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Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Beauty -

n [Mary Grace’s] mo­ments of strug­gle, she wants to have a life and con­nec­tion that is out­side of a world that has changed dras­ti­cally for her, and that she doesn’t recog­nise any more. I just kept think­ing, the hap­pi­ness you’re feel­ing off set for [Win­ston] is what she hopes for,” Agron elab­o­rates.

As Agron’s evo­lu­tion on cam­era con­tin­ues, so does her ex­per­tise be­hind it. She will be one of only two fe­male di­rec­tors in this year’s up­com­ing film, Ber­lin, I Love You. It is not her di­rec­to­rial de­but, but per­haps her most ma­jor foray into the craft to date. With a cat­e­gor­i­cally star-stud­ded cast ap­pear­ing across 10 ro­man­tic sto­ry­lines set in the Ger­man cap­i­tal, so many mov­ing pieces may seem in­tim­i­dat­ing, but Agron stepped up to the plate.

“I pitched in as a di­rec­tor, and we man­aged to hire Luke Wil­son, who is such a dream,” Agron ex­plains. “I feel very dif­fer­ently on set when I’m get­ting to wear the di­rec­tor’s hat ... My favourite thing is craft­ing a per­for­mance with an ac­tor, iden­ti­fy­ing what the ob­jec­tive is,” she em­pha­sises with widen­ing eyes. This sense of in­tu­ition is clearly a guid­ing prin­ci­ple: “Even if a pro­ject might turn out re­ally well, if it doesn’t feel like some­thing you can fully grasp onto and give some­thing new to, or build from where you’ve been, your gut knows.”

There is clearly a sense of self-as­sured­ness that ra­di­ates off the ac­tress, and whether speak­ing ca­su­ally with me in bed or per­form­ing and pos­ing in front of an en­tire cam­era crew, her con­fi­dence is un­mis­tak­able. Even when stum­bling over her words for a be­hind-the-scenes video, Agron man­ages to wit­tily, warmly de­clare, “Hello, I’m an ac­tor, and I can’t re­mem­ber my lines!” be­fore break­ing into a smile. “The thing I’m most ex­cited about now is that I have a re­ally strong com­pass to guide me and I don’t feel afraid to stick to that,” she re­veals.

This same feel­ing guided Agron to­wards her suc­cess­ful run at the renowned Café Car­lyle in New York’s Up­per East Side late last year. Ac­com­pa­nied by gui­tarist and friend Gill Landry, the setlist fea­tured songs to suit her nat­u­rally lower reg­is­ter, which was never re­ally nur­tured in Glee. “There was a long time where I wasn’t com­fort­able speak­ing and singing in my ac­tual reg­is­ter be­cause I was teased so heav­ily for it when I was a teenager,” she con­tin­ues.

But if the hon­eyed tones of Agron croon­ing “Dream a Lit­tle Dream of Me” be­trayed any­thing about her ear­lier years, it wasn’t in­se­cu­rity, but a deeply rooted love for the arts. “Music was re­ally my first love. In my house, my par­ents were blast­ing Rolling Stones and The Who, and there was so much education with music that then turned into my love to dance, be­cause I wanted to move to the music that I love,” Agron says. Even now, dance re­mains “the best kind of medicine”. Watch­ing Agron whip her hair back and forth for the cam­eras seem tes­ta­ment to that. “What­ever way you cope with life,” Agron com­ments, “ther­apy or a glass of wine or what­ever, I can go to a dance class, and five min­utes in, all of the best things in the world don’t com­pare to that feel­ing.”

Since mov­ing to New York—“It’s been a long time com­ing”—the best things are likely to keep rolling in. It’s not just what Agron calls “in­ter­est­ing things hap­pen­ing on a daily level,” whether that’s ad­mir­ing a girl belt­ing out Ri­hanna songs on the street, watch­ing a man drink out of a gal­lon-sized ice cream tub, or catch­ing glimpses of pri­vate lives across high-rise win­dows. Rather, it’s ar­riv­ing and step­ping into the new year, city, and stage of life with ex­cite­ment and cer­tainty.

“There were so many pre­con­cep­tions about what my path was, but I al­ways knew what my path was,” Agron says. “I just want to keep on push­ing my own per­sonal bound­aries be­cause I want to ac­cess ev­ery­thing that I can ac­cess, and it has to be or­ganic.” And when it comes to new be­gin­nings, which have never been re­stricted to the new year, Agron re­mem­bers that au­ton­omy rules.

Her last words dur­ing the in­ter­view as­serts, “I feel no re­spon­si­bil­ity to any­body but my­self, and that is a fun place to be op­er­at­ing from.” As we roll out of bed, take a pro­pri­ety selfie, and she asks me about my own dreams and as­pi­ra­tions, it struck me again how re­mark­ably com­fort­able she has made ev­ery­one in the room feel, and how at ease with her own self she seems. Dianna Agron isn’t just op­er­at­ing from a place that’s fun, but some­where that’s free.

J

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