Hanna Hanra was born in a 17th century stable in Scotland, and after she left (and the stable door was bolted) she moved to London to being a nomadic, cross discipline career. A multi-hyphenate, before such a thing existed. . She began her career as a DJ by telling a club promoter she could DJ because she thought she would, as they say, pull. She could not DJ and she did not pull, but it would ignite a love for music that would turn into becoming an independent music magazine publisher, a writer, a DJ, and a consultant.
In 2006, aged 25, she usurped Julie Burchill as the youngest writer of a cover story for Sunday Times Magazine. Some dastardly young upstart has probably stolen that crown now but such is life. Since then she has also written main features and profiles for Vogue US, Vogue UK, the Guardian, The Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Times Style, Vice, Refinery 29, The Gentlewoman and ELLE.
In 2016 she became the editorial director for The Fifth Sense, a collaboration between Chanel and i-D. The brief of the project was to explore female sensuality through daily content, as well as five tentpole projects; a short film by Alma Har’El, a mirror maze installation by Es Devlin, a zine and film by photographer Harley Weir and an interactive website by Lucy Hardcastle. She then became Digital Director of i-D, a cultural institution which coincidentally had given her her first writing commission in 2004. As Digital Director of i-D, she oversaw a growth in traffic to the site of 100% – she achieved this by not only working with the other Vice platforms and getting them to repost i-D’s content in a wily manner, but also by simply making the 17 pieces of content that were posted daily better – funnier, smarter, more appealing, more punky.
In 2010 she started BEAT – a free music paper, printed on newsprint, that works with some of the greatest fashion photographers: David Sims, Alasdair McLellan, Tyrone Lebon, Ryan McGinley, Clare Shilland, to create iconic images of bands new and old. Distributed world wide, the paper has become recognised as a champion of musicians both in the mainstream and on the peripheries of it. Cover stars have included Kamasi Washington, St Vincent, Lorde, Blondie, Little Mix, Josh Homme and Giorgio Moroder. In 2015 Beyoncé asked to be shot by the title; this experience can best be described as ‘a white knuckle ride’ that culminated with Hanna, in the backroom of Hackney NatWest, paying for Beyoncé’s helicopter at 9am on a Monday so the shoot could take place. After Beyoncé came Bowie. He said that title reminded him of “the 70s” and “made him laugh” which is basically the best compliment anyone can get (after Debbie Harry remarking that “we look similar” and “Chris [Stein] should take a photo”). To honour Bowie, and to honour the fact he wasn’t doing any other press, ever, she put together a very special issue of BEAT. David chose his favourite pictures, Hanna hers. Tracey Emin and Scott King gave an image. Sue Webster designed a limited edition cover. David saw the cover and said he loved it. And then he died.
She has consulted to Fendi, Wednesday, Nike, Far Fetch, Links of London, to help them create a cross platform cohesive brand message, and to Dior, Vivienne Westwood, M.A.C, TopShop, CK1, Coach, Victoria Beckham and Pringle of Scotland for musical direction. Working with BEAT, she has collaborated with Chanel, Celine, Saint Laurent, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and Gucci.