Naomie Harris on Macron, Miss Moneypenny and La Mode
She’s one cinema’s most versatile actress – capable of playing everything from Winnie Mandela and a witch in Pirates of the Caribbean to James Bond’s Miss Moneypenny and a drug-addled mother in Moonlight, for which she got an Oscar nomination. Now Naomie Harris has a project in luxury – brand ambassador for Atelier Swarovski.
In Cannes this week, Fashion Network saw down with the actress to hear her views on jewelry; fashion; acting and her relief France elected Emmanuel Macron president.
“I am very happy that Marine Le Pen did not win. I think we all took a sigh of relief that didn’t happen. It is a positive signal about the direction that people want to go. I think it would have been a real step backward if Le Pen had won the election. And the fact that Monsieur Macron won by such a wide margin is incredibly exciting,” said Harris, showing off her emerald green Art Deco ring – part of the new Atelier Swarovski, composed of path-breaking laboratory diamonds.
“What I love about this brand is that they are incredibly ethical. It is a heart-centered brand for me, where people are at the fore of what the brand stands for. By that, I mean the way they treat and cherish their workforce. And they also take exceptional care in the way they produce their creative and gemstones and these creative diamonds. And ensure that they don’t harm the environment, which is really, really important,” said London-born Harris.
Swarovski is known for supporting young talent by supplying fledgling designers with their expensive crystals; teaching them techniques and sponsoring awards, like its prize for accessories in the Festival of Hyères last month.
“It makes complete sense. If you start with young designers then they are loyal to you throughout their career. It is also what Nadia’s great, great grandfather Daniel dreamed of when he founded the brand!” argued Harris.
“It is one thing to create things that are beautiful. It is another to do that in a way that is in harmony with the environment. Most brands often forget that. So, I think Nadia (Swarovski, the house’s creative director) is a huge, shining example of the brand. And a very strong powerful woman,” said the beautiful actress.
Powerful women is what Harris is all also about. In 2012, she rewrote film history by becoming the first black Miss Moneypenny, the first to get a first name – Eve – and the first to get out of her office and become a MI6 field agent.
“That’s incredibly important to me. As I grew up with really strong women, my mum raised me on her own. I was part of a community of very strong women. And I felt growing up there was this disparity between what I was living as my reality and what I saw on screen. And, so from the start of my career, it was incredibly important to me that I played strong, powerful women or empowering women. And that I offered a role model to other girls growing up,” insisted Harris, whose parents separated before she was born.
However it was her gritty performance in Moonlight that really put her on the map.
“Life is a very different experience now. I have always managed to keep a low profile. I never, ever wanted to be famous. That was never my aim. I remember working with a well-known actor when he was number one on the call sheet, number one being the guy who got all the attention. And I was number two, and he said, ‘One day you will be number one.’ And I said that’s not what I set out to do. I have always seen myself as a working actress,” says Harris.
Dressed in a cobalt blue blouse by Spanish designer Del Pozo, Harris revealed that her three favorite designers are all based in her hometown of London - Mary Katranzou, Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane. Though for her red carpet moment at Wednesday's opening film, Harris was resplendent in a sherbet hued gown by Stella Luna, with a glistening Atelier Swarovski necklace.
This spring, she is filming in Atlanta, Georgia, with The Rock – in an action movie called Rampage.
“Completely different from Moonlight! Like night and day. It was incredibly important for me to do that as I never, ever like to be typecast. And it is very easy after a role like Moonlight to get boxed in. But I wanted to be seen in a completely different light. That’s how you have a creative career and longevity in your career,” she
smiled in a soft north London accent.
“Now, I have to get back to work,” giggled Harris, as she exited a lunch by Swarovski at the Eden Roc on Cap d’Antibes. Bond Girl style – of course - in a high-powered speedboat, causing a huge wake in the Mediterranean blue.
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