My London: Maro Itoje

·3-min read
 (Marks and Spencer)
(Marks and Spencer)

Home is…

Oakleigh Park in the suburbs of north London since 2019. I wanted to be somewhere that wasn’t too far from training, which is in Hertfordshire, but I also didn’t want to be too far from the action. And I’ve always lived in this area — I’m north London through and through.

Favourite artwork in London?

The Signature African Art gallery [including work by Giggs Kgole] in Mayfair has my favourites. It’s one of the few African art galleries in London, so it does good things for the culture. African art is the main area I’m interested in, I have 30 or so pieces myself.

Giggs Kgole (Giggs Kgole)
Giggs Kgole (Giggs Kgole)

Biggest extravagance?

Probably my fish. When I moved into my house it had a fish pond, and I decided to keep it alive. I have a few variations of koi, including a ghost koi and a butterfly koi. I used to have a sturgeon but she passed away — I’m still grieving. Her name was Naomi, after Naomi Campbell.

Best meal you’ve had?

I love oriental food. My two favourites, Royal China Club and the Bright Courtyard Club, are on Baker Street right opposite each other. I love the ribs, Singapore fried noodles, crispy beef… I could go on.

Where do you let your hair down?

I don’t go out too much, but I prefer events hosted by friends, such as No Wahala and Shakara Brunch Club. They’re both open to the public. If I was going to a club, I’d go to central London, somewhere like Maddox.

Who is the most iconic Londoner in history?

I don’t know if they should be celebrated or not, but I find the Kray twins very interesting. They obviously did a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be commended.

The Kray twins (Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Kray twins (Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Where would you recommend for a first date?

I think coffee shops are great for first dates, they’re chilled and you don’t have to worry too much about what you’re wearing. It’s a nice one to set the tone and see what’s what. Although I don’t actually drink coffee.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

How much power does the Mayor really have? But I’d give everyone electric cars so we could move to being a bit more eco-friendly.

Favourite grooming spot?

I’ll have to say Wondaz, a hair salon in Hendon where I get my dreads re-locked. There are some good aunties there who look after me.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

Kensington Palace. It’s close to amenities and there’s a nice park next to you. Or I’d find one of those massive houses in Hampstead with a bit of land.

Kensington Palace (Alamy Stock Photo)
Kensington Palace (Alamy Stock Photo)

What are you up to at the moment for work?

The day job is rugby union, which has been keeping me busy. I’m also doing an MBA and I’ve been fortunate enough to partner with Marks & Spencer to front its latest menswear campaign. I’m excited for it, but my mother is even more excited.

Richard Hill (Getty Images)
Richard Hill (Getty Images)

What podcast are you listening to?

I just finished an audio book, Nick Clegg’s Politics, which I found interesting.

Who is your hero?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with [former Saracens and England player] Richard Hill since I was 14. His guidance and mentorship throughout my early years was so important.

Maro Itoje is the face of Marks & Spencer’s AW21 menswear collection

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