Sometime back in July, on a blisteringly hot sweat-patches-ahoy-hoy day, I fulfilled my 18-year-old self’s dreams and shot a nearly naked magazine cover.
Hannah Frances Gale on the front of a magazine in nothing but her Marks & Spencer granny pants and a glittering kimono.
Well I bloody never.
The cover was for issue 14 of Blogosphere magazine (which you can pick up from W H Smith stores later this month), and was to commemorate the fact that you wonderful, beautiful, BEST PEOPLE EVER, voted me Blogger Of The Year in the magazine’s awards earlier this summer.
So I thought I’d write a post about what actually happens on shoot day and what it’s actually like to be kneeling in a field of wheat trying not to get poked in the vagina by a rogue piece of straw.
Very Theresa May of me, I know.
As I said, shoot day was some time way back in July. It was freakishly hot, and I was praying to the morning sickness gods that they’d treat me to a vomit-free day because y’know, ain’t nothing that spoils a fresh layer of make-up more than sticking your head down the toilet.
Our shoot took place a two-hour drive from my house, at Hitchin Lavender Farm in Hertfordshire.
We were set to meet at 10am, so I set off around 7.30am to allow for rush-hour traffic – with a boot crammed full with all the semi-fancy clothes that ~might~ still fit me, plus a couple of pairs of shoes.
I wore no make-up, but layered on a shit ton of moisturiser because I planned on having the air-con on full-whack for the entire 82-mile drive and ain’t nobody wanna look like a dried up prune.
I had also washed my hair the night before, left it to dry naturally, and had drenched my pale limbs in several layers of my good friend St Tropez fake tan.
I met the team – the lovely Alice and Albertine from Blogosphere, Kate who was going to be doing my hair and make-up, Alex who was shooting the snaps, and Mark who was filming a behind-the-scenes video, and then we set to work attempting to transform me into some sort of not-too-aggressive-on-the-eyes goddess.
Hair and make-up took about 90 minutes – Kate laid out her make-up collection across a table in the outdoor section of the cafe and I sat on a little stool, desperately trying to not get savaged by wasps or throw up down myself.
And then the magic began.
We did seven outfit changes – I changed in the cafe loos between shots – and shot in a couple of different locations at the farm, including a field of lavender and a field of wheat.
You’d ~think~ shooting for a magazine cover would be glamorous, but a lot of it was lying on the ground and trying my very hardest not to look at all the snails that were mere centimetres from me.
AND BREATHE AND BREATHE.
After a few outfit changes we broke for lunch and all ordered toasties and brownies because that’s the sort of superheroes we are, whilst Kate updated my make-up for something a little bit sexier and sultrier and I won’t lie, I’d quite like her to live in my cupboard and make me look like a queen every day.
I WORE FAKE EYE LASHES GUYS AND FELT LIKE BEYONCE.
And then we did the shots that became the final cover shot.
Y’know, those ones where I had to take my bra off and try really hard not to show my nipples to members of the public. Because that was the thing, we didn’t have the entire farm to ourselves, in fact, it was creepily busy and I was like please lord do not flash your bosom to any children. Do not get escorted off the premises.
The style of the photo wasn’t something we’d planned before shoot day – I happened to have the kimono in my back-of-the-car wardrobe (a 2013 fave from Miss Selfridge that I’d worn to V Festival), and also just so happened to be pregnant and well, we just rolled with it and did something a bit ~out there~.
Yes, it was fucking terrifying.
Yes, I was mortified.
Yes, I was 103% sure I was going to hate the photos because shock horror this gal didn’t have a six-pack before getting up the duff and I was worried I’d just look like I was carting around a food baby.
But yes, I am so, so, so glad I just squealed fuck it and threw my bra to Alex because I have something pretty bloody wonderful to remember my pregnancy by.
After the outfit snaps we had a water pit-stop and make-up touch-up before doing the actual interview part of the day. This took about an hour and was filmed by Mark as well as recorded on a dictaphone ready to be transcribed for the magazine article itself.
And then, at around 5pm, we packed up for the day and I made my way home to a Thai curry and a very early night (after a casual 15-minutes attempting to remove my make-up to a standard Caroline Hirons would be proud of).
A few weeks later, Alice, the Blogosphere editor, sent me over the final shots and the copy for my interview to make sure there wasn’t anything that’d make me cry/sign out of the internet for the next decade and then VOILA, WE DONE.
And here we are now.
I HAVE THE MAGAZINE IN MY HANDS. IT’S REAL. WHAT.
I really hope you guys like it, and thanks as always for supporting me and being the very reason these WTF experiences happen. You da best.