In collaboration with
- Words Rosanna Dodds
As she follows in the footsteps of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell for the new Vauxhall campaign, we catch up with Anaïs Gallagher.
You can’t be celebrity offspring in 2018, it seems, unless you’ve fronted a major fashion campaign, have a 100k+ Instagram following, or have been dubbed a member of the “next generation of the Primrose Hill set” by a tabloid newspaper. Three ticks for Anais Gallagher – daughter of Noel Gallagher and Meg Matthews – who can also add photographer, student and a contributing editor role at Tatler to the list.
But Gallagher’s brand is different to her contemporaries, probably because she doesn’t really have a brand at all. She might be signed to Elite with three Reebok campaigns under her belt, but she’s is also, very openly, an 18-year-old girl who wants to stay in bed and watch Netflix as much as she wants to graduate with a good grade from university.
That’s not to say that Gallagher doesn’t take her platform seriously, far from it. It’s more of a feeling of willingness to blur the lines between the girl who appears in front of the camera and the person who stays behind it. And somewhere between work, her studies and an osteopath appointment, Gallagher managed to to spare 20 minutes from her schedule to do just that.
You started modelling when you were about 14, but you were initially signed around the age of 11. How has it been balancing your rise to fame with your regular life from such a young age?
Luckily for me I had parents who understood everything. Also, I wasn’t a stranger to my private life being public because that had kind of been my whole life growing up. When I was growing up people would always say to me, “Oh, what’s it like having a famous dad?” And I’d just be like, “Well, what’s it like not having a famous dad?” It’s a weird situation because I’m not really sure how to compare it to anything else. I think it really became overwhelming for me when I realised that people were really interested in such minor things in my life… they want to have opinions about me going out to dinner with my boyfriend. Ending up in the Daily Mail like that is so weird for me. I was always kind of aware of that happening to my parents, but when it started happening to me I was like, “Ok… this is happening now.”
And how have you found starting university?
When I first started university I tried to hide who I was for a long time. Every time somebody asked me if I had Instagram I’d say no, but then I got very close friends. I was apprehensive because I didn’t want people to perceive me in a certain way. It’s difficult, especially when you’re a teenage girl because teenage girls are all insecure. I didn’t want people to have an opinion on me before they got to know me.
How have you seen the industry change since you first started out?
I think it’s definitely become a more inclusive place. Without sounding too cliche, I feel like it’s a safer place. You’re free to be who you want to be and make the decisions you want to make. People have become a lot more aware of the stuff going on outside fashion, music, and art. Every industry is merging now which I really like.
What has been your favourite campaign to date?
I say this every time, but probably Reebok. Mainly because it’s such a well known brand and it is has such a cultural history behind it. I was so honoured to be part of their relaunch of the brand. I’m not a model, I don’t really want to be a model. I’ve always wanted to be behind the camera. So when I’m partnering with brands it’s really important that they’re brands that I really like. I’m not an actress so I can’t endorse something I don’t like and make it sound natural. I remember the day my mum told me Reebok had asked me to do something with them I was wearing Reebok trainers. I was like, “This is something really cool. This is something that I love. This is a brand that I wear, I don’t have to lie.” I’ve been doing stuff for Reebok for nearly three years now, I’ve done three campaigns for them. It’s a really lovely partnership.
How would you describe your personal style?
It changes. I think every young girl has an identity crisis somewhere in her life! I’m usually quite casual. I get told off quite a lot by my agent and my mum for not dressing up for anything. I wear jeans and trainers and jumpers and don’t really look too put together most of the time! I go to an art college so there’s a lot of people expressing themselves and wearing some really cool things, so I’m kind of branching out with what I’m wearing at the moment. But usually I just go for what’s comfortable.
Anaïs Gallagher for Vauxhall Corsa
Anais Gallagher stars in the new Vauxhall twentyfive film celebrating 25 years of Vauxhall Corsa.
How do you think your generation is shaping the fashion and art industries at the moment?
I think we’re a generation that likes to have an opinion. We don’t like to be silent and we like to speak out about things. It’s also helpful that we’re the social media generation, so we can Tweet and we can Snapchat and we can Instagram. We physically can’t be silent. We’re making people higher up think a lot harder about what they do. I think they know that we’re not easily manipulated; we won’t buy into a brand that isn’t doing the right thing. I think they know that and brands are now having to change their whole ethos to fit in with the millennial generation rather than just churning out better clothing.
How did you start your work as a photographer? Was it always something that were interested it?
I’ve had a passion for art for a very long time, I was just rubbish at putting pen to paper. I studied History of Art for my A-Levels, but photography wasn’t something that I ever thought I was going to do. I was purely taking pictures at the beginning because it made me happy and because I like documenting things. It was when my friends started asking me to take their picture and I started posting them that I became proud of them and decided to study photography at university. I’m quite a nervous person as it is. Physically I’m very confident, but in my work I was always quite shy.
What do you think inspired that change in you?
I always knew that I thought I was good, but I didn’t think that anybody else would. I also had a misconception about photographers, that it was really easy. When I realised that it’s actually quite difficult to get a really good photo and people started telling me that I was good I realised that it was something that I could actually do. When I came into myself and I knew I was good I didn’t let anybody tell me otherwise. Then I was like, “Look I don’t care what you say to me. I know I’m good and I’m going to do this, and if I fail then at least I tried because it’s something that I love.”
Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to your work?
There’s a photographer called Emanuele D’Angelo who was the first photographer I met in the industry who really engaged with me and asked me what i liked and who I was while taking my picture. I was like, “Oh my god. That’s exactly the kind of photography that I like.” I really like engaging with the person and letting them direct their own shoot. We’ve been friends ever since.
Tell me about your work with PETA. How did that come about?
I love animals. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 9 or 10. My mum grew up in South Africa, so she was always surrounded by wildlife. I’ve also grown up with animals, so when my mum started for working for PETA I’d go into the office too see the work that they did and instantly had a massive connection with the charity. I was like, “I love the work that you are doing, let me help in any way I can.” I’ve done a campaign for them now but what I first started doing was putting newsletters into envelopes and sending them off.
You’ve also previously been outspoken about young people voting in an article you wrote for Miss Vogue. Would you say that it’s important that you use your platform for positive change?
I feel like if you’re given the opportunity to have people listen to you, you should be conveying a message that is important. However, also I think that’s a lot of responsibility. A lot of people have told me that it’s my responsibility to send out a good message. That’s a lot of pressure. I’m like, “Oh god, there are so many people watching what I’m going say or do. Everything needs to be perfect and I need to be this perfect person who’s the perfect role model.” I’m nowhere near perfect. I swear like anything on my Instagram and I’m quite blunt. I have very strong opinions, some good, probably some bad to some people.
But fundamentally I do think that you need to raise awareness for issues that you care about. I won’t just jump on the bandwagon because I think that makes me a better person, but when I find something that I really care about, or if there’s a petition that I want to get people to sign then 100% I want my followers to see that. Because I also think that the young people who follow me are cool people and care about the world. I want to influence them in a way that makes them better people.
You’ve got a big following on social media. Is that ever overwhelming or invasive?
It’s quite difficult. As a person I’m very introverted. I have three or four friends who I see on a daily basis but I don’t let that many people into my life. It’s sometimes overwhelming for me not to think, “Oh my goodness, I’m a person with nearly 160,000 people watching my every move.” I think it’s quite easy to forget that they’re people, but then sometimes when you sit down and think about it you’re like, “Oh wow!” I don’t know if it feels invasive but sometimes it feels like there’s a lot of pressure.
Pressure not to do something wrong or slip up?
Yeah. I think everything that’s going on at the moment is great and that change is great, but it can feel that you’re at risk of offending a lot of people without meaning to. That can be quite scary. I sometimes get scared posting things just incase I’ve said the wrong thing or have labelled people in the wrong way. It’s quite overwhelming because having a lot of followers means that a lot of people can tell you that you’ve fucked up!
Totally. Talk me through your role as a contributing fashion editor for Tatler. What’s the best part about the job?
Richard Dennen has been so lovely and so helpful. I’m so grateful for him for allowing me to have another platform. He basically, with reason, lets me do whatever I want. If I email him and say, “I’ve seen this really cool band and I want to write an article about them,” he’ll be like, “Go ahead, write the article, take photos and send it to me.” He’s allowed me to express myself which is really lovely because I thought there was going to be a massive collar and leash on me, but it hasn’t been like that at all.
How do you manage to have time for a social life?
Luckily for me I live with my best friend, but it’s difficult! Especially last year when I was doing my exams. It got overwhelming at a point where I was like, “I need to revise, but I also need to reply to emails about work, and I also need to post something on Instagram to keep my followers happy, and I need to make sure that if I’m invited to a party that I look alright because people are going to photograph me.” I sometimes forget that I’m only 18 and that I’m allowed to make mistakes and take a day off. I’ve taken that a lot more into account recently and I don’t go to a lot of events. I don’t go to parties that aren’t in my social group with my friends and I’ve found it a lot easier to take my time back for myself rather than spread myself thinly.
And finally, how do you see the next 5 years planning out?
Well, really I’d like to be working as a photographer, and I’d like to see my younger brothers doing well. Just being happy. That’s all I really ask for myself.