MIA GOTH IN LONDON, JUNE 2015. STYLING: ANDERS SØLVSTEN THOMSEN. DRESS: MOLLY GODDARD. HAIR: TEIJI UTSUMI FOR D+V MANAGEMENT. MAKEUP: POLLY OSMOND FOR PREMIER HAIR AND MAKEUP. RETOUCHING: IMPACT DIGITAL.
Take one role in a racy Lars von Trier film (Nymphomaniac), one recently banned ad campaign (Miu Miu), and one frenzy-rousing long-term boyfriend (Shia LaBeouf), and you have what the media might call a risqué new face. But 22-year-old actress Mia Goth doesn’t bask in sensationalism. “A lot of people get pigeonholed because it makes it easier to understand them—or assume you understand them,” says the half-Brazilian, half-Canadian Brit over coffee in East London. “I think the way you break away from that is by constantly doing different jobs.”
In that spirit, Goth will appear this month in the drama Everest, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, and Josh Brolin. Based on a climbing expedition in 1996 that killed eight people, the sweeping adventure sees Goth play Meg, a 15-year-old who is transformed by her father’s attempt to survive a Mount Everest expedition. “What I found really great is being able to play such an arc,” says Goth. “Going from a relatively naive girl from a perfect American upbringing to a much more somber young woman. She grows through her father’s experience.” Filming most of her scenes with the laser-sharp Wright, Goth often had to remind herself she was on set and not an audience member. But the young actress came prepared, having written an exhaustive diary for her character. “I wrote about her school friends and crushes-I really entered the mind-set.”
Next year Goth will appear in The Ring director Gore Verbinski’s second horror film, A Cure for Wellness. In the meantime, she’s holding out for the kinds of nuanced characters she imagined playing the first day she stepped on a film set in Brazil, where her grandmother was an actress. “You have to be fierce as an actor,” Goth says. “It’s not the actor’s job to be interesting; that’s the script’s job. It’s our job to be truthful and brave.”
When not auditioning or fronting campaigns for Miuccia Prada (“Meeting Miuccia is like meeting the queen”), Goth loves gardening and reading at her home in Los Angeles, just over the hill from Hollywood. Before setting off, she quotes Oscar Wilde: “I read a quote of his recently that said, ‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’ I’m just looking for great masks.”