Lily McMenamy on How Mime School Saved Her

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Lily is wearing a puff-sleeved coat and floral embroidery dress by Simone Rocha, straw hat by JacquemusPhotography by Jack Davison, Styling by Nell Kalonji for AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2017

The unique beauty reveals how she found her tribe at a Parisian theatre school

“To me, a hero is someone who puts another’s needs before their own, even knows what the other person needs before they do. I study at this physical theatre and mime school called Jacques Lecoq and my teacher there has been a hero in my life – I did a workshop and she kind of saved me. She plucked me out and brought me into the professional class; it was like finding my tribe. She held my hand and believed in me. It’s extremely hard, and completely different to modelling – you do these showy winks as a model, this spectacle of girlishness which doesn’t work on stage. Instead it’s about coming out of yourself – you become fire, you become a building. Your mind disappears, that’s what’s so nice about it. You become so physically present. They say that once you push yourself past your physical limit, that’s when your true presence comes out.”

Legend has it that Lily McMenamy was baptised into fashion as a baby, when her mother – the model Kristen McMenamy – carried her down a Chanel runway. “I think I started that rumour!” she laughs. “As far as I know it’s true.” After departing London for Paris aged 18, McMenamy made her official catwalk debut at Hedi Slimane’s inaugural Saint Laurent show, and soon her unique beauty and wonderfully no-holds-barred personality made her the poster girl for the character-trumps-conventionality era of casting. In her first big-screen role in 2015’s A Bigger Splash she played the flirtatious Sylvie. Now she is learning to master an altogether different type of performance.

Post-production Labyrinth Photographic; Production Mini Title.

This article originally appears in AnOther Magazine S/S17.