An interview with Kate Atkinson
Kate Atkinson is an award-winning familiar face, an incredibly talented woman, and one of my beautiful muses. I’ve worked closely with Kate several times this year to dress and style her for events, special occasions, and The Logies and, I’ve come to know a woman who is driven, passionate, and strong.
It may seem all glistening stars and bright lights in Kate’s world, but underneath it all, she is humble, funny and authentic. She is driven by her desire to learn and her strength to embrace change, and she grows through each challenge that life gives her.
I admire her, I respect her, and I am of course, a fan of her work.
What does a week in your shoes look like?
Life is so lovely! I’ve been doing things that I haven’t been able to do in years. I’ve been gardening and reading and writing a lot. I’ve had a very big year professionally, but also personally; my father died and my dog died and work has been really quite relentless. When I haven’t been working on Wentworth, I’ve been doing a play with the Melbourne Theatre Company, and I’ve enjoyed the kind of balance that every actor loves, a bit of theatre, a bit of TV, a few great shows. I’ve been very lucky, but I haven’t stopped.
What inspired you into acting?
I was one of those kids that made little radio shows and puppet shows, and I made my parents watch my terrible ballet concerts and listen to me play musical instruments very badly. I was also a very scholastic kid and took my studies very seriously, so I had a few options when I went to university, but I continued to do theatre because I loved it. I’m also film-obsessed, I love movies. I’ve approached each year one at a time, and I think, “Well here I am. What shall I do next?” I’ve never approached acting is my lifelong agenda or thought about it with a ten-year plan, I’ve just taken everything as it’s come. In 1997, I landed Sea Change and that was a launching pad for me.
Let’s talk about fashion.
It is part-and-parcel of what I do; the events and the publicity and marketing, but I’m not good at the ‘fashion’ side of things. Meeting Julie and working with her has enabled me to enjoy fashion, but I’m not very good at having my photo taken. If someone says, ‘Stand over there and pose for a photo’, I’m shocking, just terrible. But Julie makes me feel good in her clothes and gives me the confidence. It’s a real testament to how well someone has dressed me if I feel confident to take a photo, and Julie does it beautifully.
Was your Logies dress your idea or Julie’s?
The Logies dress that Julie made me was incredible. Given the year I’ve had, I didn’t particularly feel like even going, but the beautiful Rachel Dennis – our stylist – suggested that Julie and I would get on really well, and she was absolutely right. I remember rocking up to Julie’s and I said to her, “I haven’t had any time to give this any thought and I don’t have much time for fittings.” I gave her a really crappy brief; I didn’t want it to be floor-length because I wanted to be able to walk in it, I didn’t want it to be strapless, and I didn’t want it to be cliché Gold Coast. That’s all the direction I have her, and she came up with the rest. We did a second fitting and she spent hours and hours beading, and I was just frankly in a world of pain at the time, but she just made me feel gorgeous. I wish I had her in my house all the time; she just knew in an instant what would and wouldn’t work for me and that is a real skill.
What’s one essential fashion item that every woman should own?
A good pair of jeans, and for Melbourne, a really nice trench coat. I have a trench coat that I bought in England when I was living in the UK, and it’s a really classic trench. I’ve had it for over ten years.
You’ve for one minute to pack a bag for a holiday and you don’t know where you’re going. What essential three items do you pack?
Jeans, a little black dress, and probably my trench coat!
Who are your muses? Who inspires you personally?
My best friend Alice. She used to be an actress and she’s an academic and a mother and a musician. Michelle Williams; I think she’s lovely. And you know what, just to round it out with a red-hot fabulous human being – Michelle Obama.
Define 2018 in three words?
Profound. Surprising. Life-changing.