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Style Session: Nora Kirkpatrick

With a brand new album, upcoming film projects, and a closet full of darling vintage finds, Nora Kirkpatrick is rising high in the underground world of indie culture.

You may have spotted Kirkpatrick as the uptight Pan-Hellenic president Katherine on ABC Family’s Greek, or heard her accordion skills on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ latest album, Here. And soon, you can see her in the films Sexy Evil Genius with Seth Green, and the noise rock-focused All Together Now.

Yet between acting and playing shows (and composing an original film score for the up-coming Never), she somehow finds time to scour her favorite secondhand shops around the country. We asked her about juggling those multimedia interests, and what inspires her indie-cool wardrobe.

Lucky: So how do you manage to balance your acting career with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros?

Nora Kirkpatrick: I just try to go back and forth: back home [in LA], I’ll be working on something, I’ll be doing a sitcom, I’ll be shooting something, and then I'm on the road. When I was on Greek, which was on ABC Family, I was flying home from tour to shoot an episode and then going back out. I know that I’m missing out on things from both ends, but it’s worth it to me to keep them both in my life. I kind of can’t imagine one without the other.

Do you see yourself ever focusing solely on your acting career and eventually becoming a superstar actress?

I don't know, I don’t really think about it like that. I can't really imagine my life without both acting and music. I was able to be a part of some great shows this year between the band's tours, both ABC's Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23 and Men at Work on TBS. I feel very invigorated and grateful to be working with such amazing people in both fields.

What was it like to compose the music for Never?

That’s a great movie, it stars Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams, and in the film she’s a singer-songwriter, so I wrote the songs that she’ll be singing in the film. That just came along in sort of a weird way. I’ve been scoring a lot of films lately, through the grapevine it all worked out and I’m really excited for that movie; I think it’s really well-written. And I love contributing in that way, contributing the music a character would want to sing and music that would fit behind the scenes.

When you’re not acting, what’s like being on tour with the rest of the band?

We all have little bunks on the bus, so we all have our own like little camp. I mean, it’s actually really fun, you’re not on the bus all that much, most of the time when you’re on the bus you’re sleeping, because they drive while you sleep, so when you get up in the morning, everyone just kind of gets off the bus. I take a bike on tour with me—it just folds up like a suitcase and I take it on almost every tour because I like to bike-ride everywhere. So everyone just spreads out, and nighttime is fun cause we’re all watching movies or playing chess or playing with Rubik’s cubes and it’s a pretty fun environment. Everyone gets along really well and just laughs.

Do you have any tour essentials that you can’t go on the road without?

Spandex shorts, from American Apparel, cause you want to be prepared when you decide to crowd surf in a dress…I often pack a ton of sundresses cause it’s very hot, and I need clothes that don't need to be ironed and that I can ride my bike in. I just got this amazing white Elizabethan coat for a few dollars, it looks like a doctor’s coat, I wear it almost every day.

You’re a huge fan of thrift store and Goodwill shopping, but would you ever be “caught” somewhere like a Zara or J.Crew?

It’s not a “no way.”  They have great stuff; I just try to be very frugal. And it’s very interesting, you get something that not everyone else is wearing, but you can still comment on the fashion of today but by using clothes from several different time periods combined into one idea, as opposed to something you picked up all together. I just maybe prefer clothes with a little history to them or something, or maybe the cuts just suit me better, but I like to wear something that’s been worn before, that’s been through something. I dunno, it makes me feel comfortable. I found this amazing antique mall called Sleepy Poet, I think it might have been in South Carolina somewhere, and it was incredible. Huge, just mile after mile of amazing stuff.

What era would you say inspires your style the most?

I love the '40s. So I love the cuts and the classiness that the women emoted during that time period, it seems so classy and so confident, much more so than the skimpier outfits of today. I find that you can wear a dress that covers you from head to toe but it can be just as sexy as something that, you know...I just really appreciate the cuts and the lines and how sexy they can be. But comfortable at the same time.

Check out more about Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' latest album here.

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