Alexa Chung: 'Dressed as Pocahontas, I kept tugging at my bottom-skimming skirt'

Girl About Town

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"Alexa is Santa Barbara.” So reads my Facebook profile status. Although, technically speaking, it should probably say: “Alexa is somewhere between Santa Barbara and Big Sur, grappling with an unfriendly map.” But if I were to write that, it would call for proper grammar, something the internet has rendered a thing of the past. Anyway, me being (in) Santa Barbara is the product of my agent, me and Channel 4 conspiring to schedule in some respite from the heavy demands of reading words from an autocue.

Yes, it really can take its toll. I’ve needed a holiday for about two years, so I took a month off and, six years after my last US roadtrip, I’m venturing to rifle my way through thrift stores and burgers once more, along the open road.

The timing of this trip has been most fortuitous, firstly because I hate wearing gloves and the weather in London was demanding that I do so; and secondly because it meant I was in LA the night Obama breezed to victory. It was an eye-opening evening, not least because, having come round from my jet-lagged nap, I awoke to find will.i.am, of Black Eyed Peas fame, appearing as a hologram on CNN. This, although initially dismissed by me as the extension of a dream, actually happened. CNN was beaming opinions into its studio, and they came in the style of Princess Leia. Weird.

During dinner with friends later that evening, I abandoned a Caprese salad in favour of watching Obama’s speech. I found it hard to comprehend, given the circumstances, why this seemed to aggravate our over-friendly waitress, because it wasn’t that good anyway – the salad that is, not the speech, which was amazing. I welled up, actually, then pretended I didn’t. The people in the bar were overjoyed, whooping and cheering, embracing, making out even. Apart from my friend Charlotte, who said that she wouldn’t celebrate until Prop 8, the law that would prohibit gay marriage, had been denied. It was a gloomy week for her.

After LA, I spent the day at Disneyland. I’ve been to Disneyland Paris and Florida more times than anyone who doesn’t dress up as Goofy for a living should. But it wasn’t until I was happily sitting in a horse-drawn tram on “Main Street” that I remembered that I had previously visited the California one, too. But that didn’t make the Space Mountain any less thrilling, or a grown woman dressed as Alice in Wonderland any less depressing.

Having said that, I myself invested in a Pocahontas children’s costume, and in response to encouragement from friends, wasted no time in donning said outfit, meaning I spent the rest of the day tugging at the tassles of my bottom-skimming skirt, wondering whether I was brazenly disregarding Disney’s code of conduct.

Although a decade stood between this and my last visit to Disneyland, it was reassuring to know that my day ended as it did then: me, worn out from one too many rides, falling asleep in the back of the car. However, it wasn’t until this visit that I finally fulfilled the childhood desire that, in my teens, I would have been too defiant to embrace: Pocahontas has great dress sense.

But I do wonder whether she ever felt the same level of embarrassment regarding her tassly ass as I did, making my way from the car up to my hotel room. Nothing cements an awkward moment quite like a lift.

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