Saturday, 31 July 2021

Now Totie’s out in front

SINGER Totie Southwell is used to being the centre of attention, except when it comes to Henley Royal Regatta.

SINGER Totie Southwell is used to being the centre of attention, except when it comes to Henley Royal Regatta.

She has worked behind the scenes at the event for the last five years, so is looking forward to stepping out of the shadows and being able to wear what she wants this year.

Totie, who previously worked as manager of the art gallery in the stewards’ enclosure, says: “I always saw lots of people wearing beautiful outfits and we couldn’t dress up as much so it will be lovely to wear one myself.”

The 22-year-old singer- songwriter from Aston says she loves the regatta style and sense of competition.

“There is a lovely atmosphere, especially when people you know win,” she says. “When I was working at the regatta we would do a fashion rundown at the end of the week showing what all the ladies have been wearing. It was really cool because we were in a prime position to see what everyone was wearing. Last year there was some rain so there were lots of wellies and maxi dresses.”

She plans to wear a maxi dress at this year’s regatta.

Totie, whose aunt works at the regatta headquarters, was educated at Shiplake College, where she rowed in a quad, and then went to the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.

She is known for performing barefoot. “I don’t know why I do it,” she says. “I suppose I feel more comfortable not wearing shoes. When I was at music college I was always taking my shoes off.”

Totie has been singing ever since she can remember but began to consider it as a career when she was 16. She tried musical theatre but realised she couldn’t dance or act as well as she could sing.

Her voice is often compared to Adele, Kate Nash and Duffy.

She recently performed in Cannes as she accompanied her stepmother, Jo, whose short film was screened at the annual film festival.

“It went really well,” she says. “It was lots of fun and to do something like that is a good test.”

She will next perform a three-night residency at record shop In The Groove in Reading Road as part of the Henley Fringe festival, which her stepmother organises, later this month.

Meanwhile, Shiplake College student Zac Jones will be wearing a colourful outfit at this year’s regatta. The 18-year-old has chosen pink chinos, a yellow shirt and green belt — with purple loafers.

Zac, from Chalgrove, said. “I like to wear smart casual — a shirt, blazer, jeans and loafers if it’s quite a formal occasion.”

At one regatta, the teenager and his father, Ashley, wore matching outfits. Mr Ashley rowed for Leander Club and was part of the junior GB squad but Zac only tried rowing for a week while at school as he was needed by the hockey squad.

However, he has enjoyed attending Henley Royal Regatta since he was small and is looking forward to going this year for the first time since leaving school.

“I like watching the Shiplake College teams row and sitting and chatting to my mates because it’s a nice social occasion,” he says.

In September he will be flying to New Zealand to join a cricket academy. He has been playing the game for 10 years and was captain of the school 1st XI this summer.

“It was a choice between golf and cricket but I am better at cricket,” says Zac. “I also like the team side of the game, although I still play golf at quite a high level.”

More pictures — page 8

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