For Australian actresses, there seems to be a certain point where it’s almost a rite of passage to hug your family and friends goodbye and jet off to L.A. But as we know, only very few become household names. Enter, Claire Holt. Believe us when we say you’re about to see her everywhere (that is, if you haven’t already).
Claire’s carved out a name for herself in her role as Rebekah in Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but now with a new show under her belt—Aquarius with David Duchovny—and a movie with Mandy Moore on the way, her star power is about to get supercharged.
With a legion of fans following her every move (just a casual 4.5 million across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter), we managed to go incognito and photograph Claire in her adopted home of Los Angeles at Mr. C Beverly Hills.
Keep scrolling to read our exclusive interview and see the shoot.
Who What Wear: How long have you been in L.A. for now? Does it feel like home?
Claire Holt: Almost seven years! It does, I got a house at the end of last year, finally. I feel settled and I’m really happy here but I still miss home.
WWW: You’ve gone from Brisbane to Hollywood and scored two major shows under your belt— have you had a moment where you’ve thought ‘I’ve made it!’?
CH: I think you’re always worried someone’s going to find out that you’re not the real deal and send you home—I don’t think there’s ever going to be a point where I’m feeling super secure and stable, but I’m really happy and excited with the way my career is going.
WWW: What do you miss most about Australia?
CH: My family and my friends—I love the atmosphere and how laid back everyone is.
WWW: Are you familiar with many Australian designers? Who are some of your favourites?
CH: I love Camilla and Marc, Sass & Bide and Zimmermann—especially Zimmermann. I always try and wear Australian designers on the red carpet. A lot of American stylists are gravitating towards our designers too. When I’m on a shoot, they have at least one or two Australian brands on set which is really exciting.
WWW: Do you have any favourite places to shop when you come back home?
CH: Scanlan Theodore! They just opened a boutique really close to where I live in Brisbane.
WWW: We saw you recently got engaged, congratulations! Do you think you’ll come home for the wedding?
CH: Thanks! My fiancé (Matt Kaplan) did really well with the ring—I had absolutely no idea—it was a complete surprise. I never really thought about what type of ring I would want, but it’s perfect and I couldn’t imagine anything else now.
I’d love to be able to come home and if I can make that happen I will, but if not, there will be a lot of Aussies there!
WWW: Have you started thinking about the dress?
CH: I’ve started to look around and I'm keeping my eyes peeled—I know there’s a lot of amazing Australian designers for wedding dresses. I’ve seen some gorgeous Steven Khalil dresses, but I’m a little way off from the wedding still.
WWW: Who are your style icons?
CH: I really love Olivia Palermo. And Jennifer Hawkins too—I think she always looks so gorgeous. Cate Blanchett of course is another favourite, she’s always so elegant.
WWW: It’s finally spring here in Australia. If you were at home, what trends would you be wearing this season?
CH: I’m absolutely a denim shorts girl through and through, but I’ve also been gravitating towards simple, flowy wrap dresses. It’s a little out of my comfort zone—I’m normally in denim shorts and a tee shirt, but I’m embracing my feminine side.
WWW: What are your go-to fashion brands?
CH: I love Theory, Helmut Lang and J Brand Jeans. I have five different pairs of their jeans and I just rotate them. Reformation is one of my favourites for gorgeous summer dresses, and I’ve always loved Lorna Jane—I’m in work-out gear a lot.
WWW: We see you’ve filmed a movie with Mandy Moore—what was it like working with her? It looked like you two had so much fun.
CH: It was amazing—she’s such a wonderful person and I grew up listening to her music and watching her movies so it was really fun to be able to work with her. She’s just an awesome girl’s girl. We play sisters in the movie and I feel like we really have that sisterly bond now. We were in the trenches together so it was really nice.
WWW: So we know all about your Frugal Friday with Phoebe Tonkin, where you’d take $50 to Target for a treat when you were both first in L.A. You now both have a couple of hit TV shows behind you. If you were to increase the budget to $500 each, where would you would go?
CH: We’d probably end up going to a Pilates class, getting a green juice after that and then we’d hit up Barneys in Beverly Hills. That might be our new not-so frugal Friday.
WWW: What are your fondest memories of being on set with Phoebe?
CH: It was just so fun because we’re so familiar with each other. We’ve grown up together. I think being with someone who knows you so well, being so comfortable and just hanging out together was the best part. She’s doing so well and I’m so proud of her. Her collaboration with Witchery is gorgeous. I’m always checking out her Instagram for style tips—she’s a style maven, that’s for sure.
WWW: It seems like there’s a bit of an Australian girl squad in L.A. Who are the other Aussie’s you hang out with?
CH: We all hang out in a group together—Jessica McNamee, Tahyna Tozzi, Teresa Palmer, Gemma Pranita. I think we just sort of gravitate towards each other because it’s nice to have that home base and to really feel like you have that support.
WWW: What do you think it is about Australian actresses that strike such a chord with casting agents?
CH: I think we have a really good work ethic, and we’re committed to not only being professional on set but also working hard to do what it takes to get the job. But I also think having an Aussie accent is a bit of a drawcard! It’s something different and people seem to like it—let’s just go with that!
WWW: For any young aspiring Australian actresses, what advice would you give them for trying to crack the U.S.?
CH: I would say just be diligent and don’t take no for an answer. It’s not easy, and it took me a significant amount of time to get people to take me seriously or even consider me. I kept turning up and I just had a thick skin and didn’t let it get to me when people rejected me. As long as you keep going and keep a positive attitude, it’ll happen. It sounds generic, but I really believe in that.
WWW: Do you get recognised on the street in L.A.?
CH: Yeah! And people are always really lovely and friendly. It’s nice, people are really sweet and supportive.
WWW: What about at home?
CH: Less so… which is funny! I feel like no one really has much of an idea of who I am at home. When I come home I feel like I’m just back to my old self with my family and friends. I really love it.
WWW: Lastly—tell us something that we don’t know about you!
CH: I have a really good wolf whistle—I can get someone’s attention from a mile away!
Producers: Amanda Stavropoulos and Jenna Peffley
Photographer: The Riker Brothers
Stylist: Dani + Emma
Hair: Sunnie Brook
Make Up: Kelsey Deenihan