Gabriella Wilde

Gabriella Wilde

Gabriella Wilde

Once A Tabloid Target On Account Of Her Blue-Chip Background, An English Rose Makes Her Crossover Debut In This Fall's Carrie Remake

Once A Tabloid Target On Account Of Her Blue-Chip Background, An English Rose Makes Her Crossover Debut In This Fall's Carrie Remake


Styling: Sabina Schreder

Text: Natalie Evans-Harding

When we meet in London, Wilde is casually recounting  quite telling stories, like when family friend and legendary fashion editor Isabella Blow dressed her, at age 14, in multicolor couture gowns for fashion shoots, or when she met Naomi Campbell at a dinner party and the supermodel promptly sneaked her off to the bathroom to shoot her first model Polaroids. A sign of things to come, those snapshots led to Wilde signing with Campbell’s agency.

“I actually really love British and European cinema, but you have to go where the work is, and for me it’s in America,” Wilde says. “The film industry there couldn’t be less interested in my past.”

She is referring, of course, to her privileged upbringing and the tendency of the British press to harshly judge her family and good fortune. Recently though, Wilde has launched a career that is all her own. She is known in the U.K. as the face of Burberry, but thanks to her debut role in 2011’s The Three Musketeers, she is now one to watch on the silver screen. This year she will play a homeless drug addict, in the independent film Squatters, as well as popular high schooler Sue Snell in this fall’s Kimberly Peirce remake of Stephen King’s horror classic Carrie, costarring Julianne Moore and Chloë Moretz.

“It’s been brilliant,” she says of her recent projects. “I do find something interesting about dark characters. I mean, a trailer-trash homeless girl couldn’t really be further from who I am. It can be difficult to get cast as something that is off-center from you, and my biggest fear is to be typecast.”

As a young model Wilde scored bookings for Vogue and Abercrombie & Fitch campaigns, and then quit her formal education, at age 17, to focus on her profession. “I went into it full-time, but only lasted three months. It wasn’t for me,” she says. “I was earning money, but I didn’t feel any sense of achievement when I was booking jobs. I almost dreaded getting work.” So she sent herself back to school with renewed focus on her childhood ambition of being an artist. But soon she was asked to read for a bit part, and the rest, as they say, is history. “I have sisters who act, and I’d always seen it as their thing. I was never in the school plays like them—I wanted to be a painter. When I agreed to the audition, I didn’t tell anyone. It sounds bizarre, but I felt liberated after I really loved it, like I’d finally found something I enjoyed.”

All too aware of preconceptions about any model turned actor, she adopted the snappier moniker Gabriella Wilde. “No one could say it right,” she says of her lengthy name. “It’s a mouthful, and it felt appropriate to leave it behind. I wanted to distance myself from modeling and some of the gossip press that existed around me and my family. It was easier for me to establish myself under a different identity, and I want to be doing it on my own.”

With her career and name change, and a move to the States, this young actor has laid the foundations for realizing big ambitions. “For me, acting is a long-term thing. I’m not in a hurry to make it,” she says. “I have no desire to explode onto the film industry. I still want to be acting when I’m 60.”

Credits: Makeup Lisa Houghton (Tim Howard Management)  Hair Holli (Total)  Manicure Honey (Exposure NY)  Light design Chris Bisagni  Digital technician Benedict Brink Light assistant John Ciamillo  Photo assistant Emily Hope  Stylist assistant Natasha Devereux  Location Fast Ashleys Brooklyn  Catering Monterone


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