By Zue Wei Leong
One would not expect Eliza Batten, the latest It-Girl on Britain’s much-loved reality TV series, Made in Chelsea, to be quite so casual and down-to-earth as she sits down with indigo to discuss her excitement to be part of the show. And yet, it is clear as she reveals her casting journey that she reacted just as any of us would, if we were invited into a world of dinner parties, luxurious getaways and masquerade balls.
“When they got in touch with me to be part of their summer series, I hadn’t watched the show in years,” she says, “instead, I went travelling that summer and when I got back, I called up Fred [Ferrier] to hear about his experience on the show and finally decided I would have regretted not giving it a go, so I went for it!”
When asked about how the role has impacted those around her, Eliza shares that Made in Chelsea is still an ‘alien world’ to both her parents, particularly her father: My dad hasn’t really watched it… He watches my clips; he doesn’t keep up with the show because he has never really been into reality TV, and he’s not going to start now!” But she does sheepishly admit that her younger sister and her friends do encounter many questions from curious fans hoping to get an inside scoop on her or their favourite cast members. “It’s funny because a fair number of people ask me about Made in Chelsea – just not as much as they ask my friends,” she laughs.
Eliza also jokes that filming the show is pretty much the same commitment as playing a DU sport, and she has only become more diligent with meeting her deadlines because there is so much time to work on the train down to London. “But I do have my fingers in many pies at the moment, so I really want to find that balance between them this year,” she adds, when we later discuss our new year’s resolutions.
Indeed, this year will be a busy one for Eliza. On top of her filming schedule, she will be walking once again in the university’s highly-anticipated annual charity fashion show, DUCFS. “It was my highlight of 2018, and I am so excited for it this year – it’s going to be bigger and better,” she gushes.
The event is shedding a light on sustainability in fashion, a cause that is close to her heart. Not only is she a huge fan of charity and second-hand shopping, she also runs a successful Depop account to sell her own pre-loved clothes. “Quality matters a lot to me. I always ask myself, ‘How long will I be able to wear it for?’” she says, before holding up her chic, second-hand sheepskin coat, exclaiming that it was ‘only £10 and great quality… an absolute bargain!’
Batten has previously modelled for Morville Beachwear and luxury British eyewear, Taylor Morris (pictured above)
She concludes that, “if I get brand deals in the future, as a result of doing the show, I know that I am going to be picky about the brands I want to work with and support because of what I know now about fast fashion”.
And indigo predicts that brand deals will very much be in her future, as she quickly reached her first celebrity ‘milestone’ after her first episode on Made in Chelsea: online trolls. On how she handles the influx of comments and tweets on her and oftentimes, on her appearance, she comments that it is strange that ‘people forget that I am a human with feelings’ but explains that she developed a thick skin during her stint as a full-time model during her gap year: “I found rejection hard when I was doing castings at 18 but now, I can laugh off the odd troll on Instagram – like, I do have a massive forehead!”
The 21-year-old also shares her ambitions of making documentaries, inspired by her ‘heart-breaking’ and ‘eye-opening’ encounters with villagers in Sri Lanka during a field trip. She is unsure if her TV presence will help or hinder her dream, but she makes it clear that for now, she just wants to have a good time at university and on Made in Chelsea: “I’m just a little weird and don’t take myself too seriously, and I hope that comes across in the next series”.
Feature image credit to recent Durham graduate, Ben Stevens for Morville Beachwear