Alicia. That’s right. Say it out loud, gently. Do not simply read it in your mind or mutely move your dried, unspoken lips. Alicia. You can even feel it: The word, a vibrating note narrowing into a distinct sound, is carried on, brought about the tip of your concave then convex tongue, utterly and grandly enchanting a perfect ear’s ear.
Now move through fifteen years in 1.5 seconds, with images of Alicia’s life flashing in your head, as if a black hole were rapidly enveloping history. The calendar is consuming itself like a starved scientist is ripping off its pages. The decors are being destroyed, rebuilt, painted over by the Master set designers of real life (God? Mother Nature?).
The Nutcracker. The Swedish Royal Ballet School. Mom performing on stage. Alicia crying because mom isn’t mom. Dad hypnotizing Alicia into feeling better. Fast this time, not like the name! This is all happening in your head! Alicia going to Denmark. Alicia learning Danish in a couple of months. Alicia practicing how to ride a horse for work. Alica working in Russia. Alicia in Sweden, in America, in London. Alicia living like a gypsy. Alicia feeling lonely at the airport. Alicia falling in love with a boy named Alex, Alexander Skarsgård. Alicia ordering mint tea at the Colbert on Sloane Square.
There, we are now in the present. Alicia is an actress, a young, ravishing, Swedish actress who is talking to me, answering all my questions, and I am…well, let’s leave that aside. She will soon be seen in her first big studio film Seventh Son, an American adaptation of the fantasy novel written by Orson Scott Card, alongside Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, and Ben Barnes.
We are sitting outside of the Parisian boulevard-inspired café, located on Sloane Square, Chelsea—the starting point of King’s Road, a chemin reserved until the ’30s of the 19th century to His Majesty King Charles II, allowing him to tranquilly and aloofly make his way to Kew in his silk stockings as he wished. They say that people with connections had the privilege of using the road as well. Oh, how we thrive and live for connections and “knowing a guy who knows a guy.”
I am heavy with an uneasy sense of intangibility upon realizing the level of elusiveness that comes with Truth. It’s like metaphysics. What does it mean? Is it an abstract way of talking about that which is abstract? Words are hard to understand. Sure, they each have a definition, but those are full of a lot of other words that require a definition.
Why am I sounding like a mad person? I just indulged, end to end, in all of Vikander’s performances. This profound beauty, who is no longer Alicia, but Queen Caroline Mathilde (A Royal Affair) and Kitty (Anna Karenina), brings to life enigmatic yet highly sincere and relatable young girls, impelled in the goods and the bads and the wise and the jokes, the constraints of titles and the freedom of love.
Let’s get back to Alicia, though. Before I proceed with the center stage of this piece, the heart, the core, the part that is equivalent to the girl who is wearing The Red Shoes (I am referencing to the fantasy-spawning ballet movie—the predecessor of Black Swan if you will, as well as the lineage of a 19th century Danish poet’s fairy tale), I want to highlight a few traits and events about her factually, without glitter or eyeliner or fancy tournures of phrase.
Alicia Vikander is the daughter of an actress mother and psychiatrist father (“I’ve always had very deep and long conversations with my dad. About humans, about the way we think, about the way we are,” she says. “I share a lot of my work with my mom since she is an actress but I share as much of it with my dad and discuss my characters.”)
As a child, she made her own decisions. She went to see “The Nutcracker” and declared that she wanted to wear the same costumes as the ballerinas when she grew up. At the age of 9, she went on to learn how to dance professionally at the Swedish Royal Ballet School, dancing for nine years before making a mise au point of her current state of mind: “I just knew that what I loved the most about the ballet was performing. I realized that the steps weren’t as important as me going up on stage and creating those roles, and I think I longed for using words instead of moves.”
She enrolled in a law program as a Plan B, but never had to begin. Acting was working out for her. Nikolaj Arcel and Joe Wright noticed her talent from her role as Katarina in Pure (for which she won a Guldbagge Award for Best Actress) and cast her in A Royal Affair (Arcel) and Anna Karenina (Wright).
She also appears in Hotell, a Swedish film directed by Lisa Langseth, who directed Pure. Then there’s Son of Gun and The Fifth Estate, which recently saw release. She is currently filming The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Ex Machina. Alicia is very busy.
Alicia is also very pretty. She is wearing an edgy schoolgirl/working girl outfit when we meet, with booties the same color as Porto. Her chestnut brown hair is pulled back and her face is exposed and her eyes match her hair.
There. That is the foundation. And now, published here, is Alicia’s excerpt-like encyclopedia. Please, indulge in this young woman’s words and enlighten yourself. Or moreover: wander, and question, what is and what is not.
Talking about beauty—and how I define it, and when I did ballet—it’s very much all about defining beauty. You look for perfection. It’s quite hard aiming for perfection, trying to figure out what that is. What I like about my work now is that I’m working with my flaws a lot, and I think that is suddenly what makes my characters real…
[…] I have a premiere in Toronto on Friday for the film called Hotell, which is one of my most emotionally naked films I’ve done. That character goes through a very difficult time in her life, and it’s nothing about looking good; it’s nothing about being perfect. It’s about someone digging deep down, trying to figure out who she is. And it is very ugly at many points, but then suddenly when I see it I think, “That is Beauty!”
I learn every day and a lot of it is through experience. You can read about things, but as soon as you get exposed to it, or you feel it, or you’ve experienced something, you get things on another level and it feels usually a bit more like Knowledge—rather than just being told how something works, the way things are.
[For Hotell] I met a lot of psychiatrists, because I wanted to discuss what [my character] went through, and that was another way of prepping that I haven’t done before. That felt like the logical thing to do. It was what I felt like I had to do to understand people who go through what she goes through in the film.
You know, when you’re young you’re trying to fit in; you’re trying to find your place in life. And just a few years back I was looking up to the girls who were the age that I am now, and I thought ‘They know exactly what they are doing.’ I would love to let women who are younger than I am know that this—this fear of not knowing—will last forever.
I have a lot of fears. I think everyone does but that’s also what I realize when I do those characters […] It’s quite a positive thing […] I should be able to work with my own fears. My emotions are my tools. There are a lot of feelings and fears that we all carry inside of us but that—at a regular basis on a regular day, as a human being to work and function—we choose not to bring out. But sometimes I realize that I have some dark side inside of me that I, very easily, can suddenly bring out—that I didn’t know was so close to me. When I create my characters, I am able to bring them out, and that, [Vikander is now smirking and slightly laughing] that can be quite overwhelming sometimes. Those feelings are closer than you think.
As I was strolling around London on a rainy day, I thought about what a wise man once wrote. That man was Diderot and what he wrote at the beginning of his novel Le Neveu de Rameau was this:
Mes pensées sont mes catins. “My thoughts are my whores.”
The character in question says this as he paces the streets near the Palais-Royal in Paris. Thoughts come suddenly and leave suddenly. Ephemera is the word. They are not dear to you, because they are so many, but what is dear is the continuality. The pleasure. And the pain. The Function. The Explosion. Lose yourself. Or maybe find yourself. Alicia is still gazing from afar. She functions, she explodes.
Photographer: Frederic Auerbach for OpusReps.com. Stylist: Martina Nilsson for OpusBeauty.com. Hair: Rob Talty for TheMagnetAgency.com. Makeup: Adam Breuchaud for StarworksArtists.com. Manicure: Stephanie Stone for Nailinghollywood.com.
Beauty Notes: Prep + Prime BB Beauty Balm SPF 35 by M.A.C Cosmetics and Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Smoky eyes and rouge coco shine hydrating sheer lipshine by Chanel.