I met up with Valerie Phillips the other day for a nice drink and chat. She told me about her new book “Amber Is For Caution” that is coming out next year and very kindly sent me exclusive photos from the new book.

Val Cover 2-2

The book is about Amber who I met when she was 15. She came to my studio for a casting. She was quiet and feisty at the same time, and kind of bratty and fascinating. I loved her slow-paced, drawn out Kentucky sentences, so perfectly out of place in East London. And I really liked how she didn’t seem to give a shit. She was just Amber and that was good enough.


I met her again when she was 18. She was back in London running around being a model. She showed up to meet me one morning looking wrecked and glow-in-the-dark pale. You could just about see through her. She looked like the star of a 70s horror film, harrowed and mesmerisingly beautiful.


I walked her to her first casting of the day. On the way she cashed travellers cheques to buy cigarettes, Dr. Pepper and a tuna sandwich. At the casting six grown ups sat around a table eating crisps and flicking through Amber’s model book, saying nothing to her the entire time.


Earlier in the year she quit to become a surgical technician. On the way to a photo shoot in New York, she changed her mind, cut off her hair and dyed it orange so she didn’t have to be a model anymore. Now she lives in Kentucky, in the town where she grew up. Surrounded by highways, fast food chains and endless cornfields. Her favourite band is the Beatles.




If you wanted to know what Amber will look like next tuesday, you’d have to fly to Kentucky and see for yourself. She might have another tatoo, like the giant angel wings she got on her back. She might have shaved her head, or taken out her cheek piercings, have dyed her hair green, be wearing a wig or a bikini, or a Halloween costume. But whatever she’s wearing you can still recognise her by her sci-fi blue eyes and her endlessly inquisitive stare.

An exhibition of images from Amber Is For Caution will be shown at Lazarides Greek Street from Friday 18th March 2009.