Calling all Naomily fans! I am writing a book that explores how and why the Naomi Campbell-Emily Fitch storyline from Skins became an international, pop culture sensation whose popularity and influence exceeds what one would normally expect from a low-budget, post-watershed, teen series produced for a British cable channel. I trace the development of the storyline from its origins in the writers’ room, to the direction and performances that brought it to life, to the media publicity and reception by critics to the online activities of fans who’ve helped to transform a simple love story into the "Naomily phenomenon."
As part of my research, I caught up with Lily Loveless for a chat about acting, Skins, her thoughts on Naomi and the storyline as a whole, behind the scenes scoops and interactions with fans. In short, all things Naomily.
In this AfterEllen.com exclusive, I’m giving readers a sneak preview of the full interview that will be featured in the book.
Dr. Ann-Marie Cook: You’re on record as being quite a film buff. What do you love about movies?
Lily Loveless: Probably the escapism and that it’s a completely different sort of world where you’re not in your own world anymore. When I watch a film I’m just in there and nothing’s going on around me, it’s only the film. I think it’s just the escapism and you can create whatever world you want in a film. I can’t really explain it, it just makes me happy.
DC: Was there ever a time when you didn’t imagine having a career somehow related to film or television?
LL: No, it was always going to be that. I wanted to be a director. I still do but so many actors go into directing and it’s just like, oh because they’re an actor they think they can direct. I’d love to do it, whether I would or have the guts to, I don’t know.
DC: How did you get involved with the classes at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts?
LL: I really wanted to get into [acting] and I thought that going to drama classes is the best way to get into it. I didn’t have a clue how to get into it, but I loved it, I loved my teacher and it was a laugh. Some days we’d really learn stuff but most of the time it wasn’t like a serious, ‘I’m an actor,’ sort of place.
DC: Did it help at all to shape your technique as an actor?
LL: It didn’t really; nothing did. I mean I’ve always done drama out of school but none of the classes I did were specifically training. They were just kids’ sort of drama classes. I don’t really have any technique, and if I do, they came from my drama A Level, which I didn’t really enjoy. It was just loads of written work about plays I didn’t care about. Maybe if we were studying plays I really loved, I would have done better and enjoyed it more. But I had to study plays I didn’t care about and then we had to write plays ourselves and perform them and I didn’t enjoy it at all.
DC: What did you see as the advantage of going straight into work as opposed to going to university or drama school?
LL: Well, I didn’t really think about that because I never wanted to go to uni and I’m still thinking about drama school. But I don’t know, and I think if you’re not sure you shouldn’t go because it’s such a huge commitment. I don’t think you can teach people how to act. I think you can learn a lot of techniques but I don’t really want to go and learn techniques for three years when I can pick them up on the job. I didn’t really make a conscious decision to go straight into working because it doesn’t work like that. If you get a job, you’re lucky, and I just took it and I just carried on from there.
DC: What was the short film you did before Skins?
LL: That was when I was at another little drama club just down the road from my house. The drama teacher basically said, "Do you want to have a little part in this short film?" and I was like "Yeah, alright!" And that was sort of the first time I’d been in front of a camera. But it wasn’t a major thing, it was just a sort of low budget, little arty film. I was only like 14 when I did it, so it was just a sort of fun thing that I did one weekend. I had like one line and I was just one of the girls who fancied this boy, so that was about it.