A Sunday Talk With Anna Skavlan

You’re probably familiar with the Skavlan-name. We had a talk with the lovely Anna Skavlan, a 21 year old who is wise beyond her years. She studies Liberal Arts at King’s College in London, after two years of working as a model and a writer for Melk & Honning in Oslo. Here, she shares why she took a break from modeling, her plans for the future, how she unleash her creativity and more.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

 What was your experience when working as a model? Can you explain why you wanted to take a break from it?

I would never have been where I am today if I didn’t take the chance to model. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the big Givenchy show I did in 2015, I would never have gotten anywhere. I was 17, thought I looked pretty weird and had never done any real modelling. The show was what made my career, but also made me ambitious, willing and hard working. Though it’s not something I am particularly proud of, because it was not a show I worked hard to get. It was all thanks to a chance encounter, and I had the right look at the right time. 

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

I’ve since realized my modelling career might never reach any higher, and I started working harder to achieve my other goals instead. In the modelling industry, you have no control over your own career, and for me that became too frustrating. I don’t have a commercial look, so jobs would come very irregularly, and I was too tired of rejection. I do however still cherish the people I met, the places I got to go and the lesson that you have to be fun and easy to work with. Because if you can’t be the prettiest girl in the room, you can at least try to be the nicest. 

Now I focus on becoming a better writer, getting my education at a good university, reading more, watching more movies, getting to know new people and trying to include my creativity in as many exciting projects as possible. And for now, its working out pretty well.  

 What are your plans for the future? 

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

After I finish my degree at King’s in London, I want to go back to Oslo for a bit and (hopefully) work as a writer. Then I hope to get my masters in journalism at Colombia in New York City before trying to trick my way into work as a film critic or editor.

 Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Saving Vanity Fair magazine.  

 In your opinion, what is true beauty?

A 1960s Jaguar E-type in British Racing Green with a tan interior. Or a genuine smile.

 How do you practice self-love? 

I take myself on a date – dinner and movie. Spending time in your own company is the greatest expression of self-love and test of confidence.   

 What are your go-to places in Oslo?

Definitely the Astrup Fearny museum. It’s a gorgeous building, housing a great contemporary collection. Also, Peder Lund’s gallery is Oslo’s answer to White Cube. He manages to fill his one-room gallery with the most impressive artists. They are both at Tjuvholmen. Galleri Golsa is also an amazing space for young, exciting artist, owned by the loveliest people. I love Cinemateket, where they show classic and independent movies. However, my number one tip is one of Oslo’s best kept secrets: The Emanuel Vigeland Mausoleum. It’s only open Sundays. I won’t tell you too much about it. Just go. It is incredible.

Galleri Golsa in Oslo. Photo by Anna.

Galleri Golsa in Oslo. Photo by Anna.

What do you do when you want to unleash your creativity?

I draw! I’ve always doodled a lot, but recently I’ve wanted to become a better drawer. I go to still life lessons to draw nude models, or try to draw bodies from Helmut Newton and Robert Mapelthrorpe photographs.

Which living person do you most admire?

Any person who manage to do both what they have to and what they want to in life.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Favorites: 

Author: 
There are too many! For fiction it’s Truman Capote and Bret Easton Ellis, for non-fiction its Jon Krakuaer and Patti Smith. For journalism its A.A. Gill and Nancy Jo Sales, and for film its Aaron Sorkin and Charlie Kaufmann. And I have to add Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin to the mix as well. He was only seventeen when he wrote the lyrics for “Your Song”. I always wonder what girl made him come up with the simple, elegant, yet so profound sentence “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you’re in the world”. 

Film Director: 

My all-time favorite is Paul Thomas Anderson. I also admire David Fincher, Andrea Arnold, Charlie Kaufmann, Denis Villeneuve and Spike Jonze. Cameron Crowe also deserves some attention as he has made my all-time favorite film, Almost Famous. However, the rest of his filmography does not stand up to the same quality.

Artist: 

I’ve grown up around a lot of art, as my parents are collectors and dragged me along to museums almost every Sunday my entire childhood. I’ve grown to love American contemporary, with my favorite being Ed Rusha. Anne Collier, Richard Serra, Mark Rothko, Catherine Opie and Lucas Blalock also deserve a mention here. And as for non-Americans. Sterling Ruby, Gerhard Richter, Marina Abramovic and Egon Shiele hold a special place in my heart. 

Ed Rusha at The National Gallery in London. Photo by Anna.

Ed Rusha at The National Gallery in London. Photo by Anna.

Museum:

The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York - of course. The home of American contemporary! I also love the Pompidou in Paris, Getty Centre in Los Angeles and White Cube in London.

White Cube in London. Photo by Anna.

White Cube in London. Photo by Anna.

Restaurant:

This is a though one. St. Lars in Oslo is the restaurant where I feel the most at home, where my family and I go whenever were all in Oslo. Lucques in West Hollywood is a home away from home where I go to have dinner by myself every time I’m in Los Angeles. I always sit at the bar, eat Steak Frites, drink read wine and finishing off with an Affogato. I’m on first name basis with the bartenders and always end up sitting an hour or so extra talking to fellow lone-diners in the bar. As for my new hometown, London, I have yet to find a favorite, but a few Soho Houses and the Chinese restaurant Tea Room are staring to climb up my list.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

Photo by Hannah Hansen & Marlene Sæthre, published with their permission.

You can follow Anna on Instagram here.

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