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Suki Waterhouse’s Music Has Swagger

The model, actress, and singer is acing the airwaves with her new music

The allure that 27-year-old Suki Waterhouse radiates is undeniable no matter what platform she is seen on–and she has pretty much all of them covered. The English model was discovered at age 16 and since then has posed for designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Alice + Olivia, and Burberry. Waterhouse’s modeling career led her to her own photography exhibition at Eb and Flow gallery in London, followed by the launch of her accessories brand Pop & Suki, which she co-founded with longtime friend Poppy Jamie, and helped grow her 1.5 million Instagram following, too. With her cool charisma and bold ambition, Waterhouse successfully made her foray into acting in 2016, earning roles in films such as The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Assassination Nation, and Detective Pikachu.

The creative stamina that Waterhouse possesses is clear from her never-ending and ever-growing list of projects that stretch across industries. “Once I finish something I’m quite like, okay, what else do I have on the list?,” Waterhouse tells me. The multi-hyphenate talent ventured into music in 2016 and has been self-releasing singles every so often since then. “There’s a very immediate reaction when you put out music. But, music is also something that people keep discovering, so it kind of has a really long life,” the singer says.

Waterhouse released her single “Johanna” in late 2019 with an accompanying music video starring legendary New York City performance artist Amanda Lepore. “I was more nervous with her than probably I would be with anyone else. I used to go and watch her a lot when I first went to New York when I was 17. She’s so larger than life and made a big impact on me,” Waterhouse says of working with Lepore. The video casts Waterhouse as a male bodyguard and Lepore as a glamorous Hollywood darling.

While Waterhouse croons about unrequited love on the song, her portrayal of Fred the bodyguard in the video is a reflection of some of her own internal struggles and insecurities. “I was thinking about how I was going to present myself and I kind of wanted to not look like myself. Maybe because I was nervous,” she says of her role in the music video. Waterhouse dons a dark men’s suit and glasses in the video, a bold contrast to her on-screen counterpart but not totally far from Waterhouse’s actual personal style.

“I sort of wanted to hide behind a suit that feels very authoritative. I think a lot about wearing suits and men’s clothes. I’m either dressed like a cupcake or in suits and boy’s clothes a lot,” she offers. Waterhouse adds that she finds it interesting that in today’s society, a suit is the expected uniform for most bankers and “greedy men” but there is an androgynous and authoritative connotation when she wears a suit.

“It’s like such a basic bitch outfit so why do we associate it with being powerful and strong?,” she asks herself. Waterhouse celebrates both her femininity and masculinity in her fashion choices, but admits that both styles have limitations and a certain level of power to them.

The next two songs Waterhouse plans to release include a track with more swagger than Mick Jagger called “Moves” and a stripped-back song called “Slip.” On “Moves,” Waterhouse sings about resembling the singer Suzi Quatro, a rocker who rose to prominence in the 70s. “I went to a White Stripes gig and he would never remember this but, I met Jack White and he said I look like Suzi Quatro so I wrote it down and put it in a song,” Waterhouse tells me of the song’s lyrics, adding with a laugh that she needed to Google who the singer was.

With a dreamy sound punctuated with powerful vocals, Waterhouse channels Cat Power, Lana Del Rey, and Lucinda Williams through her music. So, what’s next on this triple threat’s list of endeavors? Waterhouse will be featured in the upcoming film Misbehaviour, alongside Keira Knightley and Jesse Buckley.

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