American Honey‘s Sasha Lane On Diversity In Hollywood, Protest Art & DJ Khaled

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Pictured: Sasha Lane hits the red carpet in Louis Vuitton.
It's nearly impossible to find a review of American Honey, Andrea Arnold's 2016 Cannes Jury Prize-winning drama, without coming across the term "breakout star." That's in reference to the stunning film debut of its lead actress, Sasha Lane, a Texas native who was quite literally plucked from a Spring Break sunbathing session and into a starring role. It's fitting, then, that 21-year-old Lane was named Breakthrough Actress at last night's Elle Style Awards, where Debbie Harry, Emma Watson, Thandie Newton, Riz Ahmed, singer Izzy Bizu, ballet dancer Eric Underwood, and the cream of the fashion crop descended upon Mayfair for an evening of celebration. Sporting a sleeveless black Louis Vuitton dress slashed at the sides, the American up-and-comer looked like the second coming of Lisa Bonet (sorry, Zoë), flashing tattoos at every turn. Here, the campaign star talks to Refinery29 UK about breaking through the cookie-cutter mould and embarking on new roles.
Congratulations on the award. Obviously American Honey has had such a huge response. Have you had a lot of pinch-yourself moments?
"Yeah. What I love the most is that so many people have been like, 'that brought back so much emotion, it's really inspired me', and to me that's the most important part of it, to have created something that's meant something to other people. And it's really overwhelming and it can be a lot, and it can be like, 'whoah'. But how special to get to inspire people and bring people close to something that means a lot to them." As someone who's not the typical blonde-haired, blue-eyed Hollywood prototype, do you still struggle with casting as you move on to new roles?
"I mean, it's Hollywood. There are definitely a lot of things that I think still need to be worked on. But also, if that's how you think and that's how you work, then I don't want to work with you anyways. I manoeuvre my way to find people who are about the same things I'm about, and to create things that are really special. It's also cool to break through something like being the face of Louis Vuitton. Not a lot of people would think that that would happen, and I think it's so amazing, and not just because of the clothing. Like, I can feel good in this being how I am, and other girls can see that and think, 'She's beautiful, and I am beautiful'. It doesn't matter how you look or that you have to be a certain image, a certain size, or talk a certain way." Going forward with new roles, what are the stories you want to tell? Are we going to see you in a Marvel film, or do you prefer to stick to indie dramas?
"Who knows? I just want to feel good when I'm making it, and then when I get done. So that could be anything. I'm not against making films just for fun, that I feel good in, because everyone needs a break and to have fun and enjoy a movie. But I also want to make things that make people think and make people realise things or feel good about themselves, or to bring back something that maybe they need to work on. Just a mix of those kinds of things. I just need to feel good about it." Music had a major influence on American Honey, and I know at Cannes you and the cast did a sort of rap singalong. Is music a big part of your life? What do you listen to?
"Oh my gosh, I love music. That is a big part of my life. I've been listening to a lot of DJ Khaled lately. I went to his show recently." You know he just released a new song with Beyoncé and Jay Z last night.
"Ugh, I've been on a plane so I wouldn't know. But I went to his concert and it was so good." Given our current political climate, there's been this idea that maybe this is our generation's version of the 1960s, and that there's an opportunity to resist via protest art. Is that something you think about? Not to presume that you didn't vote for Trump, of course.
"Hell no [laughs}. Our youth, I have so much hope in it. Everyone that I've met in the creative industry, even those aren't really in it but on the side, their minds are so [passionate] about change and resisting. The Women's March was incredible for the world. The things that we're creating, the things that we're talking about, I think we're going to push back. I think it's going to work out."

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