Model, actress, karate expert, photographer and now the face of a fragrance inspired by women in love with life, Suki Waterhouse is the poster girl for the new generation of multitasking millennials

You’ve played many roles in front of the camera both as a model and an actress, but who’s the real Suki Waterhouse?

There are infinite identities hidden within each and every one of us. I am a mix of so many different women, I couldn’t even begin to sum myself up in one word.

You started modelling at 16, and by 22, you’d won Elle 's Model of the Year. Did your success come as a surprise?

It was such a surprise, I was shocked. Maybe the secret is my ambition – my determination to succeed at all costs. I was a really curious child, and when I was at school, I was always superfocused. Growing up, more than anything else, I wanted to travel, and modelling allowed me to turn that dream into a reality.

You divide your time between the fashion and film worlds. What do you love and loathe about each industry?

I like them both, but above all, I especially like working across both. It’s an exciting feeling. I would never quit fashion for film. I started my career on the catwalk in London when I was 16 years old and I’m not done yet.

Your first lead role was in The Bad Batch, an action movie directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. It explored a dystopian future where the disenfranchised are banished from America to the desert. Did you see any parallels between the storyline and the Trump administration?

The film was shot a long time before Donald Trump was elected. That being said, I think racism and discrimination have always been prevalent. Working with Ana Lily Amirpour was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, and such a departure from the fashion world. Keanu Reeves, who played one of the characters, has always been an a idol of mine. He was so sweet and really patient.

Arlen, your character, was a girl who can handle herself. Did you draw on your own experiences to bring the role to life?

There were certain points of commonality, although the circumstances she found herself in were verging on inhumane. But she’s also someone every woman can relate to because of her ability to deal with complex situations and strength to overcome them, thanks to the extraordinary force we all possess as women.

You often travel between Los Angeles and London. What does your life look like in each of those cities?

I love Los Angeles because it has an extraordinary energy, there’s always something happening, and most of my friends live here. I love the city, because it is very easy to disappear and going around without being recognised. However, London will always be home to me. I even miss the rain. I miss my mum and my whole family – I have two sisters and a brother who I’m really close to – and that’s not to mention my adorable dogs.

You’re a brown belt in karate. Where did that passion come from?

Martial arts taught me discipline, which certainly came in useful when I was a teenager studying for exams at school. Of course, it’s also a great fun. My father’s a black belt and trained me in karate when I was a child. Our lessons are among my most vivid childhood memories.

Your father is also a cosmetic surgeon who performs reconstructive surgery on children. What have you learned from his work?

He’s an incredible man who’s always been engaged in philanthropic efforts. Often, we invited the children he operated on to stay with us. They were experiences that none of our family will never forget.

You have two sisters, Immy and Maddi, who are models. Do you all get on? 

Immy is also an actress and she really makes me laugh. Maddi is still at school. I am really close to them, to my brother Charlie, too, who’s Maddi’s twin. We are very lucky, because we have grown up in a wonderful family.

Do you ever think about starting a family of your own?

There’s still time. I still feel very much like a little girl myself.

How do you feel about the Ferragamo family?

It’s an extraordinary family and they really made me feel a part of it. I admire Salvatore Ferragamo for turning his dreams into a reality, and how the Ferragamos always put family before business. It’s a privilege to play a part in telling this story. I felt as if I was in a fairy tale when I was shooting the film for the new fragrance, Amo Ferragamo.

Do you think there’s something Italianate about your style that made Ferragamo choose you as the face of the scent?

Well, although I’m often compared to Brigitte Bardot, it’s [Sixties Italian actress] Monica Vitti who has always been my style icon.

Do your 1.3million Instagram followers see the real you?

I consider Instagram part of my job. I only post highlights from my professional life on Instagram and I try to protect my private life.

There’s a increasing gulf between Instagram and reality. Where do you stand?

It is important to be happy with yourself as you are. I think there is too much manipulation of images, especially on Instagram, but I don’t spend too much time thinking about how authentic other people’s posts are. We have no idea of the effects of our addiction to social media. Maybe in 10 years’ time we’ll all have a rethink.

Tell us about your flirtation with photography.

I always take pictures but I don’t consider myself a photographer. My photography portfolio is a basically my Instagram feed.

Did you enjoy working with Ellen von Unwerth, who directed the Amo Ferragamo video?

Ellen is incredible! There is so much energy in the way she gives direction. She’s been a model, so she knows exactly what it involves. The video is quite different from any of the campaigns I’ve done in the past. Everyone on set was enthralled by her passion.

You’ve launched a range of accessories with your BFF Poppy Jamie, Pop & Suki…

The success of our brand has really taken me by surprise. It happened all so fast. Working with a friend is one of the most fun experiences you could have.