This Sunday, Caitriona Balfe Would Like You to Ask Her About Something Other Than Her Dress
When Golden Globe nominee Caitriona Balfe steps onto the red carpet on Sunday night, she’ll have an advantage over the other actresses taking their gowns for a spin. Long before she nabbed the part of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser in the Starz series Outlander, Irish beauty Balfe was walking runways for the likes of Victoria’s Secret and Chanel. And her decade in the fashion trenches has influenced her red carpet choices, inspiring her to don nervy looks like the black Alexander McQueen frock she wore to last year’s Globes. (She’d stomped the McQueen catwalk, too, back when the man himself was still at the house’s helm. “When you’re modeling, you’re there to elaborate the clothes, you can’t forget, the clothes are the story. But as an actress, the clothes are there to elaborate you,” she says, “It’s been an interesting adjustment, learning to express ‘me.’ ”) Now, Balfe says, she’s also taking red carpet cues from her Globe-nominated Outlander role, and channeling the outspoken Claire in her approach. “It’s insane,” Balfe says, “that all we actresses seem to get asked about is what we’re wearing. Those interviews go out all over the world—and we’re in a moment now where, as citizens, we should be seizing that opportunity to speak up, speak our minds about the things we see happening around us. There’s plenty more to talk about than clothes.” Here, Balfe speaks up.
Did you always know you wanted to act, or was that something grew out of modeling?
I was actually in theater school in Dublin when I got scouted. I was in a supermarket, of all places—collecting money for charity. That led to some local work, and then that local work led to my getting signed by Ford, and going to Paris, which is when I started focusing on modeling full-time. Not, by the way, that I was an instant hit; it was the tail end of that Brazilian glamazon-era, and me being very white and very Irish, I didn’t quite fit. But then, all of a sudden, the thing became pale Belgian girls, which wasn’t me either, but close enough, I guess! That was when I started landing shows like Chanel and Vuitton and Givenchy.
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