ana girardot

by Ria de Borja

6 or 7 Things I Know About Her
In the French version of the apocalyptic TV show The Returned Ana Girardot’s character, Lucy, has a peculiar gift–during sexual intercourse she becomes a medium of sorts, and delivers messages to her lovers from the other side instead of the inside. As it happens, she too is undead. This is a role she describes as “quiet, or more shy.” These characteristics have defined her roles so far, she says, perhaps with the exception of her most recent role opposite César-winning actor Pierre Niney in Un Homme Ideal.

“Maybe it’s something that people see in me when they first meet me. They think I’m more…silent. I’ve usually played the observer. I’m a very tiny girl, so you’d think I could be broken somehow...

What I’d really like to do is play a strong character: a woman who doesn’t need the love of men to go where she wants to go, somebody who’s stronger than everybody thinks she is, somebody who is fighting for something.” She pauses.

Girardot says in real life she is just the opposite: “I’m super tough.” When she was 18, she decided to move to New York to study acting under acting coach Sheila Gray. It was purely her choice; despite a family that is rooted in the movie industry—her father Hippolyte Girardot a director, actor, and screenwriter, her mother Isabel Otero an actor, and her stepmother a producer—she was never encouraged to pursue her dream of being in cinema.

“My parents knew the truth of working in the movie industry and they were scared for me.” Her first role nonetheless came from close to home–through her former babysitter, who had since become the secretary of a talent agent.

“Please give me an hour, I want to convince you to work with me,” she begged. Her role in 2010’s Lights Out—which played at Cannes Film Festival—garnered praise from critics, and Hippolyte.

“My father went to the screening. I didn’t know about it. He told me after that he liked it.” Since then, Girardot has been seen on television, in Paris’ Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin as Juliet, and in nine other films, including 2014’s Escobar: Paradise Lost.

“I’m happy to show this other side of me in Un Homme Ideal—more ‘out there’—because that’s who I am,” says Girardot. “When people know me better, they see that in me. But at the same time I have this… thing in me, something deep. A director told me that I bring this thing while in silence.” Director and writer Cédric Anger—who worked with Girardot in Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart, which got Girardot one of her two Lumières Award nominations for Most Promising Actress of 2014—said in an interview: “What I like about Ana is that she has exactitude and pertinence while having an indefinable quality about her.”

Girardot explains it quantitatively: “I like to think that every character I do is like a new layer on a cake of character. Next time if I play a ‘Lou,’ my Lou will be full of ‘Alice,’ full of  ‘Lucy,’ and full of ‘Juliet.’ She will be fed by ‘them.’”

The next layer will be the ethereal Youki in Foujita, by Japanese filmmaker Kohei Oguri.

“What I’d really like to do is play a strong character: a woman who doesn’t need the love of men to go where she wants to go, somebody who’s stronger than everybody thinks she is, somebody who is fighting for something.”

She pauses.

“I would love to play a man in the movies.”

Photographer: Eric Guillemain for 2bManagement.com.

Stylist: Masha Orlov for brydgesmackinney.com.

Hair: Ayumi Yamamoto for DeFactoinc.com.

Makeup: Mayia Alleaume for CalliesteAgency.com.

Photography Assistant: Marion Grand.

Stylist Assistants: Christie Boschert and Lily Ouattara.