IN CONVERSATION WITH ALEXANDRA DADDARIO
Interview by Jana Letonja
Critics applauded ALEXANDRA DADDARIO’s acting in the first season of HBO’s 2021 hit series, THE WHITE LOTUS, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie. Earlier this year, she starred in AMC’s supernatural thriller series MAYFAIR WITCHES, playing a neurosurgeon who learns that she is the heiress to the Mayfair dynasty, a dynasty of powerful witches haunted by a sinister spirit. She also became a global ambassador for DIOR women’s fashion and La Collection Privée fragrance collection.
Alexandra, what was the best thing about filming THE WHITE LOTUS?
No one was thinking about what the show was going to do for our careers, if the show was going to be big. We were just grateful to be working and to be together in such a beautiful place. It was special to all look out for each other and have this unique experience in the middle of the pandemic.
Out of all the roles you’ve played so far, which one left the biggest mark on you?
PERCY JACKSON, just because I made life-long friends, learned a million new things and felt seen and accepted for the first time in my life, which can have a profound effect on who you are. That job taught me a lot about myself.
What challenges you the most about your current role in MAYFAIR WITCHES?
Just how out there it is. Anne Rice was a brilliant, imaginative, dark writer who wrote some really intense stuff. I spent a lot of my days working crying and screaming, and making sense of the nuanced themes of her work.
How did you get into acting? Has it always been a passion of yours?
I feel very lucky that I discovered what I wanted to do at such a young age. I was 11 or 12 when I started acting professionally and by the time I was 16, I knew it was what I wanted to do forever. I love to understand people and understand myself. Every time I did a play as a kid or these movies and shows as an adult, I was amazed and so fulfilled by the process. Even a negative experience can teach you so much about the world around you, how people work and how you respond and can build a character under difficult circumstances. I’ve always been so loyal to acting and my characters and the human condition, but there was a time when people in my life didn’t know what the hell I was doing and discouraged it. It’s hard to explain why you love acting to a bunch of people who think if you don’t go to college, your life is over.
How do you like being DIOR’s global ambassador and the face of such an iconic fashion brand?
I am overjoyed to work with DIOR because my love for them is so genuine. My mom taught me about fabrics when I was a kid and she knows how to sew. She taught me what a great skirt was. We’d go to the thrift shops in NYC and buy designer skirts and coats and dresses, and she’d say “Look at how this lays, the fabric. See the difference?” Every time I’m at a fitting with DIOR, I feel so lucky to try on these beautiful clothes. I just gush over how well designed they are and how sexy and classy. J’adore! I love the team and my genuine connection with the brand.
During the Couture Fashion Week in Paris this summer, you also made your front row debut at DIOR’s show. What you were feeling while seeing firsthand the beautiful collection they presented?
It’s like a dream. I took my mom, who hasn’t been to Europe in 50 years, and we had the absolute greatest time. It was so special to be there and to share it with her. I was also tired because of jet lag, but the endorphins lasted through the show.
Which of your recent experiences has taught you the most?
I’ve had some really traumatizing, really bad experiences. They were awful. There came a point in every day when I was just at my lowest, where I was asking myself “Who am I? How am I going to handle this? What does the future look like as I try to recover from this?” I learned a tremendous amount about myself and how I pick myself up. I would say to myself that I was going to get through it and I was going to be happy. I didn’t really know how that was going to happen, but I just knew it. I was so proud of how I handled getting out of it.
Less depressingly, I had so many times of joy. My Emmy nomination, doing great work I love, meeting and falling in love with my husband, moments with my stepkids. I always love realizing my capacity for joy. It can be forgotten sometimes, during times of struggle.
What can you share about your upcoming projects?
I have a few cool movies coming out. I just finished a great movie with Josh Gad, Ashley Park, and Daveed Diggs, with the awesome director Nora Kirkpatrick. I also have a movie called I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST coming out, that Tommy Dorfman directed. I absolutely loved working with both directors and I hope people love the movies.
THIS PHOTOSHOOT AND INTERVIEW WERE CONDUCTED BEFORE THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE
talent ALEXANDRA DADDARIO @alexandradaddario
photography AGATA SERGE @agataserge
styling SARAH GORE REEVES @sarahgorereeves
makeup artist LOTTIE @lotstar
hair artist RYAN TANIGUCHI @ryannyc
set design IVAN FOMIN @fomini
dop SIMON GOSLAWSKI
styling assistance MIA RAPOPORT, ADARA WHITNEY & FRIDA GARCIA @miarapoport @adara.a.w
producer ANNA MAKOVCHIK @am_producer
production UPRISING PRODUCTIONS @uprisingproductions_
production assistance MAKSIM DORAEV & GUZEL KHOS @doraevmaxim @guzartphoto
lab STUDIO ARTLAB @artlab_spokojna
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
interview JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen