Anna Gray, Writer & Model
From modeling to writing, Anna Gray does it all. She had us at her lust-worthy personal style and roped us around her finger when she launched her newsletter, "Things I would buy if I didn't have to pay rent." We chatted with Anna about everything from what it's like balancing all of her creative projects to why she sucks at deadlines (hint: it's a really good reason). Check it out below.
We love your personal style. What's it inspired by?
Thank you! I dress for the weather, I wear the shoes that’ll get me through the day and I try to be interesting with my compositions. My friends are all stylish in their own ways, so I gather inspiration from them—AND I am still a sucker for a street style slideshow.
You write and you model. How do you balance the two?
Writing can be done from anywhere, thankfully. Oftentimes I’ll bring my computer to a shoot just in case I need to edit or send copy during my lunch break. I’ve been writing and modeling for long enough that I’m quick at both.
You told Glossier you think "being an assistant is extremely good foundational education for keeping your life organized, getting shit done, and knowing how to allocate time." Can you expand on the importance of hard work and building a good foundation?
I’ve had so, so many jobs. I still have so, so many jobs. My umbrella titles are “writer and model,” but I freelance juggle a lot of projects from creative consulting to production. I couldn’t balance all of these gigs if I didn’t have the basic training that comes with working for people that know what the fuck they’re doing. Watching powerful, efficient people get things done is a lesson that can be applied to everything we do. Also, working for a fair boss teaches you how to be one (that works in the inverse too).
What do you love most about living in New York? Does it inspire your work?
New York is my favorite place. It’s beautiful and weird and shitty and cool and dirty and too hot and too cold and always changing. I prefer working in NY because it’s where all of my friends and colleagues are—it’s easy to spark something collaborative when you’re running into each other all the time. LA (where I spend a lot of time too) is where I go to finish things alone.
During this political climate, how are you staying involved and making sure your voice is heard?
I helped my friend Gaelle Drevet (Owner of The Frankie Shop) produce a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in December (we raised $4k! Is it crass to say the number? We were really proud!). I donate what I can when I can—I joined the Women's March with my parents in DC and I’ll be participating in the Women’s Strike on International Women’s Day (March 8th) from LA. The silver lining of this whole fiasco is the increase in political engagement.
What's your favorite place you've traveled to recently and why?
I visited Lisbon for the first time recently and fell in love. I was there to see my friend Andre’s new public mural and really became enamored with the city’s incredible food, art scene and architecture. I loved it so much I’ve convinced my parents to take a trip there in May (with me, duh).
Who are the writers you look up to? And are there specific works you always look to for inspiration?
Vladamir Nabokov! Zadie Smith! Donald Barthelme! Nell Zink! Angela Carter! I try not to read favorite writers when I’m stuck because I’m worried about accidentally mimicking them. But all of the above plus Vonnegut, DeLillo, Murakami, Updike, Lydia Davis—they are always writers I return to.
How do you prioritize yourself and do things that make you feel happier?
Oh! I think I always do what I prefer doing first, which is why I suck at making deadlines. But also why I am usually happy.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years? Personally and career-wise?
I am bad at envisioning my future. I’d like to be doing a better and more succinct version of all the stuff I do now. Creative consulting for a few great brands; making money from my newsletter (Things I would buy if I didn’t have to pay rent); modeling for brands I love; traveling!
What's one way you've helped another woman recently? And how has one helped you?
I get a handful of emails every time I send out a newsletter from curious women asking questions about life or work or shopping. I love answering them. Last week my newsletter asked everyone what they were reading and I received great suggestions. In my real life, I have a very supportive network of women that I can turn to for help or guidance—from my Mom to my roommate to friends in other countries. Find your people and hold them close!