Interview with the Head Girl: Ava Vakil


Let’s start with the boring questions. What subjects do you take?

English, History, Geography and Economics.

And which one’s your favourite?


What do you want to study at university?

English Literature at Oxford (hopefully) (maybe) lol.

What do you love about the school?

A lot! It’s a pretty nice place. I’d say probably I like the recent ‘get stuff done’ attitude that has been in the air. People are really following through with good ideas. And I love the people – I mean they are always going to be the heart of a place. I genuinely think everyone here is pretty great. And Carolyn is probably my favourite part of this school.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I was four I wanted to be a criminal prosecution lawyer. I got a bit addicted to legal dramas in my early teens. I thought it was a lot more glamorous than it really is, but it looks like too much paperwork for me now.

Would you have liked to do something like the OJ case?

I wouldn’t want to defend him! I would never want to defend people because I would always worry that they were guilty.

(I’m really worried that you’re typing everything I say – I’ve realised how dumb my sentences are.)

What was your favourite subject when you were younger?

Maths, actually, I loved Maths. I found English excessively boring and structured in Junior School when you have to do comprehension and stuff. I love studying texts now and I find it much more interesting. I think English in the Senior School teaches you a little about everything and a lot about English – obviously!

Which areas do you feel need most improvement?

I’d say what we’re working towards with Project Ex Humilibus is a good way forward. We are a big school in every sense of the word besides the grounds. I think the new work is really necessary and so exciting – although it will be odd to come back, and everything not be the same.

Where is your favourite place to work?

I like working in the library – a lot! It’s clean and I like to have lots of space. In the holidays I obviously have to work at home (sad face). I work with a little potted plant on my desk and my dog goes under my feet. Although she sometimes gets really angsty – I’ve been bitten on the toes before for prodding her.

Who is your favourite family member?

(laugh) My dog. 100%. I got told off by Señora Rodriguez for writing my whole Spanish oral presentation on my dog. I actually had to re-write that oral and I wasn’t allowed to include it. I never got asked it in the real thing which was really sad because I had a secret plan to actually just talk about my dog loads.

Where do you shop the most?

Waitrose, food shops and restaurants. My parents call me ‘a lady who lunches’ because I love going out to lunch. In terms of clothes, I like a nice blouse, so Miss Selfridge and Topshop are good. My bank receipts are so funny. They are just Waitrose, Franco Manca, Tortilla, Pret and lots of theatre tickets.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I love TV. I love Peaky Blinders. I also like The Crown, The Good Wife and Broadchurch – I love David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. I like a gritty drama. Secretly, though, I binge watch Hawaii Five-o with Fi Heenk. Alex O’Loughlin is VERY nice to look at.

What are a few of your favourite things?

Chicken. I really like chicken. Fried chicken in particular. Roast chicken too. It’s such a versatile meat. Also, a good book and a cup of tea. Going to the theatre is my favourite past-time activity. I know this sounds really anti-social, but I like being home alone – not so I can have a house party – just so there is no-one there to bother me. I like painting my nails a different colour every week. They’ve got to be good and I am not up for all this chipped nail stuff.

What are the best books you’ve read recently?

I’ve started Finnegan’s Wake which I really like. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce is great. A Little Life was amazing because it is modern, contemporary and easy to read. I am going to try and work my way through the new shortlisted books for the Women’s Prize now.

Which theatre shows have you seen recently?

Hamlet with Andrew Scott was a highlight of my year. I saw Hamilton recently, which was great – you don’t want to love it, but you do. I hate those people who are like “I discovered Hamilton first” – just chill. Dream Girls is great, and I really liked Venus in Fur. The Brother’s Size was so under the radar but was so good – it was at the Young Vic and was written by the same guy who wrote Moonlight.

What kind of music do you like?

I listen to a mixture of soundtrack music, classical music and musicals. I like Damian Rice and Ben Howard. I’m not into EDM or anything like that. Where it is like (unts unts unts unts) – there is no actual music going on. (Uh oh, I don’t want to offend Mr White).

Where are your favourite restaurants?

I like a pub lunch because I love a good roast or a burger. I also have a burrito addiction. If you’re in the mood for a burrito nothing else will do. But if you’re not in the mood they make you feel kind of ill. This has changed my life – I have a top tip for you: when you get points at Tortilla you can use the five points for chips and salsa and not lose those points to get a burrito when you get to ten.

What are some of your pet peeves?

I don’t like slow walkers on the pavement who walk in clumps when you’re trying to get somewhere – shout out to Hibah Syed, who literally could not walk fast if there was a bear chasing her. But she’s amazing and I guess everyone has got to have a flaw. I can’t stand rude people on public transport – those who don’t wait for people to get off before getting on. There should be a three-strike system for people who do that and if you get three strikes then you get kicked out for a year – Sadiq can you hear me? I don’t like it when people think I’m scarier than I am – like I love it when people just come and chat – I’m not scary! I also can’t stand people who fold down corners on books.

I do that!

No! I can’t stand that.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

In-school, I’m really looking forward to working more with the SLT. Clever Clogs in particular, as we have good plans for that. I think the new Year 11s coming into Sixth Form will be fun. In terms of out of school stuff… Waitress is transferring to the West End, so I can’t wait for that. I have successfully convinced my parents to get a new dog, so a puppy is coming my way. Also watching more videos of Mr Finch’s children because they’re so cute.

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?

I remember the Senior School Head Girl giving a speech when I was in the Junior School and she was speaking about Dumbledore – so I tuned in. She said, “The good is not always easy”. Sometimes the thing that will give you the most joy and satisfaction is a bit tough.