Often described as London’s equivalent to Carrie Bradshaw, Nixalina Watson is certainly living the life any girl would be envious of (and rightly so!). She is whisked off to London’s hottest parties on a weekly basis, is the editor (and founder) for the wittiest and most hilarious dating site on the bloggasphere and counts several of the UK’s top celebrities as her best friends. Having hosted a LFW opening party in February, I had the pleasure of meeting Nixalina and her celebrity pals and was lucky enough to grab an interview with her this month as well! Enjoy…
Scarlett London: Did you always know you wanted to become a writer, or was it a passion that developed gradually?
Nixalina: I did, it was ever since I finished my English Literature GCSE. I loved reading, and I enjoyed essays on literature work, so I knew I wanted to take this through as my main A Level and then onto a degree too. If you have a passion for something at school, this is always a good start! Aside from school work, I’d always keep a diary, just because I enjoyed writing things down.
SL: Why did you initially begin your blog?
N: I began Sex and London City when I was a Make Up Artist at Selfridges in 2010 as I was missing writing (I used to be a Fashion and Beauty Writer for Notion Magazine) so I decided to set up a blog just to start writing again! For the first 7 or 8 months, it wasn’t even called S&LC, had a completely different name and look. I write because I enjoy writing – that is the bare basics. If you decide write to try scrape in the hits, or write about topical subjects you don’t care too much for, it really shows in the articles.
SL: Your blog is really different to all the other blogs out there, as it tackles dating but in a way that’s funny and accessible to all. How did you find your niche?
N: Like I said, the blog was called something completely different originally and I introduced a new weekly ‘dating’ article called Sex and London City. I started writing about whatever douche-bag I was dating at the time, or relationship conundrums (like why men love bitches – it’s true, they really do!) and I watched the hits soar with this particular articles. I started getting an influx of emails or facebook private messages from people who had read them and wanted some more feedback, both guys and girls believe it or not! It was crazy. So I took this as a big fat neon sign to change everything to Sex & London City…and it’s spiralled up from there really! I didn’t realise how funny and witty I was to be totally honest, I only ever wrote in a way that was conversational and colloquial – we all get heavy arduous articles thrusted into our face in the tabloids and daily spreads, so I wanted to write something I’d myself enjoy reading for light relief. If you have ever been around me, you’d know instantly that I write exactly as I speak, which I think makes the features so easy to get along with. It is honest, real and I don’t sugar coat anything…it isn’t in my nature to!
SL: Do you consider yourself a ‘full-time blogger’ or do you write elsewhere as well? If not, would you like to become a full time blogger or will it always remain a hobby?
N: I don’t really see myself as a ‘blogger’, but I guess that is what I am! It’s definitely not a hobby anymore, full-time, full on work for me! I need a 36 hour day!
SL: What has been the most rewarding thing about blogging so far? Or the very best thing about blogging that you have come across?
N: I guess it will have to be the overwhelming feedback…it’s reached over 175,000 hits and it just blows my mind every time I see this fact. When I realise people all across the world are reading my articles on a regular basis, it feels great! I have had women email me saying I inspire them with my attitude towards men, with my honesty about what I’ve gone through…and that makes it all worth doing in the end. Being an inspiration is pretty good!
SL: Have you ever had a moment where you’ve had second thoughts about blogging?
N: Yes, more than once. Only because it gets so demanding on me…I am always exhausted. If I’m not attending a press event or launch party, I’m at home chained to my laptop writing about the last one I attended, or a new brand etc etc. It is also tough now on my love life – I have no privacy! I understand I created it that way, and the reason S&LC is loved so much is for the honesty and share of privacy…but sometimes I do wish I could sneak off and be just Nix again!
SL: What do you enjoy about writing the most?
N: The art of writing itself is what is enjoyable to me. Funny anecdotes or little images will pop into my head at random moments and I’m constantly thinking about what will make the next great feature!
SL: What experience did you have before setting up your blog? Did you use this experience to tailor your blog towards a certain market at all?
N: I wrote as the Beauty Columnist for my university newspaper and was a part time make-up artist throughout my degree, so before I had even graduated I had some experience in the field. I then went straight into Notion Magazine as a Writer, then Assistant Editor, and moved to Selfridges when I then set up the blog.
SL: You are constantly hanging out at glamorous parties and events! What has been the ultimate press event/party that you have attended and what happened there?
That’s a difficult one as I have been to so many great ones! I enjoyed the F*** Me I’m Famous Ice Watch launch party at Aqua bar as we had Cathy Guetta there to do a speech, Esmee Denters singing and then Mcfly all came as Danny Jones was the DJ for the evening. We all left with a limited edition watch from the collection too, and an ice phone! This was a great night, just a really great vibe on a roof terrace with some very cool people! I also enjoyed the Swatch party for the Chrono plastic watch launch – it was a tiki theme and we all sipped cocktails out of coconut cups!
SL: Blogging really opens up doors and gives writers a platform of their own. Have any opportunities come your way off the end of your blog that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?
N: Oh god, loads! I’ve been commissioned to write for major production companies such as Warner Bros and Sony Pictures, I’ve been found by Rimmel London to present their ‘Get the Look’ video campaigns for LFW – tutorials I host to teach ladies at home how to re-create certain looks. They’ve asked me to do this for the 4th time now. I’ve been invited to backstage of ‘This Morning’ to watch the live show and interview Ruth Langsford and Eammon Holmes. I’ve also won a Fashion Stylist competition by eBay Fashion UK and got sent on an all expenses paid trip to Paris for my birthday back in May! These are just a few of the great things I’ve done since S&LC became successful.
If you’ve read my Gino D’acampo interview, you’ll see I started arguing with him on how you make Tiramisu! I just talk to stars like they are friends!
SL: You have interviewed some amazing people on your blog, Gino, Ruth Langsford, what do you think is the secret to interviewing a star without seeming intrusive – but still getting the gossip?
N: Oh, that’s easy. I talk to them like they’re friends. I don’t big them up on a pedestal, or address them in any formal manner. If you’ve read the Gino D’acampo interview, you’ll see I started arguing with him on how you make Tiramisu (I was wrong, which came as utter shock to me!), and then argued some more about whether I’d (hypothetically) stay in his bed if he cooked me a plain old egg on toast for dinner! I don’t agree with anyone for the sake of agreeing – and they usually respect you more for being upfront and holding your own.
SL: You have hosted some amazing S&LC parties over the past year (which I have had the pleasure of attending!). What do you think makes a good party and are there any plans for another event?
N: Lots and lots of alcohol! Ha I’m just kidding (or am I?) I think it’s an amalgamation of lots of things that create a great event. My best so far was at Kensington Roof Gardens – a venue worthy of any LFW Opening Party. I got three different bands playing, Early Morning Rebel from LA, Angelo a popstar from NYC and Gabriella Ellis from Made in Chelsea; good entertainment is always key. I also had a fashion show and some fireworks over the terrace to finish…it really was an amazing party. Venue, Entertainment and a chilled vibe is what aids a great party. Yes, I have every intention of hosting another fabulous LFW Opening Party in February. My publicist and co host Karena Sedgwick discussed whether we were throwing one this September, but due to work commitments we just couldn’t find the time. We’re going to make the next one in February AMAZING though (and of course you’re on guest-list Scarlett!).
SL: You were a make-up artist before being a blogger. Have you ever made up a star? If so, Is it more difficult working with ‘celebrities’ – are they more demanding?
N: I have indeed, whilst at Selfridges I have done Cilia Black, Sarah Harding and served Lulu Guinness too….and during the last Rimmel London campaign my model was Gemma Gregory from Made in Chelsea. No way are they more demanding – they’re just like us. A normal girl, wanting to find the best make-up to look better, that’s all!
SL: What three tips could you give as a make-up artist that would instantly improve any make-up look?
1. Matte red lips. Red lips literally work on anyone, and make the teeth look instantly whiter whilst giving you that Hollywood star status. I use No.7 ‘Fire’ lipliner all over my lips…that’s right, no lipstick, just lipliner! It never dries out and stays on for ages. Trust me ladies, buy it, wear it and rock it!
2. Highlighters. These make the cheekbones appear higher and lifted. Benefit do some amazing ones – High Beam and Moon Beam. You can just dab them in a backwards C shape around the eyes, and under the arch of the eyebrow too, to give the illusion of a sharper more defined face. I swear by them!
3. Tinted moisturiser. I abhor foundation. Tinted moisturiser allows the skin to breathe and yet still delivers coverage, where as foundation will, over time, clog the pores and appear ‘caked’ on. Unless you suffer from severe acne, always opt for a tinted moisturiser. How many times now have I said the words tinted moisturiser? A lot. Because I want you to switch….to tinted moisturiser!
Ruth Langsford from ‘This Morning’ started reading my blog and invited me down to chat to her!
SL: What famous faces would you consider as friends? Do you have any celebrity blog readers?
N: This question always makes me giggle. Because I don’t see them as ‘famous’, just my friends! I talk to supermodel Sophie Lousie Anderton on a daily basis. Literally every day! I’m very close to the Dirty Sexy things TV stars and models Bebe Kaye and Jay Camilleri, as well as Gabriella Ellis, Gemma Gregory from MIC and the Samanda Twins. I’m also close to Gino – he’s a good guy. The reason I interviewed Ruth Langsford from ‘This Morning’ is because she started reading my blog and invited me down to chat to her, Sophie Anderton loves my stuff and so do most of my ‘celebrity’ pals.
SL: You know several of the girls (and guys) from TOWIE and Made In Chelsea, if you could be a part of either show – which one would it be – and why?
N: GOOD QUESTION! No-one has asked me that yet. I’ll have to say, Made in Chelsea – only due to the fact my ex fella was from Essex and he was a lying player, so, I’m hoping Chelsea boys might be a bit more refined!
SL: What tips would you give to any aspiring dating, fashion (or lifestyle) bloggers?
N: Write because you want to, this makes the best reading. And write truthfully! If your opinion differs from the masses, don’t be afraid to voice it. Oh, and make sure your grammar and spelling are top notch – reading work that has spelling mistakes makes me turn off instantly.
SL: As well as an established blogger, you’ve also modelled for several fashion shows in and around London for some of your designer friends. What is the best/worst thing about modelling in shows?
N: Wow, you’ve done your research on me! Ha I have indeed, and I loved it. The worst feeling is the pre show nerves…not even champagne will squash these bad boys! Best feeling is after the show is done, and you can clap the Designer and walk off happy you got through another show without falling over – no-one wants to be fashion road kill!
Jeez, a perfect man? HE DOESN’T EXIST!
SL: As your blog is based around dating and your hilarious anecdotes with regards to dating, it leads me to ask – what would be your perfect date or who would be your perfect man?
N: Jeez, a perfect man? HE DOESN’T EXIST! But, if I had my way, I’d find a guy who was pretty, say, like Josh Harnett in Pearl Harbour. Not too bulky and big, just pretty with a decent frame, 6ft plus please! Green eyes or brown, I don’t trust men with the baby blues. He’d make me laugh, but most importantly, he’d make me feel secure. Always honest, upfront, and willing to put me in my place! I need a firm hand otherwise I’ll walk all over these guys. he also needs to respect what I do, and allow me to party without questioning my motives. Wow, I’m asking for too much, aren’t I? Oops!
SL: Excluding men (although we probably could live without them!), what are the two major things you simply couldn’t live without?
N: My Google Phone and my publicist. She is literally my wing girl, my diary keeper, my events coordinator and my best friend.
SL: Do you have any new plans to develop Sex & London City in the next few months?
N: Funny you should ask this, yes yes I do! It is currently being re-designed and re-branded as we speak…to become less of a blog and more of an online fashion and lifestyle magazine. I’ll have a visible open calender so everyone can see the future events I will attend, best parties to attend…it’s going to be epic! So excited, I’ve already seen the first draft of the new look and it’s just amazing. I have CleverInk to thank for this – I would recommend this web solution company to anyone!
SL: What is one secret you’ve never shared on your blog (or on the internet before)?
N: I’ve kissed a celebrity. But shhhhh…that is all I’m saying! I’m not a kiss and tell kinda girl!
The gym is less of a best friend, more of an acquaintance if you get my drift!
SL: You have the most amazing (and enviable) figure ever. What’s your secret to staying slim?
N: Do I? I didn’t realise I did! Thank you sweet. I guess it’s more my genes – my sister and my mum both have tiny waists and ‘ghetto bootys’ which seems to be the attraction with me! I have played Netball since I was 10, literally twice a week and Captain my own team back in Kent, I absolutely love it. I don’t try stay slim, I just try be active. But I certainly eat A LOT and the gym is less of a best friend, more of an acquaintance if you get my drift!
SL: If you could interview anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you ask them?
N: Jessie J. I love her. I’d ask her “Who was she singing ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ to when she wrote it?”
SL: Where do you hope you/or your blog will be in ten years time?
Ahhhhh, long term plans! A TV show of course! It’s about time we had Sex and London City on screen! And a book too, for some extra train reading fun!
SL: What is the ultimate dream for you?
To marry a millionaire and then set up a trap for him to cheat, so I can then divorce him, claim half his money and run off to a Thailand island to live on a boat. Just kidding! (or am I?)
To catch up on Nix’s blog & to follow her showbiz antics, click here.