Vanita James: How did you begin acting?
Anna Brewster: I was very lucky. I was scouted at a young age and it all began from there. Lots of other factors came into play along the years, but it’s really what I love to do. There’s nothing like it.
VJ: Have you always loved fashion? What are some of your earliest memories of clothes and jewelry?
AB: I’ve always loved fashion. I think I started developing a style in my late teens (I say that broadly because it wasn’t a very good style), but at this point I developed a sense of identity through style. With regards to jewelry, I think it came later; I had some amazing costume pieces from my grandmother that were all so unique. Then, as you get older, you start to see the real thing, but I love costume jewelry it really has a time and a place and can be a massive statement for the fashion movement at the time.
VJ: How would you describe your personal style?
AB: My personal style is situational. I am always influenced about what’s around me - strong women, art, “fashion”. I stopped caring about “what was on the catwalk” or “what is in style” a while ago. It influenced my youth, but now I just interpret how I feel from my own experiences.
VJ: Do you have signature pieces of jewelry that you always wear or do you change it up depending on how you’re feeling?
AB: I have a Cartier ring from an ex-boyfriend. He gave it to me in Venice on my 30th birthday the day before my friend committed suicide. There’s so much pain in that piece but so much beauty, I will never take it off.
VJ: As Madame de Montespan on Versailles, you’ve had some spectacular costumes to wear. How did you find the period dress and jewelry? Did it help with your performances?
AB: I found something beautiful in the hair jewelry. I think to reinterpret it the way we did when we chose this selection was interesting. It was another way of reimagining jewelry - can I have this piece in my hair? Can I wear this brooch differently?
VJ: And at completely the other end of the scale, you were in Star Wars: The Force Awakens - what was the costume and wardrobe process like for that?
AB: Terrifying! You sign an NDA which means you can’t talk about anything until it comes out. I do this a lot but its scary when you get a job that you can’t talk about with the weight of Hollywood hovering over you. I remember filming and having to wear a hooded cape to go from my trailer to make-up so I couldn’t be seen.
VJ: What is your favourite jewel you’ve worn on a film or TV set?
AB: So, so many, but in Versailles I wore these little daisies in my hair set with diamonds and emeralds, which is my birth stone. I was so intrigued with how we used jewelry as hair accessories. I don’t know why we don’t still do it today. I went to a Cartier event recently and there was a beautiful piece that was supposed to be worn in the hair but it was so heavy.
VJ: Who are some of your favourite designers to wear at the moment?
AB: I love gowns, I really do, I’m low key but extravagant at heart. I love jewels and gowns and things that make me happy. I go to fittings and they present me with options and I can’t explain what it is I’m drawn to but I know… the heart wants what it desires.
VJ: Do you like the opportunity to wear a big, statement piece of jewelry, like on a red carpet or at a fashion show?
AB: I love to wear Cartier, it’s impactful, stylish yet understated.
VJ: Who are your style icons?
AB: Honestly, I don’t have one, it’s an amalgamation of all the people that have registered with me through the years, it seems like a cop out but it’s the truth. I can’t name one person. I can name a few but I’ll save that for next time.
Images courtesy of Evening Standard Magazine (May 16/17 2019 issue). Photography by Pelle Crepin.