I come from quite a creative family – my father is a songwriter, and my mother is an essayist. Growing up I read a lot of poets like Anne Sexton, Phillip Larkin, and Ted Hughes, and after school I went to study at RADA, which is nearby on Gower Street. I first came to Fitzrovia when I was looking for plays and scripts at the brilliant French’s Theatre Bookstore on Warren Street. This neighbourhood means a lot to me. I’ve been living on Maple Street for three years now, and it’s been so interesting to see how it has developed, yet still kept its charm. I love waking up really early and heading to Ben’s House on Grafton Way. It’s run by Ben Leask, and only sells food, drinks and homewares that have been made in London.
During the day I tend to work at home: to have your own stillness when the outside is so vibrant is such an empowering feeling. I have a good selection of poetry books to delve into for reference as well. I’ve just published a contemporary collection co-written with my boyfriend, the artist Robert Montgomery, called Points for Time in the Sky. Currently I’m putting the finishing touches to my first feature-length documentary: through modelling I’ve collaborated on lots of shorter fashion-poetry films, but this is my first 90-minute work. It’s about the rise and decline of British libraries – a subject close to my heart, because I absolutely depend on them. I’m a member of the London Library, which is only about twenty minutes’ walk away from my house, and I love spending an afternoon working there. You always feel culturally nourished afterwards. For this piece I’ve been interviewing talking heads like Stephen Fry, the poet John Cooper Clark, and authors like Irvine Welsh and Daisy Goodwin to ask about their favourite childhood books. We’ll be screening at lots of independent cinemas before it’s available on MUBI.com.
In the evenings I’ll often visit my friends who live nearby. There’s plenty of creative people and quirky characters in Fitzrovia; a mix of those who have been here for years, as well as a new lease of younger people in their late twenties and thirties.
The artist Reg Gadney and his wife Fay Maschler, the Evening Standard’s restaurant critic, have been on Fitzroy Square for decades. It’s a beautiful Georgian townhouse; Reg’s studio takes over most of the ground floor and is piled high with books, brushes and canvases. He’s done brilliant portraits of Helena Bonham Carter, Rupert Everett, Bill Nighy and has painted me a few times too, so I’ll go over and say hello sometimes. He has a key to the square itself, which is such an idyllic place to watch the world go by. My literary agent also lives round the corner, as well as my photographer friend James D Kelly and his girlfriend, the Norwegian model Martine Lervik, who are only a road away. They’re great Fitzrovia characters.
For me, this neighbourhood has its own time and rhythm. I love to watch how it fills up between 9am and 6pm, and then outside of that, is a lost memory - it has a brilliant magic. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.