Summer has finally arrived, which to us means chic warm-weather looks, loads of social gatherings, the sand between our toes, and, above all, a fresh crop of must-see shows. And with every captivating new series, there exist a slew of fresh faces to follow, so to keep you in the know, we’re spotlighting five talented ladies on the rise we’ll be watching all season long. From Mr. Robot’s Grace Gummer to UnReal’s Monica Barbaro, we caught up with the latest batch of TV actresses to discuss their new roles and summer essentials.
Keep reading to learn more about these style savvy up-and-comers, plus shop their current must-haves.
WHO: Grace Gummer
WHAT: Mr. Robot (USA, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.)
Grace Gummer may be the spitting image of her mom—three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep—but this 30-year-old talent is paving her own path. With roles on shows like The Newsroom and American Horror Story already under her belt, Gummer is certainly on the trajectory toward success, but we’re most excited to see her performance alongside Rami Malek in the highly anticipated second season of Mr. Robot. This fashion girl is a force to be reckoned with, and we have a feeling it won’t be long before she’s adding awards and accolades of all sorts to her résumé.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Tell us about your character, Dominique, on Mr. Robot.
GRACE GUMMER: I play an FBI agent from New Jersey who is on the case of the 5/9 hack that was on the first season. She’s a very determined, focused, ambitious, unafraid, a little nutty, very smart, friendly, alive, feminine woman, I would say.
WWW: Were you a fan of the show prior to being cast? What was your initial reaction when reading the script?
GG: I hadn’t seen it when I had auditioned. I’ve known Rami for a long time, so I just knew it was a show everyone loved that Rami was on. When I heard that I was close to getting the part, I watched the entire season in two days—I was obsessed. So when I got the part, I was really psyched. When I first read the script, I was just really excited to be a part of a story that’s so important to tell right now, that speaks to a lot of feelings and fears that people have about the world. I was also really excited to be playing such a strong woman; I felt lucky to do that.
WWW: We understand you previously interned for Zac Posen. What did you learn while exploring the design aspect of the fashion industry?
GG: I learned that I don’t want to work in the fashion industry. It’s funny; I loved the analytical side of it, and the research and historical side. I would sit in the library at the Costume Institute and read all these old books on fashion, and that was the part I loved about it. I didn’t love being at work at 4 a.m. putting together a miniskirt. I didn’t see myself in that sort of world, but I learned a lot. When you’re an intern, you have to go to every button store, fabric store, and sequin store in the garment district, and that was very cool. I learned how to make a pattern and sew. I learned about sourcing fabric and what every kind of fabric is. I know how to clean everything really well and what not to dry. The actual world of it I just wasn’t so into.
WWW: How would you describe your personal style?
GG: I always love a comfortable, effortless, sophisticated, simple, sexy look. I don’t love a lot of frills, detail, or fuss over what I wear. If it requires a slip, I won’t buy it. I’ve learned now, turning 30, that I don’t have to dress for what other people want me to look like or expect me to wear. There’s sort of a relief in feeling like when I get dressed, I can wear what I want to wear. I think that’s always been the case for me, but there’s something about being 30, I say, Okay, I don’t have to wear a dress, so I’m not going to wear a dress. They don’t look that great on me; I don’t have that kind of body. I wear a lot of pants, shorts, or jumpsuits mostly. I love a very versatile, strong look. I love blazers and wearing a jacket over something. I hate warm weather because I love wearing layers.
WWW: Where are your favorite places to shop, and what was your latest big splurge?
GG: My latest big splurge was probably at Maryam Nassir Zadeh. I love her store on the Lower East Side; I think it’s really beautifully curated. Even if I don’t buy anything there, I just love going in and looking at all the colors. I love vintage shopping. I love going to weird places. If I’m on location somewhere, I love finding a thrift shop or vintage store there. One of my favorite pieces I got in London at a furniture store, but for some reason, they had a rack of clothing, and I bought the most beautiful silk jacket. It’s this really cool burnt-orange color. I just love finding pieces that you can’t get anywhere else. In New York, I go to Assembly because they have a lot of good vintage stuff. I used to go to Narnia all the time when it was on the Lower East Side.
“I have them in white and gunmetal metallic. These are my favorite shoes because they’re bold yet comfortable and elegant. They’re beautiful, effortless, feminine shoes that always complete an outfit.”
“I love this sunscreen because it’s a super-light mist and never feels greasy or sunscreen-y. I put it on every day, even in the winter. I don’t know what I would do without it!”
“I have two of these, and they are my favorites because I can also wear them as a top under some high-waisted pants or shorts, which is what I did when I went to go see Beyoncé last month, naturally.”
WHO: Lorenza Izzo
WHAT: Feed the Beast (AMC, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.)
Chances are that if you’re a horror aficionado, you’re familiar with some of Lorenza Izzo’s work. The Chilean-born beauty, who happens to be the wife of acclaimed director Eli Roth, has starred in such films as The Green Inferno; Knock, Knock; and Aftershock. This summer, the actress charms us on the small screen in AMC’s Feed the Beast, where she plays the part of quirky and naïve Pilar Herrera, a single woman on the hunt for love.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Tell us about your role as Pilar on Feed the Beast. What do you enjoy most about playing this character?
LORENZA IZZO: Pilar is a complete hopeless romantic, and in the age of Snapchat, Tinder, Twitter, and Facebook, I think it’s such a rare thing to find people that are in that old, timeless idea of Romeo and Juliet–type love. So that was very interesting for me to play. Feed the Beast deals with very dark, real human issues. Both of the lead characters are going through a lot trying to start up a restaurant. Pilar enters this world literally wearing a pink pom-pom with this bright energy. That was really cool to play—to be the light in the darkness. I haven’t ever had the chance to play someone so quirky and gullible, and kind of a klutz. I’m very much like that, so it was very fun. She’s a complicated weirdo, in a sense.
WWW: Tell us about what it’s like working with your husband, Eli Roth. What advice do you have for couples who collaborate in the working world?
LI: I personally admire any couple that can work together. It’s a tricky thing—some people love it, and some people are like, “Get me out of here!” It was interesting with my husband; we got lucky. We got to be really good friends before anything ever happened, and it happened as we were working, so we were able to understand each other’s working methods and get in sync. I got very comfortable working with him, and in that sense, it’s a true blessing, because he pushes me to limits I didn’t even know I had. I quickly got very comfortable with that idea and almost became scared to work with anybody else, because I wasn’t sure anyone else would be able to push me as far. I admire him so much, and I think he’s a brilliant director. I’m always excited to see what he’s coming up with or doing. We both inspire each other, and I think it makes for a great relationship. Although right now, I think we are going our separate ways for a little bit, just to explore our own stuff. Sometimes it does get to be a little too much, and you’re like, “Okay, we need a break!”
WWW: Growing up in Chile, what can you tell us about the fashion scene there? Are there any designers we should have on our radar?
LI: You should definitely have designers on your radar! Some are really making it out here! Here’s the interesting thing about Chile; even though it’s a small country, geographically speaking, our internet has always been really strong, even from the beginning of it. Because of the internet, we were very attached to what was happening and got influenced by the American culture. So we have an amazing industry, in terms of fashion, art, and photography, and it’s really starting to grow.
Karyn Coo is one of the amazing designers that I love, in addition to Paulo Mendez and Adolfo Fernandez. I think some people would be shocked to know some of these designers are on the racks of Barneys. I’m definitely a huge fan of my own culture, their artistry and craftsmanship. We’ve got something really cool going on.
WWW: What’s the best piece of fashion advice anyone has ever shared with you?
LI: Well, it would have to be my mom. She always said something in Spanish that translates to English as “Too much is not necessarily the best.” The simpler the better, and it’s so true. And this doesn’t mean necessarily minimalistic; it just means stay true to yourself and what your style is. In my mind, the less you try, the more unique and stylish you look. When I’m getting ready for red carpets, I look at myself and ask, “Is this true to me? Do I look awesome and feel awesome?” And, “Am I having fun?” We want to look good and feel good, and so much of it is not about the rest of the world. I think people don’t realize that most of the time, we want to dress for ourselves and feel good about whatever it is we’re wearing, regardless of whatever the trend or social pressure is.
“I cannot go in the sun without sunglasses. My eyes get these yellow spots from sun exposure that I have to protect at all times! I used to not care about sun protection at all: Growing up in Chile, I was in the sun constantly searching and competing with my girlfriends for the deepest tan, and it’s so unhealthy! It took a toll on my eyes, so now I never leave the house without good quality UV protection, sunnies, and sunblock, of course.”
“When the summer comes and I have some heathy color in my skin, nothing makes me feel sexier than a flirty, airy, but fitted dress. I love the sexy, feminine cut of this one; you can dress it up in heels for a night out and you’re good to go! I love simple, easy-to-wear things while looking chic and effortless.”
“Although I've always tried to not follow trends too much, I love that one-pieces are in! One-pieces are so classic, and with a pair of shorts or skirt and sneakers, you have a cute outfit. So easy to use all summer long and dress up or down and swim in. Also, if you like water sports as much as I do, no more ending up with no top after a fight with a killer wave.”
WHO: Carlson Young
WHAT: Scream (MTV, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.)
If it’s a summer thriller you’re after, you’ll want your Tuesday lineup to include MTV’s Scream. Carlson Young reprises her role as Brooke Maddox for a second season, and the Texas native promises we’ll be content with the latest storyline. There’s nothing like a good nail-biter to commit ourselves to on late summer nights, and from the sounds of it, we’ll be shocked by the killer’s revelation.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Tell us about your character Brooke Maddox on MTV’s Scream. What do you enjoy most about this role?
CARLSON YOUNG: Brooke is a very fun character to play because she has a lot of layers. She can be anywhere from really funny to your typical mean girl. But I think over the course of the first season and now into the second season, you get to see more of Brooke. I think if anyone is a fan of the character, they will be happy with the second season.
WWW: If you had to take a guess right now, who would you say is the killer?
CY: Well, I guess everything that Bex’s [Taylor Klaus] character Audrey was going through last year is pretty sketchy. But I don’t know, I can’t give away too much. It’s a great season, and I don’t think you’re going to see this killer coming.
WWW: How did you go about perfecting your scream?
CY: Oh man, I do have to scream a lot. I didn’t really practice that much; I would just kind of wing it on set and say, “If I sound like a dying animal right now, I’m sorry.”
WWW: Let’s talk fashion; how would you describe your personal style?
CY: I really like to stay classic, but always with an edge. Trendy, but not too trendy. I prefer simple, chic, and feminine.
WWW: Who are some of your favorite designers, and where are your favorite places to shop?
CY: Well, I sadly live right above an Acne Studios store and an A.P.C. store, so it’s hard for me every time I go out and get coffee. It’s torture! Acne basically has all my money. I shop there a lot, and I shop at Opening Ceremony a lot. I love Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. I think my favorite designer is Valentino or Rodarte.
“These basic white tennis shoes are my summer go-to. They’re very comfortable while also chic, in my opinion!”
“Amarte is my favorite line of skincare products. This sunscreen is light, packed with antioxidants, and a summer must-have.”
“Zoe’s stuff is amazing—delicate and feminine, but with a really rad, edgy twist. This ear cuff is everything, and I wear it constantly.”
WHO: Monica Barbaro
WHAT: UnReal (Lifetime, Mondays, 10 p.m.)
As if Monica Barbaro’s dark brown strands and pale complexion were not enough to spark our interest, the actress has joined the cast of Lifetime’s UnReal for its second season. If you’re already a fan of the hit series (which is back and better than ever!), you’re probably familiar with the brunette beauty referred to as “Hot Rachel” on the show. Thus far, she’s nothing but a nuisance to Shiri Appleby’s character, which is certainly amusing and has us coming back for more.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Congratulations on joining the cast of Lifetime’s UnReal for its second season! Tell us about your character, Yael, and how she factors into the series.
MONICA BARBARO: Yael is a fashion blogger. She’s from New York, she has a Jewish background, and she went to Sarah Lawrence. In the UnReal story, she’s kind of there at least at first to give Rachel the lead a hard time, because people call Yael “Hot Rachel.” She’s described as the more “put-together” version of Rachel.
WWW: Are you a fan of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise?
MB: Honestly, I’m not really. I don’t watch those shows. I’m not a big fan of reality television. I love Project Runway and some cooking shows, but that’s kind of it. I tend to steer clear of reality television, because like what UnReal is all about, you see the manipulation of people and editing to make something small into a huge enormous problem. It’s just not so much my thing.
WWW: Tell us about your personal style.
MB: It’s actually kind of changed in these past few months that I’ve been here, for some reason. I love minimalism—sticking to whites, grays, black, and some blues. I like really simple lines. Maybe it’s because of summer or all the bright colors we wear on set, but I’m looking more at flirty patterns, summer dresses, and more festive pieces. I wear the same gold ring every day that I got from Shopbop and a super-simple tiny diamond necklace.
WW: Where are your favorite stores to shop, and which labels do you find yourself wearing on repeat?
MB: I love Free People. I’ve loved the brand for years, and I worked in a Free People store for a little while after college. I helped open up the store in Corte Madera, California, and it was such a blast to know the label really well. I got to help with merchandising and dressing mannequins, and I think I learned the most about fashion there. Since I’ve been up here [in Canada], I’ve been shopping a lot at Aritzia. It is such a cute label, and apparently it’s opening up a location in Los Angeles. It just has amazing stuff. Other than that, I find things all over. When I lived in New York, I loved going to thrift stores; I still have those items. I love getting something tailored to fit me that I find in a thrift store. For jewelry, I like Catbird and Shopbop. I like finding things that are really simple.
WWW: Which stars do you look to for style inspiration?
MB: It’s a combination of people. Alicia Vikander is killing me lately, and she looks so good all the time and just so relaxed. I love that really easygoing vibe. I think Blake Lively does that really well, with easy hair and simple makeup. I used to be much more of an Audrey Hepburn or Anne Hathaway kind of girl, but maybe L.A. has changed me; nowadays, that super-easy relaxed look is my favorite.
“I’ve been lusting after these. They’re so festive!”
“Such a perfect dress to throw on for all kinds of summer events.”
“I love these separates that you can always wear together or pair with other things. The top could be worn with some high-waisted vintage Levi’s, and the skirt could go with a vintage tee or even a bathing suit top for the beach.”
WHO: Amara Karan
WHAT: The Night Of (HBO, Fridays, 9 p.m.)
Fans of Making a Murderer will be pleased to know there’s a new crime mystery hitting the summer circuit, so be sure to set your DVRs. Actress Amara Karan is gracing our TV screens this July as a defense attorney working a high-profile case in HBO’s The Night Of, and there’s nothing we appreciate more than a powerful female character. Wondering what you’ve seen the Sri Lankan stunner in before? Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.
WHO WHAT WEAR: What can you tell us about your role as Chandra in HBO’s new miniseries, The Night Of?
AMARA KARAN: She's a confident but young and inexperienced New York defense attorney who catches a break and gets to work on this high profile murder case. She knows her brilliance, but as the case goes on, she gets involved way over her head.
WWW: The show is under wraps. Can you give us any information about it at all, besides what we’re presented in the preview?
AK: This show is brilliantly directed and character-driven. The plot isn't complicated; it's more about characters dealing with this high-stakes scenario and negotiating each other. From the convicts to the lawyers, many of the characters are tricksy and opportunistic, but we also get to see their bravery and courage, and their highly enterprising nature.
WWW: Are you a fan of similar crime mysteries like Serial and Making a Murderer?
AK: Absolutely. And if you like those, you will love this. I think we have an insatiable appetite to see justice done. To punish someone that might be innocent goes against our innate instincts concerning justice.
WWW: Growing up, did fashion play a role in your world? Which tastemakers have you looked to for inspiration through the years?
AK: Growing up, there was obviously a big Sri Lankan Tamil influence from my family, so I absolutely love, love, love color and print. Matthew Williamson was one of the first designers I started wearing for public appearances. He spent time in India and uses that influence in his designs. Also, Sri Lankan Tamils accessorize with a lot of jewelry, especially gold, so I continue to combine that into my daywear because it suits my skin. I loved when M.I.A. hit the scene because she really managed to bring her own unique blend of her Sri Lankan Tamil heritage and something really British and urban.
WWW: Where are your favorite places to shop? Are there certain designers or brands that you prefer?
AK: I like to mix and match designer pieces with high-street brands. So Dover Street market is my go-to place for something a bit special, like a Mackintosh blazer or a Harris Wharf London coat. On the High Street, Zara is my one-stop shop, and it's always a treat finding a vintage piece in Portobello Road.
“I like feeling barefoot in summer, so I’ll work everything I wear around my Jimmy Choo Sandals. I love that the detail on them dresses up a simple jeans-and-tee outfit so I can still feel feminine even when I’m not wearing a skirt or dress.”
“In the summer, I live in my Matthew Williamson print dresses. Just putting them on makes me feel like summer has arrived. I love the bold colors of these dresses. I can also wear them over jeans and layer with a jacket or a sweater. They really give me energy and make me feel alive, and they break out of the rhythm of wearing grays, blacks, and navy in the winter seasons.”
“During the summer, you need UV protection as well as something to protect your skin from pollution. Skin Design London’s Ultra Glow is everything I need for my skin in one bottle that can slip into my handbag. So even when I’m having a no-makeup day, I can dress my skin and restore it at the same time.”
What are your summer must-haves? Please tell us in the comments below!