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Alexa Chung

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Alexa Chung


Alexa Chung (born November 5, 1983) is a British TV presenter and former fashion model.

Early Life

Alexa Chung was raised in Privett, Hampshire by her English mother, a housewife, and her Chinese father, a graphic designer. She is the youngest of four children and has two brothers and one sister.

She attended the local comprehensive school, Perins Community College, and later the sixth form Peter Symonds College, Winchester (2000-2002). She had been accepted by King’s College London to read English and by Chelsea College of Art and Design to do an art foundation course, with two 'A' grades (English and Art) and a 'B' (History) at A-level, before being scouted by a modelling agency.


Chung was first scouted by an agency, Elite Model Management, while attending The Clothes Show at the age of 14, but nothing came of it. She was approached again, in the comedy tent at Reading Festival, at the age of 16 and was taken on by the London-based Storm Model Management. She modelled for teen magazines such as Elle Girl and CosmoGIRL! and appeared in adverts for products including Fanta, Sony Ericsson, Sunsilk and Tampax. She also modelled for Urban Outfitters. She has appeared in music videos for artists including The Streets, Westlife, Delta Goodrem, Reuben and Holly Valance. She also starred as Jake in a scripted reality show called Shoot Me, broadcast on Fashion TV in 2005. Chung herself admitted it was “really bad”.

After four years, Chung quit modelling with the intention of beginning an art foundation or fashion journalism course, having become disillusioned. She had developed a “distorted body image” and “low self-esteem” through modelling. “It made me really unhappy.” She has since said that, “I’ve used up all that neurosis – there’s none left. I’d rather have a bigger brain than smaller bones.”

In January 2008, Chung was announced as the face of Antipodium's Spring Summer 2008 collection, which is on sale at Liberty and Harvey Nichols. In May 2008, Chung was announced as the face of Oxfam's ethical fashion range, Revamped, sold exclusively at Westbourne Grove, West London. In September 2008, Chung walked the catwalk as part of the Vivienne Westwood Red Label Spring/Summer 2009 show at London Fashion Week.

TV career

When the original Popworld presenters, Miquita Oliver and Simon Amstell left in 2006, Chung’s audition tape was reviewed and, in April 2006, she was offered the job of co-host, alongside former MTV presenter Alex Zane. Popworld was known for its witty, irreverent and awkward style of interviews. An interview Chung conducted with Panic at the Disco, in particular, attracted attention. “I corrected singer Brendon Urie’s grammar halfway through and then it all went a bit cold. He got pi**ed off after that. The clip is on YouTube and about 10,000 American kids have left comments saying: ‘Oh my God, who does she think she is? I hate the English.’ Which is amusing.” The last show aired in July 2007, after Channel 4 decided not to recommission the programme.

In April 2007, Chung starred in the ITV1 series Get a Grip, opposite comedian Ben Elton. The topical satirical show, scripted by Elton, was panned by television critics.

Chung has also hosted industry events including the Hair Magazine Awards 2007, Diesel U Music Awards 2007 and the Elle Style Awards 2008.

Chung was the "roving reporter" on Channel 4's eight-week fashion programme, "Gok's Fashion Fix". On the programme, Chung roadtested the latest fashion trends with members of the public, and interviewed fashion designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Margherita Missoni and Christian Lacroix. She has described it as 'pretty much my dream job'. Chung also hosted a T4 music and fashion show called Frock Me!, with fashion designer Henry Holland. In November 2008, it was reported that Chung was considering a move to New York to host a TRL-style show for MTV.

"It Girl" status

She has said of her style, “I either want to look like an excellently dressed boy or a kitten from the 1960s, like Françoise Hardy.” Chung has also mentioned The Shirelles, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithful, Jane Birkin and Julie Christie as sources of style inspiration, as well as 1960s and 1970s films such as Doctor Zhivago (film), Picnic at Hanging Rock (film), Annie Hall, Darling, Masculin, féminin and Blowup.

Chung has expressed bemusement regarding the widespread admiration of her style, saying, "It’s odd to have acquired this style icon tag, because everyone in Shoreditch dresses the same". Chung has dismissed the notion of being an It girl, saying “I mean, there’s not much to being an It girl. It’s really quite a depressing title to hold.” She has, however, conceded that, "It’s actually rather nice, because you are sent some pretty cool stuff"

Chung was first pictured with Alex Turner in early October 2007, outside the Met Bar in London. The couple have been photographed by paparazzi on numerous occasions since and their relationship is frequently gossiped about in British tabloids. In August 2008, Chung starred in the video for Turner’s side-project band The Last Shadow Puppets’ song, 'My Mistakes Were Made For You'. In October 2008, it was reported that the couple share a house in East London.

Fan Site

Popworld website

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60 SECONDS: Alexa Chung

by ANDREW WILLIAMS - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Former model Alexa Chung is best known for her work presenting irreverent Channel 4 music show Popworld alongside Alex Zane but has also starred in pop videos for Westlife and The Streets. She makes the leap on to ITV prime time tomorrow night, where she will be starring in topical sketch show Get A Grip opposite veteran comedian Ben Elton.

You’re going from Channel 4 mornings to ITV evenings. Is that a big leap?

It’s scripted by Ben and I went to the audition as an actress. We’re poking fun at things, so it’s not that hugely different to what I’ve done on Popworld. Ben’s got quite a young mindset anyway. ITV’s different to Channel 4 but this isn’t the really straight stuff I’d associate ITV with. I love presenting Popworld and T4, I love TV for young people and being a bit cheeky but equally I’d like to move into acting and comedies or sitcoms. This is a step in the right direction.

You and Ben Elton are an odd combination, aren’t you?

That’s the nature of Get A Grip – they wanted to pitch his grumpy old man against someone younger. I can’t think of other shows that have that dynamic – it’s a hilarious version of Lost In Translation.

Who is your dream male co-presenter?

Maybe a midway point between Ben, who is older and wiser, and Alex Zane, who makes it all up but is equally funny. I get to work with two comedians, so every day is really fun. My taste in men is unpredictable and confuses me. I like Jake Gyllenhaal but then again I used to think that Richard Madeley was hot. When you’re ten and watching the TV, I guess you fancy anyone, really.

What are the best bits of being a model?

Travelling and, er, travelling. There weren’t many. Seeing the lovely clothes was nice but not being able to keep them wasn’t. I went to Japan, New York, all around Europe and learned how to stand on a mark for an hour while people looked at Polaroids and didn’t talk to me. I’ve also got a really good knowledge of London through having to walk between shoots and agents. I could do The Knowledge. I could walk my way from Kensal Rise to Clerkenwell via Golders Green.

You had to snog Holly Valance in one of her videos. How was that?

It was on the same day my AS-level results came out, so I was more worried about that than having to get it on with Australia’s latest pop sensation. I got two As and two Bs. The worst video I did was for Rooster. They cut me out. Three models had to pretend to be the band’s girlfriends but, halfway through the day, someone realised the lyrics were about how they hated their girlfriends and how they were independent and could live without them. Thus, we were unnecessary and they axed us. I interviewed them on Popworld and reminded them.

You were also in a Tampax advert. Does that mean you get loads of free Tampax?

No. I wanted to be paid in cash, not Tampax. What did you think was happening? That I could just go into shops and say: ‘I demand my free Tampax’?

No, I thought you might be on a mailing list.

Oh God. I can’t think of anything more depressing. No. I’ve had some good free stuff, though – phones, a Mulberry handbag and a pair of Ray-Bans.

What is the worst interview you’ve done on Popworld?

We don’t set out to be rude to people; it depends if they go along with it or not. James Morrison and Gwen Stefani didn’t get it at all. Panic! At The Disco were the worst. I corrected singer Brendon Urie’s grammar halfway through and then it all went a bit cold. He got pi**ed off after that. The clip is on YouTube and about 10,000 American kids have left comments saying: ‘Oh my God, who does she think she is? I hate the English.’ Which is amusing.

Let us in on some of your top interviewing tips.

Don’t annoy the interviewee and don’t butt in. I was interviewed by a girl yesterday who kept talking over me. I learned from that myself. Try to listen, smile and nod a lot. If it’s on the phone, just say ‘yep, yep, yep’ a lot. You’re not doing bad.

Have you ever been attacked by a wild animal?

No, but I was once mounted by a miniature Shetland pony. I used to muck out my neighbour’s stables with my friend Lucinda. I bent over to pick something up and the horse mounted me. Lucinda pushed it off and I ran down the road screaming. I was about nine. That was a big year for me!


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