The Women Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award celebrates an artist at a turning point of her career. How do you explain today how your life and career took that direction?
By working hard, staying true to myself and making the most of the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to get. I have always endeavoured to choose my roles carefully, and aim to collaborate with people that I respect and admire.
Max Mara celebrates female empowerment, what makes you feel empowered?
Lifting up others and empowering them.
Which has been your proudest achievement so far?
Taking my parents to the Crazy Rich Asians premiere in London. It meant so much to my family to see people that look like us on screen in a mainstream Hollywood film for the first time.
What is your first great memory being in this field? Who is the actress or the filmmaker who impressed you most?
I was very excited to work with Meryl [Streep], she is one of the greatest actors of all time who I greatly admire. Before we began filming, I was nervous about the thought of improvising opposite her, but I actually really enjoyed it. Steven [Soderbegh] is an incredible director, he knows exactly what he needs and wants, but gives you the freedom to find it yourself, which creates a collaborative and relaxed atmosphere on set. All the cast and crew were brilliant to work with.
How serious is the problem of social diversity in the film industry?
It is a problem and not just in terms of gender and race, but also disability, sexuality, gender identity and socioeconomic status too. We have made huge strides but there’s a lot further to go. We need to ensure that people from underrepresented groups are allowed a seat at the table at a much earlier stage in decision-making processes.
How can women be better at cheerleading for each other to achieve equality?
I think women are already good at supporting one another. Now that more women are in positions of power, it’s important to keep that door open and to continue to advocate for more women to be allowed equal opportunities.
Who has been your greatest influence or inspiration?
My grandmothers and my mother—they are all very strong, courageous women.
Who are your fashion icons?
Audrey Hepburn for her timeless, chic style. Zendaya, Billy Porter and Tracee Ellis Ross always stand out on a red carpet.
You always appear effortlessly stylish, what are the staple items in your wardrobe?
A pair of Louis Vuitton Wonderland Flat Ranger boots that go with everything. Well-fitting denim by FRAME. A Classic Max Mara camel coat. A Kenzo backpack—which fits everything in. I’m on the lookout for a new statement handbag!