Emily Wickersham has all the makings of an It-girl: an innate sense of style, a down-to-earth attitude, and stunning features—make note of her bold brows. And after a best dressed-worthy appearance at the ELLE Women in Television Celebration early this year, we were eager to learn more about the fresh face. So you can imagine our delight when the NCIS actress invited us to join her while she got ready for Bulgari’s pre-Oscar bash in honor of STOP.THINK.GIVE, a photobook supporting their partnership with Save the Children. Accompanied by her right-hand woman, stylish Kris Zero, Wickersham walked us through her red carpet pre game, style icons, and what it’s like being a New York fashion girl in a LA world. Keep reading for our exclusive behind-the-scenes look.
Do you have a strategy going into fashion events when it comes to what you wear and your beauty look?
Emily Wickersham: My strategy is sitting right to the right of me, Kris Zero. Usually, we’ll talk before about the kind of event, and probably every time that I’ve gone [to a fitting] I feel like we gravitate toward the same thing; it’s usually the first thing on the rack.
Kris Zero: Basically we’ll have a couple of designers in mind, things that we want to target or things that we haven’t done, but are on the arc of where we are going. I’ll put my favorites towards the front of the rack and Emily will walk in and look at the rack and say, “those are my two favorites.” She’ll put two dresses on, and if we have time we’ll try everything for fun, but usually she doesn’t have to get dressed more than once.
EW: That’s all very true.
What about when it comes to your beauty look?
EW: I try and aim for really fresh, dewy skin. I don’t like the look of a super caked on face, you know? It’s usually more on the natural side I would say, unless I’m really trying to tie it together and it’s more evening-ish.
KZ: You’re like a natural girl, so always natural with a little bit of pump somewhere.
EW: I look kind of weird with too much makeup on. I mean, I need makeup, but I find that some women can hold a lot of makeup on their face and I can’t. It changes my face.
What’s the makeup process for NCIS?
EW: It’s the same thing basically ever day, unless I go undercover. The character is pretty tomboyish, so I like to keep her makeup really simple and I’ve worked that out with my makeup artist on the show. Just because I don’t feel like she would wear a bright red lip. It would be fun, but so out of the character’s realm of things.
What's your pre-event/red carpet ritual?
EW: Today I was listening to Belbo Gilberto, Afrobuddha, and Brigitte Bardot pretending I’m French, I kind of love it. I didn’t really know that Brigitte Bardot had all these different albums, so they’ve been fun to listen to. But just you know easygoing music. I usually take an Epson salt bath and put on a SK-II mask and kind of lounge around. It’s very relaxing. Otherwise I get too nervous. For some reason, I get too nervous before events, so I try to chill out.
What’s your first fashion memory?
EW: I have grown up with a mom who has the best taste in the world.
KZ: This is a fact. I’ve met her.
EW: She’s like this tiny, beautiful person who wears clothes so well.
KZ: She was wearing an Isabel Marant sweater when I met her.
EW: Yeah, she’s just super hip with her little Isabel Marant booties or her Acne shoes. I’ve always kind of turned to her for fashion things. Growing up, I was a huge tomboy, but I was always aware of my mom being so particular about her clothes. And then after college, living in New York, that’s when I really got into fashion.
Would you say your style is more New York or LA?
EW: I think I am more of a New York fashion girl in the sense that I feel like it’s more understated there, and there’s more color going on here [Los Angeles], which I’m trying to venture into, and I am slowly. I love all–black New York outfits.
KZ: I feel like the thing that is unique about your style, though, is you have the ability to bridge the gap. Like you have the ability to look really relaxed and comfortable, but also put together the way people think of New Yorkers being so put together.
EW: That’s my goal! You never want to look overdone like you spent hours on your look. I feel like the French are very much my idols in that situation, because they are so effortless.
What clothing item are you wearing over and over right now?
EW: I’ve been wearing this Isabel Marant poncho sweater over and over again. I literally wear it every day.
What’s the best style advice you’ve ever received?
EW: I think the best advice is to feel confident in whatever I’m wearing, because I feel like it’s easy for clothes to wear you and it looks weird. You can tell if someone is uncomfortable and they are not wearing their own clothes.
Who are some of your style icons?
EW: I’ve always loved obviously Kate Moss. Who doesn’t love Kate Moss? I love Sienna Miller’s style, my mom’s, and my grandmother’s. My grandmother is this very elegant woman who had the best clothes and wonderful designers in her closet and was super chic and from that era when everyone just dressed up all the time. Love Kate Bosworth’s style, too. I would say right now, those are the girls I really like.
What do you love about Bulgari?
EW: My history with the brand is admiring it from afar. I think it’s so beautiful and a little nerve-wracking wearing it, to be honest. It’s a lot of diamonds.
Emily in Bulgari earrings and Isabel Marant dress.
Emily on the red carpet at Bulgari's Save the Children event, celebrating the photobook STOP.THINK.GIVE featuring Naomi Watts, Jessica Biel, Jon Hamm, and more.
Photographer: Jenna Peffley for Who What Wear
Hair: Ryan Richman
Makeup: Ashleigh Louer
Stylist: Kris Zero
Who do you want to see us getting ready with next? Tell us in the comments below!