Media Darling Recounts Rise

Casey Miller, Editor in Chief

Today I started and finished It by Alexa Chung. It only took me an hour, but that was an hour well spent.  By the end of it, the book’s pink cover was splattered with hot chocolate stains and the pages were  torn by excited fingers.

The simple pink cover, with Chung’s signature across the top and a small picture of her eye below it, does not reveal much about the book’s content.

There’s no enticing summary on the back, inside the front cover, or anywhere else; there’s no author biography.

Chung has become the entertainment Renaissance woman after her early modeling career vaulted her into the British pop-culture spotlight. Chung continues to model for luxury brands like Burberry and Chanel, works as a TV presenter for various music networks like MTV, and writes magazine columns for Vogue and Company. The New York Times recently paid her the best compliment in the fashion world: Chung is “the Kate Moss of the new generation.”

It recounts episodes of Chung’s childhood, which was filled with pony-obsessions, numerous fashion and make-up experiments, and a sudden modeling career. The book is also filled with advice for style, which Chung typically learned from her own trial and error.

Some of her recommendations include the following:

  1. Cat-eye liner is a must.
  2. Nudity will happen at festivals. There’s no way around it.
  3. Red lips right after a plane trip will draw away from tired eyes.
  4. A girl’s relationship with denim hot pants is very special.
  5. Looking effortless takes a lot of effort. (This was followed by 3 pages on how to look effortless.)
  6. Jane Birken is an excellent example of how to dress like a boy but act like a girl.
  7. You know what you like, follow your gut.

All of the little stories and style tips from one of London’s biggest fashionistas are accompanied by photographs of Chung, her friends, and her various role models and fashion icons. Furthermore, doodles by Chung make the memoir feel as personal as a diary.

I’ve always seen pictures of Alexa Chung floating around on Tumblr. For the first few months, I resisted the temptation to learn more about her. But soon, I was digging into everything from Wikipedia to London gossip websites to find out: who is Alexa Chung?

When I finally read the chapter about heartbreak and how to get over it, I immediately recalled all of her relationships, which I had learned about during my gossip media binge. “Please, please let her be talking about Alex Turner!” I thought, as I read about how one of her lovers left her with a navy blue sweater, now a style staple for her. I’ll admit, my heart fluttered a bit. But the best line is the advice from her mother: “The best way to get over one man is to get under another.”

Chung writes, “I don’t think she intended for me to go on a massive bone rampage but I certainly upheld my end of that bargain several times, so for that gem of information, mother, I thank you from the bottom of my broken heart.”

It’s obvious that this book is not ghostwritten, like the memoirs of many other celebrities, and I appreciate that. Freshly honest in the book, in a way that she may not be in interviews, Alexa Chung gives me more reason to admire her.