Curled up on her bed with a laptop covered in Harry Potter stickers, Margaret Qualley, the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell and model-turned-rancher-turned-builder Paul Qualley, is the picture of youthful innocence. But the past year and a half has had this 17-year-old acting very much the adult. A devoted bunhead, Qualley moved to New York City alone in 2011 from her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, to dance in the American Ballet Theatre’s summer program. She soon discovered that her lanky frame and porcelain skin were model-ready, so she traded toe shoes—and an apprentice position at the North Carolina Dance Theatre company—for Chanel tweed (on the catwalk, at least). Now, after a summer at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Qualley has moved to Los Angeles to act and finish high school.
Her life of late has been a sea of change, but Qualley’s go-to wardrobe of floral dresses and Frye combat boots has been the one constant. This Isabel Marant collegiate look would go well with her sweet-but-serious vibe—though any closet additions are vetted by Mom. “I still feel guilty buying something without asking my mother first. It’s ridiculous. I’ll call her and be like, ‘I saw this dress, can I get it?’ ” says Qualley. “And she’ll say, ‘Margaret, whatever, get the dress.’ ”