LONDON — Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took to the countryside this week to mark her debut as the face of Ugg. A launch event took place in the rustic-chic Hay Barn of Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, where guests feasted on short ribs, sea bass and asparagus.
The brand decorated long wooden tables with rows of pink roses and candles displayed in holders made from tree trunks. Bales of hay were cast around the barn, some fashioned as sofas with cozy throw pillows and blankets and complemented by slabs of tree trunks used as tables.
Following the event, the British model, who has worked with brands such as Marks & Spencer and Burberry, and who acted in the Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning “Mad Max: Fury Road,” sat down with WWD and talked about growing up in the country.
WWD: Your decision to work with Ugg shows us a whole different, more laid-back side. Why did you decide to work with them?
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: We are due to shoot the campaign in May, and I’ve seen the creative, and we’ve been discussing it at length. It’s just going to be really fun and very playful — a real opportunity to show a bit more personality, you know? So often when you are modeling, you see the images of models and they just look so — you know — glamorous, and it’s so polished and finished.
I think we live in an age now where people really want to see a bit more. There is still obviously this side of the industry that is all about being very aspirational and glamorous and unobtainable, and I think that is an important part of fashion, but I think at the same time, for brand like Ugg, and for somebody like myself, it’s really exciting when you can get to be more playful, more fun and show that side of yourself as well.
WWD: Can you tell us more about your own life in the countryside?
R. H-W.: I grew up in the south of England, in Devon, on a farm. Most of my childhood was spent outdoors, in the fields, running around. In fact, my mother would lock us outside when we were naughty. “Outside! Go and play outside. I’m having half an hour to myself.” And she would shut us outside. I was all about my horse. That was really a big part of my childhood. My mom is a fitness instructor, so she really instilled in us the importance of living an active and kind of healthy lifestyle.
I really wanted to move to London since I became a teenager, because I wanted the polar opposite (of the outdoors). I’ve lived in New York and in London. I love the city life, but what actually suits me really well right now is living in Los Angeles because it feels a little bit like living in the countryside, but living in the city at the same time. You can drive thirty minutes and be at the beach or the coast, or drive a few hours and be skiing.
What is so cool about Ugg is that it’s a brand that I can always have in the back of my car, and pack them wherever I go. I recently got the Rella boot, which is the new boot for spring, and I’ve been wearing it during the weekend in Malibu, with the dogs on the beach, and it’s just the perfect shoe to have for my off-duty days.
WWD: What are your thoughts on shooting in the countryside?
R. H-W.: What I would really like to do is shoot on the moors in Devon, which is so beautiful. It’s like “Lord of the Rings,” where I grew up. We shot my first fragrance campaign (for M&S) at a hotel called Endsleigh House, where my mom would take people when we had friends over, and we would have a cream tea there. It’s a special place. It was very meaningful.
WWD: Now that you live in L.A., what do you miss about the countryside? What did you enjoy doing? Do you still do that now? Is there anything you miss?
R. H-W.: I’m really lucky because I go back to London and England about once a month. It’s April, and I’ve already been to the U.K. four times this year. So I’m very much still embedded here. I feel very much English, in touch with my country and friends and family that I have here.
Living in Los Angeles, it’s the small things that you miss. I miss switching the TV on and hearing a British accent, reading the news, or putting the radio on and hearing my favorite DJ. Just being able to crack a joke and for people to kind of get it. Sometimes my sense of humor gets lost a little bit in Los Angeles.