COVER STORY: THE RIT­TER EF­FECT

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCOR­MACK Styling AZZA ARIF

Ed­i­tor Azza Arif catches up with Jes­sica Jones lead ac­tress Krys­ten Rit­ter in Los An­ge­les where she dishes on ev­ery­thing from red car­pet style and equal­ity to... knit­ting!

In the wake of so much vi­o­lence against women, and the daily strug­gle that many mod­ern women face, like ha­rass­ment, as­sault and post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, it is ut­terly nec­es­sary to see a more re­al­is­tic me­dia de­pic­tion of the dif­fer­ent is­sues that we, as women, go through. And to have a huge cor­po­ra­tion like Marvel stu­dios turn a trauma as­sault sur­vivor into a for­mi­da­ble su­per­hero that can stand up to misog­y­nis­tic fools, and punch them square in the jaws, is ev­ery­thing. An­chored by starKrys­ten Rit­ter, Jes­sica Jones is the very face of fe­male vengeance; she is the hero we need. A pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor with su­per­hu­man strengths, she is not there to be the love in­ter­est to a male su­per­hero, or the pretty side­kick that moth­ers the team− and she does not walk around in tight-fit­ting Ly­cra and heels. As Sea­son Three film­ing of the show nears com­ple­tion, Azza Arif caught up with lead ac­tress Krys­ten Rit­ter for a quick cover shoot around Los An­ge­les

Jes­sica doesn’t take any shit from any­one and I ad­mire that about her,” states Krys­ten Rit­ter, the ta­lented star who plays Jes­sica Jones. When Jes­sica Jones de­buted on Net­flix a cou­ple of years back, I thought, hell yes! Fi­nally, here was a Marvel hero­ine for women who strug­gled with the chal­lenges of be­ing a sex­ual as­sault and abuse sur­vivor, and rose above her trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ences to gain and em­ploy su­per strength against evil— and she didn’t need any cos­tumes to change into. Af­ter binge-watch­ing both sea­sons of the show, and im­mers­ing my­self in the com­pli­cated world of Jes­sica Jones, I half ex­pected to see Rit­ter roll into the stu­dio in West Hol­ly­wood dressed in a leather jacket, dis­tressed den­ims and a whole ‘lotta at­ti­tude. But that wasn’t the case. Bub­bly and en­gag­ing, the real-life char­ac­ter of the dark haired beauty is noth­ing like her on-screen role as the fiercest fe­male char­ac­ter in pop cul­ture. “I’m much more chill. I also can’t ac­tu­ally lift a car in real life and I don’t go around punch­ing peo­ple!” Rit­ter tells me. “I would say that I like to be silly and have fun, and Jes­sica doesn’t re­ally get to do that.” And she is a lot more girly than her on-screen coun­ter­part. “The slight hint of pur­ple on this mas­cara is so pretty!” she gushes to Jamie Green­berg, the makeup artist for the shoot, as she brushes on on a few strokes of mas­cara. Af­ter her makeup was done, we pro­ceeded to get her changed into the first out­fit of the day—a long flowy, printed black dress from Longchamp. “I re­ally like how this dress feels, and falls on me,” she tells me, as she moves around the stu­dio in the dress. She seemed a lot more fun than Ms. Jones. But this doesn't mean that she isn’t tough− this gor­geous lanky ac­tress does all of her own stunts. “Yes, I do all the stunts I can. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s a num­bers game at a cer­tain point.” She changes into her next out­fit; an all-black leather jacket with sheep fur trim­mings. “You’re do­ing so many stunts, of course you’re bound to have some ac­ci­dents. One wrong move or step and you’re go­ing to hurt your­self. I to­tally ac­ci­den­tally punched some­one once!” She also came in with a slight in­jury to her back, which had hap­pened while film­ing a scene.

So how does Rit­ter get her­self phys­i­cally ready to take on the stunts? “I do a lot of train­ing and of course we re­hearse with a fight chore­og­ra­pher, and we do have stunt dou­bles. We make sure ev­ery­thing is as safe as pos­si­ble.”

But what I felt was even more pow­er­ful than her un­de­ni­ably cool stunt moves, was how Jes­sica Jones does not smile through the daily mi­croag­gres­sions when most women must. She is sim­ply NOT okay with all the dif­fer­ent things that women have al­ways had to en­dure. Jes­sica Jones is the ul­ti­mate fem­i­nist! “I’m grate­ful for all the women and men who helped pave the way for us to be here now, talk­ing about fem­i­nism in this way,” Rit­ter tells me. “I think we have a long way to go to reach equal­ity but I’m en­cour­aged that we are con­tin­u­ing to strive for bet­ter.”

The char­ac­ters that Rit­ter played through­out her ca­reer are not al­ways dark, rage-fu­elled and un­for­giv­ing− ok maybe just in Break­ing Bad. But in Gil­more Girls, 27 Dresses, Con­fes­sions of a

Shopa­holic, and Don’t Trust the B**** in Apart­ment 23, her char­ac­ters were lighter and much more out­go­ing. So, does our su­per­hero get any down­time when she isn’t film­ing? “Ha, it’s been so long since I was not film­ing I can barely re­mem­ber. I would hang out with my dog, I would go to yoga and have din­ner with my girl­friends or I’m writ­ing,” She is a pub­lished au­thor, with Bon­fire as her first novel. “I knit too. Gosh, I’ve knit­ted so many things and I give most of them away! I am su­per into the best friend sweater I made for my col­lab­o­ra­tion with We Are Knit­ters.”

I asked her about how she felt about the new shift in how fe­male leads are now por­trayed in Hol­ly­wood, and in en­ter­tain­ment in gen­eral. “It’s ex­cit­ing and em­pow­er­ing for sure. We are get­ting to a place where you don’t have to ask ‘what is it like be­ing a woman in Hol­ly­wood’—that ques­tion would never be pro­posed to a man. It’s about damn time.” And I com­pletely agree with that. We should all chan­nel our in­ner Jes­sica Jones more of­ten and stand up against any form of ha­rass­ment or as­sault, whether against us or against our fel­low sis­ters. Just skip the car lift­ing bit.

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