Visible change in her profile
Whether she’s in classic fashion or tomboy attire, soon there will be no mistaking ‘Fantastic Four’ star Kate Mara
Despite appearing in “House of Cards,” “127 Hours,” “Brokeback Mountain” and dozens of other screen roles over the last 15 years, Kate Mara has always been an actress you don’t quite recognize. ¶ But with star billing as the Invisible Woman in the superhero film “Fantastic Four” (Aug. 7), she’s poised to become more visible than ever. ¶ Before that, Mara, 32, will receive this year’s Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award at the Crystal + Lucy Awards in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Women in Film has been honoring women in the industry since 1977, with Italian fashion brand Max Mara as a partner for 13 years. ¶ Dressing the part is Mara’s job. On the red carpet, she and stylist Johnny Wujek gravitate toward classic pieces, but in real life, she calls her style tomboyish. She’s as comfortable in Zara as Chanel. ¶ Over the years, she has attended events with Valentino and Miu Miu, and styled store windows for H&M. In February, she traveled to Milan, Italy, for the Max Mara fall 2015 fashion show and a photo shoot for the brand’s magazine. ¶ I caught up with her on the phone from Belfast, Northern Ireland — where she is shooting the sci-fi thriller “Morgan” — to talk about matters of style.
Doyou have a first fashion memory or something youwere really into wearing as a child?
Iwas very shy in middle school through high school. I dressed to disappear. That’s also a reason why acting was so exciting. Iwas more comfortable putting on a costume and pretending Iwas someone else than showing who I actually was. So I flew under the radar and wasn’t into wearing anything too loud. I had very long hair, and I didn’t even want that to be showy, so I would wear it in a ponytail every day. Thatwas a uniform to me, to not wear my hair down. But obviously, that changed. Once I graduated high school and realized you have to be more comfortable in your own skin to be an actor and to be vulnerable and put yourself out there and showthat you can look like different characters. I realized that fashion is an incredible tool. And now I love it.
I know you went to the fall 2015MaxMara runway show. What do you like about the label?
It’s such a classic, feminine brand… but they are also doing a good job of evolving. The show was super. I know it was a throwback and Marilyn Monroe-inspired, but it also felt very current and young. Iwas so in love with the colors, which were a lot of pastels, but also this eggshell gray that I wore to the show. Andthe mix of super-feminine pencil skirts with flat oxfords and backpacks was the masculine-feminine thing, which I’m super attracted to.
Howwould you describe your personal style?
It depends on where I amin theworld. I live in L.A., so typically it is really hot, and I will just put on a sundress and some sneakers because that’s the most comfortable thing towear. That said, I tend to be a little bit of a tomboy, so I do that thing where I go back and forth between dressing feminine with a little bit of a male edge. But right now, in Belfast, I’m literally wearing all black every day towork. It’s that sweatpants look that isn’t actually sweatpants. And a hoodie. And I’m fully comfortable owning that.
Have you and your sister [actress Rooney Mara] ever bought the same thing?
A few times. I forget we don’t live in the same house, and my initial reaction is the older sister thing of, “Did you take that from my closet?” Butwe do like similar things.
What do you think about people dissecting your style online?
I don’t go seeking it out but if you’re on Twitter, it’s hard to avoid. I’ve been doing this long enough I don’t let it affect me that much. But of course, I’m human. If people are loving something you are wearing, you are going to feel good about it. Andif they hate it, it’s going tomake you feel, uh-oh.
You’ve been working with stylist Johnny Wujek for10 years. What do you two consider when dressing for a red carpet event?
It depends. Usually he’ll say, “What are you in the mood for?” If I’m feeling particularly girlie, he will say, “Let’s go and see what Valentino has or let’s see what Dior has,” since those are more feminine looks. If I’m feeling more edgy, maybe it’s Prada. Or sometimes we think about a theme we want to do for a press tour to make it more fun. And he always knows white is my favorite color towear.
How were the Invisible Woman costumes? Fromthe promo shots, it looks like a lot of leather.
You’ve probably seen our containment suits. They’re not leather. I don’t knowwhat it’s called, but it’s very stretchy and thicker than spandex. The only annoying thing was that to go to the restroom, you needed help, because therewere three zippers just tomake it look like therewere none. But itwas actually a very comfortable suit and you didn’t have towear any sort of Spanx underneath.
You’ve done work for the Humane Society and Oceana. Howdid you become involved in those causes?
It all started with the 2013 documentary “Blackfish” [about killer whales in captivity]. I was shooting amovie and [“Blackfish”] was on CNN and Iwatched it andwas somoved that I was hunting downthe director’s email immediately.
I thought about what I could do to help. So I reached out to a T-shirt designer friend of mine named Dana Veraldi, who has a line called Deer Dana based in New York. She draws these awesome caricatures of people, animals and things like that. I thought maybe she’d be interested in designing one of Tilly, the whale from “Blackfish” and giving the money to some sort of nonprofit. That’s where it started. She designed the “Free Tilly” shirt, and Iwas connected to Oceana through Ted Danson, who is a friend and does a lot of work with that organization. Since then, I’ve become friends with Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film’s director, and she introduced me to the Humane Society. But it all started with “Blackfish.”
“I GO BACK and forth between dressing feminine with a little bit of amale edge,” Kate Mara says.