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WHAT WE’D LIKE TO SEE IN SEASON 3 MARNIE: Finally moves on from Charlie (who then dates a model because, amazing genes squared) and starts sleeping with a hot young actor she met at work. HANNAH: Adam steps up his boyfriend game and helps Hannah overcome her OCD. They buy a brownstone with her e-book sales, but can’t afford any furniture for it. JESSA: Opens a vintage clothing store, starts a career as a freelance fashion stylist and adopts a baby who becomes the best dressed character on the show. SHOSHANNA: Post-Ray, she ditches her Hannah Montana taste, gets a Mileystyle makeover and turns her apartment into the cool Nolita pad it should be.

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ince it first caught our attention in 2012, HBO’s Girls – a smart mix of comedy, drama and off-kilter romance – has managed to push the boundaries of what a successful TV show should depict. It tracks four friends whose attempts to cross from adolescence to adulthood don’t quite work out as expected. The show narrows in on the lives of young New Yorkers – but without the wealth of Gossip Girl and glossy fantasy of Sex And The City, Girls is grittier, and at times, uncomfortably familiar. Allison Williams’ character Marnie Michaels is uptight about money and obsessed with winning her ex Charlie back (Youtube “Girls, Stronger” and prepare to wince), but off-screen it’s a different story. She’s cool and clever, with none of the

In Girls, Marnie’s pursuit of perfection might make you cringe. But in real life…

diva attitude you might expect from someone who’s found sudden success. Her dad is one of the most recognisable men in America, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, but Allison didn’t score a free ride – she’s an English grad from Yale with four years’ experience performing in the college’s improv comedy troupe, Just Add Water. At our shoot in Midtown, New York, it’s obvious she’s into a bit of everything. She knows a lot about music; she counts Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel among her most played, but sings at the top of her lungs when Wrecking Ball pumps through the speakers. As she slips into a red bodycon dress, we hear all about her obsession with James Perse tees – an everyday staple far removed from her polished-preppy wardrobe on the show. Allison’s own red-carpet form is faultless – she does crazy-bright dresses like nobody’s business – but when I ask what always makes

ALLISON WILLIAMS is the girl you want to be best friends with. by LAURA COLLINS

cover photography: michael donovan. stylist: laura jones/starworks artists. hair: anthony campbell/the wall group. makeup: julie harris/ the wall group. still-life photography: pablo martin.

The cast (clockwise left): Adam, Marnie, Shoshanna, Ray, Hannah, Jessa.

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her feel better on bad days? “Sweatpants from college that are kind of old and ratty. I got them big, I think a men’s medium.” She pairs them with a cosy sweater she saved up to buy (with her staff discount) while working in the Ralph Lauren stock room years ago. When I phone her up to chat some more, she’s eating candy corn and watching Grey’s Anatomy like any other 24-year-old New Yorker. Like her alter ego, Allison is still trying to figure it all out. Although we doubt sensible Marnie would have this problem: “Most of my socks have holes. I don’t know why I can’t get my act together to buy some real, adult socks.” When she got the Girls gig, Allison says she saw many similarities between her and Marnie, but now “she and I are increasingly different as time goes on, so it’s very easy for me to look at her from an outsider’s perspective”. While we anxiously await the season three premiere on January 12, she shares a teaser of what we can expect from the four neurotic twentysomethings: “The first two seasons were about being reactive to things happening to them. This season, they’re all trying to be a little bit more proactive – which is just as hard to watch – and they fail just as frequently.” Off-screen, the one thing she’s got seriously together is that all-American beauty that draws comparisons to a young Brooke Shields in every article. While her job requires little ‘technical’ knowledge of beauty, she still spends her free

‘i don’t know why i can’t get my act together and buy real, adult socks.’

time playing makeup artist. “I have the whole kit and everything. It’s so fun, like drawing or doing art.” Since high school, she’s torn pictures out of magazines and scours fashion week shots to stick into her personal beauty lookbook. “I started pulling out things I liked and then when I started going to events I’d take out the lookbook, flip to a page and say, ‘What about that eye, or this lipstick colour?’” There’s no doubt this girl’s destined for big things – she’s bright, funny, selfdeprecating and serves it up with a side of girl-next-door charm and sweetness – even sending us a thank-you note after the shoot. We’re practically penpals.

SHOP THE COVER All-American beauty kicks off with the basics.

Cover look: TOP, Novis, novisnyc.com. EAR CUFF, A Peace Treaty, apeacetreaty. com. KNOT RING, Finn, finnjewelry.com/ find. RINGS AND BRACELETS, Jennifer Fisher, jenniferfisherjewelry.com.

Napoleon Perdis The Ultimate Contour Palette, $60, napoleonperdis.com.

Napoleon Perdis Eyebrow Pencil in Chocoholic, $28, napoleon perdis.com. Napoleon Perdis Color Disc in Bittersweet Chocolate, $29, napoleonperdis.com.

TOP and SKIRT, Carven, carven.com. BOOTS, Bess, bess-nyc.com. SOCKS, New Look, newlook.com. RINGS (see opposite).

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot BBB Cream SPF 30, $55, napoleonperdis.com.

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