Feathering The Nest
Harper's Bazaar Malaysia|June 2017

Ashley and Kata Hicks were brought together by a shared love of chickens, and their English country home is as elegantly eccentric as the couple themselves.

Catriona Gray

Dressed in a semi-sheer Armani jumpsuit, Katalina Hicks is athletically pursuing a chicken across the manicured lawn, assisted by her Italian greyhound, Cara. Finally she scoops the plump hen named Barbara Bradenburg into her arms and laughs in triumph. Earlier, her husband, Ashley, had displayed similar skill rounding up the errant fowl in their Oxfordshire garden; but then, chickens have always played a significant role in the Hickses’ romance. It was Ashley’s wittily captioned pictures on Instagram of his prized birds that first captivated Katalina Sharkey de Solis, a digital consultant based in New York. When she was asked to give a talk at the American culture festival South by Southwest about anthropomorphism in social media, she got in touch with Ashley to ask for a high-resolution image of his favourite avian subjects. Soon afterwards they met for the first time, over dinner at The Wolseley in London. That was in May 2015, and by September of that year, the couple had married. The wedding made headlines, thanks in part to photographs showing the bride wearing lace rabbit ears, while Ashley donned a giant chicken’s head at the reception.

Marriage has meant that Kata has swapped her city life for this rural idyll. “Relocating to England was a big change, but I was ready for it,” she says. “I arrived in New York when I was 15—it’s an amazing city, but it’s for young people with lots of energy.”

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