Filmmaker and journalist FENN O’MEALLY, is a true rising star in broadcasting as well as fashion. O’Meally produced films for a whole host of global luxury and lifestyle brands such as Alexa Chung, Chloé, Farfetch, Nike, ASOS, House of Holland and Superga.
Our Editor ANA MARKOVIC sits down with Fenn to talk about her varied career, her first breakthrough and her interviewing style for DESIGN SCENE Issue 27. Scroll down for our interview with Fenn:
Journalist, presenter, filmmaker, and model. Did you always want to start such a varied career? And how do you find time?
I started off wanting to be a presenter and journalist. I quickly realised that if I were going to present any content it would have to be my own, because at the time I had so little experience that people in the positions of power weren’t really going to put me on their channels – and rightly so! So, after years of filming, editing, producing and fronting my own content it just so happened manifest into this pretty cool box of tools I have. As for finding time, the truth is I’m still trying to work that out.
What was your big breakthrough?
I think filming House Of Holland’s spring summer 2018 campaign was definitely a moment of realising my potential and what I could do. I will always be in debt to Henry’s faith and trust in me for that.
You wear many hats – Can you tell us more about your career, including some highs and lows?
Wearing so many hats I used to worry about aligning myself with that “Jack-of-all-trades” title. But now I realise this creative world is in need of people – women especially – who can singlehandedly approach a task with a 360 understanding.
How would you describe your presenting and interviewing style?
Warm. I just want to make people feel comfortable. I think that is the best way to yield their best self – their true self and essentially get the real answers.
How do you prepare for interviews?
Obviously researching online, Youtube, IG. If we have mutual friends I might investigate that. Going through their Twitter accounts or IG stories is one of my favourite things to do. The little anecdotes you find are amazing.
Can you tell us a little bit about “You must be mistaken” project, it seems very interesting. What is it about and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I found myself far too often confronted with the finished product when it comes to the industry’s successful. For me, You Must Be Mistaken is a short doc series I started, to showcase the fuck ups made by some of the most successful names.
How and when did you become interested in film-making? What inspired you to become a director?
For me it was really about initially wanting to present and interview people. Filmmaking was, I guess, a necessity at first. I started to realise how I could creatively enhance a story or an interview through experimenting. Whether that be in directing, editing or even simply the questions I’d ask.
When beginning a film project, what is your starting point?
I think it always starts with collaboration. Whether that’s with a brand, talent or even a friend.
What were your first jobs in film and fashion? What makes fashion film different?
BBC’s The One Show was my first job in TV – I worked as a camera assistant, collecting teas, cable bashing, dusting lenses, the lot! It was there that I started to understand the requirements for well structured and entertaining video content. My first big job in fashion was probably filming House Of Holland. I mean, both jobs require you to be a people person, I guess when you think about it, the formula is the same, good visual story telling requires an understanding of how to connect with the subject in very little time.
How much creative control do you usually get working with brands?
I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had so much creative control. From one of my first jobs working with Nike on their Air Max launch, to working with Henry for House of Holland, to one of my most recents projects with Paul Smith, I’ve really been able to tell their story in my own way. That’s a massive privilege for such a young filmmaker.
How do you think the entertainment industry has changed for women over the years? Has it become more inclusive?
Of course, but I still think the norms need to change. We need to get to a stage where female filmmakers and directors are also household names. Why is the film world dominated by men still?
If you could change one thing about the entertainment industry, what would it be?
Our ability to live in the moment a little more. But maybe that’s more personal.
Do you enjoy more being in front or behind the camera?
Both. I cant choose! But I do think that’s a great advantage because I can understand from both sides.
What has been the proudest moment for you in your career?
There are so many honestly. I guess doing what I do for BBC Radio 1Xtra is maybe one of my proudest. Knowing that I can share the stories of so many influential people in music, fashion and culture, to the world every weekend is pretty insane.
What makes you happy?
Meeting and collaborating with creative people. I’m a people person. Collaboration makes me feel like a child at Christmas to be honest. And also NYC – definitely my happy city. And obviously family. I have a small but bloody BEAUTIFUL family.
Keep up with Fenn on her Instagram @fenn_omeally
Photographer Bon Duke
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