The news resulted in the kinds of hysterical headlines normally reserved for stock market somersaults. Bryce Dallas Howard bought her own dress, a Jenny Packham stunner, to wear to the 2016 Golden Globes. And she wore a $240 off-the-rack Topshop number to the Critics’ Choice Awards the same year.
Sure, Howard works with a stylist when it makes sense. “If there’s time to prepare, if there’s a nomination and the designer is going to be able to build a dress. That’s not normally the circumstance. It was such a relief when I was finally like, ‘I want to feel relaxed, I want to be able to do this quickly, and I want to feel good about myself,’” she tells Yahoo Style.
She’s a size 6, which is beyond normal in the real-world. In Hollywood, which relies on sample sizes (translation: 0), not so much. It took the actress a minute — make that years — to learn to love herself and embrace her shape. She credits two of her close college friends with her fashion elan.
“I have a few girlfriends I look up to in terms of style. I went to college with Daphne Javitch and Katherine Waterston. Daphne and Katherine are really good friends. They were at various times in my young life — I was their project. They’re supportive girlfriends,” says Howard. “I had to accept that loungewear is not acceptable in all circumstances. It was more about having fun and figuring it out. When I was 20, all I wanted to do was look 38. Now, here I am, I’m almost 36 — yes, a blazer is going to always work! Daphne and Katherine would show me paintings of women with curves. Look how sensual this is. They would encourage that.”
She’s still “obsessed with loungewear and I want to make it work,” but has acclimated her style to the real world, which for her includes work meetings and press events. “I like to be covered up. I’m cold easily. I grew up in Greenwich, I went to college in downtown New York. There’s a little bit preppy [style], a little artsy, it’s grown into a body-conscious thing, which has been fun.”
Equally rewarding: Her streak of good work. The mom of two — daughter Beatrice is 5 and son Theodore is 9, with husband Seth Gabel — has earned accolades and a SAG nomination for her wide-eyed yet intensely steely role in Black Mirror, a futuristic horror story about how technology and social media can dictate friendships, jobs, even housing.
“Black Mirror, as a whole, is a cautionary tale. It gives a glimpse into possible future scenarios depending on our relationship to different technologies. With that one, it’s because social media has grown into something that it’s assumed that most people are on it. I joined two weeks before I got the treatment for this episode. We’re all just trying to figure this thing out. It touched upon this pervasive, deep anxiety we have at this point in time. It’s certainly why I related to it,” says Howard.
She’s on Twitter and Instagram, but doesn’t really know how to work either, she laughs. And like Zoe Saldana, she never shares photos of her kids’s faces. “I knew that that was something where I would not want to go. As cute as they are — I wanted them to be able to make choices down the road as to whether they participate on social media,” she says.
Over on the big screen, she’s playing Matthew McConaughey’s gaudy girlfriend in Gold. Having a streak of great jobs isn’t something Howard, daughter of director Ron, takes for granted.
“I’m working as an actor consistently again. That’s really fun. It’s not that I’m shocked when I get a job but it’s like, ‘Oh, I get to work again!’ There’s zero stability. And every kind of version of anything that could happen has happened. No one is exempt from the vulnerability that one feels in a freelance career,” says Howard, who next shoots the Jurassic World sequel with Chris Pratt in London and Hawaii.
In Gold, her character has her very unique sense of what works on her. And Howard, in her typically normal fashion, grabbed a few staples from set.
“I loved her wardrobe. I kept all the Spanx. They’re so expensive and you settle into a pair, and it becomes your pair,” says Howard.