ELLE meets actress Zawe Ashton

The star on style and student life

What with Girls on a Monday night and Fresh Meat on a Tuesday, we’re inundated with original and entertaining female TV characters at the moment.

ELLE caught up with Zawe Ashton, 28, who plays the brilliantly bolshie Vod in Fresh Meat, the Channel 4 comedy series about student life in Manchester.

After the success of the first series and critical acclaim for her role in last year’s drama-documentary Dreams of a Life, Ashton’s noticed a slight shift in her public profile.


‘People will lend me clothes now,’ she says of her new found status. ‘I’m not going to the local shop in my slippers…as much. I’m trying to curb my leaving-the-house-in bed-wear enthusiasm.’

Ashton gets to have lots of fun with Vod’s wardrobe on the set of Fresh Meat, channeling David Bowie in one scene, Prince in the next. But off screen and on the red carpet, she's experiencing a more grown up transition.


‘As a student I wore everything. Imagine Carrie Bradshaw on some kind of fashion speed. Anything went. Nothing was too garish - oversized, strange, old woman-y – I loved experimenting with clothes. And now all of a sudden I’m going into Gap for casual separates. What the hell?’

And of course there’s the designer influence. ‘If a designer enjoys the way you represent them and their clothes, you can strike up a real relationship which I did with Armani who lent me a dress for the first ever awards I did with Fresh Meat. That was fairytale-ish.’

Ashton’s also a huge fan of Hussein Chalayan. ‘I really admire the way he designs for women’s bodies. His clothes are so simple and grown up and they always have one defining detail that gives it an edge. You feel great as soon as you put a piece on which is key when you’re on the red carpet or collecting an award.’

Fresh Meat is on Channel 4 tonight at 10pm

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