If you don’t know the name Jessica Brown Findlay, commit it to memory now. The 22-year-old actress is best known for her role as the vaaaaary posh Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey, but now, audiences will see her donning a Princess Leia wig – along with that gold bikini – for her film debut in Albatross. Take it from us, the film sees her behaving pretty badly – think bosom-flashing and flings with the father of her best friend, who’s played by Felicity Jones. So Grazia Daily thought it high time to have a chat with the rising star, about her latest role, her sartorial choices and a certain Duchess of Cambridge…
Grazia Daily: You’re quite a girl’s girl in how you dress so what did you make of Emilia’s punky style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Emilia’s adorable in the sense that she just throws stuff together and demands to be looked at. She doesn’t seem to realise that she’s wearing every single colour under the sun and not the most appropriate footwear! It was really fun playing her and I loved her leather jacket, I didn’t want to give it back!
Grazia Daily: Did you end up buying your own leather jacket?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I did, yes! She inspired me to buy one myself from The Kooples.
Grazia Daily: You dress up as Princess Leia in the film. What would be your fancy dress of choice?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Something from the 1920s. I’d go as a flapper girl.
Grazia Daily: Who’s your favourite designer?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I absolutely adore Alessandra Rich, I think her dresses are stunning and she really knows how to cut and dress the female shape. Her stuff is really beautiful, stylish and a little bit quirky. I love it all!
Grazia Daily: What would be your dream red carpet dress?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Something really comfortable that made me feel a little bit cool because I’m not [laughs] but in general, something understated and black! I constantly wear black and grey but I’m starting to think about wearing a little more colour…
Grazia Daily: You recently met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. What was Kate like?
Jessica Brown Findlay: She was lovely. They seem very happy and very in love. Kate was very sweet and it’s ridiculous how beautiful she is!
Grazia Daily: Are they avid fans of Downton Abbey?
Jessica Brown Findlay: They said that they’d heard of Downton so who knows if they tune in on a Sunday! I love the idea that they do though, that’d be hilarious!
Grazia Daily: What do you think of Kate’s style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: She just gets it right all the time. She dresses beautifully but she still looks like a young woman. It doesn’t look too put together and still looks really natural. She’s such a lovely confident girl – I can’t imagine having to look brilliant every single day, but she does!
Grazia Daily: What’s your tip for preparing for a premiere?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I do my own make-up and quite often I do my own hair for premieres as I just prefer to go feeling like myself as much as possible. My main tip would be to have a big lunch as you usually have to wait a very long time for dinner. And line your stomach – that would be my mum’s tip!
Grazia Daily: You’ve got Labyrinth coming up – can you tell us a little bit about that?
Jessica Brown Findlay: We filmed Labyrinth in South Africa for two and a half months and it was just the most unbelievable experience. Lots of sword fighting, mud in hair and lots of weeping! It’s very different from Downton because I was going to work and having mud put in my hair – it’s the other extreme of the look!
Grazia Daily: Felicity Jones is becoming quite the style crush, who would you say your style crush is?
Jessica Brown Findlay: My style icons would be people like Brigitte Bardot and old Hollywood actresses who always look so stunning, cool and chic. I like classic and timeless looks.
Grazia Daily: Is that how you’d describe your style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I just throw stuff on in the morning but a good red brogue and a nice shirt are all you need. I’m obsessed with shirts and a good brogue. I like to accessorise shirts with a little ribbon tied round my collar or a country style ascot. I’ve also sewed little hearts on some of my sleeves which I’ve done for years because I always wear my heart on my sleeve so if you see a little embroidered heart on my clothes, that’s why!
Albatross is available on DVD on 6 February.