From Star Wars to Versailles and All Things Jewelry, An Interview with Actress Anna Brewster

By Vanita James
After starring in films as diverse as Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and playing the role of Madame de Montespan in Versailles, actress Anna Brewster is something of a household name. More recently she appeared on the cover of the 16 May edition of ES magazine wearing jewels from Sotheby's upcoming Fine Jewels sale . We spoke to her about acting, style and the importance of jewelry.

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.

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