At AnOther, we’re all fully paid up members of the Nigella Lawson fan club – not least because her goose fat potatoes have revolutionised Christmas – and our contributors can always be counted on to find unique ways to reference the most pertinent news stories of the moment. And so it is, as the hashtag #TeamNigella trends on Twitter, that this stunning image of a 19-year-old Nigella Lawson is the unanimous winner of the Loves Vote for fashion writer Dal Chodha.
Of course, she was famous anyway – for her food, her face, her figure, her midnight feasts, her misquoted feminism and her famous husbands – but Nigella Lawson has reached a new degree of infamy of late. But back when this photo was taken, in 1979, she was an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, who had attracted the attention of a besotted artist while studying in the library. It is always fascinating to see pictures of the famous when they were young, whether it's those already on the path to stardom – such as a teenage Kate Moss or Claire Danes during This So-Called Life – or the more obscure shots prior to fame’s airbrushing touch, such as a very dapper Lou Reed in his high school yearbook.
So, skirting delicately round the reasons for Nigella’s current front page status, we talk to Chodha about his festive expectations and the people who papered his teenage bedroom wall.
Why did you love this picture?
Well, Nigella’s been on the cover of the papers a lot recently – for reasons we don’t need to discuss here – and a Vine of her striding into the courts, which went viral very quickly, sort of captured my imagination. I went looking for photos of her and found this one on the brilliant Retronaut. She’s just doe eyes and full mouth. I love it.
Where would you put it if you owned it?
I would probably have to hang it somewhere in my kitchen, right? But as my kitchen is quite small, maybe I could get it printed onto a tea towel!
What is your favourite Nigella recipe?
I don’t really like cooking at all, so I don’t have a favourite recipe, but of course Nigella’s show is outrageously watchable and I would love to be one of her “hired” friends. I would ask her to make her ham in Coca-Cola and I would love to see what hand wash she has in the loo.
What would make up your ideal midnight feast?
Antica Cremeria Burro spread thickly onto crusty bread. If I am out of those two, then a large hunk of strong English cheddar will do.
Who is your favourite teenage pin up?
My walls growing up were a mash up of Bollywood actresses in really awful denim outfits, Beverly Hills 90210 stickers and Versace campaigns torn out of magazines. I guess if you mixed all of those up today, you’d get M.I.A but then she wasn’t around when I was a teenager.
What do you want for Christmas?
The David Hockney edition of Paris Vogue from 1985 or a DVD of Exclusive Yarns, which doesn’t seem to exist.
What are you looking forward to about December?
My birthday and mulled wine.
What was the last thing you bought?
Page markers by HAY and a box of 36 re-usable plastic glasses.
Text by Tish Wrigley