Peigh Asante

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It was a typical grey and drizzly British summers day, but when Peigh turned up to meet me at Brockley overground train station wearing a bright yellow raincoat and a massive smile, he made up for the lack of sun. Peigh was born and raised in Charlton, south east London. True to his roots he supports Charlton Athletic FC, but like most Londoner’s, he also has the need to support a good quality northern team, so when Charlton aren’t hitting the spot, his heart is with Liverpool FC. He works as a junior creative at Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency, which he says is his ideal job – promoting products in public spaces, in innovative ways and seeing how people react to his ideas first hand, creating conversations. In the evening he barks orders at people, poolside, for Swim Dem Crew – a swimming collective founded by himself, Nathaniel Cole and Emily Deyn in 2013 – more than just teaching people to swim during the week, it is a community built on a love for swimming – they tour pools around London at the weekend, and hold regular social events.peigh_trophy_img_5060

What does your bedroom mean to you?
Peace and quiet, tranquility I guess. It means a full-stop to the day.

What would your dream bedroom be like?
I hate heights, but I think, my dream bedroom would be, like a treehouse – a bit like an eco home. As long as its near the kitchen, I’d be happy. I’d like it to be coastal, but close enough to a city because I like the hustle and bustle.

When are you happiest?
When I’m eating or having sex. If I can do them both at the same time – bloody hell, I’d be on top of the world. Ha, no seriously. I love food – eating makes me so happy. I like the communal thing of eating together. I love to cook. And seeing people happy from something I’ve made, makes me happy – I know it sounds cheesy, but I like that. Suppose it relates to ‘creating conversations’ – I like to see peoples reactions.peigh_baywatch_img_5069

What makes you sad?
If I know I have upset someone. And running out of battery on my phone, particularly because I can’t do my ’60 seconds’ series – something I started in my 20’s – I capture moments of my life everyday on my phone and it results in a 60 second clip each month.

Do you have a recurring dream?
No, but if I fall asleep on the couch, I have well trippy dreams – like mad. They feel real, but horrible situations, violent and stuff. But if I fall asleep on the bed, I don’t dream, or I can’t remember them. And no matter what time I go to bed, I will always wake up at 6am, whether I like it not – my body doesn’t want to shut down. Someone suggested wearing an eye mask to help me sleep – I tried it, but I sleep completely naked and having that on my face, was like, ah mate – I couldn’t stand it.

Tell me a joke?
I don’t know, I haven’t eaten a Penguin bar in ages.peigh_shelf_img_5071

Where did you get the Frankenstein picture from?
I love it. It’s by my friend, Nicole – she’s an illustrator. She was moving studios, didn’t have enough room, so I said bring it in here. And now I wake up with Frank every morning.peigh_frank_img_5091

What’s the story behind the bedside table?
I was meeting friends in Peckham for a night put and I saw it in a skip on my way there. I noticed a cool bunch of student looking kids also eyeing it up, so I thought if I don’t get it now, they will, and I’ll regret it. So I took it and stashed it on an estate, went out with my friends and came back for it the next day. It feels appropriate to have it in the bedroom though  – say your prayers, say your prayers man – thank god for life. peigh_bedside_img_4995

You have a lot of medals, how did you get into running?
I have quite a lot of medals – it feels like I’ve ran more marathons than I’ve had hot dinners. I started running in 2010. I woke up one morning and I felt so heavy, so I got up and ran round the park near my mums house. Then one night I was at a party in Shoreditch, east London, I was talking to my friend Rahda, she was telling me how she goes running with a bunch of people called Run Dem Crew. She challenged me to come along, so I had to rise to it. The next thing I know, I’m running with the Run Dem lot from Shoreditch to Elephant and Castle – roughly 6km – I could taste blood, but at the end of it, I was so chuffed. And that was it – I was on it. I started running on a regular basis with Run Dem Crew – big up Charlie Dark, the Run Dem founder, and big up Rahda for challenging  me to run with the crew in the first place.peigh_medals_img_5044

My favourite race, was the Copenhagen Half Marathon, I felt amazing, everything went well on the night, everything was perfect, you know, and it’s rare to have everything feeling so right – I beat my personal best, and the next week, I ran Royal Parks Foundation half and beat the Copenhagen personal best, with 1 hour 40 minutes. I was in good running spirits. But you know, although I beat my personal best at Royal Parks in 2011, Royal Parks also holds my slowest time of 2 hours 11 minutes because when I ran my second race there in October 2012, I got injured.

After the Royal Parks injury I became really depressed because I couldn’t run – I was smoking loads of weed, drinking, eating Morleys [fried chicken and chips]. I was rock bottom. I went to see my physio and as part of my rehabilitation he told me to start swimming, but I couldn’t swim. So, in January 2013, I stopped eating junk, smoking weed, cut out alcohol, and changed my life. I learnt to swim and started boxing – I really got into shape, and I thank Royal Parks for getting me injured, it was a turning point and the start of my swimming career. Fast forward to 2015 I found myself running in the London Marathon for Adidas – I loved every minute of it, it was fun and it was in my home town –  at the 2-3 mile point, I passed Charlton where I grew up, people were shouting my name – it was crazy. When I watched from that point as kid, I never thought it would be me doing it one day. And when I ran past my Dad and Mum at mile 21, my Dad was running and clapping, shouting ‘oh my god’, and my dad isn’t someone to show emotion, at all, so to see that, I was like, ah, that’s bless.

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The medal from Peigh’s first race, the Great Newham London 10k in 2010.

Follow Peigh Instagram / Twitter

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