As an actor, most of Sigman’s roles have found her at that curious intersection where wealth and influence meet good looks. In Netflix’s Narcos she plays a glamorous television journalist obsessed with the drug-lord Pablo Escobar, and in her debut film Miss Bala (2011), Sigman shone as a reluctant Mexican beauty queen helplessly besieged by powerful men, sex, and violence. Sigman conveyed her character’s plight with such doe-eyed terror that many of the scenes haunted long after the fade to black.
When I meet Sigman, it’s at her Flaunt photoshoot in a converted warehouse studio in the L.A. Arts District—a glacial cool environment of razor sharp cheekbones and excited camera shutters. As an onlooker, and irrespective of the top-flight fashion team buzzing around her, I can’t help but suspect that Sigman would be the focus of most rooms she enters; statuesque poise, liquid black hair, and what would be described in Australian parlance as “legs for days.”
Yet when I mention to her later how relaxed she seemed (building on the observation that her modeling career began at age 16), her response surprises me: “I was very comfortable because I had a great team, but sometimes I’m very uncomfortable—sometimes I’m not having fun. It’s not because [other fashion crews are] mean people,” she clarifies earnestly, her eyes wide, “it’s if there’s chemistry—if we click—sometimes that doesn’t happen.”
For someone about to claim a mantle that is a byword for the most beautiful women on the planet—that of the “Bond girl”—this is a surprising admission, but Sigman seems remarkably honest: “I have no idea what I’m doing,” she acknowledges with a smile.
“Even in interviews,” she tells me, “I don’t know if I should create my public persona. It’s such a weird business. In every business if someone’s trying to sell you a product they’ll behave differently. People say: ‘Isn’t it strange being an actor and playing a character, and then you don’t know who you are anymore?’ Well no, behaving differently because I’m meeting someone, and then being a completely different person with someone else is more strange than playing a character.”
Sigman shows me a photograph she had taken of an artwork she liked in Colombia—it’s a glowing sentence made up of curling fluorescent lights, it says: take a selfie, fake a life. “That’s what we sometimes do,” she comments, “it’s another persona. It’s a completely different person from who we are. That’s kind of scary.”
Sigman’s own Instagram includes—amongst more conventional images—selfies of raccoon-eyed mascara streaks, and close-ups of morning pimples. They’re projections that are illuminating of an actress who’s conscious of the fiction, and who perceives the light off the edge of the stage. There’s a lot of self-assurance required in sabotaging your own vanity, but then Sigman’s learned that there’s power in confidence.
See the film.