Here at Who What Wear, we’re constantly scouring the film, television, music, and fashion talent pools to bring you the next big wave of emerging stars. So it excites us to bring you our new series, Girl on the Rise! Each month, we’ll be spotlighting a new fresh face on the verge, served with an exclusive interview and a side of great fashion.
In Hollywood, it’s rare to meet a young actress as remarkably grounded and down-to-earth as Lucy Fry. That’s not to say stars like her don’t exist, but in the entertainment industry, it’s easy to become consumed with one’s image, social media status, and the glitz and glamour that come with it all. But when engaging in conversation with someone this spiritual and insightful, it’s as though the entire notion of celebrity exists on another planet. Fry’s the kind of girl you can discuss anything with, from the aches and pains of self-discovery to lighter topics like her passion for vintage and eco-friendly apparel.
The 24-year-old Australian is on a trajectory toward a thriving acting career. Fry has already been introduced to the public with a series of notable roles: You may remember her starring alongside Sarah Hyland and Zoey Deutch in Vampire Academy, and she recently played the part of Marina Oswald in 11.22.63 opposite James Franco. But she has bigger plans for the future. The talented up-and-comer told us she dreams of working with Charlize Theron, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Cate Blanchett someday. Until then, we can look forward to her most recent role: her turn as Stephanie Taylor in horror film The Darkness, which hits theaters Friday, May 13. The movie, which also stars Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Morrison, is already generating tons of buzz.
For our latest edition of Girl on the Rise, we captured Fry in a series of off-the-shoulder looks, an increasingly popular trend from the S/S 16 shows, with the bareness of her shoulders mirroring our candid interview quite nicely.
WHO WHAT WEAR: We know you grew up in Australia and moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. How has the adjustment been? Are you enjoying life in L.A.?
LUCY FRY: I really love the community I have here now. I have a bunch of really good friends from Australia who live here. It feels really supportive, and I love all the opportunities here and the acting classes I can take, and the access you have to amazing directors and producers. There’s so much possibility here. I love going home to work, I love being at home, and I miss my family, but I guess the ultimate dream is to have the best of both worlds.
WWW: There are a lot of Aussie expats here, like Teresa Palmer, Phoebe Tonkin, and Bella Heathcote. Do you hang out with any of these ladies?
LF: I hang out with Isabel Lucas a lot. I love her; she’s such an amazing person. She’s really helped me settle in here too, and she runs a mediation every Monday where some of us girls get together and meditate. It’s really nice, and it has introduced me to a sense of community. She’s really great.
WWW: Let’s talk acting. Has this career path always been of interest to you?
LF: I was terribly shy as a kid. When I was 8, my teacher told my parents to send me to speech and drama because I was so shy that no one could hear me when I talked. So I started doing that, and we did a lot of poetry and a few prose in drama, and that really opened up a passion for it—a passion for language, a passion for characters and stories. It was a way for me to help find my communication and learn to express myself. And then it just kept growing from there, becoming the thing I want to do in my life.
WWW: Of all the roles you’ve played, which character have you enjoyed the most?
LF: That’s really hard. I think there are two characters that have been peak life-experience characters, in terms of coming at a time where I needed to learn through them. The first one is Alex from The Preppie Connection. She’s a very powerful character, and she really helped me settle into myself. I played her as I was still in that transition toward moving here and feeling a little nervous and a bit shy. I guess all that old childhood stuff was coming up. She really helped me to feel stronger in myself. And the second one is Eve from the Wolf Creek series, because she was so much fun. She’s on such a driven mission, and I loved that drive, focus, intensity, and passion that she has to achieve what she set out to do. That felt like it really fueled me and gave me a lot of energy in my own life.
WWW: Let’s talk The Darkness, which hits theaters May 13. Are you excited? What did you enjoy most about working on this film?
LF: It was so much fun to make! I can’t watch horror films because I’m so terrified; I’m such a scaredy pants! And when I read the script, I wondered if I would be okay to do it, and in the end, it turned out to be one of the most fun shoots I’ve ever done, which was totally unexpected. Greg McLean, the director, does such a good job of making the set feel really light. You’re dealing with such dark things, but he makes it feel like it’s all a game. So it ended up feeling really cathartic getting to go scream and cry at work every day. It was kind of this really hilarious, playful release. I absolutely loved it.
WWW: Tell us about your character Stephanie Taylor. What about her grabbed your attention when you first saw the script?
LF: One of the things I loved about the script is that the spirits in the house bring out the darkness inside the characters in the family. So the issues that they already have, it kind of heightens them and pulls them out. And Stephanie is dealing with a really bad body image and an eating disorder. When I read the script, I just really felt for her because I think almost every girl I know has gone through that at some point, and I’ve gone through that as well, as a teenager. It’s awful that it happens, and it was a good way to express it and show the trauma that it is for her, the way that it affects her family, and how she just really wants love and attention from her parents and is doing anything she can to get it. It came from a place of real empathy that I really connected to her. And her desire to be better, that she really wants to connect to her family. She wants to love them and be a part of the family, but there’s so much fear in her, and I felt for her; there’s a barrier that’s stopping her from connecting.
WWW: You mention eating disorders, and that’s such a big issue. Like you said, so many girls go through this. What kind of advice would you have, especially for our younger generation of women dealing with the challenge?
LF: I would always feel that pressure, especially when I was in stressful situations that I couldn’t control. So I would try to take that control physically, and I think that there’s so much trust in yourself that you just have to be okay with your body. Sometimes I feel that the images that I’ve seen as a child and teenager, it’s almost like they’re all putting a cage around how big you can be.
I used to get to a certain size and feel this pressure pushing in on me that I couldn’t get any bigger than that particular size. This year, I’ve been doing a lot of dancing and being in nature. There’s this thing called 5Rhythms dance that is just really about getting into your body and moving and embracing yourself. That’s been a way for me to just love all of it. I know it sounds corny, but the answer to everything is love. I know it’s really difficult and awful to get over all of the stuff that’s been blocking that. I had one moment when I was dancing, and I almost felt like this invisible cage around my hips just dropped away and I could breathe more fully and be more present in life. It didn’t occur to me how much I was blocking myself from fully experiencing life and my body.
WWW: It’s interesting that you bring this up because we were scrolling through your Instagram and couldn’t help but notice all the awesome photos from your recent women’s retreat to Costa Rica. What inspired this trip?
LF: I had a pretty intense two years since I moved to L.A., and something happened in Australia that caused quite a lot of angst and anxiety for me. It kind of was a point where finally that ended and I wanted to get back in touch with myself. I have a friend who is a dance teacher, and she was teaching the dance part of this workshop. She came over and told me about this retreat that was starting the following week. And so I just spontaneously felt like I needed to be there. I wasn’t 100% sure why, but I said to myself, Yes, I need to go. I don’t have any massive things I have to do next week—I’ll just go!
It was about dancing and singing and getting in touch with your femininity. I suppose that I was really craving it because I had been in this really anxious place. I wanted to learn what it could be to be more relaxed in my femininity and being a woman and what that means in the world today, which is so masculine.
Also, I’ve been reading this book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. There’s one part that talks about the way humans have a very masculine way of working at the moment, and the way that humans are cutting away and shaving the earth is similar to the way we as women cut away and shave our bodies.
That’s become this big question I’ve been investigating. My friend who was teaching dance invited me to teach a painting part of the workshop on this trip. So I led a meditation of painting each other’s bodies, using that as a way to not cut away from yourself, even spiritually, soulfully, intellectually, or emotionally—to just embrace the whole of it and that was what drove me to go, to explore that question.
WWW: Care to elaborate on the bra-burning bonfire we also noticed on Instagram?
LF: So it was the first day of the workshop, and it was a very energized dance that first day, all about clearing and burning. That particular bra was from a time that I wanted to let go of, so as a joke, I said, “Well, here’s my really pretty, sparkly bra, and I want to let go of this particular moment.” It was so much fun when I let it go; it just went up in flames and disappeared in a second. It was hilarious, and everyone laughed. It was very fun.
WWW: Are there any actors or actresses you would love to work with at some point in your career?
LF: I’m a huge fan of Charlize Theron. I really admire her, and she’s a great role model for me. And I think that Daniel Day-Lewis is a total genius, and the way that he plays characters is something that I would love to aspire to one day. Then there’s Cate Blanchett: I love what she does with the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia, as well as balancing that with her life working in America and around the world. She’s also a really wonderful role model.
WWW: Let’s talk about fashion. Growing up, how did it play a role in your world?
LF: [Laughs] It didn’t! I love color, and I love comfortable clothes. I love things that are flowing, vintage, and fun—things that you put on where you feel relaxed and settled, but also a little bit playful. As a kid, I would never wear anything that matched. I never thought about it; I just wore really weird clothes. My sister was embarrassed to go out with me. She and my mom would change my clothes and try to get me to look “normal.” I was just very kooky. I guess going through that teenage phase, growing up in Australia, it was all about those surf brands like Billabong and Roxy, so I was in surf gear all the time. I suppose when I was 17, I started liking heels and dresses more, and getting dressed up became really fun.
WWW: How would you describe your personal style now?
LF: Now, I’m really interested in working with eco-friendly brands, which I haven’t really delved into yet because I’m still exploring the fashion world and what’s available. It’s amazing when you’re an actress and suddenly have access to really cool designers. Peter Pilotto dressed me for an event recently, and that was really fun. To be able to start seeking out these designers no one would normally get access to in this sample stage of clothes, I’m realizing that it’s something I can really have fun with. I’m hoping to find some eco-friendly options. In terms of my everyday life, I love Australian brands because I like supporting Australia.
WWW: Which style stars do you look to for fashion inspiration?
LF: There’s not really someone in particular. I’ll flip through a magazine and look at pictures and think, Oh that’s cool!” But sometimes I find that when I go onto Instagram a lot or look at magazines too much, I start feeling more insecure, so I try to avoid it a little bit.
WWW: Now that you’re starting to take on more projects, are you working with a stylist? What are you trying to achieve with your look?
LF: I’m working with my friend Lucy Warren, who is also Australian. With my look, I’d like to work toward more eco-friendly outfits as I said, to have a bit of a message with it. But also, we’re going for that gentle balance between playful and open but also serious and really committed to my work. Acting is such an art for me, and I love it so much that I always want an outfit that takes a hint toward the character I’ve played, especially if it’s a premiere. I love Grace Kelly, so we always think about her in terms of hair and makeup. But it really does depend on the character I’m promoting, because for The Preppie Connection premiere, we did something a little sexy and powerful because that’s what the character was.
WWW: Who are some of your favorite designers?
LF: I do love Peter Pilotto, and I definitely want to start working with Stella McCartney.
WWW: Where are your favorite places to shop in L.A.? What about in Australia?
LF: I do most of my clothes shopping in Australia, to be honest. When I’m here and wearing Australian clothes, I feel more at home. I love Zimmermann and August. I suppose when I go shopping when back home with my mom, it feels so nice. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed shopping in L.A. because I don’t really know the shops here as well as home and don’t know where to go. I love Topshop, though—it’s really fun!
WWW: What was your latest big splurge?
LF: At this vintage shop near my house, there was a Chanel skirt that was silky and really elegant, so I got it. I liked that it was vintage, and I felt better about it.
WWW: Now, for some rapid-fire questions. First, do you prefer pants or a dress?
WWW: New pair of shoes or a new bag?
WWW: New hat or new shades?
WWW: Online shopping or in-store shopping?
WWW: Bikini or one-piece?
WWW: Romper or jumpsuit?
WWW: Spring fashion or fall fashion?
Photographer: Paley Fairman. Hair: Sascha Breuer. Makeup: Melanie Inglessis. Styling: Sissy Sainte-Marie.
Don’t miss our Girl on the Rise feature with singer-songwriter Kacy Hill.