When she was 13, French actress Gaia Weiss did an internship with a modeling agency, and at the end of her studies, they offered to represent her. Though she never envisioned herself as a model (until she was 14, she thought she might be a professional ballerina), she accepted, thinking it a good way to earn money for school. She stopped modeling at 19, and turned to acting in 2012. She's become a fixture of period pieces thanks to a turn as a childhood friend of the titular Mary (also named Mary) in Mary, Queen of Scots, a recurring part in the History Channel series Vikings, and a guest appearance alongside Caitriona Balfe in Outlander. Later this year, she'll appear in the French-language Madeleine Grandier, about a notorious 17th-century witchcraft trial, as well as the more contemporary thriller Overdrive with Ana de Armas and Scott Eastwood.
Filming for Overdrive wrapped a few months before Weiss was due at Cannes, where she's appeared on the red carpet for films like Café Society, Julieta, and Hands of Stone. But it's not the first time the Paris native has attended the festival; she first arrived on the scene in 2010, recalling meeting Geoffrey Rush at Le Club by Albane. Perhaps next time around, she'll be walking up the Grand Auditorium steps for her own movie premiere — she aspires to work with Michael Winterbottom ("he's one of the reasons why I moved to the U.K. a couple of years ago," she says), Lars Von Trier, and Mads Mikkelsen, all festival regulars.
"There's something raw about them that fascinates me," she says of Von Trier and Mikkelsen. (She's not wrong — between Antichrist, Hannibal, and The Hunt, the two Danes have put out their share of pretty dark material.)
For now, she's doing the rounds at Cannes in an eye-catching array of gowns including designers like Azzedine Alaïa and Mugler. The former model is also a fashion week regular, rubbing shoulders with Kim Kardashian at Stéphane Rolland and with fellow French model Noemie Lenoir and appearing alongside Roberto Cavalli at his Just Cavalli presentation. While at the festival, she shared her style dos and don'ts, her current pop culture obsessions, and her favorite fashion discoveries in France and England alike.
Describe your style:
Jeans and old bands t-shirts, pretty casual.
Favorite stores in London:
Brick Lane Bookshop and Bloom Perfumery in Shoreditch.
Favorite vintage store in London:
Beyond Retro (they always have a lot of choices).
Jeans, a nice shirt, and a nice jacket.
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexa Chung.
Best recent discovery:
Gabriela Artigas jewelry shop in West Hollywood.
Best Cannes discovery:
Trying on Alexander McQueen dresses.
Style pet peeves:
Overdoing it with too much decoration, too much makeup, and too much jewelry.
A couple of cool t-shirts at Brandy Melville.
A Burberry trench.
Something you always travel with:
Rosebud lip balm.
Must-have on set:
Ugg boots to warm your feet in between takes.
Something you would never wear:
Most prized possession in your closet:
My old Perfecto leather jacket — I even managed to wear it as my character in Overdrive.
Favorite accessory you own:
A Bulgari Serpenti Forever bag in powder pink.
Street style winner:
My long soft navy blue trench coat.
What you're excited to wear when it gets warm out:
A big cashmere sweater.
Music you’re listening to right now:
Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington.
Something you’re reading right now:
Any Human Heart by William Boyd.
House of Cards!!!
Instagram greatest hit:
A silly selfie I sent to a friend; I posted it as an experiment and it turned out over 6,000 people liked it.
5 Instagram accounts you like to follow:
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