If you’ve ever dyed the ends of your hair lighter than the roots, you have Alexa Chung to thank for it.
That alone illustrates the style impact of this English phenom. However, beyond all her contracts (she’s the face of L’Oréal Professionnel) and collabs (in the past she has partnered with Superga, AG Jeans, Madewell, and more), there’s a 34-year-old ambitious woman who is determined to redefine herself on her own terms. First up: Design her own clothing line. Check. Next: Create a healthy, happy, loving existence. We sat down for a deeply honest chat. SHAPE: So fitness—what’s your workout now? ALEXA CHUNG: I never prioritized fitness until I got past 30 years old and realized I wasn’t invincible. A few years ago, when I was living in New York City, I started doing Gyrotonic classes, but that was more for posture and alignment than for fitness. So I started working out with Mary Helen Bowers, who created Ballet Beautiful (I still see her every day when I’m in New York). When I’m in London, I do the moves I can remember on my own. And I walk—a lot. SHAPE: And what about staying mentally fit and happy? AC: The older I get, the more attuned I am to avoiding disaster. So I started seeing a therapist awhile ago, who I now check in with whenever I’m feeling wobbly. But the only time I’m really unhappy is when I feel my brain isn’t being utilized. I’m also someone who needs to be around people a lot or I spiral downward. My CEO [Edwin Bodson, formerly of Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester] and I laugh a lot. Running a business is no joke, but the harder it gets, the more funny we find it. You have to realize it’s not the end of the world. SHAPE: Since you are on the cover of our beauty issue, can you tell us about your daily routine? AC: I value sleep over vanity, so I don’t wear much makeup unless I have to look done up for an event. But I have discovered that serums are important under moisturizer for hydration. Currently I’m using a serum by Sulwhasoo (us.sulwhasoo.com) that I discovered in Korea. I like to layer it under Augustinus Bader the Cream ($265, augustinusbader.com). But I’m also happy to buy something lower-priced at the drugstore for my face. One thing I’m committed to is Nivea Intense Healing Body Lotion ($5, amazon.com). I like to mix it with rose oil, or something else I love the smell of, before I apply it. I make a little dessert in my hand. SHAPE: And we have to ask, since so many people turn to you for hair inspiration, what are you doing next with yours? AC: I was just googling around, looking at hairstyles. I have to cut mine off, but my ears are too big to go really short. So I think I’m going to try an Isabella Rossellini late-’80s, early-’90s look [a cheekbone-length bob]. SHAPE: Speaking of style, let’s talk about your new line, Alexachung, which launched last year. After collaborating with so many brands, why did you decide to do your own thing? AC: People have gotten to know me through so many different mediums that weren’t necessarily me—I wanted to do something that expressed who I was on the inside. So I went out and got funding to do my own line. At first I felt like a foreign exchange student: I knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t speak the language. Now I speak the language; I understand what is possible. I’m getting bolder and have more confidence in my eye. SHAPE: What else is on your agenda? AC: I tend to act on one-year plans. For example, I’ll be on vacation and think, Who would I like to come back here with next year? So for the foreseeable future, I’d like to get my line on the London Fashion Week schedule, showing twice a year. I’d like to buy a home. I could see myself falling in love, since I’m a romantic at heart. And, of course, there’s that Isabella cut!