Anouska Hempel, Lady Weinberg
(sometimes credited as Anoushka Hempel
) (born 13 December 1941, Wellington
, New Zealand
) is a film
and television actress
. She is also a noted figure in London society, known as "Nou-nou" to her friends.
Hempel was born Anne Geissler
. She is of Russian and Swiss German ancestry and claims to have been born on a boat en route from Papau New Guinea
to New Zealand
. Her father imigrated to New Zealand where he was a sheep farmer, later her family moved to Cronulla, south of Sydney
where he owned a garage
. As a teenager in the mid-50s, she attended Sutherland High School, left at 15 and then trained as a psychiatric nurse in Sydney. In 1962 she moved to the United Kingdom
with 10 pounds to her name, and two years later married Constantine Hempel
, a journalist
and property developer
who later died in a car accident. From 1978 - 1980 she was married to theatrical producer Bill Kenwright
. In 1980 she married financier
Sir Mark Weinberg
, with whom she has a son, Jonathan. She appears in a photographic portrait by Bryan Wharton
in the National Portrait Gallery
Her first film appearance was in the 1969 James Bond
film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service
as one of the "angels of death". Thereafter she appeared in several films and TV programmes, including The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins
, Zodiac (TV Series)
with Anton Rodgers
, the adaptation of comic strip Tales of Tiffany Jones
, and Russ Meyer
's controversial soft pornographic Black Snake
. She also appeared in the TV series Space 1999
. In 1998 she bought the UK rights to Tiffany Jones
(1973) and Black Snake
(1973) in order to keep them out of circulation. This effectively blocks any future UK television screenings or video releases.
Hotel and design career
She is now a hotelier and designer of global repute, and is ranked by Architectural Design (2002) as one of the top 100 interior designers and architects in the world. She is known to favour "style over comfort" (in her own words), and two hotels have refitted her interiors after their guests found them uncomfortable. She is known for her perfection and striking designs in which everything is ordered and regimented; she is noted for being so particular that people find her difficult to work with. However, the results are thought by some to be outstanding.
Anouska Hempel has so far created four hotels. Blakes
was created in 1978 as one of the world's first luxury boutique hotels. Based in South Kensington, it is famous for its design, service and privacy. Additionally the restaurant in the hotel has become a destination in its own right, featuring a fusion of Anouska Hempel's own favorite cuisines – Japanese and Italian. Blakes Amsterdam
opened in 2002, and draws inspiration from Amsterdam's historic Dutch East India Company
. Her second hotel, The Hempel
, was London's
first minimalist hotel She is currently a silent advisor in her hotel company.
Hempel is currently designing further landmark hotels in Brazil, Goa, Istanbul, Las Vegas, London and Oman. The first of these to open, in early 2008, will be her hotel in Brazil, to be called Warapuru in Itacare, Bahia. The design will incorporate a spa and hotel set in the rainforest.
Her restaurant designs range from modern minimalist to theatrical. Restaurant projects include Shy in Jakarta
and Tom Aikens
in London. She has designed retail stores for Van Cleef and Arpels
(London, Paris, Monaco, Beverly Hills, Osaka and Geneva stores) and Louis Vuitton
, for whom she designed their flagship Paris
store and items such as luxury fountain pens.
Hempel has taken private commissions for homes and landscapes, most recently a garden in honour of Princess Margaret in Oxford. Through a boutique in South Kensington, she has designed couture clothes for many famous and influential women - including Princess Diana and Princess Margaret of the British Royal family. Her designs are sold globally.