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Sarah and Joanna Halpin


Posted on July 05 2017

This week, we sat down with creative duo and model sisters Sarah and Joanna Halpin to discuss their childhood, where they draw inspiration from, and the power of social media.

Joanna graduated in Graphic Design before joining Premier Models at the age of 20 and has since shot major campaigns for the likes of L’OréalFree People and Urban Outfitters. With almost 300,000 followers on Instagram, Joanna and her sister - fellow Premier model - Sarah Halpin, started their own model lifestyle blog, What She Said - a place for them to share their work, as well as creative interests and inspirations.

Sarah is also signed to Premier and recently completed her degree in Surface Pattern and Print Design. Here's their story:

Newnham: What were you both like growing up? 

Halpins: We've always been close, maybe a little less so when we were younger - the dynamic is different as children. Nowadays we're pretty inseparable (in case you hadn't noticed).

Sarah: Joanna definitely fulfilled her 'older sister' role... a little bossy, a little mean. But there's always been a huge sense of admiration apparent.

Joanna: Sarah was strong-willed and mischievous as a child (and would always knock over her drink just as everyone would sit down to eat.) She has always been incredibly loyal and moral and those qualities are still very apparent. 

Newnham: You work on a blog together – how did this come about and what is your mission with it?
Halpins: We started the blog as a creative platform. We both love modelling, but it is always someone else's ideas and vision. So through the blog we get to collaborate and build relationships and work on the entire creative process. We are continuously evolving as a duo and developing what the 'blog' is but we love the route it is taking.

We also both share a love for the creative industry. We have always been visual people and take inspiration from anything and everything we see.

As models with a great community of followers on Instagram, what would you say are the pros and cons of social media? 
The power of social media... it seems to be a huge topic right now. Social media can be amazing and has many pros. Instagram especially has influenced us getting work as models, individuals and collaborative projects for the blog. We probably wouldn't have / be achieving what we're doing right now without it.

But like everything there is a flip side; as this topic becomes more relevant we're noting more and more how much time we spend (and feel like we have to spend) on our phone.

Newnham: What have been some of the highs and lows in your life/work and for the obstacles, how did you overcome them?
Getting to work and travel together is a high. We frequently have moments when we can't believe how lucky we are. And a low would be the reverse of that; due to modelling jobs we often spend weeks apart in different time zones, which is rubbish (as we like to spend nearly every second together), but also it can make running What She Said a little tricky.

Newnham: What do you hope to achieve in the next 2-3 years?
Halpins: We know we want to continue collaborating with brands / people and building relationships through What She Said. But in all honestly we don't have a 2-3 year plan... we realised very quickly not to make plans in this industry as it's pretty impossible to stick to them. But like everyone says 'The world is our oyster' and we are very excited for What She Said's future.

Newnham: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give a younger Sarah/Joanna?
Not to worry so much - we could probably/most definitely use that advice still…

Joanna Instagram / Sarah Instagram / What She Said Instagram / What She Said Blog

Huge thanks to Alex Babahmadi at Premier for coordinating the interview

Photography: Dean Martindale

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