AS MODEL Amanda Hendrick relaxes at her family home in Coatbridge, she surveys her latest tattoo, a freshly inked line of black script that snakes up her spine and spells out her current take on life: “No matter where you go, there you are.”
Other inkings on her 5ft 10in, size-eight frame include the appeal to “Live, Love, Laugh”, around her ribs, and her grandparents’ names, on her wrists. “I like tattoos to have a meaning for me. I used to worry they’d stop me getting jobs but people usually like them – or put me in clothes that cover me up.”
Hendrick is determined to be true to herself in the capricious world of fashion, and so far it hasn’t held her back. In fact, quite the opposite. Fresh from the Topshop Christmas campaign, which launches in stores this week, the 21-year-old Scottish model who graced the cover of Vogue at just 17, starred as one of the standout models at last month’s London Fashion Week, where she walked the runway in 12 shows that included Paul Smith and Mark Fast.
Then it was straight on to a plane for Tokyo Fashion Week, from which she has just returned, in need of a little R&R. And a new tattoo. “During London Fashion Week, I only slept three hours a night, and then Tokyo was fantastic.
“But I'm up in Glasgow for a break, chilling at my parents’ and taking a weekend out. You need to every now and then or you could hit rock-bottom. It’s time to reflect on it all, to remove myself from London and talk to people that know me and understand where I'm coming from. And think to myself, ‘Well done.’”
After a year in which she has barely had time to unpack her case, never mind visit the tattoo parlour, she has seen her career take her right to the top, with contracts at Scottish agency The Look at Colours, and Select, which manages the likes of Agyness Deyn and Stella Tennant.
Over the years she has also been signed by Diva in Denmark, Crystal Models in Paris and Elite in Milan, done shows for Balenciaga in Paris, followed by the Jean Paul Gaultier/Costume National and Paco Rabanne shows, and relocated to London.
Not bad for a girl who wasn't one of the cool crowd at Airdrie Academy and finds her current Facebook popularity amusing. “They didn't want to know me at school because I was a loser, but now they Facebook me, which is funny.”
Hendrick learned at a young age to go her own way. In fact, it was while dressed as a zombie, walking through Central Station in Glasgow, that she was fist discovered by an agency scout. “This woman came up to me and I thought she was joking. I didn’t know you could be a model in Glasgow so I told her to phone my mum, and didn’t expect to hear anything.”
But a contract followed, and it wasn’t long before the teenager found herself debuting on the Milan catwalk, working with Pucci and Christian Dior, then on the cover of Vogue. “I loved that shoot. It was cool to go to Africa and be one on one with all those wild animals. I was holding on to a leopard on a lead, but my dress rustled and it didn’t like the noise. I was thinking, ‘If this thing takes off it’s just going to drag me along.’ There was a woman off-camera throwing it meat to keep it calm.”
Hendrick loves to travel. “I haven’t stayed in one place for any length of time since I was 17, and I get really stir-crazy if I do. I’ve got used to it and it’s part of the job.” She is currently contemplating a month in New York, to make her name Stateside.
She may only be 21, but Hendrick reckons she’s an old-timer now in the modelling world. “I’m often the oldest one on shoots. They’re all 17. That’s why I want to just focus on my career now. It could end in a year so I want to get as much done as possible. The models like Kate Moss who keep going really stand out, but for most people it’s quite a short-term thing.”
Not only does Hendrick admire Moss’s longevity, she rates her work ethic too. “She does her perfume, clothes line and Rimmel too. I don’t want to be Kate Moss but I’d like to be half as successful,” she says, and is planning to collaborate with her cousin, designer Claire McInally, whose degree show was snapped up by the Oasis chain.
“You have to give modelling your whole life if you really want to do it. Sometimes it’ll hit me that I’m in this amazing place across the world, doing this and that. But I’m alone. And I’m talking to myself – lucky I enjoy my own company.”
Hendrick isn’t only talking to herself, however, since she has a blog that she updates daily, partly to counteract a fake version that appears under her name. “It’s not me. Mine is called winkpeaceandpoutbaby.tumblr.com.”
Or, to give it it’s full title: If in doubt, wink, peace and pout, baby. Which sounds like something she’d have tattooed on her body. Watch that space. n
Amanda Hendrick models pieces from the Topshop Christmas Collection, which launches this week