Fashion In The Ring: Nicola Adams Exclusive Photoshoot and Interview With FAULT Magazine

Photographer – Helen McArdle
Creative Director/Stylist – Edith Walker Millwood
Makeup and Hair – Charmanique Using Thompson Beauty using Bioderma, MAC, Nars & CoverFX
Fashion Assistant – Oceane Custos
Words: Miles Holder

Nicola Adams has a CV that reads like no other. In 2012 she is confirmed as Great Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time, the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have won every major title available Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth. Awarded an (MBE) and OBE and the first ever female Boxing gold medal at the European Games in Baku. But behind her accomplishments, is a charming, funny and fashion-obsessed character who has carried the burden of being first her entire career.

We wanted to create a shoot and interview where we could show all the sides of Adam’s personality and get to know Nicola Adams, the boxer, the inspiration, the aspiring actress and of course, the woman. Enjoy.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have when they meet you?

I think that a lot of people tend to see myself and other boxers both male and female as stupid because of our profession but that’s not the case. There’s so much strategic thinking that goes into boxing and it’s something that tends to get ignored in the place of old fashion stereotyping.

You are a very decorated boxer and have been the first to achieve so much. Is it ever bittersweet to think that despite women playing a major role in so many aspects of history, that it’s taken all this time for a woman like you to break through and write your name in the history books?

For me, I try not to think that way. I think of every “first” I achieve as inspiring a whole generation of female athletes to strive to be second and third and so on. Never before in history have women had the opportunity to achieve what I have, so I keep my head focused on making sure that I inspire a new generation who have the opportunity that women that came before us didn’t.

How does it feel to be on a shoot like this? Of course, you’ve been photographed in gyms before, but does this one feel different?

Because people tend to only know me from boxing, they forget that I have other interests. It’s nice to be on a shoot like this, where I can show a different side to me and I love it because we’ve found a way to blend fashion and boxing. I’ve done a lot of shoots in gyms but I’m not in sportswear this time and it’s nice that you’ve shown both sides of my personality.

I’ve always had an interest in fashion and I’ve always loved dressing up, as cliche as it sounds, I’ve always loved walking red carpets and showing that side of my personality. I love a lot of different styles I see and Angelina Jolie has always been one of my personal style icons.

As an athlete, you have such a rigorous training schedule, what do you do unwind?

I do have a strict schedule but I also love to go out and have fun too. I go out to clubs and I love to less loose and dance like everyone else.


It was International Woman’s Day last month and Mattel made a special barbie in your image, how did that feel?

I couldn’t believe it! It was such an honour and I love the changes that we’ve seen in Barbie over the years. Barbie isn’t just the girl that looks after Ken anymore, there’s more diversity, they have different careers, they love sports and it’s nice to see that it’s moved in a different direction.


It’s been said a lot about the importance of people to see themselves represented across all media. What was it like to literally see yourself immortalised in such a way?

Growing up, I never played with Barbie because she just didn’t represent me or who I am and to know there’s a boxing barbie is really special, it’s a toy I definitely would have played with growing up!


Boxing as a sport hasn’t always been appreciated, especially women’s boxing. Growing up what kept you straying onto a path of lesser resistance?

I think I just fell in love with the fact that boxing was an individual sport, whatever I put into boxing I got out of it, I didn’t need to worry about anyone else. The harder I trained, the better I got so it really gave me the drive and confidence that I needed.

Growing up I loved watching Muhammad Ali box and his documentaries and listening to the things he stood up for. He used his popularity and his fame to change other peoples lives for the better and that’s something that inspired me to succeed regardless of anything else.

And if you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I’d say, “Keep going, you’re doing the right thing. I know it’s hard now but when you get older your life is going to change in ways that you can’t imagine. You’re going to achieve more than you’d ever believe. If you just hang in there, you’re going to inspire so many, so keep it up!”


What’s been the hardest part of your career so far?

Definitely injuring my back a few years ago, that was an extremely scary time for me.


On your hardest day, what pulls you through?

With every competition I have, I’m creating history and having that as a goal is enough to pull me out of bed in the morning. Even back in the 2012 Olympics, the first time women’s boxing was held at the Olympics – we were all fighting for history and it’s times like that and knowing what I’m doing is bigger than me that pulls me through.

Do you ever get “pinch-me” moments, when you realise how much you’ve done for the sport of boxing?

When people list how much I’ve achieved, it always makes me feel like “damn, I’ve done all that!?” Because when I’m doing these things, I’m not thinking about what moments in history I’m creating and it’s nice to look back and think, “yeah, I did that”.


What do you want to achieve this year?

I certainly want to because of the world champion in professional female boxing by the end of the year. Also maybe more surprising I’d love to flex my acting muscles.

Nice, if you could pick any role to play, what would it be?

Oh wow, I’d love to play a villain, because I’m such a happy go lucky person so it’d be so nice to show some contrast and really sink my teeth into a role like that.


What is your FAULT?

I’m a bit worried about ageing, we all get old and then we die and I that scares me a lot.

Is that something that weighs on your mind more because you’re an athlete?

Yes and no. There is also a part of me that is excited for the days where I can hang up my gloves and relax, safe from my coach banging on my door every day to get me out of bed [laughs].