Quirky, beautiful and talented, French actress ClÉmence Poésy is a chameleon that captivates us whether on screen in big budget films or posing for G-Star’s new fashion campaign. Shy by nature, Poésy opens up about how to be a famous face and balance both her public and private lives.
Words Tanja M. Laden Photography Anton Corbijn
rench movie star Clémence Poésy is a beautiful bundle of contradictions. And striking the right balance between being quirky, private, and a globetrotting famous face can get exhausting. So what does she do when the cameras aren’t snapping and rolling away? “I play the guitar very badly,” she laughs, her face breaking into a large smile. Her accent is a confident Euro-blend of French, British and American - perfect for an actress who must change constantly. “I eat good chocolate and clementines in front of American TV series - anything Aaron Sorkin ever wrote. And in London, there’s a wonderful thing called Everyman’s Cinema where you can watch a film and have a glass of wine.” She also likes to draw, though she doesn't exactly do it to unwind. “I mean, it's relaxing when you're not drawing anything precise,” she points out, her hands fidgeting as if she were holding a pencil, “Otherwise, you need to be quite focused. The only thing I know is that when I look at the things I draw, I look like what I draw. And they usually have proportions that are a little bit weird. I like playing with proportions. I like to tell a story, trying to put things together that remind me of something like photographs or a character in a book.” And starring in the wildly successful Harry Potter movies, Poésy knows about portraying offbeat characters. And as an actress, she plays with proportions, tackling many different roles from Joan of Arc to Eva Coupeau in the kitschy CW show Gossip Girl. This versatility and Poésy’s striking looks and petite frame quickly caught the eye of the fashion world, and now Poésy is the new face of G-Star in a campaign shot by legendary photographer and film director Anton Corbijn. Although used to fashion shoots, Poésy and Corbijn approached the images in a cinematic style. “He's photographing you as an actress, as opposed to shooting you as a model. So even if you're dressed up for a campaign shoot, he's still making a portrait,” she says of the experience. “He's so open to ideas, yet he can push you in a direction if he sees that there's an interesting picture there.” Some of those striking pictures for G-Star include a few in which Poésy comically balances a traffic cone on her head, which the Harry Potter star aptly likens to “a strange wizard hat.” Poésy tends to gravitate towards the weird and even absurd in life and art, “because otherwise it’s boring,” she reasons. “You miss the point of an encounter between two people.”
Make no mistake, though: being goofy on set isn't the same as being an open book in public. Poésy is a characteristically private person who is reticent to discuss her private life. So even though she's spontaneous in front of the camera, Poésy sees it as just part of her job. “It's just like being a clown,” she explains. “It's wearing even more of a mask than being deadly serious.” Being quirky is something Poésy easily embraces. “I've always been interested in quirky people,” she says with a grin, rubbing her hands in approval. “They're way more interesting than non-quirky people.” While doing publicity for Harry Potter, for instance, she related to the film's obsessed fans, the ones who may be going through tough times because they're odd or different. It's those kids, the ‘quirky’ ones, who end up being the most creative, Poésy believes, “because you have to. It allows you to escape,” she explains. Speaking of escaping, that's another thing Poésy does a lot, albeit as just another aspect of her career, and thus life. While away, she finds herself missing certain things about her home in Paris, specifically, the multigrain bread from her favorite bakery. What else? “My friends and my family, and good coffee. I mean…” She catches herself and switches gears. “I miss the light, and the colors of Paris,” she continues. “Every city has got its own colors, but Paris has a very special blue-grey that I love.” Yet while she finds herself longing for home, Poésy thinks it's good to miss your city. “You learn to love it so much more when you miss it, when you get a chance to get away.” The next year brings more movies (she is filming Mr. Morgan’s Last Love with Michael Caine) and a huge hurdle: getting her driver’s license. “None of my friends drive. We’re on holiday in the middle of nowhere and no one can drive. I’m learning to drive. This is my big thing this year. It’s way more difficult in France. If I don’t get my driving test in France, I’ll just go to America and get it in a week.” Having her driver’s license means Poésy will get to see friends and family more. “They cheer you up. They inspire you.” She says. “That's way better than chocolate and clementines.”
Clémence Poésy wears G-Star 98 | Vs.
VS Magazine, February, 2012