At 27, Jennifer Lawrence is already one of the most successful and exalted actors on the planet. She’s a four-time Oscar nominee and Best Actress winner for Silver Linings Playbook, who simultaneously built a history-making franchise with “The Hunger Games”, while co-starring in another for X-Men. This March, Lawrence will be seen in a new blockbuster, “Red Sparrow”, an action-thriller she made with her friend and Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence.
Although when not filming, actress and muse Lawrence embodies Artistic Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of the Dior woman, the French fashion house, whom she’s represented since 2013. She understandably is the ideal fit for this role, after pulling off a hugely difficult Hollywood feat, being both immensely likeable and seriously strong, taking stands on issues surround feminism and gender-equality.
To coincide with the launch of Red Sparrow, we take the opportunity to exclusively chat with the independent and self-confident Jennifer Lawrence, who is as powerful a voice as she is a star. Starring as Dominika Egorova, a dancer in the Bolshoi Ballet who was drafted against her will to become a ‘sparrow’, Jennifer describes her role as a trained seductress in the Russian security service. ‘Dominika learns to use her body as a weapon but struggles to maintain her sense of self during the dehumanising training process. Finding her power in an unfair system, she emerges as one of the program’s strongest assets. Her first target is Nate Nash, played by Joel Edgerton, a CIA officer who handles the agency’s most sensitive infiltration of Russian intelligence. The two young operatives fall into a spiral of attraction and deception, which threatens their careers, allegiances, and the security of both countries.’
This was a role which she was drawn to during the press tour of the last Hunger Games movie, telling us that it was a book that director Francis Lawrence had been reading and thought would be an interesting movie. Trusting the director who she had previously worked with on three films was the catalyst behind taking on the project, ‘I love working with Francis and think he is an incredibly giving and collaborative director. He has amazing taste, and I know the pressure is off me personally when he’s directing the movie, because there is a trust and he’s truly a visionary.’ This relationship, and the shorthand they understand during their collaborations led her to investigate the role further, and Jennifer explains, ‘when I finally had the opportunity to read the script, it was an easy yes. It’s a smart, sexy, and intense thriller about a secret program that trains young agents in the psychological art of seduction.’ However, the preparation was demanding, requiring intense physical training of up to 4 hours every day for three months, in order to emulate the ballerina role. ‘It taught me posture and transformed my body, together with learning about the discipline of the art, and the level of discipline it takes over so many years of their lives. The way they carry themselves, the way they handle themselves, and the way they work.’ Which remained as something that was constantly on her mind, even after wrapping all the dancing sequences. Together with the physical training, dialect coach Tim Monich helped Jennifer craft the Russian accent.
The authenticity which Jennifer relays in the role adds to the adventure that the storyline tells with its many twists and turns, ‘it’s a really smart thriller, and is exciting.’ Although, moreover it is the relatability of her character who like many women has been treated differently to men throughout her life. ‘We’ve always had to find different ways and angles of getting what we want and becoming successful professionally.’
Aside from her Hollywood career, Jennifer finds her role as the face of Dior a ‘tremendous honour,’ and to be able to be a part of a house with a rich history is something she doesn’t take for granted. Championing feminism, which to Lawrence mean ‘equality of the sexes,’ she is the perfect fit to model Maria Grazia Chiuri’s designs, who as the first female artistic director of Dior has contributed considerably to female empowerment in fashion. ‘She’s an inspiration to us all. Beyond designing beautiful clothes by a woman for a woman, she is redefining glamour.’ From her very first collection at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri launched a social media project, #TheWomenBehindMyDress, featuring the women behind her first collection, such as seamstresses and models, and #TheWomenBehindTheLens, which highlights the female photographers that she chose to work with, such as Brigitte Lacombe, Maripol, Sarah Moon, Nan Goldin, and Janette Beckman. It is this outlook which particularly resonates with Jennifer, who believes ‘it’s incredibly important, especially right now, to be supporting female artists and activists. We are in a sea of change for the better.’
Whether dressing casually in her personal life, or glamorously for premieres, Jennifer feels her red-carpet style ‘has definitely evolved’ as she has grown up, which is inevitably due to being ‘dressed in the best clothes’ by Dior. From the bags and shoes she loves from the last collection, to her favourite ‘black leather jacket with the Moon tarot sign on the back’, or the current Spring Summer 2018 collection she shot in these exclusive Ben Hassett images on location at Paramount, American beauty Jennifer is a muse that clearly lives and loves the storied French Maison’s designs.
So, as another blockbuster movie wraps, Jennifer is likely to move on to a handful of equally impressive projects, but not before she enjoys a real work break. ‘I am taking my time to choose the next film I want to do. I’ve been reading a lot and meeting directors that I want to collaborate with, and I’ve also been able to spend time with friends and just take it easy, which surprisingly has been nice.’
PHOTOGRAPHER : BEN HASSETT
MAKE UP ARTIST: JO BAKER
HAIR STYLIST: JENNY CHO
STYLISTS: JILL LINCOLN & JORDAN JOHNSON