South Africa

Breathtaking Charlotte Fantelli

with Charlotte Fantelli / @cfantelli

Photographer @libertyphotographyuk

How did you get started in the film industry? I have written all my life and it is from this passion to create and tell stories that my production company Branded Studios was born. In 2013 I was lucky enough, or crazy enough, I am not sure which, to make my first film Journey to Le Mans. I had no industry knowledge when I started but the tenacity, drive, and resilience you need to survive in the cutthroat world of film. The same traits that mean I am still in the industry all these years later.

How does modeling fit into this? To be honest modeling to me is more of a hobby, I find it lots of fun and it provides a great platform to talk about my latest films. I just feel very blessed and happy that I get the opportunity to work with publications like FHM and of course, being in the top 100 list is by far the highlight of this.  

And how does it feel to be named as one of FHM’s top 100? I used to read FHM when I was younger and really admired the beautiful women on your pages and lists! It really is incredibly cool to see myself among them. Thank you so much for the honor!

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far? The next one… I like to keep myself hungry by focusing on the best being yet to come. Although to be fair I have found every one of my films involves a lot of excitement, fun, and challenges, usually in equal measure. Of course the first will always have a special place in my heart – walking into Leicester Square and seeing my name on the big screen for the first time, I suppose just like with love, you’ll never forget the intensity of the first time. 

What’s your secret to staying in great shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle? I think it was Julia Roberts who said ‘I am 80% good 80% of the time’ and that sums me up really, I eat three very healthy meals a day, and then I can have some occasional indulgence without worry. I am actually a farm girl at heart and I have fresh eggs and veg out in the garden every day. Exercise-wise I do yoga 6-7 times a week, I walk a lot, and mountain bike. I used to be a gymnast and then got heavily into martial arts so I think that muscle memory also helps. I still always think I could do more, but I work crazy hours, and building a business and looking after my family takes priority.   

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers trying to break into the industry? Have a damn thick skin and an enormous work ethic. Outside of that just do it, don’t talk about it, just do it. You will make mistakes but those ultimately will turn out to be your biggest teachers. Just start, take your phone, and go tell stories, prove your skills in doing it, there is no excuse nowadays with platforms such as YouTube available to everyone, anyone can prove what they are capable of, and I do believe talent and hard work will rise to the top. 

What films inspire you? Good question. The most recent documentary that has inspired me was the Robbie Williams documentary from Ridley Scott’s company Directed by Joe Pearlman, it really got under the skin of the subject and had a ridiculously rich archive any filmmaker would drool at! It was also absolutely slated by the Guardian – like many of my films have been! Outside of the genre I work in, I like things that make you think, I loved The Black List, The Night Watchman, and any 80’s action movie has a place in my heart!

Do you have a dream film you’d love to be a part of one day? I absolutely love working on automotive films, having worked with the likes of Ferrari, Abarth, and racing teams, I would love to continue down this vein. I love telling life stories too and I would adore getting my hands on Johnnie Depp’s! Eventually, too I want to get into drama. 

How do you balance your professional career with your personal life and relationships? Ha, I don’t have a great deal of balance! I do have a wonderful family I adore, but I also work a lot on my business! My circle is very small but I’d do anything for those who are close to me.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career? To sniff out bullshit. If I can say that!? In this industry more than most everyone wants to take from you. They want fame, money, or a shortcut and they would sell their grandmother (and certainly me) to get it. That may sound harsh but it is accurate. I have learned I am never going to tame the sharks but I have become strong enough to swim with them. 

Can you share some of your favorite beauty and fashion tips? I am the least girly girl there is, I suppose my only tip would be to be authentic. Be yourself, the sexiest thing you can wear is confidence, so if you feel good you will project that. 

How do you handle the pressure of constantly being in the spotlight? I wouldn’t say I am in the spotlight really, as a Director and Producer it is my job to make the best spotlight I can for everyone else. Maybe that’s why I love these photoshoots so much! I enjoy the attention of course, but equally, it is nice I can pick and choose when and where I receive it. 

What role has social media played in your filmmaking career, and how do you engage with your followers? Social media has made it easier to reach people in the industry it really has, networking is easier when people can see you are working on cool projects. I try to engage with people who engage with me publicly (not in DMs!) If someone is kind enough to comment or encourage me that’s really lovely and I try to respond – when I am not filming cars up mountains or the like. 

What are your long-term goals and aspirations? I am quite a dreamer so I have many. I like to have a lot of goals on the go; business, life, personal, and physical. Long term I have been offered a book deal and I’d love to find the time to see that through. Also going from one-off films and docs to returnable series, brands, and franchises, taking the step into drama! And of course, building Branded Studios.

Can you share some upcoming projects or ventures that your fans can look forward to I am working with the biggest car brands in the world right now and while I would LOVE to say more I really can’t just follow me and Branded on social media and be the first to find out.

Thanks so much for your time, where can our readers follow you on social to stay updated on what you’re up to? Instagram @cfantelli and @Brandedstudios please also check out the photographer of this shoot @libertyphotographyuk.