For W’s annual The Originals portfolio, we asked creatives—pioneers in the fields of art, design, fashion, comedy, activism, and more—to share their insights on staying true to themselves. See this year’s full class of creatives here.
You’re both actors who have backgrounds in modeling. In fact, you started dating after meeting on the set of an ad campaign. Devon, I imagine it wasn’t easy to get to the level of walking for houses like Gucci and Valentino, because you’re five feet seven, which is short by industry standards.
Devon Ross: My mom, Anna, was a model, so I grew up looking at her photos and comp cards and thinking it was so cool. I went to my first runway show, Saint Laurent, when I was around 14, and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t walking. In my mind, I was like, Check—I can do that too. I was told I was too short for years and years, but I knew that there were all these shorter models—like Kate Moss, who is also five feet seven—and that that exclusivity would go out of fashion. And eventually it did. I got cast in a Gucci show a few years ago. It’s been tough to be the short one in a room full of tall people, but it also gives me more drive.
How did you end up making your acting debut opposite Alicia Vikander in Irma Vep, Olivier Assayas’s new HBO Max series based on his 1996 film?
DR: I’d never done an audition in my life, so I thought there was no way I was going to get it. I didn’t even know what “it” was, beyond the fact that it was an HBO project. It was very surreal when my agent called.
Earl, your father, Nick Cave, is a legendary musician; your mother, Susie Cave, designs the label the Vampire’s Wife. But you eventually chose to pursue acting rather than follow in your parents’ footsteps.
Earl Cave: The acting world always felt impenetrable, so I thought doing theater at school would be it. Then an agency came by looking for extras for a film. I got a role with one line, which they ended up cutting. The movie was being filmed at the school that I had just left, and I wanted to go back and break a tile or something. But I found a love for the process of filmmaking and watching other actors on set. I did lots of little auditions and eventually bagged a role in Born to Kill, and it just progressed from there. I didn’t expect much from my scene in The End of the F***ing World, but once it went to Netflix, the series kind of blew up.
One way in which you are similar to your parents is that you both play music. There’s Nick, and then there’s Devon’s father, Craig, Lenny Kravitz’s lead guitarist.
DR: We’re going to start a band this year for sure.
EC: We jam all the time, so we thought we may as well do something with it.
Have you ever discussed acting together, too?
EC: Yeah, I mean, that’s the dream of ours—to work together. Maybe play brother and sister.
What was your style like as teens?
DR: I would wear a uniform to school—even though, since it was a total hippie school, it didn’t have a uniform. I went with my mom and bought a white collared shirt and little plaid skirt and high knee socks. I still kind of wear a uniform, because I just love the aesthetic. And I got a bit grungy, as teens do: I dyed my hair pink and shopped for creepers and plaid and all that angsty teen stuff at the punk stores on Melrose. I still kind of do that.
EC: I dread to say it, but I used to wear superskinny jeans and sag them. The teachers would say, “Pull your trousers up,” and I’d do it and then pull them back down. My hair would always be down to my mid-torso, so the teachers would also tell me to tie up my hair, and I’d do it and take it back down too.
Did you ever borrow clothes from your dad?
EC: He borrowed them off me—the closet was relatively communal.
Who are your style icons?
DR: Keith Richards. He’s probably the first person who taught me that it’s okay to break the rules. And Anita Pallenberg, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith—that whole group. I always look back to the ’60s and ’70s.
EC: Iggy Pop is an icon for me in every sense. He’s not going anywhere, that guy. He’s going to be here until the end of the world, just like Keith. They’re the cockroaches. They’re going to be the last people on the planet.
Hair by Liam Russell for Oribe; makeup by Emma Day for Hourglass Cosmetics at the Wall Group.
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