Jacquetta Wheeler - the Multi-talented Muse, Model and Photographer

TROY founder Rosie speaks with ultimate #TROYGirl Jacquetta about her iconic modelling career, health and welbeing and passion for photography. 
Your modelling career needs no introduction, but tell us about some of your favourite moments.

I used to love doing the fashion shows. I have fond memories of laughs backstage with the girls and all the hair and makeup people. And I loved walking to a great beat on the catwalk, wearing a fabulous outfit. The Galliano days of Dior were exceptional. I feel lucky to have been part of them. I also adored working for Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs.
My favourite shoot was probably when I went to Angkor Wat with Sheila Metzner for Conde Nast Traveller. It was a magical trip where I actually had time to look around the temples… rare then, I think impossible now probably! I also loved the Asprey campaign I did with Bruce Webber, where I posed lying on an elephant’s trunk while it lifted me in the air. Always loved working with Mario Testino who started my career too.

When did you first get on the other side of the camera and realise your passion for photographic portraiture?

I always loved taking pictures. My mother was a photographer and gave me a proper camera when I was on holiday aged 10, and I started learning then. In my early twenties in NYC, I did a course at the ICA (international centra of photography) and my project was taking portraits of friends of mine. I called it “Inside Out.” It took a while to develop enough confidence to call it a job, but I do now and I love it.

The combination of your modelling and photography skills are a match made in heaven, perhaps never more so than during the pandemic. Tell us more about your lockdown self-portrait shoots with Massimo Dutti and most recently with the new TROY Tweeds.

Just before the first lockdown, I was packing up the car to take me and my family to Kent where my Dad lived, and delayed the journey by two hours searching for my tripod which somehow had made its way into our garden shed. I’d had this idea of taking photos of myself and knew I needed it! Once in Kent and just before the shops all shut down, I flew into Canterbury to go to a camera shop, to buy a remote shutter release. I just started doing it. I had a few fun dresses and played around, and started sending the pictures to my agent to see if she could help find me some work. A few weeks later, Massimo Dutti asked me to do a shoot for them. It was an extraordinary experience, working with people only virtually and trying to deliver what they needed. I had to do all of it – the hair, makeup, everything. I didn’t stop for 5 days when I did those pictures. I learned a lot! The advantage to being both the photographer and the model is of course that you know exactly what each needs to make the other work. And, as the photographer, I knew I had all the time in the world to get the right shot, without the pressure of a whole team wanting you to hurry up! As the model, kind of amazing to have complete control on poses and total freedom to play around. All of that said, I missed having the team there with me, a lot! It was pretty lonely and very hard work!

We adore the dynamic nature of the shots you have captured,  what inspired you to this composition?

Thank you! The countryside inspires me all the time. I just drove around the fields the evening before the shoot and found that grassy bank and thought how fun, to shoot upwards using the blue sky as a backdrop.

You have been a supporter of TROY since our first sample collection in 2015 and the face of TROY in 2017, with a shoot on the stunning Yorkshire moors. Tell us what catches your eye from the latest collection.

Love the pop wax parkas in green with the cherry zip lining!

As a busy mum of two,  how do you work in self care and a healthy lifestyle around your many commitments?

Its not easy! I combine the school run with a bike ride each day – that’s my exercise. I’ve moved to Queens Park and Sam goes to school at the bottom of the hill in Notting Hill Gate, so it’s a good work out back home! I eat well. I don’t drink in the week much at all. I run twice a week and walk the dog at the same time. I’m actually not good at relaxing, and need to get better at it!

While this strange era of the pandemic continues and our travels are curtailed, what are you missing most? 

I’m missing my home in Tangier, Morocco, where I’d usually go about 4 times per year. I haven’t been for 1.5 years and am just praying I can take the kids there this summer.

Tell us your favourite place to breathe in nature and relax. 
Kings wood, by Chilham, in Kent. I’ve known those woods since I was 12 – I love to go there on my own with Pip, my dog. Also, the Atlantic coastline in Tangier is special too.
What projects do you have in store for the rest of 2021?

There have been a few big changes in my family recently, and to be honest they are taking up most of my time, so my kids are my priority at the moment. But I need to be creative too, so I’m also working on my photography always. It feeds me and I love it so it’s important to keep that going.

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