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The Actress/Writer/Producer We're Totally Crushing On

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    Photographed by Brigitte Sire.

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    Since the first time we saw Breaking Upwards, we've had a love affair with Zoe Lister-Jones. Luckily for us, the girl keeps her nose to the grindstone, so we're never long without a fix. She's one of those ever-present players who's in big-ticket flicks like Salt and Lola Versus, as well as buzzy small-screen series like Whitney and Friends With Better Lives. And, in all her spare time (right), she's writing, producing, and starring in critically acclaimed indie films like Stuck Between Stations and next year's Consumed.

    Lister-Jones is as adventurous in her wardrobe choices as her career moves. Sure, we might see her in a shift dress with a pair of flats when she's between takes on set, but this New York-born L.A. transplant feels most herself in a high-low mix of designers like Prada, Celine, and Proenza Schouler sourced from Neiman Marcus and bargains snagged from Zara and H&M — a kindred shopping sister if we ever had one.

    When we got the chance to hang with ZLJ for an afternoon in L.A., we asked her about everything from how fashion inspires her to all the amazing nooks she's discovered in her adopted nabe, the 213. Ahead, get this gorgeous go-getter's take on mixing brights — and careers. You just might be inspired to try something new. Advertisement


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    We can't get over how gorgeous your house is. Although you grew up in New York and went to Tisch at NYU, do you consider L.A. home now?
    "I never thought I would say this as a native New Yorker, but I'm saying it. I moved about three years ago and found the most Manhattan-esque apartment I could. Then, in my second year here, I moved into this house — I was so excited about having a backyard for the first time in my life, I think I roasted marshmallows every day for the first week. L.A. definitely feels like home now."

    The outfit you're wearing — would you consider it more L.A. or New York?
    "Well, the shorts are totally L.A. When I saw these on the rack I thought 'Must put these on my body.' I wear a lot of red lipstick, so I'm drawn to the bold, rich coral of these L.A.M.B. shorts. I'm also a pattern fiend, so this floral blouse by The Kooples is right up my alley. But, the leather jacket (I love a good leather jacket) is totally New York."

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    Do you feel like living on a different coast requires a different type of wardrobe?
    "My style hasn't changed much — except, yeah, more shorts. In general, I like patterns, textures, and structure. I'm into pieces that feel chic, fresh, and understated while still making their own statement."

    As an actress, you're constantly using fashion to become someone else, whether on set or on the red carpet. Do you revel in that, or is it draining?
    "I LOVE dressing up. There are actresses who find it annoying to have their hair and makeup done and be styled: I live for it. My wardrobe is an expression of who I am. I wear things I feel connected to on a deeper level, depending on how I’m feeling at that moment or the way I want to present myself to the world." Advertisement

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    Speaking of how you present yourself, you've got quite a few titles: actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter. What do you identify with the most?
    "I guess I’m juggling a lot. I was apprehensive about going to acting school because I didn’t want to limit myself. There were so many other endeavors I was interested in pursuing. I identify more as an actress than a writer, but they’re pretty close in the running. Working both in front of and behind the camera puts things in perspective and allows me to harness the power of creating worlds for myself. I can create opportunities for myself that I might not have otherwise." Advertisement

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    Your parents are both artists. How much did that impact your choice to go into a creative field?
    "My parents have always been incredibly supportive of anything I wanted to do. But, their being artists actually made me more hesitant to pursue art myself. I saw the sacrifices, both creatively and emotionally, that that life entails. I knew it was a really rare thing to be able to make a living from art. My mom pushed me to go to acting school, and I was like, 'I should have a more stable career!'"

    What made you take the plunge?
    "Acting was always a deeply passionate pursuit of mine, but I was running away from it. When I started doing plays in high school, people responded to me in a different way, pushing me to pursue it. By the time I was applying to colleges, I knew I wanted one with a strong arts program, but I prioritized getting a well-rounded education. I always took challenging courses outside of my conservatory training because I wanted to be pushed academically." Advertisement

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    Seems like that well-rounded education paid off. You and your husband write and produce films together now. Did you get together on set?
    "Our first film together was Breaking Upwards, and that was a retelling of our real-life experiment with an open relationship. We actually broke up, then got back together, then made a movie about it."

    So, you got all the awkward work-together, play-together stuff out of the way early. Your next film, Consumed, is a bit different.
    "This film is a total departure for us because we’ve lived in the 20-something relationship/comedy realm forever. This is a drama — a thriller, actually. It takes place in the world of genetically modified food. It's definitely a passion project, and we’re really excited. We'll do the festival circuit next year and see if it gets picked up." Advertisement