Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exclusive Interview - Lara Mullen

One of the stand out personalities that I encountered during the Spring/Summer 2013 show season was the delightful 18-year-old Lara Mullen. I was smack bang in the middle of photographing an endless stream of models at the Altuzarra pre-casting when Mullen breezed in providing a much needed breath of fresh air. Mullen was scouted over a year ago at a music festival in her hometown of Northhamptonshire, England, and was signed swiftly by Premier Model Management. During her debut season at the Spring/Summer 2012 collections, Mullen found herself fast-tracked into modelling's major league via pivotal runway appearances at Prada, Alexander Wang, Givenchy, and Dries Van Noten amongst others. Interest in Mullen segued seamlessly into key editorial bookings for British Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another Magazine, i-D, Pop and Russian Vogue, confirming her as a newcomer with true long-term prospects. 

What I find most endearing about Mullen is that she appears to be a wonderful jumble of compelling juxtapositions. Mullen may be a true Brit at heart however her haunting slavic features and romantic lilting beauty hint at her mother's Polish background. My initial impression upon meeting Mullen was that of a coltish school girl replete with bruises and scrapes on her gangly limbs, and an infectious youthful exuberance. I spoke at length with Mullen and was charmed by her naturally friendly demeanour and her unaffected manner. In front of the camera's lens, Mullen is one of those rarest of girls who were quite simply born to model. Mullen possesses an almost Audrey Hepburn-like quality, all giggly and girly whilst also exhibiting a timeless beauty and elegance that is enchanting. Mullen took some time out from her busy post-show schedule to chat exclusively with Inoubliable Model Army about her love of all things British, the blistering pace of the Spring/Summer 2013 season, and the importance of being nice.

More than Meets the Eye - Lara Mullen
British Vogue - April 2012
Photographer - Josh Olins
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Inoubliable Model Army: Hi Lara, congrats on your amazing Spring/Summer 2013 season, 43 shows in total! How are you feeling following the show season and are there any highlights that come to mind?

LM: Show seasons have always been my favourite thing, the shows were the first thing I ever did so I always feel a little sad when the season ends! I have such a blast the whole time... it's hard to pick specific highlights, but London Fashion Week always standout for me. There's a buzz about being on 'home turf' and the shows have such great atmosphere.

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you miss most about home?

LM: You can't beat the British sense of humour and just the way British people are! I miss silly things when I'm away from home like BBC, Nando's and East Enders, but also things like knowing my family and friends are only an hour away and knowing that ringing them is not going to give me a huge phone bill!

Inoubliable Model Army: Meeting you at Altuzarra was one of my highlights of the Spring/Summer 2013 season. I get a fantastic slouchy non-modelly Kate Moss vibe from you however, in front of the lens you transform magically and effortlessly into a model. What do you think are the essential components for a successful career in modelling?

LM: I think being yourself and not pretending to be anything you're not. Lot's of people have been in the industry for years and can see right through that. It also helps if you're NICE! I always strive to be friendly, then people respect you as an individual first and foremost. You're more likely to get booked and rebooked if the client enjoys working with you or if you share a bond.

Lara Mullen
Photographer - Scott Trindle
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Russian Vogue - September 2012
Photographer - Terry Tsiolis
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Inoubliable Model Army: What are the biggest misconceptions about models and the modelling industry in general?

LM: That we're unintelligent and mean. This is so wrong! Lots of models are still studying alongside their modelling work, which is what I did, and are determined to finish school. We're all normal people working in an out of ordinary (and some times extraordinary) environment... we're the girls you used to sit next to at school, not aliens from out of space!

Inoubliable Model Army: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?

LM: My contagious laugh!

Inoubliable Model Army: During the shows, there is a camaraderie that is evident amongst the models. Did you have the chance to bond with any other models during the madness of the shows?

LM: The madness of the shows bonds everyone together, you spend almost 6 weeks surrounded by the same people, experiencing the same things. It's one of the things I miss most when show season ends, having friends that completely understand what you're going through.

Lara Mullen & Franzi Mueller
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Property of Inoubliable Model Army

Lara Mullen, Maria Bradley, Franzi Mueller & Unidentified model
Photographer - Neill Seeto
Property of Inoubliable Model Army

Inoubliable Model Army: When we met at Altuzarra, you had a pretty banging blister on your heel! How did that hold up and do you have any tips for getting through the intense month of fashion mayhem?

LM: Haha, that blister was insane. I had no skin on the heel of my foot and the shows hadn't even started yet! I used Compeed blister plasters and created a plaster pad of about 20 plasters each day so that it wouldn't rub! It held up pretty well and fortunately heeled quickly! My top tip would be to wear shoes that fit! Also sleep and drinking lots of water, you can't function without both.

Inoubliable Model Army: What are your plans following the S/S 2013 season? What are your hopes for the future and do you have any dream assignments on your wish list?

LM: I'm actually moving into my own flat in London which is exciting and I plan to re-sit some school exams, but I just want to keep working as I have been and make the transition to modelling full-time. I would love to do more campaigns, but I'm sure my time will come!

Inoubliable Model Army: What do you like or dislike most about modelling?

LM: I love the travel and the unpredictability of it all. I like living a life that I didn't even know existed before - I never in my wildest dreams expected to ever go to China or even New York, and now it seem as though New York is like a second home. While I love the unpredictability of my job that's also what I dislike the most, it's hard to plan ahead as you don't know what options will come up or confirm. Everything is last minute.

Dazed & Confused - March 2012
Photographer - Ben Toms
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Lara Mullen & Matt Ardell
i-D Magazine - Issue 317
Photographer - Jeff Bark
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Inoubliable Model Army: What do you feel has been the highlight of your modelling career so far and why?

LM: It's hard to pick just one thing! My first British Vogue story was amazing as was the Top Shop campaign, as these were things my family and friends had heard of. But having both a Dazed & Confused and an i-D cover out at the same time was a major highlight for me!

Inoubliable Model Army: Do you think that "exclusives" are good or bad for a model's career?

LM: I think it depends. Exclusives allow new girls to have a higher profile in their first season due to the attention show exclusives bring. It gives girls a name as more people take an interest and try to find out who that girl is. I was a Prada exclusive in my first season and that was definitely a good thing for my career. I don't think I would have done what I have without it. Ultimately, I think it depends on the girl and the exclusive she does. Some are better than others.

Inoubliable Model Army: Complete this sentence. I am happiest when...

LM: I'm surrounded by people that I know and love and that make me laugh.

Top Shop - S/S 2012
Photographer - Josh Olins
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