By Gemma Rimmington
Image: Graham Lacdao Styling: Emma Lightbown Assistant Stylist: Patricia Jones Florist: Hybrid Flowers Make-up: Bev K
Hairstylist: Nicola Marshall Nails: Sophie’s Cosy Corner Model: Julie Impens 1st Assistant: Ruta Juozaityte
My name is Sophie Donaldson. My business, Sophies Cosy Corner is based in Gravesend in Kent. I have been a Beauty Therapist for 17 years but my main treatment is now nails. My passion is the artwork. I love working throughout the year on nails for fashion shoots and LondonFashion Week but I also adore all my fantastic clients who come to see me for their regular nail appointments. I love the idea of creating nails for films where I can let my imagination go and create looks for made up creatures or characters.
How did you establish your career in the nail industry?
I noticed a lady on my social media posting about London Fashion Week and in a moment of madness I thought I would ask how she got involved. She told me she had a team already, but if she needed anyone to add to the team then she would post an advertisement. She advised me to keep my eyes peeled for it. One day the post came and it was a competition for creating a set of nails for London Fashion week with the theme of chocolate. Well, I was absolutely petrified, but I knew if I didn't take a shot at it then I would always be wondering! I created so many nails and felt like they were all terrible, but I posted them to her and in her moment of madness she chose me to join her team! Thank you Suzanne! I was in total shock and from then on my attitude changed. I still doubt myself, but I feel like if I want something then I have to put the fear aside and just try my best. After the show I stayed in contact with lots of the lovely models and some started to come to have their nails done with me. I continued to do catwalks, London Fashion week and magazine shoots. My life with nails is so exciting and I love how just a set of nails can change the way a model poses and how a person feels about themselves! When ladies have their nails done they use their hands differently and you can see from the catwalks that they suddenly feel more in character. It totally adds to the shoot! I never consider how well established I am in the industry but my main goal is always to just keep improving my skills and help the industry to grow. Nails should be thought of as just important in the fashion industry as hair style or outfit. The joy of nails is that no matter what a persons body goes through nails can always be a source of confidence. Our bodys are always changing and getting older but nails can always be made pretty and its a great way for people to feel good about themselves no matter body shape or age! I am still on a journey and growing in skills, one nail at a time.
What have been your career highlights so far?
I have enjoyed every day in this industry, but when I first met my London Fashion Week team they all brought so much joy to my heart and those girls are still some of my favourite humans. Working on London Fashion Week was incredible and it was an amazing beginning step to me venturing out ofmy treatment room and bringing nails to a wider audience for morecreative looks. It inspired me to start thinking outside the box and it gave me so much confidence. My second realhighlight was receiving my Teacher qualification after my son was still a toddler. It was a dream come true and one i really never thought Iwould have been able to achieve especially once i became a mother.
What would be your ultimate tip you would give to people who want to look after their nails?
Do not use your nails as tools. Think of every time your nail has broken. I bet it was doing something with them that you could have done differently. Also don't pick gel or acrylic off. Those are the 2 worst things you can do to your nails.
Pierre Garroudi London Fashion Week
As a Nail Artist, what is the biggest myth you have heard?
This would be that you need to let your nails breathe. I hear it so so often, but nails don't breathe as they aren't living tissue and if they don't have the right product on then they are going to be more vulnerable to breaking.
Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
If you ask my husband he would tell you as it get on his nerves.... the answer is EVERYWHERE!! I always want to stop and take pictures of things that inspire me from my toddler's books to cushion covers, flowers, nature, wrapping paper or clothes. I see colours and shapes and if I like them then my brain starts to envision it on a nail! Sometimes i actually have to write notes on my phone before bed because I don't want to lose a design idea.
Have you got any predictions for nail trends?
I predict abstract designs, non matching hands, more statement nails with monochrome or bright colours and looks of bright colours decorating a nude base. My personal aim is to inject more floral designs into the world of nails for the Spring/Summer season and I have been working hard on my social media to help nail technicians learn how to paint floral designs because i adore them!
What is your all-time favourite nail polish for yourself?
I actually love a brown on myself. I know that sounds strange, but with red hair I find brown makes me feel really good about myself. However, I am totally a floral girl and i always wear floral dresses even in winter so its hard to combine the both.
By Gemma Rimmington
Creative Beauty Director, Gemma Rimmington caught up with male model Tim Storer-Hicks recently and wanted to know all about how he keeps that spectacular facial hair looking fabulous (amongst other less superficial questions of course)...
So, who is Tim Storer-Hicks?
Tell us a bit about yourself...
Hi my name is Tim Storer-Hicks. I'm a classic commercial model with TTM Management. I am also a qualified driving instructor. I live at the coast in Whitley Bay in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England with my two boys aged 10 and 11 years. I was born and brought up in Ealing west London but I regard the North East as my home. I have a really strong affinity with the area and the community up here.
A few facts about me.
I used to live in Antibes in the south of France so I have a love of french style and culture. I got my first tattoo at the age of 15 years much to the horror of my middle class parents! I've always been a bit of a rebel. I love all music genres but especially Jazz. My favourite colour is green. My favourite ice cream flavour is pistachio, which is also green haha. I really love photography, fashion, and the visual arts. My parents were both very musical and my mum was an artist so I guess I've been influenced by them in this direction.
You have some pretty badass facial hair. What is your grooming routine?
Thank you. It's a bit like treating a lawn. It requires regular maintenance to look at it's best. I use a beard specific shampoo no more than three times per week as it tends to strip the beards' natural oils if I shampoo it more often than that. I towel dry my beard and massage my own recipe beard oil into the roots of the beard and skin to condition and moisturise. I then blow dry my beard and moustache to style it. Once it's dry I dress it with either beard oil, a balm and wax. It really depends on the look I'm going for. If it's full-on tash curls then it's wax for the tash and balm for the beard. I always use natural products to keep it in good condition. I also see my barber frequently just to keep on top of things. Lockdown has been very challenging in that regard. There have been moments where I've been looking more like Hagred than a model haha!
Have you become more conscious of grooming, since you started modelling?
100% Yes. I am my own best advert, so if I get a short notice casting call I want to make sure the potential client will see me at my best. It's also a matter of self respect and professionalism. If I am well-groomed I feel confident and perform better.
You have a distinctive style. Do you feel a pressure to maintain your look?
You're very kind. It really depends on what I'm doing during the day. If I'm not working you'll usually find me in gym gear or jeans and a hoodie. However if I'm working or out socially I always make the effort. I do notice people tend to react more positively when I've done this. I only tend to feel pressured if I don't manage my time properly.
Do you ever wake up with a spontaneous desire to shave off your moustache and beard?
Haha now that's an interesting question. It's not happened yet, although with the lockdown restrictions I've been pretty desperate for a beard trim. I always leave it to the professionals to trim my beard though. I'm far too scared to attempt it myself! Let's just say for safety's sake I'm going to hide the scissors just in case!
What you is your fragrance of choice?
I love Dior Eau Sauvage. It's a sensual classic gentlemans fragrance that people remember.
How do you keep yourself healthy?
I do a combination of crossfit style and bodybuilding workouts 4 times per week. I also include mobility work and stretching into my routine. I'm really lucky to live at the coast in Whitley Bay so I take a lot of long walks by the sea. It's so spiritually uplifting and cleansing to be near the ocean. If I've had a challenging day, a walk on the beach usually sorts me out. Other than that I eat a very clean diet of mainly lean proteins, lots of veggies and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados etc. I also drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.
What is your favourite way to indulge in self-care?
I think it has to be a hot bath with epsom salts and essential oils, lights off, candles and some Miles Davis and John Coltrane on the hifi. Once I've done that I'll normally apply a face mask and plug into a guided meditation for 30 mins. I use an app called Insight timer that's really good. If I do this before bed I am guaranteed a great night's sleep.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
Probably to silence my inner critic. It does get in my way sometimes causing me to question my decisions and emotional responses to certain situations. This inevitably leads to me procrastinating too much. I'm getting better at this but it's still very much work in progress.
Does your instagram portray the "real" Tim Storer-Hicks?
That's a really great question as I think there's a pressure on people to post images of them "living their best life!" Posing next to Ferraris they don't own and that kind of thing. I guess if it makes them feel good about themselves then it serves a purpose. Overall I believe my Instagram profile does portray the real me, although I do tend to keep the images modelling related. Whenever I post anything I always take time to really think about any caption I post with an image and what kind of message it conveys and how it may be received. I'm a sensitive, empathetic, creative kind of guy who really cares about my fellow humans so if I can convey a message that has a positive influence on people then I feel like I've achieved my purpose. Social media is such a powerful platform that can be used for good. The power of an image,a caption or a word can literally be life changing for the person recieving that message. Having said that there are certain elements to my profile that I don't make public. I'm a single father of two amazing boys aged 10 and nearly 12 years old. They are a constant source of love and inspiration for me. I keep this side of my profile private and never post any images of them but essentially what you see is the real me. Haha no posing by Ferrari's unless it's an advertising campaign!
If you could work with any creative, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would absolutely love to have worked with the sadly late genius that was Alexander McQueen. He was a real visionary, with a truly original creative mind. It's no coincidence that many of his creations are housed in art museums. He really pushed the creative boundaries and had an exquisite sense of beauty whilst challenging peoples preconceptions. I would have loved to see what he would have created to work with my look.
By James Clarke
I caught up with our November Cover Model Lisa Gibson-Maughan with an off the cuff conversation.
The British Muse team went to South Gare beach for a weekend of editorial shoots and the second day was pretty wild with strong winds and a sand storm. When I had the idea of shooting with a 150 feet of tulle, I didn't quite visualise that it would turn into a giant sail and nearly take the team on a voyage to Iceland.
What brought you to the world of modelling?
I have modelled only on occasion for various creatives over the years; hairstylists, photographers, make-up artists along with an independent brand owned by a friend.
What type of fashion inspire you?
I am inspired by the likes of Alexandre Vauthier, Balmain, Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant. Always looking to recreate their latest collections.
What’s your personal style?
My personal style varies. I love to dress up in quite an edgy glam look and good pair of heels. Alternatively, on a general day my go to is a t-shirt or body with jeans and trainers or a flat chunky boot. I do also love and accessory, something with a twist that can completely transform a look and make my own.
How did you find the experience of shooting with the British Muse team?
I could not have asked for a better experience; my nerves disappeared soon after meeting the team. I’m very sensitive to the energy of those around me. It literally can make or break something. Yours made it.
What was your highlight from that day?
My highlight was of-course battling against gale force winds to get the right shot. Was so much fun.
What does being a cover model mean to you?
Everything; I’m still in shock if I’m honest. The image will most certainly be framed and hung in my dressing room at home.