Geraldine Hakewill | Bianca Spender Portraits

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Geri Hakewill invites us to explore the Daylesford Botanic Gardens with her and discusses her craft, inspiration, musings and more.

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU, CAN YOU SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF, YOUR BACKGROUND AND WHAT YOU DO?


I’m an actor in theatre, film and TV. I’ve also produced short films and music videos, and I’m a singer/songwriter. I was born in Paris, I grew up in Sydney and now I live in regional Victoria on a property with my husband, two dogs and one chicken.

HOW DOES YOUR CRAFT INFLUENCE YOU IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?





I think I look at the world from the point of view of ‘story’. I often hear an anecdote and think ‘that would make a great film/tv show/book’ or I see an unusual habitual movement that someone sitting across from me in a cafe does and I think ‘that’s a wonderful idea for a character quirk’. I feel like artists of any kind are miners, mining their real-life experiences for their creative output. I love that my craft of storytelling makes me very curious - or most probably the curiosity came first - but sometimes it would be nice to switch off and just ‘be’. But the noticing goes hand-in-hand with the creativity I suppose.

YOU SEEM AT HOME IN NATURE. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU CREATIVELY AND WHAT BEING SURROUNDED BY NATURE MEANS TO YOU?


I find being surrounded by trees in particular, really important. They make me feel grounded and connected to something bigger than myself. They’re miraculous to me, as is so much of nature, and I love the sense of wonder I feel from being in a natural place, whether it's forest or ocean or desert. Dragging my eyes away from a screen and seeing how the world around us exists and grows and evolves without anxiety always seems to take away any anxiety that I have. I love space to be able to think clearly, allow thoughts to come and not be over-stimulated. It’s getting harder and harder to find that space because we have these pocket-sized, highly addictive devices with us 24/7 that are so full of information. So trying to tune in to the real world around me is becoming more and more important. I find being immersed in nature the best way to do that.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PIECES FROM BIANCA SPENDER’S AUTUMN/WINTER COLLECTION, AND WHY?

I’m obsessed with the Pistachio colour. I would never have thought to wear something of this shade but I love it, especially paired with the Lilac. It’s fresh and fun and unexpected. I love Bianca’s Balloon Sleeves, the black and white contrast pieces, and anything in the Ginger colour. Again, another colour I don’t think about often but as soon as I put it on I fell in love. It feels like a colour that will suit any skin colouring. I’ve always loved B’s suiting as well, and this season doesn’t disappoint. The wide pants make me feel like Katherine Hepburn, and I love wearing them with sneakers. I love the wide 90s lapels on the jackets and shirts too.

YOU’VE LIVED ALL OVER THE WORLD. WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THESE EXPERIENCES, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN INFLUENCED BY TRAVEL?

I did a lot of travelling when I was very young, and spent a fair bit of time in places like India that are incredibly different to Australia culturally. I think it has made me quite open to different ways of living life. I don’t see my Anglo-centric existence in Australia as typical at all, and I think that’s a very positive trait that comes mostly from travelling - a wider worldview outside of your own bubble. One of my favourite things to do when I travel is to walk, and be surrounded by people living their day-to-day life. Even as a kid, I’ve always loved that even in different suburbs in Australia. I’m such a snoop. I love peering in windows and getting up close to people’s gardens. If I see a garden I like I’ve been known to leave a love note in the owner’s letterbox!

YOU RECENTLY GOT MARRIED AND WORE BIANCA SPENDER DOWN THE AISLE. CAN YOU TELL US A MORE ABOUT THIS?


Because of Covid we delayed planning a wedding much longer than we had expected, so when we knew our family were all going to be together for Christmas we jumped at the chance and organised it in a couple of weeks. Chaos! I knew I wanted to wear something of Bianca’s if we could find the right dress or suit, because why on earth would you not wear something your best friend had made for your wedding if your best friend was Bianca Spender?! When she sent me a photo of my dress after she had designed it I knew it was the one. I tried on a bunch of other things, both from Bianca and other designers, but it was always going to be that first one she showed me. She manages to pick exactly the right thing for me every time. I’m so lucky. She’s magical!

WE KNOW YOU LOVE DENIM! HOW DO YOU WEAR YOUR BIANCA SPENDER PIECES BACK WITH YOUR DENIM WARDROBE?


I think denim goes with everything. I love the contrast of the delicacy and elegance of Bianca’s fabrics, prints and lines with the structure and toughness of denim jeans or a denim jacket. Embrace the contrast!

INSTAGRAM @biancaspender