Suki Waterhouse is this year’s high profile multitasker – juggling music-making, a Hollywood acting career, fashion campaigns and SMS politics with lover Bradley Cooper. Hell, we’ve all been there.
Suki Waterhouse is full of flu and, as she admits to Rollacoaster on the day of her cover shoot, is “at the her most vulnerable. Ask me anything, I’ll probably tell you the truth,” she says. Does this mean she’ll finally talk to the press about her relationship with fellow actor Bradley Cooper? “Oh god, probably. Journalists have given up even trying. But go on, then.” (Earlier that day, Waterhouse is overheard whispering relationship mantra “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen,” after receiving a text from Cooper. “You have to give it an hour or so before answering…”).
Things didn’t get any less strange in the half an hour I spent chatting to the London-born model and big screen hope. We careen everywhere from her adolescence, which was spent on Burberry sets as the brand’s ash blonde avatar rather than at sixth form college, to her biggest film role to date alongside the likes of Lily Collins and Sam Claflin in US rom com, Love, Rosie – out later this year. Before it wraps, she promised to send me some of the music she’s started to make, and ten minutes later a track called “Leopard on the Run” drops into my inbox (think Sky Ferreira-meets-The Cardigans; smooth synth-pop. It’s great.). Here’s how things unfolded.
How was today?
Yes, great. Someone coughed in my face on the plane earlier, though.
You just shot a campaign for Italian shoe brand Superga. What else were you in LA for?
I had lots of meetings for film projects I’m doing. I got offered something and I can’t do it, because I don’t have a bloody acting Visa. You have one for modelling and a separate one for acting, apparently. I can’t really talk about it, but it was a TV show part.
I’ve always wondered how models deal with seeing their faces on billboards. How do you digest something like that?
It’s good, but I’m pretty hard on myself. I’m never over the moon about it, or anything. I’m always more focused on what I’m not doing and should be doing, rather than what’s actually happening. I’m always asking: ‘What do I need to do now?’ I don’t really feel like I’m fulfilled yet, in my career. I probably never will be.
What is fulfilment for you? Is it making a fun new film like Love, Rosie, or pursuing other passions of yours, like photography?
To be honest with you, taking pictures is like a fun hobby. I’m doing an exhibition in LA called Girl With A Gun soon – but it’s not like I want to be a professional photographer.
Who are your favourite photographers?
Sally Mann. She’s the bomb. I really like James Kelly’s work, too. I don’t know if you know him, but he takes pictures of bums in LA.
Let’s talk about your modelling career. You were scouted in a bar when you were 16, right?
It was in a club on Oxford Street. I was out and shouldn’t have been, really. Someone asked me and I thought about it for like a year. It was only really when I signed to (modelling agency) Next that I started taking it seriously. I just felt comfortable with them, and they nurtured me into it. I was so lucky, because I got to train with Sarah Leon. She’s an amazing agent and got me some early special bookings. We hit it off – I was quite lucky. After that, I just stopped going to college. They charged my parents loads of tuition fees still, and they weren’t very happy.
You had a small part in TV show Material Girl in 2010 – your first appearance as a screen actress. How did it come about?
When I was younger, I was all about stage stuff – I was a theatre enthusiast; crazy for it.
Material Girl came about was when I was still modelling – one of the agents knew a casting director for the show, and I went in for it. It was seriously embarrassing that part, I don’t even remember it that well. I just filmed a small part in a Cameron Crowe movie. I’m a nurse in it, and got to dance to Grace Jones’ “Love Is The Drug”. It was an awesome experience.
Tell me about your role in Love, Rosie – it’s easily your biggest to date.
When I started modelling, I was young and sort of a bit reckless – I wanted to make money and didn’t really care about anything else. Now I’m far more settled, and acting has become really important to me again. In …Rosie, I’m the one who gets in between Lily Collins and Sam – a kind of poison dart in the love story.
I hear Sam Claflin is a fun character off set. Are the rumours true?
He’s absolutely hilarious – so comfortable in himself. The bits with him were the easiest to play, for sure.
You filmed the whole thing in Dublin. Did you have any insane nights out with the cast?
I did, actually. We all went out one night and got in at six, only to forget we had a flight to catch. My driver woke me up like half an hour after we got back.
Tell me about the music you make.
I’ve been working with two producers: Jake Gosling in London and Matt Squire in LA. It’s fucking great, but it’s going to be a long process before I put anything out. I don’t know if I will for a while – but I’ll send you some tracks.
Will you and Bradley release a song together? How did you meet?
I met him at the Elle Style Awards in London last year. We were introduced and hit it off almost immediately. We were dancing at the after-party, and he asked me if I fancied going to a club.
Anyone who’s seen American Hustle knows how good Bradley’s d-floor skills are. Was he true to form that night? Where did he take you?
We went to Cirque le Soir in London – and he’s a ridiculously good dancer, yes. But I’m a serious dancer too, so I don’t know if I was fully concentrating on that. We make a pretty good duo, though.
I’ve heard you rarely talk about your relationship to journalists…
Yes, I never get asked about it, because they all think I’m not going to answer them. I blame the guy that coughed in my face, frankly.
Fashion: Andrew Davis
Photography: Nick Haddow
Words : Jack Mills