MTV star Louise Roe talks about her time at Durham

‘Klute was legendary’


Who hasn’t heard of Louise Roe? Whether you’re even remotely interested in fashion or just watch a lot of tv, you’re bound to have noticed the gorgeous English tv-presenter and fashion journalist Louise Roe. She is well known for her role as a host on BBC’s The Clothes Show, The CW’s and MTV’s Plain Jane, and Star World’s Fit for Fashion. And guess what, she studied at Durham.

We chatted to the beautiful former Collingwood student, who graduated with a first in English Literature in 2004, to find out more about her time at Durham and how she managed to build up such a successful career in fashion. Currently residing in L.A. and about to get married, the fashionista remembers her time as a Durham student with fondness and is more than happy to share some memories with us.

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Photo: Private

What did your daily life at Durham look like, what were your favourite spots in town?

I lived on Hawthorn Terrace, next to all my best friends. I remember one winter night it snowed the most incredible blizzard and all the students came out to have an enormous snowball fight throughout the street. It was all fun and games until somebody smashed a car window, and the local who owned the car chased us all away! I played a lot of lacrosse, loved the pubs and spent a few weekends up in Newcastle. We would drink Pimms and watch the cricket all summer. And there were a few lectures thrown in there too!

I absolutely loved Durham, even after 3 years you still get blown away looking at how beautiful the castle and cathedral are. I’ve now lived in America 8 years, and nothing comes close to that kind of historic architecture.

Did you get up to any mischief in Klute or any other of the “first class” clubs Durham nightlife has to offer?

Haha there was Rixies as well, is that still there? Klute was legendary. I remember they created a VIP area which is pretty hilarious. When we graduated, all our parents came to town and we took them to Klute and ordered them a fishbowl. Of course.

How did you make the most of the Durham experience, have you been back since?

I haven’t been back and I’m dying to go! I think getting stuck into as many clubs, teams and groups as possible. Durham is small, but that’s the beauty of it. You end up knowing more people, I think, than if you were lost in a huge city.

Durham and L.A. seem like two polar opposites, to what extent do you feel you owe your success to your time as a Durhamite? 

It gave me the best friends in the world- I’m about to get married and there are a ton of Durham people coming, including two of my bridesmaids! And in all seriousness, it’s an incredible academic institution. I ended up with a First in English Literature, which I worked my butt off to get, and nobody can ever take that away. It taught me discipline and a love of books that I shall never lose.

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Photo: Private

You must have been the most fashionable student in the lecture theatre, what tips do you have for quickly disguising a hangover before running to an early morning seminar?

Haha Oh I don’t know if i’d quite found my fashion game just yet! We all wore super baggy low-slung trousers, trying to look like the girl band All Saints i think. My hangover trick is still the same as now – giant shades and a high bun to pull your face up.

Lastly, What advice can you give graduating Durham students who want to build up a career in fashion?

All the so-called ‘glamorous’ jobs still have the inane, repetitive side to them – so be prepared to work your way up the ladder, get coffee, photocopy, all that stuff. But make yourself  stand out when you’re an intern or an assistant – keep smiling, get in early, leave late, be professional, and always collect business cards and follow up on them the next morning. I remember I had to skip our girlie summer holiday to Portugal, in order to start at Elle magazine a week after graduating. Do your research about where you’re interviewing, it will show. And be as proactive as possible whether that means starting a blog or styling your own shoots, no matter how amateur. And always, always make sure your social media is how you want your professional image to be. I was once told by the head of Estee Lauder group it’s the very first place they look, before even reviewing your CV.

Keep up with Louise on her website Front Roe by Louise Roe , on Instagram @LouiseRoe, and on twitter @LouiseRoe.