Q&A with Rachel Fuller: Into Our Hearts With Talent & Style
By Amanda Casabianca
Rachel took time out from working on her latest disc to answer a few questions about her sexy, winning style, drummers in spandex and her unabashed obsession with handbags...
Apart from being a classically trained piano virtuoso with a gorgeous voice and the fresh looks of a British belle Rachel Fuller has another feature she shares with the world; she's a natural comedienne.
Viewers may recall her acerbic yet thoughtful judging technique on VH1's Kept where she helped real life gal pal super model Jerry Hall, narrow down her stable of hunky (and occasionally narcissistic) young studs. Rachel Fuller
"I play a cold, heartless judge. I'm nothing like that! Don't judge a girl by her reality TV cover," Fuller writes on her blog which has been giving her fans keen insight into everything from sneaking mini cams into awards shows to the daily adventures of her dogs Spud, Barney and Harry who occasionally don her Alexander McQueen scarves and go for rides in her custom made lilac Volkswagen van through the English countryside.
Most recently her fellow bloggers and fans have been treated to ten weeks of music and unscripted entertainment via free live webcast from London called In The Attic (soon to be available on DVD). Decked out in fabulous dresses, surrounded by candles, artwork and numerous friends including co-host and best chum songwriter Mikey Cuthbert, Rachel traded witty quips with nearly everyone from her partner, rock legend Pete Townshend of The Who, to her sister Bex. The lively banter was punctuated by energetic live performances including tunes she co-wrote with Mikey, the odd Who cover, and selections from her recent Universal records release Cigarettes and Housework.
A great disc for any occasion, Cigarettes and Housework is a welcome departure from much of the over-produced, "thong pop" that seems to be everywhere these days. Sensual, witty and sometimes heart wrenching, tracks such as Eat Me (Wonderland), Ghost In Your Room and Into Your Heart speak to just about anyone whose felt the fear and lust that romance can bring with it.
Rachel FullerI recently spoke with Rachel from the home she shares with Pete Townshend in Richmond upon Thames in London and asked her to sum up her disc: "Fabulous actually, not bad, should do better," she says. "A triumph!" Pete calls out while doing the evening's dishes.
Rachel took time out from working on her latest disc and various domestic pursuits to answer a few questions about her sexy, winning style, drummers in spandex and her unabashed obsession with handbags...
GKFA: You perform in both concert halls and pubs, what works or does not work to wear onstage?
RF: In pubs I like to dress fairly casually. In a concert Hall, it's definitely an opportunity to bring out the Prada! High heels can be a nightmare, but a bit of cleavage is always a good move.
GKFA: Who and what were your style influences growing up?
RF: I think I've always tried to be fairly original, which has both worked for and against me. Sometimes I would get it right, and sometimes oh so wrong. I made a skirt out of a curtain once, bad move. And I vaguely remember an outfit consisting entirely of orange stripes but think I have erased the memory of it through trauma. I was quite inspired by sexy, mad women [like] Brigitte Bardot, Betty Blue, and Molly Ringwold in Pretty in Pink (hence the curtain skirt).
GKFA: Really classy and sexy stockings are a big part of your style, who makes the best?
RF: Without a doubt, the best stockings I wear are Jerry [Hall's] new collection. They really do stay up.
GKFA: You favor a lot of very ultra feminine, artistic collections like Libertine and Pucci, any other new or vintage designers catching your keen eye at the moment?
RF: I'm mad for Libertine. As for other designers, I try to stay away from the mainstream, high fashion labels. I'm opening a shop in the New Year called ATTIQUE, which is based entirely around real Vintage. I have taken original vintage pieces and hand patterns cut, then sourced vintage fabric from around the world. Every piece is one of a kind, and all accessorized with brooches, lace, pearls, etc that are original. Our main pieces to start with are beautiful Victorian fitted long coats, jackets, silk slips, I could go on and on about this! I LOVE fashion. I am setting up the shop with my friend Lisa who has moved from L.A. where she was a very well respected stylist and we should be open in January. I'll send you the web site when its up and running!
GKFA: Handbags are your admitted addiction, what are some of your favorites? For what purpose?
RF: Aaaaaah! Handbags. My Heroin. My fix. It doesn't have to be a particular designer; it just has to produce a chemical reaction in my brain sufficient to produce hours of joy!
GKFA: What beauty and fitness trends seem just unfathomably ridiculous to you?
RF: All fad diets seem like a total waste of time. No carbs, no fat, everything green, Atkins, South Beach, blah, blah, blah. I have a wonderful concept. It is this: We know what food is good for us. We know what food is bad for us. If we eat too much we put on weight, if we eat less we lose weight.
I know! It's crazy. I think it's about time we started addressing what is behind food addiction, disorders, obesity, etc, which is emotional. Over-eating and under-eating is a symptom of a deeper trouble. Low self-esteem is very common in our current society. When I feel miserable or down, I reach for the potato and bread.
As for fitness, I'd drive to the kitchen if I could, although I have recently started doing Pilates which I actually enjoy and see results very quickly. As for sweating and being out of breath? The [only] appropriate place for that is in the bedroom.
GKFA: Lately, it seems like female singers are being lauded for spending more time with a personal trainer than being creative, which has been a most unfortunate trend. We all appreciate beauty but not at the expense of talent. Besides yourself, who else do you see as both glamorous and talented?
RF: Mmmmmm. Glamorous and talented. Tough one. There are of course hundreds. Aretha Franklin, Kate Bush, my goodness, that's a hard question, next........
GKFA: Cigarettes and Housework has a lot of introspection on it, any forecast for your next disc yet?
RF: I'm very excited about doing a second album. Perhaps moving through my addictions - Sugar and Shopping? might be a good title. I continue to write about what I know, see, feel, hear etc.
GKFA: You've been producing and starring in a live webcast every week from London that has included live music and chats with friends, special guests, prizes and even extensive fashion tips, how do you always look so relaxed on camera?
RF: Do I look relaxed on camera? I guess it's because it's so much fun! The only anxiety I have is that "the boys" might start talking about rude, boy things. But I run a tight ship and so far, there have only been a few incidents.
GKFA: You front a band of three very nice Englishman, ever tell them what to wear?
RF: My band[mates] are adorable and extremely talented. I call them my bitches, it's a term of affection. They all have their own sense of style but I do sometimes suggest what they might wear, haha. I once asked to my drummer to wear a satin, lycra yellow leotard and do some contemporary dancing whilst I was playing a track that didn't have drums on it. He refused; even drummers have a line they won't cross.
GKFA: From British Flag jackets to boiler suit with Doc Martens, your boyfriend (Pete Townshend of The Who) has set some fashion trends of his own, do you ever
play wardrobe girl?
RF: I never play wardrobe girl with Pete, he's the best dressed man I know.
Some of Rachel's Faves:
Shampoo: Frederic Fekkai.
Face Creams: Switch all the time, or they stop working
Chocolate: Cadburys whole nut
Book: Perfume by Patrick Susskind
Music: Stevie Wonder and Gustav Mahler
Fragrance: Angel by Thierry Mugler
Choice expression: "Bugger off"
Vacation: Somewhere sunny with sea.
For more information on Rachel please visit www.rachelfuller.com or read her blog at www.rachelfuller.blogspot.com.