The year 2022 will be remembered as the one when Jodie Turner-Smith become a bonafide red carpet icon. In January, she was a budding star, a model-turned-indie-actress who walked the occasional red carpet alongside her husband, Joshua Jackson. Now, eleven months later and an event doesn’t start until Turner-Smith makes her entrance and the fashion sect gets a look at what’s she’s wearing. The peak of her rise came at the Venice Film Festival in September when Turner-Smith hit the carpet in a parade of gorgeous and unexpected gowns. In the span of a week she solidified her place as one to watch and proved her ability to take risks, her inclination toward the bold, and her love for Alessandro Michele’s Gucci.
It’s fitting, then, that Turner-Smith will end 2022 at the helm of the British Fashion Council’s biggest event of the year. On December 5th, Turner-Smith will take the stage to host The Fashion Awards presented by Diet Coke. There, the actress will guide guests through the evening as the BFA doles out honors for Designer of the Year, Model of the Year, Independent British Brand of the Year, and more. Some of the biggest names in fashion will be in attendance, including Jonathan Anderson, Bella Hadid, and Miuccia Prada, but all eyes will be on the striking Turner-Smith. In preparation for the event, the actress chatted with W about her triumphant year on the red carpet, her most recent purchase, and what to expect from her hosting gig next Monday.
What was your reaction when you got the call from the British Fashion Council?
I was so excited and honored. I was like, “They want me to do it?” I've never gone before, so this will be my first time attending as well. What a great way to attend for the first time?
Who is exciting you in British fashion at the moment?
I'm really excited about a lot of these designers that have been nominated. There's one particular young designer that I discovered through Gucci, Bianca Saunders. I love what she's doing. I love what Nensi Dojaka is doing, I love what they're doing at Bottega [Veneta]. I'm excited to see who is going to be awarded a prize. It's always interesting to see what the zeitgeist is saying, but in my head I have some that I’m keeping my eye on.
Have you picked your look yet? Do you know what you’re wearing?
I’m still deciding on all of that magic. When I hosted the Fashion Trust Arabia Awards I had five outfit changes. Five. So, at this point I feel like it's what people expect from me. It's like this wheel that's feeding itself, but I love it. It's exciting for me. I get to play dress up. I get access to such incredibly crafted, beautiful artistic clothing. I definitely like to milk that opportunity by getting to display as many personalities as possible in one night. I think hosting gives you the chance to do that.
Also, I think it adds a little bit of spice and drama to the night. Like, “What is she going to come out in next?” You want to keep the energy alive. I’m adding my own little piece of entertainment in there by giving a visual feast. So, I’m definitely going to have fun because that is always my objective. I'm going to be feeling myself, but I'm going to be having fun. I'm going to be all the way in my bag.
You had an amazing red carpet year and I’d love to take a look back on it. What were some of your favorite looks?
Oh my god. I mean, this year really went off. I have always looked forward to a certain aspect of my career as an actor, what I like to call the parade of dresses. Usually, you do that for an awards campaign, which I haven't actually had yet, but sometimes is also just a film festival, like Venice. That was so much fun and exciting. I feel like Venice was really the biggest highlight of the year, especially because it was my birthday week, it was Virgo season, the moon was full. I started out opening the festival with a film I was in, White Noise by Noah Baumbach. I couldn't have been feeling myself any more than that. Then, I got to get dressed up every day and wear fabulous things and go and see incredible films. Now the sense memory that's associated with all the dresses I wore is just so full of elation that it just puts every single look at the very tippy top.
Going into that week, did you know you were going to make such a splash? Did you expect to get a lot of attention?
It sounds stupid and like I'm being naive, but I didn't even think, “Oh, I'm going to get all this press.” I was more so like, “I'm about to shut it down with how good I look.” For me, it was more about Venice itself and just really taking up space in that environment because I'm going to occupy my space and that feels really good to do as a Black woman. I just went there to have a really fucking good time. Then, when I saw the response in the press, I was like, “Wow, I didn't even fathom that it was going to pop this way.” I didn't think about the ways in which that would open doors for me.
Over at W, we really enjoyed seeing what you showed up in everyday.
That was the element that was the most surprising to me. You don't think about the effect you’re going to have on other people. In the same way art inspires people, I feel fashion can really inspire people. Even if I just make someone smile or make someone say, “Ooh, that outfit is amazing.”
Can you walk me through the process of picking a look for an event?
I feel like my stylists [Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald] and I are in the pocket right now, which feels really good. They just get me. I’m always sending them dresses I like and then I turn up to fittings and there are pieces we’ve talked about as well as things that have a similar energy that I wouldn't have even picked for myself. We really just have fun. There’s music playing. It's great when you have two people curating it all, you don't actually have to go look for it, it comes to you. It's absolutely amazing.
What kind of pieces do you normally find yourself gravitating towards?
I'm definitely not a wallflower. I usually go for things that exist in a bolder place. I think I have a very sensual energy and I love to feel that when I'm getting dressed up. If you look back at the things I've worn, it's all very bold. I like to color my hair. I like to wear things that make me feel powerful, and sexy, and tall. I love to be tall.
Is there any collection or designer you haven't tried yet that you're dying to wear?
You know what? I haven't worn Schiaparelli. Daniel [Roseberry], why aren’t you knocking on my door? I haven't had my Schiaparelli moment. My shut it down Schiaparelli moment. I'm waiting for that.
You've been dying your hair a lot of different colors. What inspired you to do that?
I did a big chop before Venice and then, throughout the festival, every day my hairstylist would cut the hair shorter and shorter so I had a different hairstyle, a different hair length every day. And then, on the final day, I completely shaved it all off and went blonde. So once I was blonde, I was like, “Now we have to do all the colors.”
What is the best fashion advice you ever received?
I don't remember a specific person giving me this advice, but I feel like the best fashion advice is just be yourself. To a certain extent. “Be yourself” is not the advice I give my husband when he dresses. Laughs.
Do you dress your husband?
No I don't, but for some reason, he dresses way better when we're in cold weather. When we're somewhere cold, suddenly he's got all these looks and outfits and I'm like, “So when we're in L.A, you want to get photographed looking homeless, but now suddenly you have all these looks? Where do they come from?”
Who’s your style icon?
Oh my god, so many. Grace Jones, definitely. Bianca Jagger, Cher. I feel like I'm really inspired by fashion from awhile ago, as many people are. We're always nostalgic for the past that we were not a part of. I love old Hollywood style as well—very feminine silhouettes, but I also love super androgynous and masculine stuff. I'm all over the place. There's so many personalities in here.
Do you have one prized possession in your closet, if you had to pick one thing?
Well, right now it’s this coat that I just got from Gucci. Do you want to see it? Pulls out a white and brown fur coat from Alessandro Michele’s fall 2020 collection. I'm obsessed. It's just so warm, babe. I'm like, “Okay, this is my coat for winter. You'll be seeing me in this until further notice.”