Hi, Alexa. How are you?
I'm good. You know, I used to model for Urban Outfitters.
Oh yeah, I read that! That's really cool. Did you like it?
I used to love it! We went to Puerto Rico. I used to go on loads of trips with them. And I used to go to Philadelphia a lot to do catalog shots.
What, you did? When was that?
Oh, years ago. The pictures are disgusting, so don't even think about it. [Laughs.]
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do now for people who somehow don't know who you are?
My name is Alexa Chung. I am primarily a television host, specializing in music, interviewing bands and talking about those sorts of things on FUSE news, which is on weeknights 8PM on FUSE TV. Also, as a result of doing TV in Britain over the last eight years, I became known for [my] clothes and therefore started working in kind of a fashion realm... I do a lot of modeling for different brands and I'm the ambassador for different fashion houses. I also DJ at fashion parties, with CDs, so that's where music and fashion collide. And then I write for British Vogue, writing features for them, and as a result I found myself in the position of writing a book. The book encompasses all those areas: music, fashion, writing and... me. [Laughs.]
Your book has a diary feel. How long did it take you to compile everything?
It took about a year. Obviously the year wasn't spent writing every single day, morning 'til night, working on the book, because I have a day job, so if you were to boil it down I'm not sure how long it would have taken altogether. But yeah, I wrote it and collected the photographs and decided which images to include over the course of a year.
Did you know from that start that there were definite things you wanted to include?
Yeah, there were a couple photographs that I was particularly attached to. Since Facebook started, I've always uploaded all of my 35mm results onto that, so I have a really good back catalogue of albums. It was easy to go through there and cherry-pick from already cherry-picked albums. Like I don't just download my phone onto Facebook, I used to edit an album properly, so that made it easier to get them all.
Do you keep a diary in real life?
Yeah, some of the pages in the book are from a book that I have that's basically just a sketchbook. It depends, though, because a lot of my daily job is being in script meetings or recording a voiceover, doing things for TV, and I'm an avid doodler so I'll start drawing all over scripts and things. So now it's less of a compendium of my doodles in a particular sketchbook, because they're more just scattered upon various ripped pages.
There's a lot about breakups in the book...
Yeah, that's just something that was on my mind at the time, not just dinosaurs and karaoke. It was like karaoke at one end, Jurassic creatures on the other, and somewhere in the middle, my heart was hurting. It all got poured in. [Laughs.]
What's your favorite karaoke song?
I'm very fickle with my passions, so at the moment I quite like Katy Perry's "Roar." But weirdly I don't like that song in real life, just in the karaoke context. And what else is good? "All That She Wants" by Ace of Base is really good.
That is a good one. In the book you mention that you like throwing on some One Direction at karaoke...
"One Thing" is good. [Starts loudly singing "You've got that one thing!"] That's pretty to the point. You can't argue with a classic lyric like that, you really can't.
I actually sang that song in a karaoke booth all by myself one day.
You didn't sing "All By Myself" though? Missed opportunity. [Laughs.]
That would have been even more depressing.
[Starts singing "All By Myself"]
Back to books, do you have any current favorite books or authors?
I'm trying to read Crime and Punishment.
Oh, that's pretty heavy.
I know. I really skipped a lot of the classics so I'm going back and trying to do a university syllabus in one sitting. I love Tom Wolfe. When I discovered Tom Wolfe I was like, "Oh, okay." At the moment, the only things I can read are scripts, so that's something I do every day. When I get home, a lot of my job revolves around reading, so I want to give my eyes a rest by nighttime, so they're not moving from left to right constantly.
Are there any books that meant a lot to you as a teenager?
It's really weird, as a kid, I used to read whatever my mum was reading, even though it wasn't necessarily PG material. I remember reading this book Londonian, and it was the history of London and I was like 12. There was another one called Boy Called It, is that a book? Like a book about an abused child? Not light reading. And then Maeve Binchy, I remember that being an author. Anything my mum was reading I would read, and a lot of it was, I don't know, menopausal choices.[Laughs.] For age 12. Like, yeah, cool!
Where do you get most of your reading done now?
Well, I really don't have time, because like I said, I'm just reading scripts. But if I'm reading it's because I'm in an airport, or on a long haul flight, or in bed. You know, the classics. Taking a bath. But I quite like poetry for that because you can dip in and out, which is a bit easier, isn't it? Where do you read, Katie?
Usually in my bed. Unless I'm on a plane and then I read there.
Yeah, I have a habit of reading but then falling asleep and I can't quite remember what part of the chapter I was in. [Laughs.]
If you were to write a second book, what do you think it would be about?
Maybe I'd give a sci-fi novel a stab. No, I can't do that. Or just like, you know, an epic five-parter in the style of the Twilight sagas. Or I'd just rewrite Harry Potter in French. I'd do a translated version.
That'd be perfect. Are you dressing up for Halloween this year?
I think I'm going to wear a fancy dress to Halloween and maybe just a normal dress to my birthday, because I'm turning 30 [November 5], and if I turn up to my birthday party and everyone's in a tuxedo and I'm Joan of Arc, it might be confusing. [Laughs.] Last year I was going to be Joan of Arc, but then Hurricane Sandy scattered my plans. I might recycle the outfit having declared it already, or I might be something new. I know my friend wanted to go as 1960s nuns, like nuns in miniskirts, which is our only admission to being vaguely sexy I imagine, but I don't know. I always say a palm tree, but that's never happened so I guess it's not going to happen. I think it might be nice to go as a classic ghoul, like if you just put a bed sheet over you and go as a ghost and just be done with it.