British model Charlotte Robinson’s life completely turned around three years ago. She was about to study art and design in Brighton when she was scouted and decided to start a career as a model. Now she’s having the time of her life. And eventually, she has turned back to art and creativity as a way to connect with herself.
Hi Charlotte, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where you are at the moment?
Hello! I’m Charlotte Robinson, I’m 23 years old and living in Brighton. I’ve just moved out from my family home in Berkshire and am living on my own for the first time. I’ve been a model for three years with my lovely agency MiLK. I had my place to study Illustration at Brighton when I got scouted by my booker Gia and decided to try modelling full time. I’m so glad I made that decision! This career propelled me into a life of travelling and spontaneity that I never thought I could have or even thought was possible for me, so I’m very lucky.
What led you to start creating your own art?
Some of my earliest memories are of me taking the scissors to my mum’s precious books to make collages. She would go mental, but we laugh about it now because I spent my whole art foundation year making collages from picture books. I clearly have a subconscious drive to cut up them up. More recently, I fell in love with ceramics and oil painting. I actually started ceramics classes as a way of managing with the lack of routine and structure that came with modelling. And my oil painting love was born in the first lockdown! I had never really tried painting before and one day I just bought the paints and a canvas and went for it. I thought, wow, I can actually paint!
Do you see modelling as an extension of your creativity?
Love this question. And yes, absolutely. With modelling you’re made into different characters and you can feel a bit alien in your own body sometimes, you have to be able to flick on that confidence switch even when you might not feel it. But the absolute best is when you’re working with creative people who share the same style as you and you create work that reflects all of you beautifully. Also, Instagram is a huge way for me to show that I’m a creative model. If I feel like I’m in need of a creative shoot I’ll do some self-portraits or organise a fun little shoot with a friend or a photographer I love, because it’s important to be in control of your own image and express yourself.
What moves you in terms of inspiration?
I am mainly inspired by colour and how it makes me feel. Painting for me is a place to go to feel happy. I try to have outlets for difficult feelings, but painting seems to be a way to be mindful and make something that makes me feel good. Colour is what makes me excited and fall in love with a painting. I love gentle muted tones, like the colours in Milton Avery’s still life’s, and all of the colour palettes that the amazing illustrator Molly Martin uses. I just get really excited when I see a set of colours that look beautiful together.
You often paint flowers. What fascinates you about them?
When you buy someone or yourself flowers it always feels really special and a sweet token of how you feel. They are romantic, homely and make me happy so I love to paint them. You’re looking at something beautiful, slowing down and appreciating nature all at the same time. Also, as a beginner, I don’t find them intimidating to paint at all as you can play around with the colour and texture of the flowers so easily, or paint them in an abstract way and just focus on mark making if you want to.
Do you see creating art as a form of self-expression and self-care? Do you follow some rituals that help you feel grounded?
I definitely see my creativity as an act of self-care. I don’t get too hung up on the context or meaning behind a painting, I just create things that I think look beautiful or are special to me (maybe that’s the meaning in itself!). As someone who hasn’t studied art at university or held any exhibitions yet I can sometimes think: is it valid? But creativity isn’t about that. Art is not a competition and you can’t measure your worth against things like education or how many people want to buy a painting. I love painting because it shows me and my soul, and I do get a buzz from showing it to the world. However, putting out my paintings for the first time to be sold was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, it felt like pure vulnerability.
What’s your approach to skincare? Is that important to you? Do you have some kind of routine?
My skin is so angry at the moment! It’s oily in some places and really dry in others, and I’m also having acne breakouts all the time. I think it might be a combination of travelling, makeup on jobs and stress. I’m trying to keep my routine very simple and kind to my skin but also effective (hopefully!). I find a skincare routine very relaxing and you have to do it every day so it’s nice and grounding. I also love massaging my face and body with the Gua Sha stone.
And what about ROWSE products. Could you tell us your experience so far? Is there one product that you love?
I absolutely love the Winter Body Oil. It feels like the most luxurious thing you could do for your body. It’s such a treat and so indulgent, and smells incredible.
We have a whole range of raw clays. It’s such a great material! You can feel on your skin it’s somehow ‘alive’. What do you like about working with clay?
Clay is the best material ever! I love using my hands because you have such a connection to the thing that you make. I find the more lumps and bumps and finger marks the better because you can see that you’ve made it - the imperfect nature of that is so wholesome. And the thrill of glazing something, then seeing the final thing come out of the kiln is incredible. All the different steps you need to take makes the result so rewarding and what comes out is always a bit of a surprise.
What’s next for you in the following months? What are some things you’d like to accomplish this year?
I’m spending February in New York as I’m signed to an agency there which is always so exciting, being there feels really special. This summer will be my first one in Brighton so I cannot wait to be on the beach all the time! I’m excited for the fast paced nature of modelling and New York, but also the slowness of summer by the beach and just living. I would love to keep painting and expand on my style, skill and confidence with it. But most of all, I want to practise being as compassionate and kind to myself as possible.
Photography by Amanda Roe