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Interview with actress Amandla Stenberg, star of Hunger Games and jewelry ambassador for Chanel

Cinema

With a back catalogue that includes the thriller Colombiana, the blockbuster Hunger Games, and the video to Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, the 25-year-old actor is among Hollywood’s most promising young talents. Among her most notable roles to date is Starr Carter in the indie drama The Hate U Give, for which the Los Angeles native gave a gripping and politically engaged performance as a teenager caught up in police violence against the Black community

  • Amandla Stenberg wears a patent-leather jacket, CHANEL. Earrings, rings and cuff “Coco Crush”, CHANEL JOAILLERIE. Hair by Etienne Sekola.

  • Amandla Stenberg wears a leather coat, CHANEL. Earrings and necklace “Coco Crush”, CHANEL JOAILLERIE. Hair by Etienne Sekola.

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Interview with actress Amandla Stenberg, star of the new Star Wars serie

 

Sunny is perhaps the most obvious word that springs to mind when you meet the vivacious and constantly smiling Amandla Stenberg. At just 25, the Los Angeles native already has a long Hollywood career behind her. Born to an African-American mother and a Danish father, she landed her first big success in 2011, aged 13, with the Luc Besson-produced thriller Colombiana, before striking audiences with her thrilling and very physical performance as Rue in the 2012 Hunger Games production. Since then, she has continued in both film and television with a natural ease. “When I decided to start acting, I was about nine or ten,” she recalls. “I’d already been modelling for adverts, which isn’t exactly unusual when you grow up in LA. I also took classes in classical dance, tap, and gym.” Ten year-old Amandla instructed her agent to sign her up for acting auditions, and has never looked back.

 

Stenberg belongs to a generation of women for whom the idea of being objectified is absolutely inacceptable; self-representation is a conscious construction, planned with care. “I don’t particularly like putting forward an image of myself that’s too true to reality,” she confides. “I like to play other people – their feelings amuse and interest me. Fantasy, imagination, and all that – it’s thrilling. Being an actor is one of the few professions where, as an adult, you get to play! The older I get, the more I try to remain true to the child I was.” She’s had to fight to protect that child, since Hollywood considered her an adult long before she really was one. “I found fame at a young age. The most important thing for me was to continue at school. My parents and I knew that I needed some normality in my life – friends, the high-school prom, and so on. It was only after high school that I decided to pursue acting full time.

Amandla Stenberg en veste et jupe en cuir verni, collant et bottes, CHANEL.

From Beyoncé's Lemonade to The Hate You Give

 

It was then that Stenberg was cast in the video to Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade, and two years later obtained one of her most noteworthy roles to date in the independent coming-of-age movie The Hate U Give. Her heart-felt performance as a Black teenager who witnesses the police killing of a childhood friend set her right at the heart of contemporary social politics, a move that was obviously not accidental. Indeed Stenberg’s way of taking part in the American public debate around questions of gender, feminism, or racism has sometimes proved controversial, like the day she called out Kylie Jenner’s cornrows as cultural appropriation on Instagram, leading to an online clash that she perhaps hadn’t anticipated. “I’ve always expressed myself freely, but sometimes it comes back to bite you”, she laughs. “I was supposed to be working on my physics homework that day, and things didn’t go quite as planned. I remember my mother running up the stairs and shouting,Amandla, what on earth have you done?!”

 

Nonetheless, Stenberg had raised a legitimate point, even if today, with hindsight, she wonders about the role that social media might play in defending the standpoints and ideals she holds dear. “I’m not sure if social-media activism serves the cause in the long term,” she confesses. “Though the intentions are generally excellent with respect to giving a voice to those who were too long silenced, the movements that came before us, in the past, perhaps had more weight. Today, although we talk about absolutely everything, it only lasts a second. Certainly you might say that culture has become more inclusive, that inequalities and prejudice seem to be slowly retreating, and that things which were once considered normal and acceptable are now deemed to be inappropriate. It’s all positive. But, having said that, it seems to me that our collective relationship to the truth has become far more chaotic.” 

 

Amandla Stenberg wears a leather coat, CHANEL. Earrings and necklace “Coco Crush”, CHANEL JOAILLERIE. Hair by Étienne Sekola chez Marie-France Thavonekham Agency. Maquillage : Yacine Diallo chez Call My Agent. Assistant réalisation : Fernando Damasceno. Production : Aurea Productions.

The new Chanel jewelry egerie

 

Stenberg has just finished the London shoot of a forthcoming series in the Star Wars franchise, and has entered a new period of personal self confidence that her collaboration with Coco Crush, Chanel’s jewellery line, has helped her to define. “Chanel was the first brand that offered to dress me, when I was 13. My mother adores fashion and I had Chanel posters in my bedroom! I love the elegant simplicity of the Coco Crush collection, the rings in particular,” she explains. More over, Stenberg’s interest in jewellery is a recent development. “When I was younger, I was a tomboy, someone who was very gender fluid, but recently I’ve been wanting to explore my feminine side. It’s very new for me. It didn’t interest me in the least before – in fact I even rejected it a bit. Now I’d really like to express myself as both a woman and an adult.

Star Wars : The Acolyte (2024) | TEASER TRAILER

The eight-episode series Star Wars: The Acolyte is scheduled to be released on Disney+ in 2024.