The model, author, and actress hits the open road alongside Dree Hemingway and Rickey Thompson in Coach’s sundrenched new campaign

Thought the most iconic, road-tripping pals were Thelma and Louise? Think again. Stealing their crowns are Hari Nef, Rickey Thompson, and Dree Hemingway, who jumped in a car and headed out to the Cali desert to shoot Coach’s latest campaign. The whole thing is inspired by the freedom that comes from hitting the open road – which plenty of us are dreaming about right now after spending approximately 3,478 years in lockdown. 

Dressed in looks from the label’s Pre-Fall 21 collection, the Coach faves are captured leaning back against the car – or otherwise sprawled across its roof – and joking around together in the heat, as part of a series captured by photographer Max Farago. “Rickey cracks me up, and Dree is a legend,” says Nef. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m smiling in pretty much every single photo, and you can’t fake the smiles I’m giving in these photos. It was a beautiful day in the sun.” 

As the series gets its debut, we catch up with the model, author, and actress to talk the moments she feels most free, her must-have roadtrip fashions, and which book she’s packing in her suitcase.

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Hey Hari! So first off, what does your dream road trip look like? 

Hari Nef: I mean, I think you’re looking right at it. It would be me, Dree, and Rickey in a sexy old car, driving from East to West across the United States, New York to LA, seeing America. We’d stay at hotels, motels, and Holiday Inns, and we’d listen to a little Lana, a little Dolly, and definitely “Late Nite Tip” by Three 6 Mafia. If you know, you know – listen to the lyrics, or at least one lyric in particular. 

What are the three most essential things going in your suitcase? 

Hari Nef: Definitely a Coach bag, wouldn’t be caught dead without it. A toothbrush. And a good book. Right now I’m reading Trans Girl Suicide Museum, by Hannah Baer – it’s incredible.

You’re starring in a remake of what is widely considered the most iconic road trip movie of all time. Who are you playing, and who would star opposite you?  

Hari Nef: I feel like we did this – Dree and Rickey! I think I would probably be the Thelma to Dree’s Louise – I’m pretty sure her middle name is Louise, so there you go. We were saying on set that they just need to roll a camera on this and make a buddy comedy. It was combustible and delicious.

What was the shoot like? 

Hari Nef: In case you didn’t notice, I’m smiling in pretty much every single photo, and you can’t fake the smiles I’m giving in these photos. It was a beautiful day in the sun, Rickey cracks me up, Dree is a legend and a long-time style icon of mine, and Max shoots in a really sweet and disarming way, where he just kind of talks to you and asks you about your life and your plans and your vibes. I wasn’t really modelling – not the capital ‘M’ modelling – I was just sort of talking to Max and laughing with him, and it felt easy, and it was a pleasure. I think it shows. 

How do you define freedom? 

Hari Nef: With my gut instinct, and following through on it. That’s how I define my freedom. 

When do you feel the most free? 

Hari Nef: At night, with my friends, and also when the sun’s going down. 

How did you ‘escape’ while stuck in lockdown this last year? 

Hari Nef: I watched movies, they were my escape. I even watched a road movie or two, like Something Wild, by Jonathan Demme. It got me excited for the trips I would take, and the crazy times to come – because I knew they would, and here we are.

Take a look through the campaign in the gallery above.