Megan Hess, the fashion illustrator behind the illustration's in Candace Bushnell’s bestselling book, Sex and the City, has worked with some of the most prestigious fashion designers and iconic luxury brands around the world (including Vogue, Tiffany & Co., YSL, Givenchy and Prada to name a few).
The native Australian has even – at the White House’s request - sketched a portrait of Michelle Obama in the Oval Office. She is never without her pen: “I do my finished illustrations in the studio [using a Mont Blanc pen which has been customised to her unique style], but when I’m travelling, I sketch for myself: capturing moments or a character for the background of my drawings; or just sketching tiny moments.”
Over the last four years she's produced three beautiful books. Her fourth book, New York Through a Fashion Eye is available now and is the perfect stylish guide to New York City. We caught up with Megan to talk career advice, female friendships and what she'll do to unwind after a 3 week book tour across the globe...
What would you tell your 18 year old self?
Not to worry about things, and to surge ahead with things you’re really excited about. Don’t worry too much about whether your ideas are good enough; whether it’s a good idea or bad idea.
When you’re younger you wear your heart on your sleeve a lot more, whereas now, I love pitching an idea! It doesn’t bother me if somebody doesn’t like it straight away. I’d rather just get it out there, focus on things that are exciting and not be held back in any way. So I'd say not to worry, about people liking or not liking your ideas, just do it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
To enjoy the journey as much as getting to the final destination. I have to remind myself to do it, I don’t think it comes naturally to everyone, and I think I’m one of those people who can often think, “oh by the time I’ve finally got to there, or have done that, or have got to the deadline… it’ll be done” but in a way you never get finished, because even when you do get it done there’s always something else to do. It's about learning to enjoy the journey of it, and I’m someone who has to say to myself: "stop and enjoy it".
You get to choose 6 women – dead or alive – to spend the evening with. Who? Why? And where would you go?
Chelsea Handler, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. A real feisty, fashionable table! I’d bring them to my place, as I’d want to capture it or sketch it. It would be the perfect excuse to redecorate...
We think female friendships should be treasured – what one quality do all your friends share?
We all appreciate each other. We’re all very different but we appreciate each other for who we are. For bringing something different to the table.
No one else is in the fashion world, but we’ve all had kids and are juggling heaps in our different circumstances, so we’re just really happy to see each other. I think you connect on a level that has nothing to do with what you do. With women, I have a thing, if it’s someone that could make me laugh; I’m drawn to them, to genuine people who are funny. That’s the point of friendship, to have a good time together, to laugh together and have fun.
Finally, how do you unwind at the end of the day?
Downtime for me is at night, when I’m at home. I cook dinner, put my kids to sleep, then my husband and I will have a glass of wine together, catch up about our days and watch a series we love. I try to turn my phone off at 8pm, which granted, is really hard to do!
I’m also a bath person - I almost can’t sleep if I don’t have one, even in summer. In winter I have almost-burn-you-baths with lots of bath oils. I will splurge on oils, especially Jo Malone or Chanel! So I’ll take my time with that, then I'll do a bit of meditating, then I’ll read. I never draw before bed! But I will sleep with a pen and paper beside my pillow in case I think of an idea during the night…