After a go-go-go existence from ‘Downton Abbey’ to ‘Cinderella,’ Lily James was forced to hit pause amid the pandemic. For SHAPE’s October issue, the fast-rising star opens up about finding comfort during chaos, her renewed life mottoes and her intense new Netflix project titled ‘Rebecca’ with costar Armie Hammer.
On a Sylvia Plath poem that inspired her and costar Armie Hammer: “We read that poem so many times, and we found this twisted love story that came out of it. That helped us navigate our relationship in the film. Playing our roles became organic and took a life of its own.” “I find love so wonderful and torturous at times.… It’s just the meaning of life. I lost myself in the character in a way that I hadn’t before. It was even frightening, but I just had to breathe through it and slowly shed the role.”
On owning up to her vulnerabilities: “My instinct is often to pretend, to put on an act of giving off a positive message about confidence. But the truth is that I don’t always feel confident. I’m beginning to realize that ‘Fake it till you make it’ isn’t useful to me at this point in my life. Embracing and owning up to my vulnerability is more powerful. I feel more seen, and not like I’m pretending all the time. That is something I want to focus on maintaining moving forward.”
On being more truthful through activism: “Everything that’s come out of this time, the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, has been illuminating. So much has risen to the surface. I’m just trying to stay open and learn. It’s crucial to focus on what’s important, to grow, and to stay engaged. I admire people who are truthful. That’s so inspiring, and I don’t think I always have been. I’m going to endeavor to be more truthful. I want to do more activism as well. Right now, I use social media as a tool to spread awareness about causes that matter to me.”
On embracing the off days: “In general, I’m learning to be more forgiving toward myself. I can get stuck in a bit of a negative pattern, or I can be quite lazy and even sleep until midday and skip a workout. Normally, I would be hard on myself, but this time has been about trying to be flexible and kind to myself and, for the first time, embrace how I’m feeling.”
The October issue is available for sale on September 11th.
[Photo Credit: Jason Hetherington for Shape Magazine]