2020 has been the weirdest year ever but, I tell you what, the first couple of months before lockdown kicked in saw some absolutely EPIC shoots. One such experience was this brand shoot with performer and vocal coach Alison Arnopp, who was looking for new images to help her promote her soon-to-be-released EP (links for this further down the interview). Taking place at Hello Darling in London, I caught up with Alison Arnopp to find out more about the inspiration behind this shoot…
Occupation: Performer and singing teacher
How would your best friend describe you? Colourful, kind and kooky.
Name three things that you always carry with you? My water bottle – I work with my voice a lot, sometimes travelling between auditions, teaching and rehearsals so I get through as much water as I can to keep me in good vocal shape. My phone – as annoying as it is it really is my main resource for my calendar, my podcasts and maps to find out where I’m going! Cutlery – because I’m ‘on the go’ a lot (or was before March 2020), I’m usually eating meals on the fly so every bag I own tends to have a spoon or fork in it. My sister treated me to a lovely bamboo set of travel cutlery at Christmas so I would stop leaving the kitchen empty.
What was the last book you read? Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller. In another life I would love to have studied psychology and been a therapist so I’m always up for something non-fiction or self-helpy.
What inspired you to book a photoshoot? I had seen Joanna Woodward and Georgina Horne’s photo shoots on social media and discovered Tigz’s work through that. It was really just a dream of mine to book a shoot but I never really had a reason to until I decided to record a short EP of Golden Age musical theatre pieces. It seemed like the perfect excuse!
Who would play Alison Arnopp in a movie of your life? Oooh I’m going to pick Elizabeth Moss, just because I think she’s incredible, or maybe a young Drew Barrymore…if we get to go back in time for the filming.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that the internet doesn’t know about you yet? Although I mostly sing musical theatre for work, I was a huge indie kid when I was younger. I started an events company when I was 17, running all-ages indie gigs with local Irish bands, as under 18’s weren’t allowed into any alcohol-serving venue after 8pm. I produced and presented an indie radio show on my college radio station and I wrote my own songs, which appeared on a television show I did at 21. None of that exists online anywhere (now my MySpace is dead!).
Tell us about one of the outfits you wore for your shoot – why do you love it? The green velvet dress from Collectif makes me feel amazing. I love anything off-the-shoulder and it’s so flattering where it hugs. I had planned to wear a corset under it for the shoot but it didn’t need it at all. I also love wearing green with my hair. I just need gigs to get back on track so I have some more excuses to wear it!
Describe your shoot experience? I shot in Hello Darling, a venue I’d visited previously for a friend’s private birthday party. I was incredibly excited as each room is designed to a different theme and I already had in my head what I wanted to wear in each of the rooms. Miss Honey Bare did my hair and makeup and I was amazed at how much input I could have in my look, and also how much knowledge she had when it came to historical hair and makeup to advise me with. Tigz was amazing at talking me through poses and was so encouraging and warm. It was honestly like spending the day with two incredibly supportive friends, which of course allowed me to feel sexy and playful and get some wonderful shots!
What song gets you on the dancefloor? It’s not a cool answer, but I love Shut Up and Dance, I even recorded a rag-time version of it for fun last year.
What is your top body confidence tip? Like a lot of people, I spend too much time online, so I’ve made a really strong commitment to curate my IG feed into something I enjoy looking at and that makes me feel good. By seeing different bodies and the beauty in those differences I can have more compassion and neutrality towards my own body. As someone in recovery from disordered eating it’s important for me to avoid triggers where possible. I also find that dressing in bright or fun clothes really improves my mood. Sure I might look like a 5 year old in my sequined jacket and rainbow unicorn bag but I feel cheerful just by seeing them!
What will your autobiography be called? See you later Ali-gator
If you could be a model for any brand, which brand would it be and why? Collectif or Lazy Oaf. Collectif for the glamourous days and Lazy Oaf for the silly days – those are my two moods tbh.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about booking a session of their own? Do it!! You won’t in any way regret it. And you don’t need a ‘reason’ to do it. In fact, I’d love to do it again with no other reason than to get dressed up/down and feel fantastic.
What exciting project are you working on right now? I was in rehearsals for Malory Towers right up until the lockdown, which happened a week before we were due to open, but I do hope it will have a life in the future. During the down time I’ve released the first single from my EP on Spotify and iTunes (featuring Tigz’s work as the cover). I’ll be releasing the rest in early October- so please check it out! I’m also running some singing masterclasses and workshops, all the information is on my website.