The Ayesha Edit: Interview

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Earlier this month we invited model, free-spirit and post-production pro, Ayesha McMahon, to visit us at Rokit HQ in London- to take her pick of our full website collection and pose for a self-styled photoshoot (which looks AMAZING, we're sure you'll agree). We also had the pleasure of sitting down with Ayesha between outfit-changes to pick her brains on everything from fashion, to travel, to unconventional career goals. Keep reading, visit the online lookbook and browse her full edit here.

Hey Ayesha. Thanks for coming in! Could you start by telling us a little about what you do and how you got there?

Hi thanks for having me!

So right now I work as a Billings Co-ordinator for a post production company but I'm currently looking to get back into the production side of the industry. I studied media at Royal Holloway University in Surrey and took on freelance production jobs on the side to get experience, so I've really just progressed into it from there. I do modelling on the side, which wasn't ever really my plan but I got stopped a few times on the street and then thought I'd give it a go. I get quite a few people approaching me via Instagram asking to shoot with me, which is cool. Modelling can be a bit awkward though, sometimes I get really nervous and overcompensate by talking too much. People have to literally tell me to shut up.

Any career highlights thus far?

Hmm, I'd say a definite highlight was being on the cover of Material Magazine The Empowerment Issue for Autumn Winter 2016- oh, and I was in a quirky Facebook pop-up ad, so you might have seen my face on your news feed.

Where do you see your career taking you in the future?

I have so many things I'd like to do, and I'm relieved that these days career paths don't have to be so linear- people have the freedom to try out different things, and with freelancing and working part-time you can carve out multiple careers for yourself. I'm very conscious not to specialise in something too early on and restrict myself. I think that the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" doesn't really apply any more.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I honestly devote my spare time to enjoying myself as much as possible; eating, exploring, travelling. To me that's what life's about. I'm really into the idea of travelling alone- gaining different experiences and seeing where the wind takes me. I went to Florence on my own earlier this year and really enjoyed just going out to dinner by myself in the evenings. I'd like to travel more, whether that's through work or just me doing my own thing. Nothing is too planned out as of yet.

Are you a London native?

I'm from East London originally, but my family moved out to Essex when I was younger so we could have a bit more space. I still love London though- I have lots of family in East, and so many other people who I care about in the city so I spend a lot of my time here. I think East London has a real buzz about it - it's a hub of creativity and has such great energy. And there's lots of amazing food places about, which is a major plus for me.

How would you describe your personal style?

Relaxed and comfortable. I'm really determined that I should be the one wearing the clothes and that the clothes shouldn't be wearing me. I never want to feel like my style's forced or that I'm trying to be something that I'm not so I just go for whatever suits my vibe and fits my body - to me relaxed dressing doesn't have to mean baggy, but being comfortable in your own skin and in your clothes is always going to make you look your best. I'm not a huge fan of black, so I tend to go for colour. I hate the idea of dressing the same as everybody else, which is why I avoid the high street these days. I prefer second hand shopping where you can find one off pieces that nobody else will have. When it comes to catwalk style I like following the shows and I appreciate seeing the new trends, but I don't feel like I need to run out and buy everything I see.

Do you prefer to dress casually or dress up?

A bit of both really - I have a tendency to dress casually as I like to be prepared for wherever the day might take me - that's why you'll usually see me wearing trainers or Converse. I enjoy dressing up for a special occasion like a nice dinner out - then I'll take some time and make myself look cute, even though I know I'm just going to be sitting down stuffing my face and will probably end up having to undo a button or two. I think if you dress up fancy every day it can become a bit stagnant and takes some of the fun out of it.

What's a go-to clothing item for you?

I have a long sleeved denim jumpsuit that never fails me. Though to be honest I love any kind of jumpsuit - they're so comfy and you can dress them up or down really easily by switching between trainers and heels.

Do you have any style icons?

I wouldn't really say I have a style icon, but if I had to pick someone I'd say Prince… he's incredible. I once bought a ruffled blouse from Rokit in Camden which I loved because it was so Prince. Beyond that it's tricky - generally I'm more inspired by people I see on the street than I am by celebrities - sometimes I'll see someone walking down the pavement and their style is so on point that I want to just go over to them and give them a round of applause. You can't really do that in London though...people would think I was crazy.

And how about vintage - which eras inspire your style the most?

The 70s and the 80s are my favourite- I love the mix of patterns and bright pops of colour. Plus there's a big focus on denim, which I think you can't go wrong with. You can't get the same quality denim these days so I always choose vintage. I'm also a big fan of flares, which are the 70s all over.

How long have you been shopping at Rokit?

I've been shopping here for a couple of years now. My favourite store is the one in Camden - I used to work nearby and pop in to look through the £7 section upstairs. I found an amazing trench coat there once - if I'd bought a similar style on the high street it would easily have cost me £60-£80. Who doesn't love a bargain like that?

We absolutely love your edit - how did you find the experience of picking clothes for the shoot?

Intimidating is the word. There was so much to choose from, and on one hand I was trying to just go for the type of stuff I usually wear, but then you're conscious that it's going to be photographed and seen by other people, so you end up wrestling between being true to yourself vs. picking what you think other people will want to see. In the end I relaxed into it and just chose the bits I really liked, so it was really fun.

Want to see more from Ayesha? Visit her website or follow her on Instagram and shop her vintage picks from the online edit and lookbook.