MARÍA VALVERDE IN LONDON, OCTOBER 2014. COAT: TOMMY HILFIGER COLLECTION. ALL JEWELRY: RACHEL ENTWISTLE. STYLING: KAREN CLARKSON.
“Back in my country, I can’t walk the streets. So for me, this is a holiday,” says actress María Valverde of taking up temporary residence in West London this past summer, after an impressive decade-plus film career in her native Spain. “I don’t know many Spanish people in the city, so a few months living with a British friend is helping me practice my English.” The 27-year-old, who bagged the prestigious Goya Award for best new actress at age 15, actually had a jump on her language lessons. She used a dialect coach to train for her role in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Biblical epic, Exodus: Gods and Kings. Reimagining the Old Testament story of the conflict between brothers Moses and Ramses, the film sees Valverde shine as Zipporah, the beguiling wife of Moses (played by Christian Bale). “Whenever I would struggle with my lines, he would graciously correct me,” she says. “And then he was always on hand to crack jokes. I felt like I was a tourist on set: from Ridley being at all my fittings to seeing my favorite actor [Bale] come into character. It’s those amazing things you tell your grandchildren.”
It turns out that Scott wasn’t the first English-speaking director to spot Valverde’s talent: His daughter, Jordan Scott, cast her alongside Eva Green and Juno Temple in the 2009 underground hit Cracks. “Ridley knew about my work because he produced the film, but we hadn’t met. When we did, I still looked so young that I thought I would never get the part!”
Her budding career in Hollywood doesn’t mean she’s letting go of her independent roots. Fresh from appearing in the Simón Bolívar biopic The Liberator, Venezuela’s contender for the Oscars, the actress is taking on an experimental role in Bollywood director Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s American screen debut, Broken Horses, out this spring. “I am a nomad at heart,” says Valverde of her full schedule. “I can’t sit still.”
COSMETICS: NARS, INCLUDING LIGHT OPTIMIZING PRIMER BROAD SPECTRUM SPF 15, SHEER GLOW FOUNDATION IN GOBI, HIGHLIGHTING BLUSH IN ALBATROSS, SOFT TOUCH SHADOW PENCIL IN AIGLE NOIR, CREAM EYESHADOW IN MYKONOS, HARDWIRED LIPSTICK IN DEADLY CATCH AND LIP LACQUER IN GALACTICA; CHANEL, INCLUDING LE VERNIS IN BEIGE AND BODY EXCELLENCE NOURISHING AND REJUVENATING HAND CREAM. HAIR: CHI WONG/JULIAN WATSON AGENCY. MAKEUP: NIAMH QUINN/LGA MANAGEMENT. MANICURE: AMI STREETS/LMC WORLDWIDE. SET DESIGN: THEO POLITOWICZ/THE MAGNET AGENCY.