My friend Laura Brown is one of the most interesting people I know in fashion. As a Harper’s Bazaar Executive Editor, she totally redefines the role of what it is to be an editor. Smart, hilarious, and incredibly creative, she’s also the best to connect people and make beautiful moments happen. She had been telling me so many great things about Rose Byrne, who I had been following since her role in the amazing show Damages where she was playing opposite Glenn Close – watching her career explode in the last few years.
They’ve been friends forever, for real. They met back in Sydney, even before they moved to America. I thought it would be a treat to have them both on Pardon My French!
On the best parts of production being the behind-the-scenes stuff…
Laura: The most recent project was when we shot Rihanna with a shark for the cover of Harper’s. We made this crappy old shark, blood coming out of it! They drove it down to the set and Rihanna was sitting in a bunch of garbage bags and that is what I love the most about the banality of it – a lot of shooting is banal. Sitting in a gown with Ugg boots. I could go through months of happiness through producing one image.
On clinging to Australians when you move away…
Rose: Leaving was very much about work because it’s small industry in Australia, much like Laura’s side too, and I wanted to work internationally. I ended up getting a television show that took me to New York when I was 26-27 but it’s funny how you gravitate towards other Australians.
Laura: Oh yeah, it’s such a relief!
Garance: What is it about them?
Laura: You have the cultural commonality but you also have the fact that you left and you are here so we tend to not just cling to each other but we really stick together because we can understand the references of our home life, our families, our home cities, and our businesses in fashion and entertainment and we have a few tight friends who are in both of those worlds. It’s like a shorthand I guess.
On the pressure of perfection in the entertainment industry…
Rose: Probably when I was younger I was more worried about that kind of stuff and I think as I’ve gotten older, I have become more relaxed in terms of that idea for perfection of your career or your physicality or whatever it might be, especially in this business. I think I have become more laid back about it and have become more stressed out about other things [laughs]. And I think in particular being in New York, I am out of the scene where as in LA, you touch down and I instantly feel insecure.
On how finding yourself leads to a sense of humor…
Garance: Have you always been funny?
Laura: I never thought that it would be so unusual in fashion that I had a sense of humor. I do empirical studies of a lot of people in the fashion industry who are funny but not publicly funny. Like Simon Doonan and Leandra/ManRepeller are publicly funny but there’s about 3 people. I just remember thinking like, things are funny. But I’ve also got a day job and I’ve got a serious job to a certain degree and I need to get things done. I also think there’s something to be said about the more secure you are in your life, the more grown up you are, the more mature you are, the more yourself you are!
On empowering women through creating more opportunities…
Garance: How did you decide to create a production company?
Rose: Most material I read, I would like to be the guy role. I have often asked, “can you change that to a woman?” And then some friends back in Australia, we all thought, we are stronger as a collective than separately so let’s bound together and let’s try to source material and we did a short 20 minute film that’s playing at the Sydney Film Festival in June, which we are really excited about, and then a few more productions that are under development. And it’s challenging. Trying to source money, negotiate with people and there is definitely a learning curve.
Garance: But it’s good because it kills the mystery of it, because then you learn how to do it!
On expressing yourself through different mediums…
Laura: I think if you are a curious person and you are a communicator and that is your profession, I am a journalist and you are a author/illustrator, that any medium that you can communicate through you should embrace (apart from Snapchat). If it’s open to you and you are good at it or at least a little enthused about it then, why not? I also think that I am doing improv as a 40 year old. I think if you realize you’re a lively person, it’s a fun thing to do!
On needing a break from the social media overload…
Rose: I need to have time off because your brain can get a bit fried!
Laura: I’ve got friends who were sitting a table and they were just scrolling through their phones. And I was just like “give me 10 minutes of human focus.”
Rose: An actress who will remain nameless was sitting next to me and she was on her phone looking at pictures of her on the red carpet that she just walked down!
Garance: It’s just going to become normal at some point.
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Rose Byrne may currently be seen on screen in The Meddler, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and X Men: Apocalypse.
Laura Brown wishes she was in bed.