The girls met in freshers week and became best friends
Meet Essie and India, two best friends in their second year studying English, who you are going to be jealous of. With an enviable fashion CV and an even more enviable wardrobe, these two are a fashion force to be reckoned with. Combining killer bone structure and smoldering poses, the chicas don’t need Instagram filters in order to rack up the likes.
The Tab caught up with the models to find out what it’s really like to be so innately cool. Having met on their English course during freshers, the pals were put into a group for a team building exercise.
Essie remembers “loving” India’s jacket, and the pair quickly hit it off – India recalls plainly stating to Essie “I like you” after hearing her “booming” laugh. The fit freshers both had distinctive laughs as well as senses of style, and it continues on now: “When I send India a funny text I can hear her bellowing from my room.
“If I don’t know where she is I can assume she’s somewhere having a good time with people, she is that funny and outgoing.”
And she thinks just as highly of India’s style: “It is sort of bohemian but still quite stylish. “I think she’d fit in really well at somewhere like Coachella or on Venice beach – she would definitely be in her element there, rather than in rainy Exeter.”
India holds Essie in similar esteem, saying “she’s ridiculously sassy” and “really chic.” She even admits to “wandering into Essie’s room to see if there’s something to steal.
“She has this one red bodycon dress, and it will be mine one day. When she least expects it, it will be gone.”
Despite the similarities shared by the girls in the real world, on Instagram the only common ground between their profiles are their modelling photos. India’s profile (@indiaghammond) is “more about my life, my modelling pictures combined with little quotes and poems, oh and food – so many pictures of food.” By contrast Essie tends to use Insta (@essiedennis) for “primarily illustration work – it’s a great way to get feedback on art.”
And along with those modeling photos come modeling stories. India tell us: “I was once body painted completely to look like a mannequin, it was for a hair shoot where I had this massive bouffant blonde hairdo that was the length of half of my body piled onto my head.
“I was standing in my underwear being painted and then the makeup artist said “you might have to take your bra off now” and I was like, what? It was all very professional but still bizarre as it was one of my first shoots and all I was wearing was my underwear and some boob tape.”
India’s favourite shoot involved several different hairpieces and wigs. “I got to be a platinum blonde and a curly-haired red head. It’s the best thing really when you get to invent yourself on shoot and I don’t get a lot of that because so much of my work revolves around beautiful skin and hair rather than any kind of character work.”
But the girls haven’t let the fame get to their heads, and have remained true to their Exetah roots. “We don’t want to be boring and samey, but our favourite place is Firehouse. We love it, there’s nothing better than scoffing down a pizza while glugging on a pitcher.”
What does the future hold for India and Essie? India “would love to go to drama school for a year after university. Another goal is to start my own bohemian clothing business, another to be a travel journalist for National Geographic, maybe I can combine them all in some weird way? Who even knows.”
Essie, however, wants to stick with modeling and illustration. “That’s the way for me I think. I took a year out so I feel more confident that I can figure things out.
“I’m definitely into the idea that your social presence on the internet is the way forward with these kind of professions so I take that quite seriously. I don’t really have dreams but I do have goals. I have to know that something is feasible and I think modeling and illustration are.”