Sophie Kennedy Clark wears Peter Pilotto jacket and trousers. Beauty note: Outline eyes in pure black with Maybelline EyeStudio Master Drama Eye Liner in Midnight Master.

Sophie Kennedy Clark wears Peter Pilotto jacket and trousers. Beauty note: Outline eyes in pure black with Maybelline EyeStudio Master Drama Eye Liner in Midnight Master.

Styled: Felicia Garcia-Rivera
Photographer: Sarah Piantadosi

The 23-year-old actress Sophie Kennedy Clark showed a fiercely independent streak early on. Growing up in the country outside Aberdeen, Scotland (her mother is a musician, and her father works in a fish factory), she had such a tendency to wander that her mother sewed bells into her clothing to keep track of her. The strategy didn’t work for long: When she was 16, Kennedy Clark dropped out of her Enid Blyton–worthy boarding school and soon after moved to New York, where she enrolled in acting classes and shared an apartment with an artist she had met online. On her first audition, she landed the role of David Tennant’s daughter on the 2010 BBC miniseries Single Father. “I believe there’s a job in the fish factory for me,” Kennedy Clark says. “That’s enough to get me through every audition.”

It’s a safe bet she won’t be canning mackerel anytime soon. After scoring a role in Lars von Trier’s upcoming Nymphomaniac, she filmed Philomena, in which she and Dame Judi Dench both play versions of a mother in search of the child she gave up for adoption. She is also in stellar company in Eliza Graves, an adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, featuring Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine. The reflected star wattage could make any young actress’s head swell, but Kennedy Clark insists her Highlands clan won’t let that happen: “When I go home, it’s still like, ‘Well, the fire’s not going to make itself, is it?’ ”