Alberta Ferretti dress. Beauty note: Red lips that border on berry come courtesy of BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Live It Up.

Click here to meet the rest of 2013’s New Guard.

When she was 19, Haley Bennett was, in the actress’s own words, “like a deer caught in the headlights.” Not long after arriving in Los Angeles from Akron, Ohio, she was discovered by Drew Barrymore, who cast her as a Britney Spears–esque pop vixen in the 2007 rom-com Music and Lyrics. Suddenly Bennett was being touted as a rising star. (Haley’s Comet, went one magazine headline.) » “I had no idea what I was doing,” Bennett recalls of her whirlwind welcome to Hollywood. “But I’m a lot more comfortable with myself now.”

At 25, Bennett is claiming her turf. In the past year and a half, she’s carried a film (Kristy, a thriller that the Weinstein Company is releasing this fall), starred in a pedigreed indie (the forthcoming Deep Powder), and tangled with Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender in a love triangle in Terrence Malick’s next opus.

Redheads Sissy Spacek and Jessica Chastain were propelled to superstardom via Malick’s films, and coincidentally or not, Bennett, a natural blonde, recently went ginger. “Everybody wanted me to go back to blonde, but I refused,” she says. “And now I feel like I kind of own it.”

Hair by Laini Reeves for Tracey Mattingly; makeup by Fara Homidi for Chanel Beaute at Frank Reps; special thanks to Siren Studios-Tower, Hollywood, CA; Digital Technician: Justin Ruhl; Photography Assistants: Seth Gudmunson, Justin Schaefers; Fashion Assistant: Nicole Deutsch