Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Photoshoot + Interview of Dakota in "Allure" Magazine [February Issue]





For Johnson's ethereal pgoto shoot, the makeup wa inspires by the Beverly Hills mansion that served as the backdrop. "After seeing the floral-wallpapered rooms, the word 'painting' kept coming up," said makeup artist Emi Kaneko. "There was also a floral arranfement with the most beautiful colors. I decided to mimic those pink and peach tones with the makeup, especially for the lips." Kaneko painted on Gucci Sleek Contourind Lip Pencil in soft and peachy Rose Dragée and the topped it with Gucci Sensuous Deep-Matte Lipstick in Blossom (a rose-petal pink). "I wanted her lips to look super matte and romantic," said Kaneko, who offset them with dewy, fresh skin. "I used my favorite eye mask from Skyn Iceland, and Dakota asked her assistant to buy a bunch right after."

Hairstylist Tamara McNaughton took her cues from the set created by artist and photographer Petra Collins. "She made this otherworldly, over-the-top environment with Mad Hatter flowers and ferns," said McNaughton. So when she went for an equally romantic updo. First she layered Klorane Dry Shampoo over Wella Prodessionals Ocean Spritz to give Johnson's hair grip and texture. "I twisted the hair up and then pulled it apart," said McNaughton. The end result was meticulously disheveled - the perfect marriage of done and undone, sweet and elegant. Simply: a work of art. - Brennan Kilbane


The typical celebrity profile opnes with a writerly description of what the subject is wearing - her denin shirt that fits her like a warm hug, or how her shoes have been kicked off and her feet are "tucked beneath her legs." But I am at a loss for a writerly description of what the subject is wearing because I haven't met Dakota Johnson. And in fact, I never will. Due to the demands of being a celebrity an an ill-timed migraine, the 28-year-old and I are not meant to be. Thus, in lieu of an introduction to Johnson's appearance, I offer you a description of what I am wearing: a navy merino wool sweater (that fits me like a warm hug), camouflage cargo pants that I wear despire a stain south of the left knee, clunky sneakers my mom makes fun of (and I resent her for this). There's a lot to unpack with that relationship, and I may have plenty of time to do it because my deadline in looming and Dakota Johnson is not sitting across from me.

In the meantime, I start researching her with the intensity of a serial killer - only more thoroughly. She drives a Ford F-150 and also a Porsche Carrera. She wears a size 7 shoe. Her favorite color is orange (according to the internet). She is social media shy, which makes it extremely difficult to unearth trivia abour her. She is naked on camera with frequency. Back in the 80s. her mother was a secretary in Manhattan, and her dad was an undercover detective in Miami. Also, she wears a sice 7 shoe.

But deadlines are deadlines, and untimately I get a "Would you do a phone interview and write it up by Monday?" (It's Thursday.) The next day at 1:30 P.M, the caller ID lights up - and it's not unknown or private or Marmont, Chateau. It's Johnson, Dakota. I marvel ar her humility before scrambling to answer. "I got and iced coffee. The largest, and it tastes like water, and I'm fucking pissed," she says, laughing. Her laugh is like the sonic version of one of those seasonal affective disorder lamps - and the weeks I have spent waiting for her melt away in seconds. I have no idea what she's wearing yet have a journalistic duty to describe it, so I ask her to do that for me in as much detail as she can muster.

"I'm naked!" she laughs again and sends all of the serotonin in my doby rushing to my brain. "No, I'm wearing a hazmat suit, and underneath I have a flapper dress because that's what I wear when I work out. And cashmere socks, and a fedora, because who doesn't love a fedora? I also have a lot of makeup on." She erupts into chortles at that last bit.

She's in the car. Johnson is driving around Los Angeles, navigating its tangled roads with the confidence of somebody who has essentially grown up in Hollywood and the driving skill of somebody who has never been there and also cannot drive. During the course of our conversation, she misses her exit on the freeway (by five exits!) and winds up in Crenshaw, a neighborhood she describes to me as...not somewhere she lives. Later, she almost maims a blind pedestrian. "What do I do?" she yells at me, a person almost 3,000 miles away. I don't know what to say other than "Don't hit him!" she does not confirm his status, but it's safe to say from he casual demeanor during the rest of our call that she spared his life.

This is and observable fact: Johnson is very cool. She's cool by all the metrics: the Gucci campaign and the famous friends and the prestige films with the celebrated directors. She's also cool in the intangible, authentic way. This is perhaps most evident in her role as casual muse to so many. Gucci's creative wunderkind Alessandro Michele took Johnson to the Met Gala last year after selecting her to front the fragance campaign for Gucci Bloom alongside Hari Nef and Petra Collins. Luca Guadagnino, who emerged as one of the most aclaimed directors of 2017 for "Call my by your name", as Johnson in his dreamy 2015 moving painting, "A Bigger Splash", and the two have developed a close working relationship, with more projects down to the road."We talk almost every day," she says. "It's constantly creating and thinkinf of what we're going to do next, how we're going to evolve...what's the next thing we're going to try to accomplish?"

Guadagnino's films are packed with spectrum upon spectrum of human emotional experience, relying on raw, intimate, hollowed-gur performances from his actors to tell the story. "It's terryfying," Johnson explains. "But it's cathartic. And that makes my heart beat." In her terms, that's the role of the actor: to be vulnerable. To feel everything. To process it and empathize and transmit it back to an audience in the hope that somebody will go to a movie theater and feel that relationship. "Everyone has become so isolated because of social media...but sometimes that's the most important thing - just to know that someone is there that can talk to you and is a real person," she says. "I believe in human connection."

In addition to her film work, Johnson is developing a nonprofit called the Kindness Institute, a digital health network that links medical students and doctors (and physical and mental health volunteers from both Eastern and Western medicine) to people who are seeking answers for everything from sinus troubles to emotional ones. "An online hub," she tells me, "to help people understand their bodies and be kind to themselves and, in turn, be kind to other people. There's a support system, a conversation, a connection."

Like a lot of other (nonfamous) people I know, Johnson experienced this past year as one of deep personal crisis, but she sees reason for optimism. "It's been a year since the [2016 presidential] eletion, and a lot of artists that I admire have taken that year to hone their perspectives." She references Sarah Silverman, whose late-night talk show, I Love You, America, premiered late last year - a press release from Huly describes the show as "[relating] with people who may not agree with her personal opionions through honesty, humor, genuine interest in others." It seems like Johnson finds solace in her work. "I don't know how to explain it in a way that doesn't sound hokey, but when I'm on a project, I'm on it for a certain reason, and it's always some sort of weird marriage to something that's happening in my life, or the character has some connection to something that's going on [in my life]."

Thi is true of her work with Guadagnino, but also of her "big naked franchise", the success of which buoyed her into movie-star-ness three years ago. Fifty Shades Freed, the third and final installment of the book-to-film bondage epic Johnson has been the face and body of since 2015, premieres this month. She is decidedly not sad about the end of the trifecta. But she is extremely grateful for the experience, which she says helped mold her as an actress and as a human.

"Fundamentally, I'm open and warm. At my core, I'm a bleeding heart. But when your life is exposed and when the movie that exposes your life is exposing your emotions and your body, it can be very scary. Throughout this entire experience, I've learned that I can expose my heart and my emotions and I can still protect myself. I can still be vulnerable and strong. It's a constant ebb and flow and a battle and trying to fogure our how to have those things coexist within me. That's what I'm grateful for."

There is a humility and and authenticity about her that makes her seem like a civilian helplessly trapped inside the body of a famous person. Even when she reveals to me that her primary mode of transportation is a Prosche (I already knew this; it was a courtesy question), she does so with embarrassment. "I wish it was a joke." She gives the real description of what she's wearing, which I will include because I am a journalist: "My hair is really dirty, kind of greasy, and I'm wearing black old Wrangler jeans and a blue denim jacket. I didn't have time to wash my hair, so I'm kind of gross. But gross chic, you know?" Right. Any makeup? "All of my lips balms have a little color in them," she says, adding with irony, "because I'm a girl." She lets forth a titter that would make a baby rabbir implode. Her lip choice today is a By Terry plum-tinted lip balm that I imagine glints in the ligh when she grins, or catches her hair, or something. I can only speculate.

For all of her positive qualities, Johnson has one majot character flew: She is not a gossip, which is the most infuriating thing about speaking with her. At the end of the interview, I abandon any shred of professional dignity and just outright ask her for something juicy. "Come on!" I beg. "One thing." She racks her brain dutifully, but the full-time starlet and part-time muse and sometime Coldplay fan (who days earlier had flown to Argentina to see them perform and definitely not to see Chris Martin, whom she is rumored to be dating) could not come up with a single titillating thing. "I'm trying to think of something good and funny," she says, deadly serious. "I feel like when you listen back [to this conversation] there'll be some really ridiculous sound bites." Ridiculous, no. More like candid, irreverent, a little unexpected - and that's just her laugh.


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