Having starred as Effy Stonem on British teen television series, Skins, since age 14, British actress Kaya Scodelario has been acting for more than half her life. Fast forward to today and the 27-year-old has chalked up even more notable film productions to her name (like Maze Runner and Pirates of the Caribbean), while 2019 will see her taking on a myriad of interesting roles that span the gamut from aspiring Olympic ice skater to wife of a serial killer. This actress to watch is clearing not a cookie-cutter beauty: Scodelario’s fiercely independent and feisty nature has seen her speak out unabashedly on feminist causes and the issues plaguing Tinseltown, while pursuing projects that push the boundaries of her art.
Then, there’s the fact that she’s just signed on to her first-ever campaign gig as the face of Cartier’s Clash de Cartier, a jewellery collection that celebrates the diversity of women—something that Scodelario identifies with. Not bad for a girl who once described herself in an interview as “the opposite of that kind of ideal, cool girl thing”.
From the “freaky by quite wonderful” experience of seeing her face appear on billboards across the globe, to wanting to work with unknown female directors with a story to tell, Scodelario shares her passion and dreams with Kenneth Goh in Paris.
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How does it feel to be the face of Cartier’s Clash de Cartier?
It’s the first campaign I’ve ever really done—which was a choice. i wanted to wait until I found a brand that I respected and understood; a brand that understood me and wanted to embrace me for my personality and all my sides. It kind of came together really well with Cartier and I feel slightly overwhelmed but it feels right and it’s just super exciting. When I landed [in Paris] and the first thing I saw was my face on the billboard … it’s freaky but quite wonderful.
What excited you when they approached you about this project?
We had a conversation in New York. I never really wanted to be the pretty or submissive girl. A lot of times, we see women in campaigns looking quite dominated or looking quite soft and vulnerable. That can be beautiful but that never felt right for me. Cartier said that they really wanted to embrace the idea of me being multi-cultural, as well as my Brazilian and my British sides, which is something that I’ve never really got to celebrate publicly before. So that felt very special and it worked for the jewellery: The kind of edginess and the softness together. I felt like they really understood me and what I wanted to bring to the world. I just love the idea of getting to play two crazy characters. It’s fun and interesting and gorgeous as our promo.
Of the two characters you got to play, which side of you is that soft, lyrical woman, and which the edgier, gutsier side?
Well, definitely my British side is the softer side. When I’m at home, I love to cook, garden and I love being a mother, a wife and all of that. But at the same time, I love life, travelling and meeting new people, exploring and having wonderful experiences. And that is definitely from my Brazilian side, for sure.
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Did jewellery pay a part in your childhood while growing up?
Not really; not until I met my husband. He bought me my first piece of real jewellery, which was an antique—a necklace that was a perfume bottle—in Australia when we fell in love. And from then on, I started experimenting with jewellery and finally also collecting pieces that I want to keep within my family; because I never had many heirlooms or anything like that growing up. So [the tradition is] kind of starting with me, which is exciting.
What is your favourite type of jewellery?
I love hoop earrings. I think earrings can make you feel completely alive for some reason. If you have like a great outfit and you’re going out for the night, and you want something that little bit special—something that makes you feel flirty, open and fun—I’d always go for a hoop earring. I also love Cartier’s timepieces. I just got the Classic Tank and it’s something I want to pass down to my son and keep in the family forever, and that feels very special.
This is going to be an interesting year for you: You’re going to play an ice skater, a royal, a filial daughter and a wife of a serial killer. what is your philosophy when it comes to saying yes to a role?
I definitely want to connect with the character; not necessarily because I feel that they are similar to me, but because they’ve got a real story to tell—that they’re not just the wife or the girlfriend. I’ve been very fortunate in that I started my career playing an incredible character who was damaged and beautiful all at the same time. And that kind of set the bar for me. I never want to go from that to just being in the background. because every woman has an interesting story to tell, you know? Every human has many sides to them and I truly believe that they should all be represented on screen. I think it’s important to always be challenged. I love learning, I love working and so I go for something random. You know I did a very random horror survivor film [Crawl] because I wanted to carry a film by myself and show my son, “Look that’s mummy kicking ass”. And funny enough, it’s probably the most feminist script I’ve ever read, because I don’t have a boyfriend and I don’t have to kiss anyone. It’s just about being kickass, surviving and being strong. I love that. The figure skating [in television series, Spinning Out] is completely different. I’m suddenly playing a very elegant, ethereal role. So yeah, a little bit of everything.
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What is your ultimate dream role?
Well, I’d love to produce eventually; I’d love to tell my own story and seek out really great unheard of female directors and give them a platform to tell their stories. Acting wise, I’d really love to play a young Keith Richards. I adore The Rolling Stones and I’ve read his book a thousand times. I think he’s so interesting, creative, crazy, and wonderful.
So what’s next for you?
At the moment, I’m still filming the Netflix show [Spinning Out]; I’ll be doing that in Canada until May. And then my husband’s on Broadway at the moment.
Are both of you always on different sides of the coast?
Yeah, we’re both actors so it’s very complicated. But we try as hard as we can to have any time together that we can. After this, I’m going to take some time to be with him. And then i would love to find a great independent script. i want to do a really low budget indie movie. Preferably back in England, but who knows?
Here is a look at some of the items from the collection.