Julia Garner is Keeping Some of That Old Hollywood Cool and Mystery Alive

by Brad Wete

Julia Garner  | All photos by Eddie Chacon | Credits:  MIU MIU  blouse, stylist’s vintage blouse and top,  MIU MIU  jeans,  FUTURE EYES  monocle, and  PIAGET  ring.

Julia Garner | All photos by Eddie Chacon | Credits: MIU MIU blouse, stylist’s vintage blouse and top, MIU MIU jeans, FUTURE EYES monocle, and PIAGET ring.

Je ne sais quoi: that eternally useful French phrase, a lovely construction that encapsulates that intangible spark possessed by those people, usually women, who exude a bit of special magic. Bardot had it. Hepburn had it. Julia Garner has it in spades.

She is the millennial model du jour, boasting a porcelain glow, trademark ruby lips, and a halo of blonde curls reminiscent of predecessors Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Temple. In many ways, she comes across as an ordinary girl in her twenties – that is, an ordinary girl who has played a sequence of versatile roles ranging from a cannibal to an impregnated Mormon. She charmingly insists when we speak: “When people interview me, I’m always like, I’m not that interesting, you know?”

Debatable, as it’s hard to not be captivated by the actress’s striking oeuvre, and the fact that the spritely 23-year-old has appeared in everything from Electrick Children, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. She is the ethereal girl next door that rocks Chanel yet “shops off the rack,” and has been featured on the cover of Vogue Italia.

One might say Garner’s acting career came as a coup de foudre, or sudden strike of thunder – one she asserts was an accident. What initially began as a way to overcome her shyness soon spurred a career. “I really love people and I guess that’s what acting is to me – the study of people. It’s all about storytelling. If you’re listening, everything just comes out through the eyes.”

Garner’s next project comes in the form of Ozark, a Netflix original drama starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, which is currently earning critical acclaim. Meanwhile, the young actress is on set for the filming of Waco, a six-part series chronicling the standoff that began with the ATF raid of a religious sect in Waco, Texas.

Towards the end of a warm conversation, Garner offers me her matchmaking services. She assures me they have a high success rate of one-for-one. “I have to get on it. I did this one match that worked out and they got married” – a light peal of laughter –“but I can’t rely on one. I need to step up my game, you know?”

Before I can take her up on her offer, we begin discussing the foregrounding role of social media in today’s culture, and its refiguring of the romantic landscape. While other generations asked if a tree fell in the woods did it make a sound, now we ponder whether if a rose didn’t appear on Instagram, was it even given? The young actress maintains a classic cinema-esque notion of mystery in her sparse use of social media.

“I don’t want to write what I’m eating for lunch,” she explains. “With old movie stars you didn’t know everything about their personal lives – like what they had for breakfast or where they went on vacation.” For Garner, this keeps the illusion alive. After all, you can’t have that “I do not know what” if everything is revealed.

Written by Jasmine Ashoori   
Photographed by Eddie Chacon  
Styled by Sissy Sainte-Marie

Hair: Kylee Heath at Starworks Artists
Makeup: Nathan Hejl using paint stick in cyan by M.A.C Cosmetics at Atelier Management.
Manicure: Camille Black using Zoya at Opus Beauty

Issue 155

The Aftershock Issue: New America

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