For Oyster #96, we caught up with Annabelle Dexter-Jones to talk about stealing clothes from her mum's wardrobe, having Mark Ronson as her older brother and what it's like to do a love scene in front of your boyfriend.
It would be hard to prove yourself in a family of world-famous DJs, designers and rock stars, but Annabelle Dexter-Jones isn’t the kind of person who blends in — I met her for tea one Friday afternoon, and she was wearing a vintage sailor-style dress with a purse shaped like a milk carton. We discussed her budding acting career, killer French accent, and the time she jumped out of an airplane.
Steff Yotka: Which of the Dexter-Jones/Ronsons has the best closet to raid?
Annabelle Dexter-Jones: I actually just raided my mom’s closet, so I know she does for a fact. I had to get a new garment rack just to fit all the dresses I got.
Any special pieces you got from your mom’s closet?
Some beautiful Alaïa dresses and patterned jackets, a few Chloé dresses, and this insane Versace silver, metallic leather mini-dress.
If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Polka dots or stripes?
I think a girl should never have to choose between polka dots or stripes!
Would you say that you are high or low maintenance when it comes to your beauty routine?
Low maintenance, definitely.
Any beauty tips you can share?
Moisturise. I put on a lot of moisturiser every morning, and every night before I go to bed. As far as make-up goes, maybe some red lipstick, or mascara. I try to keep it simple.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
When I’m in love.
And you’re in love?
I noticed that your boyfriend, artist André Saraiva, had graffitied your name around LA. How does it feel to see your name across buildings?
I love seeing my name in huge letters! Who doesn’t? I remember when he showed it to me — we were driving on Melrose, and I was getting pissed off because I thought we were completely lost. Finally, André pointed up, and there was my name. I was shocked. It was really sweet.
Bobbi Brown Ultimate Party Collection lip and eye palette and Bobbi's Party Eau de Parfume, Sonia Rykiel top from Net-A-Porter
You collaborate a lot with your boyfriend. Is it easy to work together?
I feel very comfortable with him, obviously, but there are difficult aspects. In the film André directed The Shoe I had a love scene with another actor. Everyone says love scenes are inevitably awkward… especially when your boyfriend is watching!
Did André say anything after the love scene?
We didn’t talk about it. He took me on a really nice date that night to Brasserie Lipp, so I think it was fine. [Laughs]
What is it about acting that appeals to you?
I’m the youngest of many children, so I think I like to have the attention on me sometimes. I started acting really young, too — I studied the Stella Adler technique and at the Strasberg School [of theatre and film], and I did my first film when I was 17. Literally, someone came up to me in the street and was like, “You should be in my movie.”
If you could play any role, what would it be?
I would’ve loved to have been in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.
Jean-Luc Godard or Woody Allen?
Can I say both? I’d like a dual citizenship on this one.
Brigitte Bardot or Anna Karina?
I hear you’re taking a French course. How’s it going?
It’s great. When my brother Mark [Ronson] started dating Joséphine [de La Baume], he got Rosetta Stone [at-home language course] and learned to speak French quite well, so I decided to do it too. I said that Mark and I should do their ad campaign: “Rosetta Stone saved my relationship!” [Laughs] But I have some previous experience speaking French — when I was 17 I lived in France for three months working at Chanel, for Karl Lagerfeld, which was terrifying.
Exactly how terrifying?
Well, on my first day I was reading a book, waiting for Karl to arrive, and I felt this tap on my shoulder. It was Karl Lagerfeld, standing over me. I turned around to introduce myself, but I was stuck in this really awkward half-up, half-down position. Later I heard that I offended him by not stepping around my chair to say hello — I was just mortified! I’ve seen him since, but I haven’t reminded him who I am… I hope he doesn’t read this interview!
Now that you’re a pro at speaking French, what’s your favourite French phrase?
I love the phrase parfait aux café. It’s from an old French film, but no one else seems to know it. It’s literally a dessert, but my boyfriend and I use it to mean something is perfect.
Where’s the last place you travelled to?
I was in France for four weeks, travelling around the south, and then I went to my brother Mark’s wedding in Aix [Aix-en-Provence]. It was like Coachella, but black tie.
Bobbi Brown Party Shimmer Brick and Dual Ended Eyeliner in Jet/Chrome, Lover top, Patricia Underwood hat
Where’s the next place you’d like to go?
Venice. This movie I love called Don’t Look Now takes place there, and I’ve never been.
The theme of this issue is ‘The Radical’. What’s the most radical thing you’ve ever done?
Skydiving. Jumping out of a plane is very counterintuitive. When you first jump out you’re free-falling, which is very violent, but once you pull your parachute, it’s really beautiful. You’re just floating.
Now that you’ve done skydiving, what’s the most radical thing you wish you could do?
I really want to do a trip around the world, but my schedule is kind of tight right now. It’s really hard to take time off in the middle of everything.
Words: Steff Yotka
Model: Annabelle Dexter-Jones @ The Collaborative Agency
Fashion: Stevie Dance
Make-Up: Sam Addington
Hair: Shin Arima using Redken
Fashion Assistants: Chrissy Jordan, Sasha Kelly and Steff Yotka