Then, it was time for hair and makeup, and Tom Sturridge came to find Helena backstage to run lines as she got ready. “He was so generous and kind,” she adds. “And Max Harwood sent me a lovely note afterwards to say congratulations. I didn’t get to talk to the other Romeos properly because there was so little time, but all of it had that classic theater energy of everyone just pulling together. It was a complete dream and then, suddenly, it was 7:30pm. I couldn’t quite believe it.”
Was she nervous when the spotlight turned on her? “You know what, I don’t think I was nervous until I got up to that box,” Helena says, thoughtfully. “But then, I was sitting there with all of these amazing guests and chatting about what had just happened before I started the scene and their reactions to the situation reminded me how mad it all was. There were so many actors in the audience that I admire. You just have to sort of try and keep a cool head and stay present.”
She needn’t have worried—the segment went exactly to plan, and soon, she was back in the box to watch the rest of the show. “It was extraordinary,” she says. “Annie Lennox is such a magician, and then, at the end, to see those supermodels—Naomi, Linda, Christy, and Cindy—reunited on stage was so special. I’d seen it in the rehearsals, but to see the audience reaction to it was just incredible.”
I’d imagined that Helena ended her night at Vogue World: London’s star-studded after-party, but not so. “When the show ended, I went backstage and got my wings taken off, and then headed out into the auditorium,” she explains. “I’d seen a row of theater directors I knew, and also my friend Nicola Coughlan—we did a play at the Donmar together. I went to say hi, and then I said goodnight to Baz, and then I got a night bus home with full hair and make-up! When I got in, I just had a cup of tea and fell asleep in the clothes I was wearing.”
It’s quite the Cinderella ending, I tell her. As for what’s next? She’s currently preparing for a part in a high-profile West End play due to hit the stage next year, she tells me, though she “can’t say much more about it yet.” All we know is, this won’t be the last you’ll see of Helena Wilson.