Crystal Fairy's Gaby Hoffman Talks Hippie Style From The Chilean Desert

What do you get when you combine Chile, a road trip, Michael Cera, and a psychedelic cactus? Crystal Fairy.

Gaby Hoffman has never been ordinary and that’s just the way she likes it. Her mother hung around Andy Warhol in the 1960s, she grew up in the famous Chelsea Hotel and by the time she was 11, she had worked with Nora Ephron twice (This is My Life and Sleepless in Seattle). You’ve seen her as a kid in Uncle Buck, Field of Dreams, and The Man Without A Face and now at the age of 31, (where did the time go!?) she’s playing an uninhibited, wild-haired hippie named Crystal Fairy, in the movie of the same name, who has no reservations about hopping in a car with a bunch of strange men (including Michael Cera) on a road trip for a magical cactus. In the film, Fairy is invited to tag along on Jamie (Cera) and his friends' journey to Northern Chile in search of the legendary San Pedro cactus for some, ahem, recreational fun. While on the surface, Fairy might merely seem loopy, her personal story is deeper and more complex than you would think (hint: possible dominatrix?). "She is a complicated character," said Hoffmann about playing Crystal Fairy, "She's seemingly quite simple on the surface and then, as everybody is, the more you get to know her, the richer and richer she gets." Hoffmann approached the entire experience in a sort of "just do it" way—particularly a scene which required her to run nude through the desert. "How did I prepare to run naked? I took off my clothes."

Hoffmann loves to travel so filming in Chile, where the movie takes place, was enough to get her to hop on a plane. In terms of what to pack, she says no matter where she goes, she never leaves home without a few key items. "I always bring a bathing suit, no matter where I’m going," suggests Hoffmann, "Really good walking shoes, a sarong and something to read."

Fairy's style in the film is unintentionally on trend—all loose-fitting floral pants that look perfect for summer. "I didn’t want Crystal Fairy to look like she’s in fashion," said Hoffman of her character's wardrobe. "I didn’t want [her] to look like she dressed herself up after the latest thing she saw in Nylon magazine. It was really fun buying the clothes for Crystal. I wanted her to have a look that was specific and I wanted it to be sort of fun and wild and messy and funny but also not that purposeful. I didn’t want her to care that much about it."

Hoffmann's real-life style is very relaxed and effortless, "Right now I’m wearing regular, old clogs, like not the fancy new kind that are high-heeled but just clogs, old Wrangler jeans and a white tank top," and just like her character Crystal Fairy, she is an individual. (Not a free spirit: "I am pretty free-wheeling; I don't want to use 'free spirit' just because I hate it.")

See Hoffmann do drugs in the Chilean desert with Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy out in limited release on July 12.

What was it like working with Michael Cera?

Gaby Hoffman: He is really hard to work with—just kidding! He is literally the best. He’s obviously insanely talented and funny. He’s the sweetest, most relaxed, wonderful person. I love and adore Michael and he makes it really easy to do improv. None of us are trained or skilled improv actors. But just showing up and just responding - acting is really about reacting and listening and responding - and when Michael is the person you get to do that with, it makes your job really easy.

How did you prepare to film a movie in Chile?

I didn't prepare, I just got on a plane. I’d never been to Chile but I particularly love Latin American culture. It all was just fun, it was all just a fantasy. There was no aspect in the making of that movie that I hesitated about or felt was difficult.

Where do you shop normally?

I don’t do a lot of shopping but there are a couple of vintage stores in New York that I go to if I feel like I want something new or need something new. I pretty much don’t buy new clothes unless I stumble upon something I like. I like Narnia, [a vintage store in New York].

Click through the slideshow to shop some of Hoffmann's favorite things and items inspired by Crystal Fairy's global boho style in the film:


On her minimal style

"I don’t really do anything to myself. I don’t really wear makeup but I like a red lipstick every once in a while. I have this really, really nice Kevyn Aucoin red called Eternal."