Scream Queens leading lady, #AerieReal ambassador, and Teen Vogue cover girl Emma Roberts is in high demand these days. Luckily, we were able to steal the actress away from her busy schedule for some one-on-one time.
In an exclusive interview with Roberts, we chat with the tastemaker about misconceptions in the beauty world today, how she scores the best fashion finds for her character Chanel, and the red carpet moment she’ll never forget.
Who What Wear: We’re big fans of your #AerieReal campaign. What is your definition of real beauty?
Emma Roberts: I feel like all of the people, specifically women, who I’ve always admired growing up and even now are never the people who are the most by-the-book beautiful on the outside, but are more someone who just lights up a room, someone who has things to talk about, and is smart and funny, and that whole package is magnetic. And so that to me is what true beauty is. And with Aerie, I like that their whole message is the “real you is sexy,” and they leave that open to interpretation of whatever it is that you find sexy about yourself, whether that’s something on the inside or the outside. I think that if you feel confident about something, it’s okay to own that and show that and be proud of it.
WWW: What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions in fashion and beauty today?
ER: Well, I think that you see certain people on Instagram and you think, “Oh my god, they’re perfect, and I have all these flaws.” I think it’s about teaching, young girls especially, that there is no such thing as flaws, really. Whatever you think is a negative about yourself, someone else is going to love. It’s always an example with my girlfriends, like when I’m having the worst hair day, and they’re like, “Really? I think your hair looks amazing today!” I think so many women, because of magazines and Instagram and Photoshop, have an unrealistic view of beauty, and so I think what Aerie is doing by putting these huge billboards up in New York that are un-retouched is so rad and liberating. I mean, it’s great. My sister is 14 years old, and she was like, “That’s so cool that you are doing that, Em. I just absolutely love the photos and I can’t believe it’s not retouched. Me and my friends are all going to post un-retouched photos to celebrate your campaign.” And that made me really happy.
WWW: Let’s talk about your amazing Scream Queens costumes. Did you play a part in shaping Chanel’s look?
ER: I love fashion, and so to get to play someone like Chanel, who fashion is what she is all about, has been so fun. We have two costume designers, and I have really close relationships with both of them and I’m constantly sending them links of stuff to buy for the characters and coming up with ideas, so it’s a really collaborative effort to get Chanel’s style. I’m so lucky that I get to work with people who let me text them links at 2 a.m. of stuff I think Chanel needs to wear. Most recently, I sent a link for some Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane heels. They come in black, beige, and red, and I was like, “Do we need all of them?” I also love going on Etsy and finding like vintage Chanel and vintage Gucci, so I sent them a couple of really cool vintage Dior slip things to maybe wear. I’m always scouring the Internet for Chanel-inspired clothing. We also started out wearing a lot of faux fur on the show, and now we’ve kind of made feathers Chanel’s thing, so you’re going to see lots and lots of feathers, like feather capelets, feather shawls, feather dresses, feather skirts, and feather shirts. It’s just an endless array of feathers going on at the Scream Queens set.
WWW: If you had to take a guess, who would you say is the Red Devil?
ER: Lately I’ve been thinking it’s Abigail Breslin, who plays Chanel #5, because she has a lot of pent up anger towards Chanel and everyone else. So that’s who my money has been on lately. I love Abbie, she’s like my little sister, and we all call her Gail on set. She’s so funny, and I think she’s killing the role. Chanel #5 is one of my favorite characters, for sure, because she’s so neurotic!
WWW: Everyone is seeing this glammed-up version of you on screen, but what about your style in real life?
ER: Whenever I go home from playing Chanel, I literally put my hair up in a messy bun and take off all my makeup and put on a vintage tie-dye shirt and sweatpants, and I feel so comfortable. Being in that Chanel look, imagine from 6 a.m. to like 8 p.m. being dressed like that, by the end of the day, we’re all barefoot and our hair has fallen down because we’re just ready to go. But when I’m just my normal self and not playing Chanel, I love a good pair of jeans, a great pair of boots, a T-shirt, and a leather jacket. I just bought the new Givenchy studded boots. The soles of my Chloé boots have literally fallen off the bottom, so I decided to give them a rest, and I’ve switched to the Givenchy boots, my fall gift to myself. And then I’m obsessed with all of the Alexa Chung AG jeans, so I’ve been living in those. And I have a Sandro leather jacket that I have finally broken in to be perfect!
WWW: How has your personal style evolved over the years?
ER: I think for me, I just started to not succumb to trends just because they are trendy and to follow my instincts and do what I think looks good on me and what is comfortable. It feels really good to do that, because it doesn’t really matter if you are following the trends if you’re comfortable. I wear these tie-dye vintage shirts to work a lot of times, and everyone makes fun of me. They’re like, “You’re wearing a tie-dye shirt?” And I’m like, “I know, but I love it. These shirts have good energy and they make me happy.” I’ve started to find my own style and stay true to that. And I feel like that’s when you look best.
WWW: What was a game-changing fashion moment for you?
ER: I’ve never been so comfortable and happy with a look than when I wore Jenny Packham to the Emmys [this year]. That outfit was everything that I wanted it to be and it translated in the photos. I was so happy because that whole look was such a collaboration between me and my stylists Brit and Kara Smith—they are sisters and do the line Elkin. It was the first idea we had for the Emmys. We went through all these other dresses and kept going back to that. We decided we’re doing it the day before, so they went out and got all the accessories and the jewelry, and we pulled all these hair and makeup references, so it was fun to have it be such a collaborative outfit and have it look the way we all wanted it to, and I just felt the most comfortable and myself in it.
WWW: Can you tell us about a fashion risk you took that paid off?
ER: I guess this was years and years ago, but I went to a Chanel dinner, and I was wearing a black-and-white Chanel romper, and at that time I hadn’t done a strong red lip to an event. I always felt like it would rub off when I ate or touched my face. I actually was never allowed to wear a red lip growing up, because my mom was like, “It’s too harsh; you’re too young; don’t wear red lipstick.” So it felt like I was disobeying my mom wearing red lipstick. And I remember I saw the photos afterward, and I thought it looked really pretty and classic. I had blond hair, I was wearing a black-and-white Chanel outfit, and I had a red lip, and I loved how that looked. And lately I’ve been thinking I need to rock a red lip more, but I feel like you have to really commit to it. But before 2015 is over, I’m going to do a red lip.
WWW: What’s your fashion security blanket?
ER: Definitely those Chloé boots still, even though I’ve given them a rest. My Sandro leather jacket, I love it, it’s so good. And then recently for fall, I don’t have any coats all of sudden, because I’ve been in New Orleans for so long, so I just recently bought at Nordstrom this purple-y plaid long coat by The Great. And I love it. I’m really excited to wear it because it surprisingly goes with everything. I’m hoping to get more plaid pieces this fall.
WWW: Can you tell us about the look you selected for today? What drew you to it?
ER: I think this look is probably the most me, and I love it because it’s a day look that could go into night. It’s just black skinny jeans, which every girl needs a pair of black skinny jeans, and then a cream babydoll top with ruffle on the bottom, and it’s really comfortable and flattering. I have a little bomber jacket with a shearling collar to wear over it and then white platform shoes with leopard on them that are Nicholas Kirkwood. I mixed it up a little bit with the chunky heel. I’m all about the day-to-night look, because I’m often out all day doing interviews and stuff and I don’t have time to change before meeting friends for dinner.
Photographer: Hadar Pitchon; Styling: Brit and Kara Smith.
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