“Come on in, I’m celebrating my (paperwork)”, says Alys with a smile, charming British accent and a hit of dry wit. We met at her Sydney terrace apartment in Glebe. Two or three flights of stairs, suitcases toppled and overflowing with designer clothes, one bedroom, an electric guitar, over a bed, out a half cracked window which I’m sure stopped functioning sometime in the late 80s.
It’s an otherwise ordinary Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting drinking whiskey with some lovely ladies. “We’re out of wine”, say Ollie (Henderson), Alys’ flatmate, another acclaimed (Australian) fashion model. “This is what they must call a ‘model apartment’”, I make a note.
We make small talk, and chat about the girl’s careers as creatives, writers and journalists. Alys writes for Russh and The Guardian as well as making music and DJing; and Ollie, a law student who has written for the New York Times, among other publications, I’m sure. Genuinely warm people make me smile.
The purpose of my visit in Glebe was actually to ‘test’ (that’s industry talk for shooting with a model). There’s a brief consult with the girls on the mood image that I offer up on my phone (a David Bellemare black and white). A few minutes later, Alys comes back, impressively on brand, and we saunter down to the back yard.
When you shoot with someone as experienced as Alys, it honestly doesn’t take long to make amazing pictures.
“I didn’t realise at first, but you’ve got a bit of a Kate Moss vibe going on”.
There’s a quiet pause as I check the back of my camera. Click.
“Well interestingly, when I was thirteen I was scouted by Kate's agent. I went onto body double for her”.
Alys modestly smiles. Interestingly indeed. My brain runs the math. That’s old school cool.
We both move together around the yard, and it’s fairly obvious that we’ve both done this many times before, her probably more than me.
“This isn’t going to sound very romantic, but I think we’ve got it”, I say after what I imagine is no more than 8 minutes.
“You do shoot fast”.
If only I’d remembered to say something witty like, “If you can’t be good, at least be fast”.
You can follow Alys Hale on the gram: @alyshale