IN CONVERSATION WITH KELSEY ASBILLE
Interview by Jana Letonja
Kelsey Asbille is known for her role as Monica Dutton in Paramount’s record-breaking series ‘Yellowstone’, which will premiere the second part of its Season 5 in 2023. She is also a Saint Laurent Beauty partner and has starred in several fashion campaigns, including Louis Vuitton, David Yurman, Oliver Peoples and Kith.
Kelsey, you star as Monica Dutton in Paramount’s record-breaking series ‘Yellowstone’. How has this role impacted your career?
‘Yellowstone’ had already been written, but after we worked together on ‘Wind River’, Taylor called me up and talked to me about playing Monica. That’s the dream scenario for an actor, to have a filmmaker you love, want to collaborate a second time. ‘Wind River’ was such a special and important project to me that I jumped at the chance to work with him and our crew again.
Monica has given up the life that she knows to come and live with her husband and son on the Dutton family ranch. In the first half of Season 5 she experienced a pregnancy loss following a car accident and had to deal with this pain. How will she navigate her challenges in the second part of the season?
Monica and Kayce have endured so much throughout the series, but the loss of their baby is a real turning point for both of them. Monica chooses not to succumb to it, not just to survive but to live. I’m excited to see how that decision manifests itself in terms of her relationship with the family and the land.
How much of your own personality is actually portrayed in Monica’s character? And what have you learned from Monica’s character that you can translate into your own life?
I think there are always notes of yourself in every character you play. Perhaps the most confronting and rewarding part of playing Monica is exploring my own origins and connecting me to a community that has helped me navigate where I come from and where I belong. That, and I’d be a horrible professor. The scenes in the lecture hall with 40 students staring blankly at you were absolutely terrifying. I have even more respect for the educators in my life.
Your first role was on the hit show ‘One Tree Hill’ at 13, followed also with starring on another hit show ‘Teen Wolf’. How does working on long-running shows compare to working on films? Which do you personally prefer and why?
With shows like ‘One Tree Hill’ and ‘Teen Wolf’, you are stepping into worlds with intense fandoms. That can be daunting, but you can also feel incredibly supported by it. With ‘Yellowstone’, I think our audience helps to reinvigorate each new season. Our characters grow and evolve as we all do. It’s not stagnant. Therein lies the challenge, but also an opportunity to go deeper.
You are a Columbia student, majoring in Human Rights, with an emphasis on Indigenous rights. What peaked your interest in studying Human Rights? Why do you believe this is so important, especially in today’s world?
Originally my education was a way to be of service and follow the family business. I’ve always wanted to work with the World Health Organization, like my grandparents before me. Now I’ve realized it’s also an essential acting tool. My studies intertwine with issues highlighted in my work, but it’s also a place to study people.
A lot of women’s rights are suffering nowadays, not only in US, but also around the world. How could we as individuals help to improve this?
I always think the first step is educating yourself. And then being mindful of how you can help while also centering the people you advocate for. “Nothing about us, without us.”
You’ve been part of quite some fashion campaigns, including for Louis Vuitton. How do you personally feel about fashion and its impact on the world?
I’m really having fun with my style. I like building narratives through clothing. Especially during press and on the red carpet, places where I feel very vulnerable. It’s a way to garner strength and enjoy the process.
With second part of Season 5 of ‘Yellowstone’ coming soon, what else is coming up for you this year?
I’m off to shoot a movie before we head back for the next season of ‘Yellowstone’. Step into some new shoes before I slip back into the cowboy boots.
Talent: Kelsey Asbille @kelseyasbille
Photographer: Cameron Postforoosh @cameronpostforoosh
Fashion editor: Raz Martinez @itsmerazzie
Fashion market assistant: Celine Azena & Grace Connaughton @celineazena @grace.connn
Styling assistant: David Atere @david_atere_
MUA: Rommy Najor @rommynajor
Photography assistant: Bogdan Kwiatkowski @b.og.d.a.n
Set design: Chloe Nelson @chloetnelson
Editor: Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Cover design: Arthur Roeloffzen @arthurroeloffzen
Interview by Jana Letonja @janaletonja