We’ll be honest: We’ve been running into social fixture Rufus Albemarle on the party circuit for years and have never had a clue about what he does. He was always just the tall, charming British rogue who seems to be having the best time of anyone in the room. It turns out he’s an actual earl with a seat in the House of Lords who came to America to make his fortune as an industrial engineer, but ended up started a men’s shirt company, Albemarle of London. Apparently, the business is taking off, because after ten years in New York, he’s headed back to London to work on an expansion and to be with his wife, Sally, and his three year-old son, Augustus, who’ve been living across the pond for two years now. Don’t ask how that worked. The ways of the Rufus will always be a mystery.
Last night, PR powerhouses Nadine Johnson and Vanessa Von Bismarck threw a birthday and going-away party for Albemarle, at Bungalow 8. The crowd was so full of expats we thought we’d ask them for some advice — namely, on how to find your way in New York as a foreigner. Their answers were much more practical than we thought they’d be.
“Get a credit history,” said Albemarle. “Without credit, you’re nobody. As a foreigner, it’s frightening. I joined Bally gyms. It works. Basically, they lend you $2,000 to pay for Bally gyms for three years and what happens is if you pay your membership, you automatically get on the credit-history list. That’s the only way. That, or get a Capital One credit card.” Event designer Antony Todd said he’d run into the same issues. “I was illegal at the beginning, you know, because I was a visitor, but somehow from London my mother had set up this bank account for me,” he explained. “There were complications renting apartments and not being able to unless my mother came over and guaranteed it.” Ann Dexter-Jones, too, said she’d run into the same issue. “I had lousy credit when I came here because I like to pay my bills, and if you don’t owe money, you don’t have a credit history.” As for the problems Albemarle and Todd ran into renting cars and apartments, she was in the dark. “I didn’t have that problem,” she said. “I’m kind of privileged, you know.” —Jada Yuan