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Exclusive: Alice in Wonderland’s Jemma Powell on Tim Burton and open-plan kitchens 18 February, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog, Interviews.
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Image credit: Diamond Management

You may have already spotted British starlet Jemma Powell in Foyle’s War and Footballer’s Wives. Now, she’s ditching TV for the big screen, having landed the role of Alice’s bookish older sister Margaret Manchester in Tim Burton’s upcoming movie, Alice in Wonderland. I quizzed Jemma on working with Tim Burton, her home style and her luxuries. She says:

I live… in Ladbroke Grove, West London, two minutes’ walk from Portobello Road. For me, it’s the perfect place to live, swarming with fun and creative people. The market is always full of inspiration.

My favourite room… is the open-plan kitchen. It’s always filled with friends. I love preparing big meals for everyone and chatting while I cook.

My style is… anything I see and fall in love with. My house is all Farrow and Ball colours, which I’m constantly changing around. I go to Kempton Park antiques as much as I can: they have such beautiful furniture there, imported from all over, and it’s so cheap! Last time I went, I bought a stunning French chandelier and an old beaten up shelf which I painted and distressed.

Image credit: Sunbury Antiques Market, Kempton Park

I am inspired by… my fiancé. He’s a singer-songwriter and whenever I’m away he sends me songs to fit my mood. My parents’ garden is also a great place to get inspired – I love learning my lines walking around, especially in late spring when the roses are out. It’s so peaceful there.

My biggest luxury is… flowers. The smell, the colours – they make a room. When I go back home, my Mum always puts fresh garden flowers in my bedroom. If I could, I’d have flowers all over my house, all year round.

Alice’s sister Margaret is… the kind of girl who just loves being married. She’s very happy with her life and her husband, and adores organising everyone. Not like me at all…

Margaret’s home would… smell of freshly baked bread and be full of little ornaments and trinkets she has collected. She would also have embroidered cushions which she has sewn herself, religiously, every night.

Working with Tim Burton was … a huge honour. When I first walked on set I was so nervous. There were all these extras dressed in beautiful Victorian clothes, staring at me. I tried to just get inside Margaret’s head, and imagine it was a big family occasion for my little sister, and then I relaxed. Tim was very kind, never short of advice and encouragement.

If I had a mad hatter tea party, I would… firstly not wear a corset, and secondly sit next to the Mad Hatter!

Living in Wonderland is… so much fun, I wish I had fallen down the hole too.  Mind you, it would have ruined my beautiful blue dress.



1. Frankham - 21 February, 2010

Thank you, your article inspired me to challenge my fellow “mydecoers”to an” Alice in Wonderland” moodboard contest, with some great results.

CandidaB - 22 February, 2010

Hi Frankham, I am so pleased you enjoyed the post… Have you booked your ticket to the film yet?
Your moodboards and rooms are super – really impressive. Everyone should check them out. We are about to run a special Alice in Wonderland competition across the site, so keep your eyes peeled!

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