We caught up with BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design students, Nicole Cuddihy and Jack Walker, to get all the gossip on their 22nd February Buckingham Palace visit to celebrate the course’s success in the 12th round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE A STUDENT ON A COURSE THAT HAS WON SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD?
Jack: Really proud. It was me and Nicole who went [to Buckingham Palace] but it’s not just our achievement, it’s for everyone [on the course] – past, present and future.
Nicole: Concisely put. It was an honour to represent the course… I’m very grateful.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO ATTEND THE AWARD CEREMONY AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE?
Jack: Surreal. I got to chat to Camilla [Duchess of Cornwall] for a bit – that was exciting. And the incredibly expensive, incredibly old paintings they had [displayed], it was very cool to see those in person.
Nicole: It did feel cinematic walking in, there was a beautiful orchestra playing…they were playing a medley from La La Land, which was even more unreal.
Jack: They were playing ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele as well. Not what we were expecting.
Nicole: I think that was nice – they made it much more comfortable than I was expecting.
Jack: It was obviously very formal in terms of what we were wearing… but the people we were talking to were very friendly.
NICOLE, HOW DID IT FEEL TO DESIGN AND MAKE GOWNS THAT WERE WORN AT THE EVENT?
Nicole: It was intimidating at first, but really exciting because I’d never designed something I was going to wear before… It was especially exciting to work with the maker, Alexandra Cooper. She was really energetic about the project. And then wearing [the dress], of course. I would walk by and people would say ‘Oh, I love that dress’. Camilla [Duchess of Cornwall] told me that she really liked the dress… she had been looking at it from across the way… I should have said ‘we’ll make you something’.
HAS THE EXPERIENCE INSPIRED YOUR FUTURE ASPIRATIONS?
Nicole: I don’t think I’ll ever have an experience quite like it again. Getting to be around so many people – even [people] on our course. Getting to talk to our lecturers, our Chancellor, and our Vice-Chancellor was all really inspiring. It showed me that it is something we can do for the rest of our lives… that there is a real world beyond university, in the Arts.
Jack: Just to reiterate, it’s everyone’s [on the course’s] achievement. Everyone involved should be really proud of themselves.
Read more about their Buckingham Palace visit for the Queen’s Anniversary Prize