Portraits of London # 9 – Fenn O’Meally

Barbican Centre

This month, we caught up with busy bee and ever so friendly Fenn O’Meally. A fashion week favourite; Fenn is often seen mingling with the models backstage, eagerly interviewing the FROW and often stopped to be snapped for her street-style on The Strand.

Having already interviewed Hugo & Charlie, which you can check our here, we decided to switch roles for the day and ask the up-and-coming TV sensation some questions of our own.

 

Hi Fenn! Nice to see a familiar face. For those who don’t know you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! Lovely to see you two too! Ok, so I’m presenter living in East London. I’m a tiny bit career-obsessed and dribble over Sandro, tele studios, camera equipment, meaty documentary concepts and tall guys, with a little stubble, (especially ones who carry camera equipment).  

How did you get in to presenting?

I’ve always been a talker and had a few extra watts of energy, but I remember first being inspired whilst watching Angelica Bell on Blue Peter. She was black to put it plainly. For me she was a real inspiration as I don’t really remember watching many black female presenters as a child. When I was growing up, I was dancing and performing a lot, so the world of showbiz was ingrained in me from a young age. In my last year of high school we had to do work experience and somehow I managed to wing my way into two weeks of work experience with ITV’s This Morning. From there I continued to network, and got myself an internship and freelance work at the BBC whilst studying my English Degree. At the time I was also filmmaking and presenting for magazines and platforms like Boys By Girls Magazine before recently being signed to my agencies Crown and Premier. They say TV is all ‘smoke and mirrors’ but I think it really depends what you’re in the industry for. If you’re in it for the glamour then yeah, it’s true, TV is all ‘smoke and mirrors’, but since day one I’ve just been fascinated by the possibility of interviewing absolutely everyone (we all have stories) and presenting interesting, entertaining content with creative people. The TV world was once completely foreign to me, I knew no-one, so I took it upon myself to learn, absorb and understand what it takes to be a great presenter, ‘smoke and mirrors’ and all. I’m still learning, but thankfully I have an extremely amazing team of support around me.

What’s been your most exciting job to date?

It’s really hard to say. Looking back, I’d say the first time I interviewed Dermot O’Leary was pretty exciting. Meeting such an industry big dawg (not sure he’ll agree with that title) who just acts like your neighbour. He’s taught me so much over the past year – the number one rule is to be humble and never protective over your place in the industry. If you’re meant to make it, you’ll make it because you’re you, no one’s going to steal your you-factor.

I guess another exciting job was interviewing Anne-Marie this summer for MTV. The girl is absolutely brilliant and deserves every bit of praise she gets. Then last week I got to interview D.R.A.M. for MTV again, that was pretty cool, I asked him how he liked his broccoli. He said with butter and salt. I told him I like mine with chili and he laughed with disappointment.

Hmm I’m going on a little, but I have one more job worth mentioning. It wasn’t a presenting job, but a camera assisting job I did two summers ago for ITV. It was with Davina McCall. We were working out in Blackpool for two weeks, and she took me aside to give me a quick 5 minute presenting bootcamp. Since then on, in her willingness to give me advice and support just proved to me, that like with Dermot, if you’re meant to make it in this industry, you will. You should never be scared to help someone if you know the value of your own strength. So yeah, a lot of exciting and valuable jobs to date! Sorry for the ramble.

You’re a regular on street-style blogs during LFW, what’s your secret to staying cool in front of the camera?

Oh, I don’t have one! Honestly just be yourself. If people like your style, go with it. I’m a bit of a goon sometimes. My friend Joe Harper, an amazing street style photographer, often comments when I make a slightly dorky face. I think I do it because I hate to seem unfriendly!

Fenn O'Meally Saratoga II London Barbican Taylor Morris Sunglasses

Who would be your dream person to interview?

Gah so hard. I think I already covered that in part by interviewing Dermot. Will Smith would be a dream, but the young Will Smith, the innocent Fresh Prince I grew up watching. I guess really and truly if time wasn’t an issue and I could choose a group of people, it would be some of the most influential black people throughout history like Muhammed Ali and Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey. The stories they could tell you… I’d be there for days. I also love interviewing socially awkward people. People who don’t tend to open up much and the non-smilers. I love a challenge! And then finally just my Mum, Dad and Brother, I think they might just be the greatest people in the world.

How long have you lived in London? And what are your favourite hangouts?

I’ve lived in London for nearly 5 years now. I started in East and am still in East. I love it here! Columbia Road, Broadway Market, Redchurch Street, Pitfield street, Arnold Circus. I always pop into Modern Society on Redchurch Steet and find myself dribbling over their latest stock of designers – Sandy Liang, Être Cécile and obviously Taylor Morris! All the staff are so lovely too. I never buy anything (other than a coffee, my bank balance doesn’t stretch too far after rent, camera equipment, bills and travel) but if it’s a working weekend, which most of the time it is, I treat myself by musing around Modern Society before heading to hibernate with a coffee and my laptop. I also love The Basics Store when they pop up. I was first introduced after pulling from the designer Marina. Her pieces, like the rest of everything in that store, make you want to declutter your entire life. If simplicity had a glamorous assistant, look no further. I also need to see the new Grind in Clerkenwell, I’m a fan of Grind London and their outlets, but I think my favourite coffee is Monmouth. My final favourite hangout is the BBC’s The One Show. It feels like family. I’ve been camera assisting there since 2014 and the camera crew have, since day one, supported and encouraged my presenting goals so I always make sure I go back when I can even when I’m not working. 

Which are your favourite pair of Taylor Morris Eyewear? We know, it’s hard to choose…

Ahhhh so hard! Maybe Vredefort… but then again I really like RollRight too! Both in any colourway, I just love the shape. I have a small face so they are the perfect size.

With 2016 nearly over, what was your favourite memory from this year?

When I got an email from quite a large production company. I can say no more but it was all pretty exciting. That and signing to my agencies Crown and Premier. Oh and meeting Emma Willis last week. She bought me a peppermint tea and gave me some of the best tele advice I’ve had in a long time. She is so lovely.

What should we be expecting from Fenn in 2017?

Oh, I have a few things lined up and I’m pitching a few documentaries, filming shorts and I have a new interview series out this December which continues for the next 7 months. But all in all, your guess is just as good as mine.

Photography – Anna Urik

Videography – Richard Honey

Thank you to Belstaff, Hesper FoxFelder Felder and Les 100 Ciels for the clothing.