CHAL­LENGE

WE CHAT TO LANCÔME’S NEW AM­BAS­SADOR ABOUT PLAY­ING HER THREE FAVOURITE HERO­INES, THE IM­POR­TANCE OF PRI­VACY, AND LOV­ING PAS­TRIES…

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Would you let your man do your make-up? These three women did…

you started act­ing at a very young age. I moved to LA when I was six. I started modelling and writ­ing for mag­a­zines in high school, while go­ing to au­di­tions. I wanted to wait to be ma­ture and self-con­fi­dent enough to ac­cept be­ing turned down. I was 20 when I got the role in my first film, The Blind Side. What was it like grow­ing up in LA? I was born in Eng­land and moved to LA with my mother. We kept our house in Eng­land, so I went back and forth a lot. To­day, I live in LA, but I feel very Euro­pean and feel at home [there]. I just fin­ished shoot­ing a film in which I had to talk with a Bri­tish ac­cent again.It came back to me so nat­u­rally that it was like be­ing home. I love the life over there – the food, the English coun­try­side. When I go back to our coun­try house in West Sus­sex, I spend my days read­ing by the lake and drink­ing tea, with no make-up on. Did your par­ents give you en­cour­age­ment? They never forced me to do any­thing. I was a good stu­dent, man­aged my time well and was good at mul­ti­task­ing. I’ve al­ways been my tough­est critic. My fa­ther (Phil Collins) is a mu­si­cian and my mother loves ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign. We’re a fam­ily of artists and I’ve al­ways loved to act. Did your fa­ther give you ad­vice about your ca­reer? Mainly things about han­dling what hap­pens when a film is re­leased: not read­ing the re­views, not con­cen­trat­ing on neg­a­tive things, be­cause for ev­ery good re­view, there are three bad ones. ‘You do this for the love of art and the only thing that mat­ters is that you have fun while you do it.’ When your pri­vate life is con­cerned, you choose what you make pub­lic. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that you can be in this busi­ness

‘You do this for the love of art and the only thing that mat­ters is that you have fun while you do it’

with­out giv­ing ev­ery­one the right to in­trude in your pri­vate life. Per­son­ally, act­ing is what I love to do. If this is all part of what comes with an act­ing ca­reer, then I can han­dle it, but I never ask for more. How did you choose be­tween your ca­reer as a jour­nal­ist and your ca­reer as an ac­tress? When I was 16,I did both. I started with ELLE Girl in Eng­land, then wrote for Teen Vogue, Cosmo Girl and LA Times mag­a­zine. Af­ter that, I worked with E! Chan­nel for Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood and I was TV host for Nick­elodeon. But I was afraid that people wouldn’t be­lieve in the char­ac­ters I played if they knew me as my­self. I started in­ter­view­ing people whom I had worked with or whom I wanted to work with in movies. It was all get­ting weirdly mixed up. So I had to choose, but I will al­ways love jour­nal­ism. When you quit jour­nal­ism, did you stop writ­ing as well? I keep a jour­nal and I write as much as I can. I would love to write a screen­play, too. I started a year ago, but I haven’t had the time to make much progress since then. Tell us about your grand­mother. My grand­mother was a prin­ci­pal dancer and my grand­fa­ther was a fash­ion de­signer. Again, it’s this com­bi­na­tion of fash­ion and grace, nat­u­ral el­e­gance that has al­ways ap­pealed to me. I took bal­let lessons and tap-dancing lessons when I was lit­tle. This gave me con­fi­dence and poise. It helps me know how to use my body for modelling and act­ing. What about read­ing? I read a lot. I love Pride and Prej­u­dice by Jane Austen and just started Gone Girl by Gil­lian Flynn. I read at the gym when I’m cy­cling. I also love cook­books, like those by Ju­lia Child. There’s a great novel called Eat Cake about a woman who has a midlife cri­sis and de­cides to be­come a pastry chef.It makes me want to open a pastry shop! Can you tell us about The Mor­tal In­stru­ments? I was a huge fan of the book be­fore go­ing to the cast­ing call, but I didn’t re­al­ize what a tremen­dous hit it was. And, once it was an­nounced that I had the star­ring role, the buzz on Twit­ter and the in­ter­net made me see just how enor­mous it was. We trained for three months, I learnt mar­tial arts and I loved dis­ap­pear­ing into this imag­i­nary world. In the up­com­ing months, I’ll be play­ing El­iz­a­beth Ben­net in Pride and Prej­u­dice and Zom­bies. Af­ter play­ing Snow White, and Clary Fray from The Mor­tal In­stru­ments, it’s in­cred­i­ble to be able to play El­iz­a­beth Ben­nett on the big screen. I will have been able to play my three favourite hero­ines. This year, I also shot Love, Rosie, a very im­por­tant project for me. I even got a tat­too be­cause of this film! It’s a rose, with a quote I love: ‘The na­ture of a flower is to bloom.’ I play a young English woman and age 10 years over the course of the film. I would say that it’s a mix be­tween Not­ting Hill, Love Ac­tu­ally and Juno. It’s very Bri­tish. We shot it in Dublin. It was a very young cast and it was an ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. What did be­com­ing a Lancôme am­bas­sador feel like? I’d never have thought that Lancôme would ask me to be their brand am­bas­sador. I’ve been a fan of the brand and what they rep­re­sent for so long. It felt like a nat­u­ral fit. What does Lancôme rep­re­sent for you? Class, el­e­gance and grace. But also beauty that comes from within. Ju­lia Roberts’ eyes in the La Vie est Belle commercial and her smile – you can tell that it comes from some­where deep. For me, it’s what Lancôme en­cour­ages in ev­ery woman: bring­ing out her in­ner beauty by giv­ing her that ex­tra lit­tle sparkle. It’s not about putting on a ton of false lashes; it’s more about length­en­ing your own. You started act­ing at a very young age. Did this help you to mas­ter make-up tech­niques? I played in a se­ries in Eng­land when I was two years old, but af­ter­wards I stopped act­ing for a long time. I was do­ing plays and mu­si­cals in LA at school, but my un­der­stand­ing of fash­ion and beauty comes from my mother; mem­o­ries of scents and prod­ucts that she used. I would slip into her bath­room to watch her ap­ply her make-up. I loved to read mag­a­zines; that al­ways fas­ci­nated me.At one point, I wanted to be a fash­ion de­signer. I love ev­ery as­pect of the process: ad­ver­tis­ing, colours, cuts… Your re­sem­blance to Au­drey Hep­burn is strik­ing! How much does she in­spire you? I’ve al­ways been rather fas­ci­nated by her per­son­al­ity, her char­ac­ter.Of course, she’s sublime and iconic and I’m very hon­oured to be com­pared to her, but I am in no way try­ing to be the next Au­drey Hep­burn. At any rate, no-one can be the next Au­drey Hep­burn!

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