Feature: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Vogue

In her new Apple TV+ series Surface, which premieres on Friday, Gugu Mbatha-Raw portrays Sophie, a woman with amnesia who’s trying to piece her life back together. “She doesn’t know who she is, and that was quite a unique challenge as an actor,” Mbatha-Raw tells Vogue. “When you’re creating a character, you often start with a backstory and build their childhood and experiences. For me, it was really liberating, as I had to start from a much more intuitive and sensory place.”

For the new psychological thriller, Mbatha-Raw also serves as an executive producer for the very first time. She says she was drawn to being a part of the project after learning it was being produced by Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine. “Knowing their ethos and the type of projects that they put together—which are very female focused stories, and empowering women both in front and behind the camera—it was really a no brainer,” says Mbatha-Raw. “[Creator] Veronica West’s script was also just so brilliantly written and mysterious.”

To celebrate the new series last night, Mbatha-Raw, Witherspoon, and more attended the official premiere at New York City’s Morgan Library. “It was pretty special to see Surface on the big screen and with an audience,” says Mbatha-Raw. “Because of COVID, I had only ever seen the show on my own, so to be able to watch it with other people and the rest of the cast and crew was amazing.” The stylish star, who brings easy elegance to the red carpet, brought out a stellar fashion look for the occasion.

Working with stylist Leith Clark, hairstylist Nai’Vasha Grace, and makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, the star wore a draped Alexander McQueen gown in green poly faille, with a built-in cape detail. “The structure of the dress was so striking, and had real architecture to it,” says Mbatha-Raw. “There’s something about this dress that’s very feminine, but it also has an edge to it, which is something you always find with McQueen.” A Brit herself, she said the late designer is still one of her favorites, and this is her first time wearing the label on a red carpet. “I love that there’s a lot of fabric and pleating,” she says. “It’s very interesting—it’s not uniform.”

The star adds that she’s been going through a real green fashion phase lately (last week, for instance, she wore a fringed emerald green Dior dress). “Green is the color of the Heart Chakra,” says Mbatha-Raw. “I love what green represents: life and freshness.” Even her Cartier jewels last night—a High Jewelry bracelet and earrings made of platinum, diamonds, and peridots—were green. When it comes to red carpet dressing in general, Mbatha-Raw says she always looks for a sense of ease. “I like to feel confident and powerful,” she says. “I want to feel like I’m wearing something that I can have a great time in.” [More at Source]

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