Odessa Young

By
Photography Craig Mcdean

Published June 5, 2017

SWIMSUIT (VINTAGE): SOUTHPAW. JEANS: GUCCI. RINGS: YOUNG’S OWN. STYLING: ALASTAIR MCKIMM. HAIR: DUFFY/STREETERS. MAKEUP: MARK CARRASQUILLO/STREETERS. MANICURE: YUKIE MIYAKAWA USING DIOR BEAUTY/KATE RYAN. SET DESIGN: PIERS HANMER. PRODUCER: CAROLINE STRIDFELDT/LOLA PRODUCTION. PRODUCTION MANAGER: TERESA BERGEY. RETOUCHING: GLOSS STUDIO NEW YORK. DIGITAL TECHNICIAN: NICHOLAS ONG. SPECIAL THANKS: RED HOOK LABS.

AGE: 19.

HOMETOWN: Sydney.

BASED: Los Angeles.

FIRST FILM: The heartbreaking, Ibsen-inspired drama The Daughter, which earned her an Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award at age 18 (she’s the youngest actress to ever receive the honor).

UP NEXT: Assassination Nation, an update of the Salem witch trials (sort of) for the social media set, with Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse; the Western-tinged thriller Sweet Virginia, with Christopher Abbott, Jon Bernthal, and Imogen Poots.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA SCARIES: I go through this thing, maybe once a month, where I get really freaked out and delete everything. I put everything on private and just sit there. I did that about four times yesterday, just flipped my Instagram off private, on private, off private, on private. I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t use it as an insight into my life. I don’t post things that I’m doing. Obviously the people in Assassination Nation with me, like Suki and Abra, they have quite large social media followings and presences, and every time they post, I get this influx of followers, and that’s what would freak me out. I’d be like, “Everything’s changing.” I’ve had the same Instagram for years and no one’s ever followed me. It’s a weird thing to realize that people are suddenly seeing what I put up there. People are responding to it and enjoying it, but it’s not real.

WORST AUDI­TION: I had to speak gibberish, because the character’s language—some sort of elfish thing—was to be written later, and I bombed. I just sat in front of the casting agents, going, “Eh, eh,” my mouth gaping like a fish. I left realizing that maybe there is a limit to what I can do.

A SELF-IMPOSED RULE: I never want to do boring work. And not boring for anyone else—I don’t care if people think my performances are boring—but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t have fun on set during a job, because that’s where my livelihood comes from.

HERSELF IN A FEW WORDS: I am a naturally blonde Piscean.

AN ON-SET LESSON: My only scenes in Sweet Virginia are with Jon Bernthal, so we got to know each other a lot. We come from very different backgrounds—he’s a trained actor, I’m untrained, we are quite different personalities—but for some reason, the way we worked together was the most connected to a performance I’ve ever felt. I learnt a lot from him. I feel like with trained actors, you can quite often tell that they’re trained; there’s something theatrical, there’s something refined about them. He has that skill and that background and that technicality without letting it overshadow his true performance and his style and his rawness. That’s always been something that I’ve unfairly repelled myself from, that trained thing, because A. I was too lazy to go to drama school and I wanted to make myself feel better about that, and B. I do think that people lose sight of humanity in drama school. Even though that’s what it’s for, people get caught up in the technique and become overly trained and overly analytical and don’t trust their instincts enough, and it’s all head as opposed to body. But seeing Jon work made me realize that you can keep your human integrity, you can keep that realism and naturalism in your performance, and just heighten it and use that technique in the best way possible—that whole less-is-more [approach]. He’s definitely a big part of my growth in the last year.

PRIMARY PET PEEVE: An adamant lack of curiosity.

ELDERLY AMBITIONS: I’ve got this morbid idea that I’ll turn 78 and just become a full-blown heroin addict, or do all of the things that my conscience has stopped me from doing, because at that point, everyone I love will prob­ably be dead. I’m assuming that I’m going to live to be about 85, so that’ll give me seven years to do my worst.

For more from our “Youth in Revolt” portfolio, click here.