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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: India Hicks, Model, Television Personality, Author, Goddaughter of the Prince of Wales and Spokesperson for Crabtree and Evelyn

India Hicks was born in London, England, in 1967 and spent three years residing in Manhattan on Horatio Street. She is the daughter of famed interior decorator David Hicks. Her mother is Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Lord Mountbatten was the last Viceroy to India, and gave the country their independence in 1947. Hence India’s name, being the last grandchild.

Lady Mountbatten was famous for her wealth and her beauty, and with her husband’s royal heritage, they made the most remarkable union of the 1920’s.

India was educated at Gordonstoun, in Scotland, where her Godfather, The Prince of Wales had been to school before her. She was chosen as a bridesmaid for the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana in 1980.

Following school, India backpacked around the world for a year. She then attended a London foundation course in art before moving to Boston to take a degree in photography, graduating with honors.

W magazine featured India in an issue of ‘New Beauties’ which Ralph Lauren saw and subsequently booked her for a modeling job. A career on the other side of the camera was born.

India has since enjoyed ten years as a fashion model, being photographed by some of the world’s most renowned photographers, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindberg, David Bailey, Lord Snowdon, and Arthur Elgort among them. And for some of the worlds leading magazines, Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Harpers Bazaar, with her face endorsing many fashion houses and labels, and alongside her partner David Flint Wood for Banana Republic and Ralph Lauren. In September 2003, she and David were seen in the Bill Blass campaign, which was shot by Richard Avedon. In 2004, India headed up the new Ralph Lauren fragrance campaign both in commercials and in print.

India has been filmed for Television numerous times, recounting her day as a Royal Bridesmaid, for the BBC, ABC, Channel 4, and NBC that aired in January 2003. In April 2004, Larry King hosted her live, and again in April 2005 with Heather Mills McCartney. In April 2008, Larry King again featured her, this time as a guest commentator on the Obama’s first visit to Europe. India was featured as part of CNN’s hit international series, “Quest for Style”. She was also seen on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Most recently, India hosted the second season of the hit television series “Top Design” which aired on Bravo TV in the US, and is currently in global syndication.

David Flint Wood is the father of India’s four children Felix, Amory, Conrad, and Domino. They presently live on a small island in the Bahamas, where they built two plantation style guesthouses. They also invested in and redecorated ‘The Landing’ an 1800’s building which is now a restaurant and hotel. India also has a successful shop where she sells clothes, bed linens, and eccentricities gathered from her travels around the world.

India and David were approached by the Pavilion publishing house in London and have completed an interiors book, Island Life, which was published in September 2003 in the U.K. STC in New York published the book in March 2004 for the American market. The book has been so well received that India has now completed a second book called Island Beauty a lifestyle fitness/beauty book published in November 2005 in the U.K. Part of the proceeds from these books have been donated to a small non profit community school on Harbour Island.

At the beginning of 2006, India began working with Crabtree & Evelyn, first as a brand spokesperson and then creative partner to develop a signature collection. In 2007, their first collaboration, India Hicks Island Living body and home collection was born; their second collaboration, India Hicks Island Night, launched in 2009. To create these very personal visions of her life on a beautiful island in the Caribbean, India immersed herself in the creative process - from formulations to fragrances and packaging.

India is a first class horse rider having hunted during her childhood. She is also an advanced scuba diver, has bungee jumped, parachuted and hang glided. She snow skis and water skis, has climbed into the Grand Canyon, run two 26.2 mile marathons, raising money for charities, roller blades and wake boards. Whom You Know is so pleased to present India Hicks as our latest Mover and Shaker!

Peachy Deegan interviewed India Hicks for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What was it like growing up in a decorating family?
India Hicks: I learnt never to sit on a comfy plumped up cushion, always go for the straight backed hard chair, however uncomfortable, so you would not mess up the look of a room.

What aspect of your heritage are you proudest of and why?
So many aspects make me proud. My grandparents and parents are extraordinary people who were strong, individual, and brilliant in their own ways. My grandfather played a part in history that can never be repeated, he was the youngest First Sea Lord, he was Supreme Allied Commander in South East Asia and he also gave India their independence. My father was a visionary who shook up the world of design with his unique and lasting sense of style.

What was it like being in Diana and Charles' wedding?
Absolutely exhausting! And my shoes were too tight. But the King of Tonga did pass sweeties down the row to me.

What do most Americans not understand about England?
Marmite. A yeast extract we spread on toast.

What was the most fun part about modeling for Ralph Lauren?
The adventure of it all. The shoots became their own little worlds of style and luxury. And who could ever dispute the honor of working with legendary Bruce Weber.

What are your most favorite Crabtree and Evelyn products?
West Indian Lime Body Wash, my partner washes with it; the scent has become synonymous with him.

Of all of the places you have lived, what have you liked the most about each one and why?
I was in school in a remote part of Scotland and I fell in love with Scotland for its rawness and self assurance. London because it is so familiar, Boston for the old world charm, New York for the energy, Paris for the romance, and The Bahamas because my children feel its home.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
Jogging on the West Side Highway, every kind of life passes you by.
[I also like] a Daniel Boulud breakfast in the intimate City Club , they always look after me. And staying in the newly renovated Mark hotel, spectacular interior design by Jacques Grange.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?

What is your favorite drink?
A Hot Toddy beside a crackling fire.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Il Cantinori, subtle, reliable and delicious. Tea & Sympathy when homesick.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
Zoe Heller’s The Believer’s

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Rollerblading to my castings when I was modeling in the city for 3 years

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Ice Skating in central park

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
A Bahamian celebration held in Harlem.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated: Halloween,
Overrated: Yellow cabs, with those bloody awful TV’s in the back and a driver who does not know his way around and talks incessantly on the telephone. Long live London’s black cab.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I felt truly terrible each time I had to send an unsuspecting contestant home from Top Design. My heart was beating so loudly they could hear it on the monitors in the control room.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
As a consumer. Please keep buying my Crabtree & Evelyn Island Living and Island Night collections!

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