Meet our Founder and Creative Director Mandy Watkins
As a native Aussie who moved to Hong Kong then London, you’ve lived internationally. Tell us about your journey from Australia to London? Where else have you visited/lived? Do you have a favourite place and why? How does your geographical location inspire you?
I got sent to Hong Kong with Adidas with the intention of staying a year, but was there nearly five before I moved here. I absolutely loved it. I used to travel an enormous amount with work, which could wear you down – but I got to visit some amazing places. India would be my absolute favourite – the colours, the smells and sounds, the sheer number of people. But I also loved Bali. It’s a bit spoilt now, but it was an oasis back then…
Now settled in the UK, in what ways do the hush shoots satisfy your wanderlust? How do you choose destinations? Do you have a favourite location and why?
Believe it or not, but shoots are incredibly hard work – so they don’t exactly satisfy my wanderlust. But I do get to go to some amazing places, not least back to my homeland of Australia. Where we go is determined by a number of things – weather (which is a big one as it normally means a different hemisphere because of when we shoot), the inspiration behind the collection, places with a bit of a story, cost of flights…
A favourite? It’s normally where I’ve just been and that would be Lanzarote (where I was earlier this week). I was mentally weighing up whether I could live there – and the answer was a definite yes.
International Women's Day is about working towards gender balance and obviously there’s still a long way to go with this. If you were ruler of the world, what policies would you introduce to help?
If I were ruler of the world, I’d delegate my responsibilities to other women who are far better qualified than me. Too much pressure. But one thing I would love to see is women being more supportive of each other. And a lot more women in positions of power. I like men, but we hear far too much from them…
Who are your female role models (and why)?
My mum. She’s an absolute ripper. She’s just got amazing energy and a brilliantly positive attitude to life; she’s great with people; she laughs a lot (often at herself); and she’s always been an amazing mum to me and my sister, even when she was working flat out with my Dad in their shop… As I get older and take on more of her mannerisms, my husband keeps joking that I’m turning into her – and I tell him he should be so lucky!
What advice would you give to yourself as a young woman, starting out?
It gets better. I absolutely hated my first two jobs and was thinking that this work lark really wasn’t for me. That changed the first day I walked into Adidas. I loved it there and, of course, I love what I now do at hush…
Which women would you invite to your dream dinner-party (and why)?
Someone who can cook, because I can’t. So maybe my fellow London-based Aussie Skye Gyngell. After that, lots of people with amazing stories. I’ve just read Educated by Tara Westover. Her story is quite extraordinary, so she would definitely be on the list. My sister because I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like – and I can rely on her to behave really badly. Plus my neighbour because I owe her a return invite!