Girls love Kate Bosworth. They love her laid-back Coachella looks. They love following her love life. They just love her.
And when I sit down to interview her in New York ahead of a Montblanc event she’s attending, I can understand why. I’m two seconds away from complimenting her on her ensemble for the evening – an embellished post-Simons Dior confection that was the opening look at the runway show for next season’s line-up – when she cuts me off to talk about my accessories. Accessories are, after all, the way to a girl’s heart.
If it’s her intention for this conversation to descend into a fashion gush-fest ... well, she’s succeeded. Before long we’re dissecting designers, talking about fostering young talent and even getting a little punny (“Dior is a brand that historically I absolutely adore,” she says of the dress. “J’adore! J’adore Dior!”).
While Bosworth came to fame in 2002’s Blue Crush and has had a string of respectable film roles since then, spanning heist drama 21, blockbuster Superman Returns and psychological thriller Straw Dogs, she’s also beloved for her street-style ensembles and her red-carpet appearances, making her the subject of many a paparazzi lens and Pinterest board.
Designers indeed do love Bosworth, and there’s a reason for it: “I shot a cover story for Vogue, and the story I think was called ‘Eight Days with Kate’, with Jack and Lazaro (of Proenza Schouler) and Derek Lam and Rodarte. [They] were just coming forth in the world. We were all just sort of babies together, and growing up in the fashion world together. It bonded us, because we were all there sitting at Vogue thinking, ‘I’m so intimidated and freaked out and I don’t know what’s going on.’ So I’ve really admired them and loved them – Joseph Altuzarra, Jason Wu, Thakoon, Prabal – as people, for a really long time.”
Fostering young talent is a topic that’s close to Bosworth’s heart, especially as an actress who joined the industry at a young age, and who herself lacked the kind of hand-holding she deems important. “I kind of fumbled my way through and tried to white-knuckle it through the creative process in my teens and 20s. But it was really when I met my husband [Michael Polish]; he’s a real mentor to me, and he’s a director, so I look to him for a lot of guidance. But now that I’ve had enough experience that I can start paying it back a little bit, it’s something that I’m quite passionate about.”
As someone who entered the public eye at the age of 15, when she landed a role in The Horse Whisperer, Bosworth has had a remarkably scandal-free career, save a little bit of boyfriend-ogling (though, given her exes include Orlando Bloom and Alexander Skarsgård, that’s to be expected). “I think I did OK [growing up]. If I were to give myself a grade, I think I did pretty well, because it’s a wild world, this whole thing of being under a microscope. We didn’t have Instagram or Twitter in my early 20s, but you could Google and look at things online and be scrutinised, and that’s a really bizarre place to be, because I grew up in a small town, I didn’t really have any armour to shield myself. So I think that when you’re just a sensitive young kid in the world trying to figure it out, you’re just dodging bullets and hoping you don’t get hit in an artery.”
Social media, ironically, has in some ways bettered things. Yes, there’s possibly even more invasion into the private lives of celebrities. But at least the artist has his or her own platform, too, now. “The difference that 10 years makes – you could give a statement, but it felt more defensive, so it was better to say nothing at all, and in that way, your voice was diminished, so you felt powerless. I think it’s a good thing that people are given a platform to have a voice.”
Speaking of platforms, that’s not the only one that’s got Bosworth excited. Like many Hollywood A-listers who are veering from the silver screen, she’s giving television a go, starring in the The Art of More alongside Dennis Quaid and Cary Elwes, a show that does for art dealers what Suits did for lawyers. It’s the first originally produced series by Sony’s streaming channel Crackle, which airs in Hong Kong on the Sony channel. “It would essentially be a fictional Sotheby’s versus Christie’s – the greed and money and high stakes and the high-level transactions that happen daily. Obviously that comes with drama, and we’re revealing [the drama] behind the curtain of that world.”
Her next project due to be released is a fivepart BBC mini series called SS-GB, based on Len Deighton’s ’70s novel of the same name, which takes place in an alternative-reality 1941 Britain, and was adapted by James Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. “It takes place after the Battle of Britain after the Nazis have won, so they have infiltrated London and it’s incredibly eerie and bizarre to be around large swastikas in London, to really feel like it’s a very terrifying what-if scenario.”
Films are still on the cards, but for now, television is where it’s at for Bosworth. “The quality that’s on TV right now is such a high level. Dennis [Quaid] talks about this a lot too, he says that the quality of the [movies of the] ’70s, and independent cinema, has forayed into television in many ways. I love to read, and I feel like streaming content is a lot like reading a good book. You can read chapters or you can just devour the whole thing in one sitting. Stream services allow for a lot of independent movies to be seen within a household and that’s great, because there was a minute there where it felt like independent cinema was dying.”
On a personal level, too, there are reasons to covet the regularity of appearing on a series. “We all really lucked out because I would imagine that to be a regular on a series where you don’t really enjoy the people that you work with would be tough, because you truly become, for better or for worse, a family. Fortunately for us, it was for better, and we just adore each other.”
Well, that’s not difficult to imagine. Some celebrities are best admired from afar, but Bosworth has only grown in my esteem after our little tête-à-tête. So when I ask her if I can snap a shot of her for our Instagram page, it’s with little resistance that I give up my phone, with which she absconds to a well-lit corner. “It’s just, I know how to find the light,” she says. There’s little left for me to do, then – except join her in the frame.