ABOVE: MICKEY SUMNER IN NEW YORK, MARCH 2013. STYLING BY SARAH ELLISON.
Chatting over coffee at a West Village café, 29-year-old Mickey Sumner could easily pass for a young, English Cate Blanchett: She’s soft-spoken, with the subtlest accent, and possesses none of the manic “Look at me!” energy prevalent among so many young actresses with slews of films on the horizon. In fact, Sumner, who was born and raised in England, seems more interested in steering the conversation away from herself. “In the beginning, I was actually embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be an actor,” she says. “I was really shy when I was a child, very self-conscious about taking up space or being an attention seeker. I was the kind of kid who was really good at homework.” Sumner’s reticence is particularly interesting considering that her parents are Sting and Trudie Styler.
Nevertheless, she spent her early twenties studying art at Parsons School of Design in New York City before dipping her toe into acting by appearing in a handful of short student films. “I got a BFA in Fine Art, and then I told my family I was going to be an actress,” she recalls. “They were like, ‘What? Where is your fallback plan?’ ” Given her upcoming slate of projects, it looks as if she won’t need one. Having recently wrapped an Off-Broadway run of the play The Lying Lesson, in which she starred opposite Carol Kane, Sumner will soon appear as rock icon Patti Smith in Randall Miller’s punk period piece CBGB—an experience she describes as “amazing and terrifying”—and this month plays a romantically frustrated lawyer in the comedy Missed Connections (inspired by the infamous Craigslist section). But it’s her shining turn as Sophie, a postgrad New Yorker—and awkward best friend to Greta Gerwig’s title character—in Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha that is destined to secure her calling card. “It’s about platonic female friendships and that postcollege transition from being a girl to feeling like a grown woman,” says Sumner, who herself logged plenty of years finding her feet in NYC. “It’s basically about navigating those murky waters, which is something I can relate to.”
JACKET AND PANTS: VICTOR & ROLF. HAIR PRODUCTS: ORIBE, INCLUDING ROUGH LUXURY SOFT MOLDING PASTE. HAIR: BRENT LAWLER FOR ORIBE HAIR CARE/STREETERS. MAKEUP: KARAN FRANJOLA FOR CHANEL/MAREK AND ASSOCIATES. SPECIAL THANKS: DUNE STUDIOS.