What a year it’s been for 19 year old model, Poppy Okotcha. She’s the gamine goddess starring on the runway for labels like Jacquemus, Vivienne Westwood and Chloé and the tender faced beauty capturing the attention of photographers such as Harley Weir and Lorenzo Dalbosco. Not bad for someone who hadn’t initially intended to become a top model.
What’s evident in talking to Poppy is her knack for combining humor and spirituality in her discourse. As she is disarming and philosophical by nature, our conversation promptly took course for tongue in cheek existentialism. She regales us below with stories on her current life on a canal boat, what it might be like to live as an deep sea rock formation and hobbling the runway with a broken heel.
UM // Where do you come from and where are you now?
PO // There are so many answers to this question... On a spiritual level I come everything and am still emitting everything. Geographically I come from a village in Wiltshire called Great Bedwyn and am now in London. Physically I come from an egg inside my mother's womb and am now a fully grown person! I could go on and on!
UM // What were the last 6 months of your life like?
PO // Well... 6 months ago my boyfriend and I moved onto a canal boat so that was a massive change! Summer happened which we spent on the boat... I could never have predicted the last 6 months but they were good!
UM // What is something you care about?
PO // I mainly care about someones rather than somethings haha
UM // If you could give your younger self some advice, what would you say?
PO // I'd say what my mum said to me a year and a bit ago which is that you don't HAVE to do anything ever, you can choose even if it doesn't feel like it. And I'd say never to let go of my creativity and I'd say good job because being young is hard... The weird teenage time won't last forever and one day you'll love having small boobs!
UM // I just Googled, 'canal boat house' and I'm in. What has that been like?
PO // I wasn't when my boyfriend first suggested it but now I love it be her (the boat)! The usual questions are is there hot water is it warm is there a toilet blah blah blah? And yes to all those. Some parts of the canal in London are just like the countryside, it's nice to come home and feel close to nature! Plus it's dirt cheap.
UM // It seems like you have a good support system around you, who would you say inspires you the most to follow your dreams?
PO // This issue is always a hard question because a lot of people inspire me. But it's funny because I've never really had a dream other than to "help people" which I don't think counts because everyone wants to do that. My mum's always supported me in anything I feel I should be doing though.
UM // What does your instagram bio (you are the base and the bass said me) refer to?
PO // Ok so, I'll try not to ramble but this is gonna be a bit of a long answer! For me, humans and everything we perceive in the world are the same thing. By "experiencing" you create that experience outside of you... so you see a sunrise and think ok the sun is rising, that is a thing that is happening outside of "me"... but really it's the same as you... we come from the same and go back to the same.
We are the universe and creators of the universe... If that makes sense? (if you're interested look up the double slit test). So everything is everything, we just experience things as separate physically. "Base" means the start, we create our own reality, we are the start or base of it all. "Bass" is like a rhythm or beat. By this I mean we are the continuous creators in our lives. If you think of life as a song, we are the creators and constant sustainers of our own song, whether this song is beautiful, sad, romantic is our choice. We, and by we I mean a universal we, not just humans, are the center of the center.
That's a very simplified version of my thought process when I came up with it! I think it's good to be made to think because in the world we live in we are handed so much information on a silver platter without really having to consider it. This isn't like the standard sentences we usually process so makes people think a bit and interpret it in their own way.
UM // I think you would like The Myth of Sisyphus, if you haven't already read it. It's possibly my favorite book and reminds me of what your talking about.
PO // Ahh great! I'll take a look, I'm reading Finding of the Third Eye by Vera Stanley Alder at the moment which gives a really, really basic outline of a whole bunch of things linked with spirituality from numbers and colour to diet. It's really interesting even if you don't agree with all that's in it and is a good guide onto further topics. The Prophet I recommend to everyone though.
UM // When do you feel the most creative?
PO // This is actually something I was just thinking about! It's really annoying because sometimes I can go for weeks without feeling it and then all of a sudden it just springs on me out of the blue and I won't be ready for it so often it's wasted. Also I'll have a concept in my head which I can find hard to translate. I have been trying to work out how to solve this!
UM // Do you have any funny/interesting stories from fashion week?
PO // Um, not really other than that my shoe kinda broke for the Jacquemus show so I hobbled all 3 of my looks... Hopefully it looked better than I imagined hahah.
UM // If you could be a geological structure, what would you be?
PO // I like this question! So many magazines ask dumb stuff like, "what's your favourite bikini" hahaha. I think I would be a deep sea rock formation because we hardly know anything about the sea and I'd get to watch all the secrets and hopefully have some mermaids chillin on me.
UM // You seem to have an adventurous life aside from your career so I'm brought to wonder what attracts you to fashion?
PO // Honestly I don't really know! Hahah! It just sort of seemed to work at the time. I've never aspired to be a model because I've always thought there are far more useful professions out there... But I decided not to go to university last minute, didn't have an alternative plan and the opportunity presented itself! I'm glad it happened though because it has given me so many opportunities that I never had and it's inspired me to follow my creativity again. When I'm working and the whole team are getting their creative juices flowing it makes me want to be the artist rather than part of the art... Which is fun too but very hard to be passionate about haha. One day I'm going to be in need of models rather than be one!
For more on Poppy, follow her instagram @poppyokotcha