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Q&A with Megan Hess

interview by ben stephens

Recently, the illustrator to some of the biggest brands in the world of fashion, Megan Hess, stopped by QT Melbourne for a couple of days. We managed to catch up with her for a quick chat about what’s been happening and who would she invite to dinner – you know, the important questions.

BS: Hi Megan.
MH: Hi Ben.

BS: Megan, your talent when it comes to illustrating is amazing. I once drew a stick figure and then went straight back to writing. Tell me, when did you realise that you had this knack with illustrations?
MH: I’ve just always loved drawing and it’s the one and only thing I think I’ve been good at!

I studied Graphic Design because it felt like a ‘real’ job in the art world, but really always wanted to be an illustrator – I just never knew back then that it was a possible career choice! After working as an Art Director in Ad agencies for several years I packed everything up and moved to London. It was in London that I worked in a million different creative jobs and in my final job there realised that I had a burning desire to be an artist. At this time, I’d became the Art Director for Liberty Department Store. Whist I loved art-directing fashion I loved illustrating it more. I started to do very small illustrations for Liberty and from these, art directors saw my work and little commissions began to follow. After about a year I found myself with non-stop work. I wasn’t earning a fortune but I’d never been happier and I knew I was going to do this forever.

As my clients got bigger and better I was able to be a little more selective and just work on briefs that I knew had a great creative opportunity. Then in 2006, I got a call in the middle of the night from Candace Bushnell’s publisher asking if I would illustrate her next novel ‘One Fifth Avenue’. This was when things took off at rapid speed for me. Her book became a New York Times bestseller and I met with Candace and she asked me to illustrate all her previous books including the cover of ‘Sex and The City’. Once ‘Sex and the City’ was released I was contacted by TIME magazine in New York to create portraits for them. Following this, I began illustrating for Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Bergdorf Goodman, Laduree…… Ironically, at the same time as my work finally took off, I had my first baby!! Its funny, I always tell people that I haven’t really slept since 2006!!

BS: You’ve worked with the top fashion brands the world has ever seen, from Dior, Fendi, Prada, Tiffany Co, Louis Vuitton Cartier to publishing houses such as Vogue and Vanity Fair… You’re throwing a dinner party and can only invite two from the above, who do you choose and why?
MH: Ohhh that’s so hard to choose! I’ll go with Fendi so Karl Lagerfeld can come! and I’ll also go with Vogue so Anna Wintour can help me make cocktails!

BS: What’s currently exciting you? Are you working on any new projects at the moment that you can talk about?
MH: I’m working on a very exciting project with one of the top National Galleries in London right now! I’m so excited I could burst! All will be revealed very soon…

BS: Hailing from Brisbane, you have travelled the world, your passport must be stacked with stamps… So do you prefer New York or L.A.?
MH: Definitely New York. It’s probably my favourite City. BUT I will say, I do also have a soft spot for LA. I’ve been travelling there for work for over 15 years and I have loved every single visit.

BS: London or Paris?
MH: Paris. Because once Paris steals your heart… you’re in love forever. I do love London though! I lived there years ago and I always feel a little bit like a Londoner whenever I’m back.

BS: Sydney or Melbourne?
MH: Melbourne. It’s been my home for the past 14 years and I still love it so. I’m always back and forth to Sydney though and I must say Sydney Harbour takes my breath away every single time I see it!

BS: You’ve been staying with QT Melbourne recently, how was your time there?
MH: I was unbelievably impressed. The interior is truly original and incredible! So many beautiful spaces and the restaurants are amazing. I had the most phenomenal dessert called ‘Birds Milk…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

BS: Given that you’re in Melbourne, the city that has a firm grasp on how to make a damn good coffee, what’s your go-to coffee order for the morning?
MH: I’m a Double Espresso with hot milk on the side kinda girl. I love my coffee and every single Monday morning I draw a  ‘Coffee Girl’ – Great coffee is one of life’s little pleasures.

Ohhh I think we all need a very Couture Coffee this morning…. I'm dreaming of a double shot VIKTOR & ROLF espresso!

A post shared by Megan Hess (@meganhess_official) on

BS: Megan, it’s been a pleasure, we hope to see you QT soon!
MH: Ohh thank you for having me! I can’t wait to get back soon.  xxx

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