Checking in with… India Hicks » Fox Communications

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Fox Quarterly Spring 2024

Checking in with… India Hicks

The humanitarian and interior designer tells Fox Quarterly why she wants to make a difference, the secret to successful hotel interiors, and why husky sledging with her 89-year-old mother is an experience she will never forget.

What drew you to humanitarian causes?

My mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, has spent so much of her life championing and chairing charitable causes, and her own parents, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, both led lives dedicated to the service of others. It had been instilled in me from an early age that we should not take life for granted, and we were to give back as much as possible.

How did your work with Global Empowerment Mission begin?

During the pandemic, when the small island in The Bahamas I live on closed down, there was no tourism to boost the economy or the livelihood of many of the islanders who relied on it. We came together as a community and started a food bank, which fed 3,000 people a week, but it was after the devastating Hurricane Dorian obliterated two neighbouring islands that I began my work with Global Empowerment Mission.

India and her son sit pensively amidst the ruins of a bombed-down building in Ukraine, with their expressions reflecting the somber reality of devastation and loss.
Three weeks into the Russian invasion, India and her son arrive in Ukraine to help shed light on the ongoing conflict. | Source: India Hicks

What has made the biggest impact on you from your humanitarian work?

I have travelled with Global Empowerment to many natural disaster zones, but nothing prepares you for a man-made disaster. GEM touched down two days after Russia invaded Ukraine. I followed three weeks later. Since then, I return to Ukraine every few months not only in my role as an ambassador and board member of GEM, but also as a friend to our Ukrainian team and in the hope that through my social media platforms I can, in some small way, continue to bring awareness to this ongoing crisis.

What has most impressed you about GEM?

They stand out because, despite being an immediate disaster relief agency, they understand that when a community has suffered a natural or man-made disaster, the need goes far deeper than immediate assistance. I also enormously respect their philosophy of empowering local teams on the ground to manage the ongoing relief efforts. And, of course, their aim to always deliver the greatest amount of aid to the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of cost to the donors.

India Hicks in a blue patterned dress crouches down to lovingly embrace her brown dachshund in front of a white house entrance flanked by lush green plants.
India and her family fell in love with the gentle spirit of the Bahamas many years ago, splitting their time between the island and the UK. | Source: India Hicks

What do you miss most when you’re away?

The Ukraine war has done one thing for me, which is make me realise how much I value living in both the Bahamas and Britain. Essentially, we are a fair-minded lot. For the most part we tolerate, we show compassion, we encourage growth and change. Tyrannies allow for none of these.

How did your family and upbringing influence your values?

I have always kept this in mind: “To whom much is given much is expected.”

India's dogs lounging in the dining room of her Bahamas home, embodying the essence of island living.
India’s island pups living their best life in their Bahamas dining room. | Source: India Hicks

Having re-modelled The Landing, what are the most important elements of successful hotel design?

I think it is hugely important for any guest to feel they are welcomed and comfortable but are staying somewhere that carries a story. At The Landing, every effort was made to retain the sense of a private Bahamas home, rather than an institutional hotel. All the rooms, including the public ones, contain personal details, reminders that this is a family business and that the family has roots in the islands.

What tips do you have for being a better traveller?

Give yourself permission to travel and do it with an expectation to live your life well and full of celebration. Never feel guilty about taking the time.

What are your travel pet peeves? 

Airport security who forget their manners.

A serene alfresco dining scene with a stylish India Hicks in a white outfit and straw hat sitting thoughtfully at a beautifully set table amidst lush greenery
India is the daughter of society-favourite interior decorator David Hicks and his wife, Lady Pamela Hicks. | Source: India Hicks

Are there any destinations still on your bucket list?

Oh, so many: Japan, the Galápagos Islands, the northern lights in Iceland. I took my mother to Iceland when she was in her late eighties. We went husky sledging and she was tied into a beautiful wooden sled, which was probably more dangerous than not being tied in. Sadly we did not see the northern lights, but we will never forget Iceland.

What are your top packing tips? 

Under pack, don’t overpack.

Who would your ideal travel companion be?

My mother. She is a delightful traveling companion who never flaps. And she has been round the world several times.

A cozy outdoor living space nestled among lush tropical greenery, complete with comfortable seating, ambient lighting, and a calming, natural atmosphere.
Drawing upon her personal style and natural surroundings, India continues to develop and refurbish classic island-style homes, infusing them with her distinctive touch. | Source: India Hicks

Humanitarian, designer, and author India Hicks has led an unexpected life. Growing up as the daughter of decorator David Hicks and Goddaughter of King Charles she comes from both British and design royalty. India lives on a small island in the Caribbean where she raised her 5 children and now works on the fringes of fashion and the front lines of disaster relief. Follow her on Instagram here.

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