Stella McCartney jacket; Lonely bra; Lee’s own jewelry. Beauty note: Keep hair in the pink with John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss for Cool Reds.

Photography by Mark Segal Styled by Sally Lyndley

In 2012, Abbey Lee Kershaw was the model of the moment, breathlessly covered by style blogs for her carefree bohemian libertinism. That year, though, she suffered a knee injury that limited her to just two runway shows. Around that same time, as if Hollywood was sensing the void in her career, the Aussie, who dropped her last name, got a call to audition for Mad Max: Fury Road, a big-budget reboot of the ’80s proto-steampunk sci-fi films, out this May. “I’d explored so many different creative outlets—painting, music—but something was always missing,” says Lee, 27. “I didn’t think it would be acting, but that soon became everything to me.”

In Mad Max, she plays the Dag, a moniker that comes from an endearing term in Australian slang, she explains, for someone who’s a little kooky. “The Dag has a sadistic sense of humor and is quite dark and mentally disturbed, and I identified with that. I mean, I’m a fucking Gemini!” (Lee cleverly auditioned for the part with a monologue from Monty Python’s famous “Dead Parrot” sketch and a scene from the dramatic 1976 film Network.) Next up is the fantasy epic Gods of Egypt, in which she plays a sword-swinging assassin. “I don’t think I’m very good at being normal. But I’d love to play a gypsy—I can get really grubby!”