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Sandy Powell - We Rise By Lifting Others


Photography by Sane Seven for The Female Lead Book: We Rise By Lifting Others

In the first Female Lead book we profiled Sandy Powell, legendary British costume designer and winner of three Academy Awards and three BAFTAs. In our original interview Sandy spoke about her mentor Derek Jarman who provided her first movie job and worked with her on four more films.


In 1986 Jarman bought Porpsect cottage in Dungeness, UK. This became his home and an artwork in its own right. After his death in 1994, the cottage was cared for by his companion Keith Collins, who died in 2018. With the future of Prospect Cottage in the balance, The Art Fund aimed to raise £3.5m to protect the home and retain its status as a museum and hub for young artists, and they succeeded.


Sandy played a vital role, by turning a plain calico suit into a valuable piece of art, which she auctioned for the fund. By bringing together the most significant names in the film industry, she raised awareness and helped to reach the charity’s target.


The suit is now part of The Female Lead, who purchased it at the auction and it is a tangible symbol of our belief that ‘we rise by lifting others’. The suit is the embodiment of a collective effort to make a difference and an expression of ‘paying it forward’; the signatories helped to save Jarman’s cottage, and that cottage will in turn help the next generation of artists as an inspiring place for them to work. Jarman himself nurtured new talent, like Sandy, and with that generous spirit he paid his success forward. And like the signatures on the suit, the women profiled in this book have come together to tell their diverse stories, to inspire women of the future, to honour the women on whose shoulders we stand, and to encourage all women, individually and systematically, to keep on helping each other.



The Female Lead (Volume II): We Rise By Lifting Others:


Sandy's interview is a part of a wider collection for The Female Lead (Volume 2): We Rise By Lifting Others, a book of 67 women changing the world today.


The book is out now and will also be donated to schools and universities. You can nominate your school to receive a copy or support the work of The Female Lead’s educational foundation by buying your own copy





The women profiled in this book have come together to inspire future generations and to honour the women on whose shoulders we stand. The title We rise by lifting others is woven throughout the book; a belief in the need for a collective effort to make positive change. Not just for women, but for everyone.