Photography by Cameron Postforoosh
Styling by Yael Quint
AnnaSophia Robb is ready for new challenges. Though she has been acting since childhood, the talent spent much of the past few years furthering her education at NYU, and it’s led her back to her familiar profession with a fresh perspective. Classes on storytelling and Greek tragedy helped to lead Robb to venture into theatre an all-female production of Macbeth which debuts off-Broadway this May, and the creative connections she made in school have left her hopeful for meaningful projects to come. The actress has evolved a lot since her early roles in films like Because of Winn-Dixie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it seems she’s set on broadening her repertoire while inspiring other young women along the way.
But first up on Robb’s agenda is The Act, the true crime series that debuts on Hulu this Wednesday. The show tells the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) as a lifetime of falling victim to mom Dee Dee Blanchard’s (Patricia Arquette) Munchausen syndrome by proxy ultimately leads to no escape but murder. Robb plays Lacey, an idealist neighbor who turns up to the duo’s house in hopes of helping out. Her character’s kind yet unknowing perspective is sure to be something viewers will empathize with as the twisted story unfolds over the next several weeks.
Ahead of the premiere, L’Officiel USA caught up with Robb for a stunning photoshoot at The Pierre in New York City and a chat about all her upcoming endeavors. Read on to learn Robb’s thoughts about Shakespeare, behind the scenes adventures, and the best piece of advice she’s ever received.
Describe yourself in five words.
Hungry. Sassy. Curious. Neurotic. And hammy.
Tell me about your hobbies.
Recently, I started embroidery. I took a class in college that had to do with embroidery and I love it. Who knew it could be so meditative? I also love yoga, and mostly, I love to eat.
What is the last meal you had that changed your life?
I was in L.A. earlier this week, and my friends opened a restaurant called Atrium, and they have the most unique desserts. They're absolutely astounding and [what I got] was kind of like a pancetta, but with passion fruit and a peanut brittle and caramel. It was all these different textures, but it was so light. We had had a lot of food and having that for dessert, the textures were just refreshing. It was very exciting.
What's your favorite movie?
That's such a hard one. I don't know. If there was a movie to describe me, maybe it's Best in Show because I love dogs and I constantly talk to the camera and I'm slightly neurotic [laughs] and I love being around a lot of people.
When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?
I've been acting since I was young—since I was nine—but I just graduated from NYU last May so I guess it's been a year; time flies. And I think it was about my sophomore year in university where I thought this is really a career path that I want to continue on because I was studying storytelling, Greek mythology, and Greek tragedy, and I'm actually doing a play next. I'm doing Macbeth. I love Shakespeare. I did some intensives and I just really started to metabolize the power of storytelling and all the different avenues and creative aspects of producing and directing. That's something I want to be able to continue for the rest of my life. And it constantly changes. I'm always evolving and the stories we're telling are always evolving and the people I get to work with are so inspiring, so that's when I knew.
What is the best piece of advice you last received?
I just received some great advice. I'm so happy you asked. I had a friend and we were talking about getting older and she's one of my best friends but she's like almost 60. And she said [to ask myself] "Who are you jealous of?" and figure out why I’m jealous of them in terms of a career and that will help clarify a path to get there—not necessarily copy their career but more like what it is. It can help you to understand why you seek that out. Then it becomes less personal and it's not about comparison. It's reframing jealousy so you're not comparing, but it's more about why you respect that person. What about that thing that they did that touched you and lit a little fire inside. And I love that. Rather than thinking of a lack inside yourself, you are seeing something that you want and it's reflected inside of you. And I think that creates momentum.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would say continuing to do what I'm doing now. I think I've met so many wonderful people in school as well, and so hopefully I'll be making projects with my friends and producing films and directing. And, I mean, hopefully, I'll be having a family. Yeah, I'd love that.
Let’s talk about The Act. When did you first learn the story?
I was sent the script. I didn't know about the story, so I read the pilot and was flabbergasted. I was like, “This shit is crazy.” Then I auditioned, and afterward because I didn't have a whole lot of time I watched the documentary and the 20/20 special. My mind was blown, and I was so excited about the project. I started doing a bunch of research, and then it developed.
Tell us about your partners in crime on set.
Joey King and Patricia Arquette, and then Chloë Sevigny plays my mother. Which is crazy, because she looks so young. It's unfair.
Are there any fun stories from behind the scenes on set?
It was such a wonderful project. I loved all of the women. We had so many young directors and especially young female directors. So that was quite an opportunity, to be able to work with so many talented young women. Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre just had a film at Sundance, and she's just a wonderful human being. I was able to shadow her during filming, and I learned a lot from her and the crew and our DP. Also, Patricia is such a professional and so hilarious. We filmed on Halloween, and Patricia and her hair and makeup team all came wearing unicorn suits from Target. I was filming, and they came in and paraded around and no one knew who it was because they had full head masks on, so that was really fun. It was just part of the camaraderie and fellowship on set.
And I just heard the news that you're actually going to be in a play.
I’m doing an all-female version of Macbeth, off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theater. I'm really looking forward to it because I've been wanting to do theater for a long time, and I think this is gonna be a really special project. It's all girls which is so cool, and it's Macbeth, so it's bloody and violent and dark, and I play one of the witches [as well as] several other characters. I've never done [something like it] before. I'm a little scared, but I think it'll be fantastic. I love the language.
What was the last play you saw?
I saw The Waverly Gallery with Lucas Hedges. It was a great show, but I don't remember that one. I can tell you what I'm about to see, though.
I cannot wait to see Fleabag. I'm obsessed with the TV show, and I love Phoebe Waller-Bridge, so I can't wait to see her in the play.
What is your favorite Shakespeare play or piece of work?
I love Hamlet and I also love King Lear.
Tell me why.
I think it's one of his later plays and it's super long and it's epic. There are so many different characters and different seasons of life. It's a tragedy, but there's constantly new stuff coming out of it, and it's one of those plays that I know I read in high school and then in college and I'll also read it now. I think as I read it and hopefully watch it being performed as I get older, the meaning will change. That happens with great works of literature or great pieces of theater. So 30 years from now, I’m excited to see what I feel when I go and see it.
What is your favorite memory from a movie you’ve worked on? Or one of your favorites.
I remember one, way back when I had just turned 18. I was with Toni Collette and Steve Carell and Allison Janney, and we were filming a night scene on the beach, and our green rooms were in these beach houses and Allison invited me to hang out with the rest of them. It was so late, and they were all drinking and cracking jokes. I remember being 18 and sitting there and almost wanting to pee in my pants because they were just so funny. And Rob Corddry was also there, and they were just having the time of their lives, and it was so special I look back on myself now as such a wide-eyed little 18-year-old—it's such a fun memory. And they were so kind. They're just like a big family.
What are you most excited about next?
I'm really excited about Macbeth. That's where I'm putting all my focus and energy. We're about to start rehearsals. I [also am looking forward to] more theatre, more work. I think this is a really great season, and I'm so excited for all the diverse and female-led projects. I think we're starting to hear a different voice. It’s really exciting to be part of that generation coming out of school. Even though I've worked before when I was younger, to be entering [a new phase of my career] during a time when women are really given a lot of opportunities is such a blessing.
What advice would you give to women and girls who hope to do what you do and take on the industry?
First of all, listen to a lot of Beyoncé and feel empowered. I would say take time to figure out what it is you really want. Find an artist that really inspires you and people who inspire you, and take time to meditate and care for yourself and be a good friend. Also, spend time on good works of art. Read, watch good films, listen to podcasts. Just fill your mind with good things that build up your spirit.
Hair: Cristin Armstrong
Makeup: Katie Mellinger
Producers: Yael Quint, Abraham Martinez, Mathilde Ollivier
Stylist Assistant: Mina Erkli
Hair Assistant: Kate Beko
Special Thanks: Jill Fritzo PR Melissa Braverman and The Pierre NY