Style Session: Jessica Chastain
The actress of the moment dishes on walking the red carpet with Brad Pitt and her secret styling weapon
Jessica Chastain never looks anything but classy. And today is no exception. When I enter the interview suite at SoHo’s comfy-chic Crosby Hotel, I find her decked out in killer Armani heels and a little black (and very expensive looking) blazer. Something about Chastain seems so “Serious Actress” that I’m almost afraid to ask the Julliard-trained star, who can currently be seen in Take Shelter about, you know, clothes. After all, the film—about a man who is either schizophrenic or a prophet of the apocalypse (your choice!)—isn’t exactly light fare.
But Chastain—who you’ve already seen in The Help, The Debt and The Tree of Life, and who just nabbed a major role opposite Tom Cruise—is game. Oh, and apparently she’s not that highbrow. Despite turns opposite Sean Penn, Al Pacino and Ralph Fiennes, when I tell her I’m off to greet the Kardashians at our FABB conference, she says excitedly, “Oh! I watch the show sometimes. I like how they are with each other as sisters.” So you heard it here first: Jessica Chastain, master thespian, is a reality TV show fan!
Take Shelter is intense. What’s your take on it?
The movie is about faith; it’s about marriage and commitment. I thought that was very interesting in a film that on the page looks like a thriller—is he schizophrenic or is he having visions of the end of the world? You’re watching two people who love each other not connect, but at the very end of the film you see that they have a mutual understanding of what life is, what their future is. To me, it’s beautiful.
Is dressing for the red carpet fun for you, or is it a source of stress?
I’m pretty shy, so taking photographs on the red carpet, especially in the beginning, was very intimidating. That red carpet at Cannes….what an introduction! It’s the biggest red carpet there is and I’m there with Sean Penn and Brad Pitt. So I’ve been trying to teach myself to get more comfortable with that. I love clothes; I love fashion. Clothes are very emotional to me and to have designers offer me dresses and beautiful things to wear makes that whole experience all the better. So it’s gotten easier.
So many actresses do fashion ad campaigns now. Would you?
Absolutely. Even with my red carpet looks and magazine shoots, I try to not look the same all the time. I try to change my look a lot and play different roles. My job as an actor is to be a storyteller, so I think for a campaign it would be very exciting to work with a designer and a label to do something that was telling a story. Not just “Jessica wearing a designer,” but to create a really interesting image.
Have you been working with a stylist?
I work with Elizabeth Stewart. She is wonderful because she’s a stylist who dresses her clients for them and not for her. If you look at the different people she styles they all have very different sensibilities. I really responded to that when I was first thinking of working with a stylist. When you have six films coming out in a matter of six months and you have so many events, it’s really helpful to have someone. I get to go to her house and she has all these pieces, and because she knows me so well, she has all these ideas. But she’s also very collaborative.
What is your everyday style like when you aren’t getting dressed up for an event and can just hang out?
I always wear a bit of a heel. I love shoes. My everyday style when I’m home is very relaxed. It’s a very simple life. I live next to the ocean and I walk my dogs by the beach every day. We’ll go to the farmers market and cook and invite people over. I like to wear a nice jacket and maybe a black slack or a jean. Maybe I’ll just throw something on like a red hat or something cool for an edge.
On a beauty note, you have wonderful hair. A lot all actresses right now are dying their hair red. I assume you’re a natural red head?
Thanks! I’ve never dyed my hair before, not once.
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