous traveller looking to find their own fun in Grenada. If you’re looking for luxurious dining within the hotel walls and a purely exclusive experience, this probably isn’t for you but if you’re looking for charm, look no further than Kalinago Beach Resort.

Words & Photography: Mlies Holder (unless stated otherwise)

FAULT Magazine reviews Momoko Permanent Hair Straightening at Trevor Sorbie Covent Garden

If you’re anything like me, your morning routine probably involves waking up 5 hours earlier than you should just so you can get yourself prepped and ready for the day to come. Leaving breakfast, my workout, make-up and getting dressed routine aside, I usually have to allocate at least half an hour to taming my hair into a half decent look.

 

Mind you, over the past few years, I’ve put my locks through hell. Bleaching, constant hair straightening, some more bleaching and then obviously the end result was something that I was less than happy with.I’ve also got curly hair so you can only image what came out of the whole thing. So I’ve decided to take my hair’s faith into my own hands and started looking for a treatment that would save me time and also strengthen my locks.

 

After doing some research, sometimes the keratin treatments that have been on the market for years just don’t get the job done, especially if you’re looking for a sleek look to last you months.That’s how I stumbled upon the Momoko permanent hair straightening treatment and thought I’d give it a try. It’s a revolutionary method that lasts for months and has been in the UK for only five years now.

You can find Momoko in selected salons across London. Trevor Sorbie is the official salon in which Momoko is used and also the salon that performs all the necessary training for hairdressers.

 

It’s a two-stage process – there’s the consult and the actual treatment. Going into Trevor Sorbie, one of their Momoko specialists takes a good look at your hair and decides which products are best to use in order to get that particular look that you’re going for. It’s especially useful if you’re looking for a natural bouncy result.

 

Second stage is the treatment itself that takes about 3 to 4 hours to finish. I had the pleasure to be in Nathan Jay Walker’s skillful hands from start to finish. He’s Trevor Sorbie’s International Technical Director and as far as good hair care goes, it doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Aside from the pampering that comes as a package with Trevor Sorbie, I was more than pleased with the end result as well. After the treatment, my hair was not only sleek and straight, but also stronger and lifted.

 

In terms of aftercare, don’t make too many plans afterwards. You’re not allowed to wash your hair for 48 hours or even put it in a ponytail, just so you don’t end up with creases. It’s all worth it though. After my first wash, the frizz was absolutely gone and I only needed about 5 minutes to get the same result I got in the salon in the first place.

 

If you’re looking for long-term solutions for your hair troubles, the Momoko Permanent Hair Straightening treatment is the way to go.

Anastacia discusses breast cancer and the road to a FAULTless recovery in FAULT Magazine Issue 24

Fashion Editor & Creative Director: Rachel Holland | Photographer: Andres De Lara | Make Up: Alex Price @ FRANK Agency | Hair Stylist: Karin Darnell @FRANK Agency | Nail Artist: Diane Drummond | Photographer’s Assistant: Stefano Della Salla | Stylist’s Assistant: Tara Theiss | Stylist’s Assistant: Lina Buckson

Fashion Editor & Creative Director: Rachel Holland | Photographer: Andres De Lara | Make Up: Alex Price @ FRANK Agency | Hair Stylist: Karin Darnell @FRANK Agency | Nail Artist: Diane Drummond | Photographer’s Assistant: Stefano Della Salla | Stylist’s Assistant: Tara Theiss | Stylist’s Assistant: Lina Buckson

 

Words: Miles Holder

 

Before we begin, I need to break FAULT’s usual editorial style guide and explain the background behind our reversible cover feature for FAULT Issue 24. It’s important to me that our readers understand Anastacia’s head space throughout our interview so that you can understand just how Anastacia is able to make light of times which read like her darkest of days.

As a musician, Anastacia is known for being the powerhouse vocalist who stormed the charts in the early 2000s with hit tracks ‘I’m Outta Love’, ‘One Day in Your Life’ and ‘Left Outside Alone’, all of which now are defining pop anthems of the decade. Despite breaking away from Sony Records (a decision Anastacia admits wasn’t the best idea for the time), Anastacia went on to release 6 studio albums, tour endlessly and sell 52 million records worldwide.

Behind the music, Anastacia has been gripped in an internal battle against illness and self-acceptance her whole life. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age 13 and fighting two bouts of breast cancer, the second of which ended with a Double Mastectomy­ in 2013, Anastacia’s has been on a mission to regain the femininity stolen by the disease.

Arriving at our interview, Anastacia greeted me wide eyed and with a tender embrace; while I wish I could say she was just excited to see me, it’s clear that after years of hiding her scars and parts of her story from the world – it was a godsend for her to finally be able to reveal her story to the world.

It’s been a long fought battle consisting of 10 procedures & 5 Surgeries but Anastacia is ready to reveal her FAULTs to the world.

Here is Anastacia’s story – FAULTs and all.

Dress (worn as Skirt) by Joe Richards

Dress (worn as Skirt) by Joe Richards

FAULT: Thanks for being so trusting with FAULT on this shoot. Prior to this, how did you feel about your scarring?

Anastacia: I resented them. I resented how large they are but I also understood why I needed to go through all the physical changes. My scars are part of my journey and a reminder of all the things I went through with my mastectomy. At this point, I feel great to be able to show them in a way that’s artistic with a respected team in fashion because it’s transformed my body’s “FAULTs” into art.
Your scars aren’t in the usual place for a mastectomy, why is that?

The surgeons had to go around my tattoo; the scars really should have been on my bra line but to graft skin, the surgeons needed to find a place that wasn’t compromised. I wasn’t expecting it to be as long but it was the only way.
How does it feel to finally show the stripped back Anastacia?

I’m so nervous to let people see them, I really am, but I want to be able to go on the beach and not have the first photographs taken of my body to be ones that I didn’t give. I want to be free and knowing that this photo-shoot will be out there and available, I can be on the beach and not worry about what people think. After today, paparazzi can take a photo of me breathing in and call it a gut or say all the things they want, that doesn’t scare me – but my scars are a part of me and I want to be the one to reveal them. If paparazzi photographed them before today, I’d feel like I was being shamed but being able to release them this way, I feel extremely empowered.

10

Silver Vest: Baserange | Jeans: Anastacia’s Own (True Religion)

When you battled cancer, you were fighting an illness that was slowly taking over your body and wrecking havoc on its path. Do you feel like you’ve finally reclaimed it back?

Absolutely! Every little thing that I’m doing, including Strictly Come Dancing, was me trying to reclaim a little piece of my femininity that cancer stole. When you have as many surgeries as I’ve had, you lose so many female sensations that you’ll never get back. Nipple sensation is something that cancer robbed from my anatomy and I’m used to it now but there is that little part of me that will always be lost. Doing Strictly and doing this shoot I feel like I’m finally becoming the woman that I was again.

How long has it taken for you to mentality repair and be ready to share your body with us?

It’s definitely been a long process. I was diagnosed January 2013 and it’s nearly 2017. It took this long but finally when people see this shoot it will be 100% back to me. I’m really grateful that this has been the journey and that you are a part of it – if I was on Strictly long enough I might have done it there but it wasn’t meant to be. Doing a shoot like this, I can be sure that the world sees my scars how I now do – as art.

 

Talk me through your first moment of discovery back in 2003.

2003, I actually went in to explore breast reduction as a preventative measure and two days before my procedure my doctor asked me to have a mammogram. I remember saying “I’m young, what are you talking about!?” and he replied “I just want to check that your tissue is pristine” and me being me I said,“Pristine, mean, clean that’s who I am when I’m on the scene!” [laughs] It was all jokes, I got my mammogram and lo and behold, they found cancer. I wasn’t so pristine, mean or clean after all…

It was a blessing because they found it so early. I spent so long learning all the information I could from that point on. When doctors ask “Is cancer in your family?”, they’re only guaranteeing that you will get it. If it’s not, it’s still a wide open field and 70% of women who get cancer, it’s not even in their family and most women will get cancer. Everything in the environment, your stress levels, what you eat – it all can be a cause of cancer. There are so many combining factors that will make you a victim which is why I decided to become an advocate for early detection.

Young women need to ask for a mammogram contribution for holiday gifts or birthdays etc. Even just £5 or £10 towards the procedure, anything will help and it’s all an investment in your long-term well-being. If you’re a young woman in your mid-twenties, just get it the test done and you can have peace of mind until you’re thirty years old. In your thirties go every two or three years depending on your doctor’s advice and then after thirty-five, it’s safest to go each year. Find it early and you’re done and it’s so much easier.

Cancer and death needn’t go hand in hand, if you catch it early you can live with it and seek treatment – it’s not spotting it early enough that’s scary.

Dress: Laura Theiss

Dress: Laura Theiss

You’re very vocal and many who have heard your story were able to learn from it and beat cancer due to their proactive detection. How does that make you feel to know you affected a life in such a drastic way?

I’ve heard it so much that I never take back any personal invasion of my privacy because it allowed my story to be told to so many people and saved so many lives.

The first news of your cancer wasn’t revealed on your terms?

The press told people I had cancer before I told people! I found out I had cancer on Friday and on Sunday World News rang to tell me they were releasing the story and if I’d like to make a statement. I didn’t have a press team at the time to do all that for me and I was still coming to terms with my diagnosis. Three days later most of my friends learnt I had cancer from the press. I couldn’t call anybody; I was trying to deal with what I thought at the time was a death sentence.

In saying that I’m not angry and what the press did – I say all the time that I’m grateful to have had cancer because it meant that I was able to save lives and that is worth every minute of surgery I’ve been through. I’m still alive and telling this story is why I’m still here and that’s why I keep talking about because there are a lot of people who don’t have the ability to raise their voice. It’s hard spiritually and mentally to tell people about your experiences and I get that. Not everybody needs to be as open as I am but as long as I’m open I can help someone who is closed get by and that’s how I look at the world that is cancer but I just look at the first three letters, C.A.N.

 

What physical trait did you hate before scarring and how insignificant does it feel now?

My boobs! [laughs] When I think back to how much I hated them, they ended up saving my life. Had I had smaller breasts I might not have seen anything and then I would have had it and not known and been hit with stage four out of the blue. My friends were telling me not to get them reduced because they were beautiful and people were paying for larger breasts and thank god I didn’t listen to them.

I say I was blessed with cancer and I was blessed with Crohn’s because it allows me to find a positive way to get through it in order to find a way around it. Having Crohn’s has made me a better communicator because to hold it in creates anxiety which makes it worst.
You’ve had bad days, in fact, you’ve had the worst of days. What lifts you back up?

I just wait for it to pass. I think you have to allow yourself to feel like crap, you’re supposed to have those feelings. You need to have emotions and it’s how you process them and how you exist and I think that for me I just tell myself “Anastacia, you’re down today and just be down.” If I have to work, then I push it aside and sometimes I can forget but if I don’t take care of letting it exist then it can come out another way. I’ve made a lot of mindful decision to get me to this place. I’ve had a lot of accomplishments but it’s the setbacks which taught me who I am and what I’m made of.

No, I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to but it’s how you learn from what you haven’t been able to accomplish that brings success.

Trousers: Cacharel Blazer: Cacharel Bodysuit: Else

Trousers: Cacharel; Blazer: Cacharel; Bodysuit: Else

Strictly sounds like a lot of work and even more so for someone who has been through the physical changes that you have. How did you cope?

I was and now am in the best condition that I’ve been in, in a long time. I had just finished 50 dates before I started on Strictly and the injury I received wasn’t because I was unfit but because I was trying to do something that was hard for most people let alone me with my Latissimus Dorsi in front of my body! [Laughs] It was a tall order for my dance partner and me to do but I think we were both stubborn in our “we can do this” philosophy.

And then you got injured. What exactly happened?

I just thought it was a sore muscle and I just waited for it to pass but it got progressively worse and then I felt a lump which I knew couldn’t be cancer because I didn’t have any breast tissue left but it had to be something. I went to see a doctor and as it turns out it was an inflamed scar tissue. I found this out on Saturday morning and the show was filmed live on Saturday night.

We decided to continue with the performance, and we took out the lift to help me do that. By the end of the performance, I was in a lot of pain and knew I needed to see a specialist. Then I was told there was a dance off. I knew I was physically unable to perform, and I was terrified about what damage I had already done. I began to cry and said “sorry I’ll get my things and go and thanks for the opportunity” and I was ready to leave…I didn’t know they had contingencies for occurrences like that.

The press wasn’t so understanding at first.

I didn’t have the best time hearing what the press had to say because I couldn’t dance-off but once they found out why it was all “wow, how did you even dance in the first place!?” and I’m all like “Hello, I’m a fighter!” But once I felt that my arm was going to die, I just had to sit it out. I think the press thought I was being a diva and refusing to dance off which was so wrong and it was the best feeling when the truth finally came out.
If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I believe that I would say “be kinder to yourself and not compare yourself to other people.” Back then I never felt I was pretty enough or talented enough. I wore glasses, I wasn’t tall, I didn’t have blue eyes, I didn’t think I was pretty because I compared myself to people who looked nothing like me. I could have picked anything to not like about myself but I wish I’d been gentler and kinder to me and not been so judgemental. It’s strange because my mum always taught me to accept other people for all their differences and I always saw the beauty in others, I just couldn’t see it in myself.

What is your FAULT?

I give to my own detriment. As much as people say giving is a great gift, it’s not when you don’t know when you’re being taken advantage of. I’ve been so giving that I’ve hurt myself so much in the process.

 

 

Read Anastacia’s full story and see more exclusive photographs only in FAULT 24 – available to pre-order now