Tali Lennox May Be “It”—But That’s Not All
Tali Lennox has the blessing and the curse of being saddled with that name (Lennox, as in Annie’s daughter) and that mantle (It girl), but the London-based model is ascending the ranks on her own steam, booking campaigns for Burberry and Topshop and catwalk appearances for Prada, Missoni, Miu Miu, and Christopher Kane, among others. “I love adventure, how you can end up in completely unexpected places each week,” Lennox says of the draw of the industry—and case in point, this week found her in Paris, where she walked the Mango runway as the label’s new global ambassadress. Lennox spoke with Style.com about her adventures in the (artificial) forests of fashion, her love of vintage, and her conflicted feelings on It-dom.
Have you always set your sights on fashion?
I never really planned to be a model, but it’s a pretty amazing thing to be able to do. I’ve always been really into fashion—I studied it a lot by myself, reading books about different designers since I was young. And I love playing with personal style; that’s what makes the Mango job fun because you can really enjoy the clothes. Plus, I get to see the collections take shape; then with a show like the one in Paris this week, you learn firsthand what goes into marketing a brand and actually launching a collection. It’s an amazing insight.
What are your latest adventures in modeling?
I had an editorial shoot the other day with a boa constrictor, a skunk, a tarantula, an owl, and a hedgehog, in an artificial forest. It’s amazing—you get to really adopt a character. Being backstage at a show is amazing, [too], it’s just everything in fashion, intensified. But in day-to-day life I’m just a normal person in the street.
Though unlike most normal people on the street, you’re often called an It girl. I’ve heard you don’t like that term.
I honestly don’t think of myself that way. I guess—I hope—it comes from having a bit of character, but as far as modeling goes, I worked really hard for it. When I started I made a point of not actually using my name. That’s why doing well in the show season is so important to me, because people don’t know who you are. I want to do what the other girls do; I don’t want to fake anything. But I also don’t get paranoid—I think it’s important to just be yourself.
How do you approach personal style?
I like to be really eclectic and also I just like to wear what makes me feel good. Fashion can say anything you want it to. Some people use it to feel powerful, or to show themselves off, but for me it’s just about being inspired by a character and pieces I love—I love finding something vintage and bringing it to life again. I wear my own vintage belt with a blue Mango dress, which is cool because there’s an element of glamour in the floral print, but then the belt keeps it grounded. I have another white maxi dress from the summer collection and that works well, too. I don’t like sticking to one thing, I like being quirky. It changes and develops all the time.
What are you into now?
Hats—loads of them. And I just found this jacket at a vintage fair that’s just amazing. It should be worth £300 but I got it for £50 because its fur was molting, but I cleaned it up. Everywhere I go people comment on it. Once you find a great vintage piece, you can’t help but have a sentimental attachment to it. I love it when style has a little nostalgia to it. But ultimately it has to feel like a second skin, like a part of you.