Anne Hathaway on Tuning Out the Haters and Embracing Her True Self

Hollywood used to tell her she wasn’t sexy. She knew better: “I was like, ‘I’m a Scorpio. I know what I’m like on a Saturday night.’”
Anne Hathaway wearing Alaïa.
Anne Hathaway, photographed in January in New York City. Clothing by Alaïa; briefs by Kiki de Montparnasse; shoes by Mugler; gloves by Paula Rowan; bracelets by Bulgari High Jewelry. Throughout: tights by Falke.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

It’s a gray Manhattan morning, but Anne Hathaway and I are sitting in a restaurant so dazzlingly white, it looks like the afterlife scene in a movie. The Oscar winner is warm and considerate. I arrive 10 minutes early and she is already seated, in a white sweater and pale blue jeans, at a table she thought would be best for my recording purposes. The restaurant’s menu is strictly plant-based—we order green chickpea hummus, market beets, and honeynut squash—but Hathaway’s diet is not. Later she’ll deadpan, “I think everybody can agree I have the personality of a vegan.”

Anne Hathaway wearing Chanel
Anne Hathaway’s jacket, gloves, and belt by Chanel; bra and briefs by Atsuko Kudo; earrings by Bulgari; bracelets by Bulgari High Jewelry.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

Hathaway has been famous for more years than she hasn’t and is well acquainted with the internet’s noisy opinions. She’s undergone an existential overhaul in the last five or so years—a period that coincided with giving up alcohol, new motherhood, turning 40, and treating herself with more grace. “This is the first time I’ve known myself this well,” she’ll later explain. “I don’t live in what others think of me. I know my own mind and I am connected to my own feelings.” Also: “I’m way quicker to laugh now.”

Her newfound clarity is evident on screens and red carpets, where she’s debuted a kaleidoscope of vivid colors and edgy silhouettes that have earned her Gen Z approval. Donatella Versace called the formerly pristine star “dangerous, but sexy”—the ultimate compliment for a Scorpio—and chose her to front her Icons campaign. Hathaway accompanied the designer to last year’s Met Gala, where she was a best-dressed revelation in a tweed gown held together by pearls and safety pins, à la Elizabeth Hurley, hair teased to ’90s supermodel heights. This May, she stars in and produces Amazon’s adaptation of Robinne Lee’s sex-positive romance novel The Idea of You, in which she plays a 40-year-old divorcée who finds love with a 24-year-old Harry Styles–esque boy-band member (Nicholas Galitzine). Now 41, Hathaway tells me she’s proud to depict a fully realized woman experiencing her sexual bloom at the time of life when women are told they’ll become invisible.

The restaurant we’re in is not just vegan but “high-vibration,” meaning that the food is as close to its natural state as possible. For Hathaway, reaching her own high vibration is tricky with a recorder running. “The idea of anything you say being picked to define you is daunting,” she says. She’s not as serious as interviews make her seem, she tells me. But as we first start talking at least, she’s definitely careful—present and engaged but also pausing to mentally scan answers for web-flammable sound bites before sharing them. “You don’t want to say anything to provoke any kind of reaction, but you also don’t want to say something that could be misinterpreted,” she says as we begin. “I’m feeling a little goldfishy.”

“What do we do to get out of that?” I say.

“I have no idea,” Hathaway says. She grabs my hands across the table and says, “Let’s discover it together.”

A waiter arrives with the beets—an abstract painting of crushed purple and orange on a white plate. It’s the most gorgeously presented root vegetable either of us has ever seen. “That’s beautiful,” Hathaway says. “On the heels of being like, ‘No, I swear I’m not that earnest,’ I die over beets.”

Years ago, in one of their Key & Peele sketches about the hilariously manic hotel valets, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele confronted all the snark about the woman they reverently referred to as “the Hathaways.” After seeing a tabloid article mocking the actor, Key and Peele exploded with open-mouthed, hyperspeed, strangled-voice indignation. They cited her résumé, sang their own rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables, and asked an incisive rhetorical question: “Why would you be hatin’ on the Hathaways?! Confident woman in Hollywood whose sole character flaw is that she cares too much?”

She certainly owns who she is. “I’m an intense person,” Hathaway says at the restaurant. We’re talking about how, when she was a three-year-old in New Jersey, she saw her mother play Eva Peron onstage and knew, in every cell of her being, that she wanted to act. “She’d come and see me in things and concentrate with the most rapt attention you can imagine,” her mother told a reporter many years ago. Hathaway’s parents—her father is a labor lawyer—tried to dissuade her from acting professionally. As her mother put it, “My husband and I had seen perfectly nice children become little monsters.”

Anne Hathaway wearing Alexandre McQueen.
Dress by Alexander McQueen; boots by Gianvito Rossi; rings by Bulgari.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

But Hathaway is not easily talked out of things she believes in. She took drama classes, understudied future Tony winner Laura Benanti in a production of Jane Eyre at 14, and had the chutzpah to write to an agent with her headshot at 15. “You can tell from that story I don’t do things by half measure,” she tells me. “When I love something, I imagine myself doing it to the hilt.” There was a fleeting moment when Hathaway decided she wanted to be a nun. “But it turned out that you can love God without being a nun,” she says. (She later learned you can also love God without being a Catholic, leaving the Church because of its stance on homosexuality. As she once told British GQ, “Why should I support an organization that has a limited view of my beloved brother?”)

Hathaway’s mother gave up acting to raise the kids, so the dream Hathaway dreamed was just to support herself as an actor. If she was successful, maybe someone might know her name. “The last thing in the world you expect is that it’s going to go this way,” she says. For 20-plus years, she has roamed expertly among genres. If you look at just the titles of her best movies, it’s hard to imagine what they have in common until you realize that it’s her: The Princess Diaries, Brokeback Mountain,The Devil Wears Prada, Rachel Getting Married, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables, Interstellar,and (three greatly deserving indies) Colossal, Armageddon Time, and Eileen.

Hathaway goes all in on her characters. For her Oscar-winning turn in Les Misérables, she lost 25 pounds to play the desperate Fantine and suggested shaving her head after researching the time period and realizing it would be an authentic detail. She also requested more than 20 takes of “I Dreamed a Dream,” even though the director thought she’d nailed it on the fourth take. Hathaway tells me that sometimes while filming, she will be so in the zone that it’s like she leaves her body: “The truth is that you let go. You black out a little bit. You come up at the end and you’re like, ‘What just happened?’”

James Gray, who wrote and directed Armageddon Time, remembers Jonathan Demme raving about Hathaway after directing her in Rachel Getting Married 16 years ago. “He talked about how great, intense, and brilliantly committed she was,” he says. “He said, ‘This is someone you’re going to want to work with.’ ” Gray continues: “When you’re looking at actors, you’re looking for a level of commitment. It doesn’t mean they have all the answers. But it does mean that they will give themselves 100 percent to whatever they’re doing.” Gray cast Hathaway essentially to play his mother in the semi-autobiographical film and says she was so devoted that she tried to perfect his mom’s chicken cutlet recipe down to the way she dunked the poultry in the egg wash. “And by the way, Jeremy Strong and Tony Hopkins were the same way. They were willing to do anything for me. It makes me want to cry thinking about it now, because it’s very rare that you get that.”

Anne Hathaway wearing Mugler.
Corset by Mugler; briefs by Kiki de Montparnasse; shoes by Alaïa; gloves by Atsuko Kudo; necklace by Bulgari High Jewelry.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

Michael Showalter, who made The Idea of You, says Hathaway cared about everything from the interior design of her character’s house to what pens she used. “She’s fiery,” he says. “She has deeply held feelings about things that can feel intractable. I’m a Gemini. Things change constantly for me. Once we put an astrological sign to it, that opened up the floodgates for us to communicate in a different way. I’m not joking. And I’m not an astrology guy, but even I was like, ‘Oh, my God. Of course. I understand you now. It’s just that you’re a Scorpio.’ ”

Well, yes and, as the saying goes. At least one reason Hathaway prepares so thoroughly for her roles is surprising and nonastrological. “I’d rather not be unseated on the day [of filming] by my anxiety,” she says. “Part of the way I can tell myself that I am okay is by having such a complete level of preparation that if I get a critical voice in my head, you can quiet it down by saying that you did everything you could to prepare.” Early in her career, she says, “I had a horrible anxiety attack and I was by myself and didn’t know what was happening. I certainly couldn’t tell anybody, and it was compounded by thinking I was keeping set waiting. Now I feel much safer going to someone in charge, pulling them to the side, and explaining, ‘I’m going through this right now.’ Most people will sit there with you for the 10 minutes it takes for you to come back down.”

Hathaway has learned that there can be a personal cost to the deep dive. She just had an edifying experience filming David Lowery’s Mother Mary, an epic pop melodrama in which she plays a singer enmeshed with a fashion designer played by Michaela Coel. There was an intimacy coordinator on set, not just for sex scenes but for any scene in which the actors felt especially stressed or emotionally exposed. It was a godsend, she says, to have “someone there who is making sure—in a moment of vulnerability, when you’re showing something true and sacred to yourself—that you’re not going to be harmed.”

When Hathaway’s star was first on the rise, everyone had an opinion about how she should handle fame: “All the advice that you’re given is to protect yourself. ‘Everybody’s dangerous and everybody’s trying to get something from you.’… People were advising me that I armor myself and keep that distance, and that I have two selves.” The outward-facing Hathaway, they meant, and the private one. But figuring out one identity is daunting enough, let alone two. “I found that terribly confusing,” she tells me. “So I don’t do it that way. I’m not armored.” Which is a boon for acting, because your emotions are accessible. But when you’re criticized, it’s acutely painful.

Anne Hathaway wearing Gucci.
Dress by Gucci; bra by Kiki de Montparnasse; earrings by Bulgari.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

She doesn’t love to look back on the time when people mocked her for high crimes like, say, cohosting the Oscars as if it was an honor and mattered. (“When you do everything right and society hates you for it,” read a BuzzFeed story in 2015, “that’s Anne Hathaway Syndrome.”) In 2022, during a Women in Hollywood speech, Hathaway said that the vitriol toward her cut even deeper because it mirrored her own: “This was a language I had employed with myself since I was seven. And when your self-inflicted pain is suddenly somehow amplified back at you at, say, the full volume of the internet…. It’s a thing.” Says Gray, “We live in such a brutal, ironic, postmodern moment that everyone thinks if you’re sincere, you’re somehow full of shit.” Speaking about social media, he says, “It handles a certain kind of sincerity very poorly. It is much more attuned to a snarky viciousness, and it tends to demean a seriousness of intent and purpose.”

Hathaway tells me that period didn’t just mark a personal low. Even though she had won an Oscar, she says, “a lot of people wouldn’t give me roles because they were so concerned about how toxic my identity had become online. I had an angel in Christopher Nolan, who did not care about that and gave me one of the most beautiful roles I’ve had in one of the best films that I’ve been a part of.” She’s talking about when Nolan, who’d previously directed Hathaway as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, cast her in Interstellar as a scientist sent to space with Matthew McConaughey. “I don’t know if he knew that he was backing me at the time, but it had that effect,” Hathaway says. “And my career did not lose momentum the way it could have if he hadn’t backed me.”

“Humiliation is such a rough thing to go through,” she continues. “The key is to not let it close you down. You have to stay bold, and it can be hard because you’re like, ‘If I stay safe, if I hug the middle, if I don’t draw too much attention to myself, it won’t hurt.’ But if you want to do that, don’t be an actor. You’re a tightrope walker. You’re a daredevil. You’re asking people to invest their time and their money and their attention and their care into you. So you have to give them something worth all of those things. And if it’s not costing you anything, what are you really offering?”

Hathaway is friends with her two-time costar Jeremy Strong (Serenity, Armageddon Time), the similarly committed and unarmored Emmy-winning Succession actor. Strong asked to write me an email about Hathaway rather than talking on the phone, ostensibly because he was in the midst of Broadway rehearsals for Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People but also, I suspect, because he wanted to get his thoughts exactly right: “In an age of increasingly curated and performed selfhood I think Annie has an understanding that any step away from authenticity—any cultivation of an idealized persona or bulletproof image—will necessarily erode what a person has to offer as an artist. Annie is committed to the steeper path of Growth. She puts her heart and her backbone into Growing. As an artist, as a woman, as a mother, as a friend. Siri Hustvedt once wrote ‘only the unprotected self can experience joy.’ I would say the same is true for Life and for Art: you have to cast off your protective covering to really experience it in an embodied way. I think Annie is interested in Joy; in joyfully doing her work and joyfully, consciously, living out loud. She does not hide and she is not afraid. Which makes her a radiant person and a fearless actor.” In short, why would anyone be hatin’ on the Hathaways?

During one of our conversations, we talk about how scary it is to think about our children encountering the cruelty of the internet. I must look distraught, because Hathaway again takes my hands in hers and asks if I’m okay. I ask her what she’d tell a young person who finds themselves on the receiving end of cyber-hate, given her unintended doctorate on the subject. That night, when Hathaway has trouble sleeping, she emails her answer. What she’d say to them is Your hurt is real. “I want to hug them, make them tea and tell them to live as long and as well as they can,” she writes. “That there is an excellent chance that the longer they live, the smaller this moment will feel. That I wish them a life a million times more fascinating than this terrible moment.”

In 2019 Hathaway announced her second pregnancy on Instagram, and if you look back at the post, you can see some evidence of how she’s willing to make herself vulnerable. Along with a black-and-white photo of her baby bump, she wrote, “It’s not for a movie…. All kidding aside, for everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.”

Anne Hathaway wearing Prada.
Clothing by Prada; jewelry by Bulgari.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

I ask her about that moment. “Given the pain I felt while trying to get pregnant,” she says, “it would’ve felt disingenuous to post something all the way happy when I know the story is much more nuanced than that for everyone.” In 2015, Hathaway had suffered a miscarriage during a six-week run of the one-woman off-Broadway show Grounded. “The first time it didn’t work out for me. I was doing a play and I had to give birth onstage every night,” she says. When her friends came to visit her backstage after performances, she told them the truth: “It was too much to keep it in when I was onstage pretending everything was fine. I had to keep it real otherwise…. So when it did go well for me, having been on the other side of it—where you have to have the grace to be happy for someone—I wanted to let my sisters know, ‘You don’t have to always be graceful. I see you and I’ve been you.’ ” Her eyes well at the memory: “It’s really hard to want something so much and to wonder if you’re doing something wrong.”

Hathaway was shocked to learn that many of her friends had gone through similar experiences and found a study estimating that as many as 50 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage: “I thought, Where is this information? Why are we feeling so unnecessarily isolated? That’s where we take on damage. So I decided that I was going to talk about it. The thing that broke my heart, blew my mind, and gave me hope was that for three years after, almost daily, a woman came up to me in tears and I would just hold her, because she was carrying this [pain] around and suddenly it wasn’t all hers anymore.” When she wrote that Instagram post, she says, “it was more about what I wasn’t going to do. I wasn’t going to feel ashamed of something that seemed to me statistically to actually be quite normal.”

Hathaway says she’s become gentler in her time as a mother to Jonathan, eight, and Jack, four—her sons with her husband, producer Adam Shulman—and extends that softness to herself: “When I was younger, the way that I knew how to improve was by being hard on myself. There’s a ceiling to that path. I had to relearn what it means to have drive but to do it in a nurturing way. And that’s when you go, ‘Oh, if there’s a ceiling, I haven’t discovered it yet.’ ”

Her new mindset is possible in part because she stopped drinking. “I knew deep down it wasn’t for me,” she says. “And it just felt so extreme to have to say, ‘But none?’ But none. If you’re allergic to something or have an anaphylactic reaction to something, you don’t argue with it. So I stopped arguing with it.” She wants to make clear that she’s not saying this from a place of self-righteousness or judgment. “It’s a path everybody has to walk for themselves,” she says. “My personal experience with it is that everything is better. For me, it was wallowing fuel. And I don’t like to wallow. The thing that I have faith in is that everybody else is going to have one or two drinks, and by the time everybody gets to two drinks, you’ll feel like you’ve had two drinks—but without the hangover.”

All this is to say that Hathaway takes much better care of herself now than she did when she was 20. “I make a lot of my lifestyle choices in service of supporting mental health,” she says. “I stopped participating in things that I know to be draining or can cause spirals.” And it’s clearly not just about alcohol. “I actually don’t have a relationship with myself online.”

Anne Hathaway wearing Prada.
Clothing by Prada; jewelry by Bulgari.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

The next time I see Hathaway, it’s a sunny Monday morning, and she’s sweeping into the lobby of Condé Nast, the parent company of Vogue as well as Vanity Fair. The pop-cultural significance is not lost on her. Eighteen years earlier, her Devil Wears Prada character did the same on her way into her fateful job interview at “Runway” magazine. This time, the actor’s wearing a dandelion-colored trench coat and sunglasses. When we get to the elevator bank, she deadpans in her best Andy Sachs, “Hi, I’m new here.”

Thirty-four floors above, in a lounge surrounded by windows, we marvel at the view of the southern tip of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and, beyond that, New Jersey, where Hathaway grew up chasing soccer balls, watching Pretty Woman on repeat, and dreaming about acting.

As a kid, she noticed how different men’s and women’s roles were in movies. “Young men were encouraged to pursue their desires and young women were encouraged to be desired,” she wrote to me after our interviews. “One is active, the other is passive. I always identified more with being active, which made me a misfit at times.”

Hathaway was told she had no sex appeal when she started in Hollywood, which she never believed: “I was like, ‘I’m a Scorpio. I know what I’m like on a Saturday night,’ ” she tells me. (The irony is that other people’s opinions about her sex appeal could exempt her from roles but not the industry’s predatory climate.) But the cultural definition of what was sexy was narrower then: “The male gaze was very dominant and very pervasive and very juvenile.” Because of what was being reflected back at her from movie screens, she spent her 20s, like many women, more concerned about optics than emotional well-being. In an email, Donatella Versace says of Hathaway, “Her power and beauty really caught my attention…but what gives her real strength is her kindness and compassion.”

Hathaway now knows that the question How do I feel? is more important than the question How do I look? And it’s made her more comfortable onscreen. “I feel ready to be a sexual creature out loud,” she says. The Idea of You novel became a pandemic sensation because of its love scenes, yes, but also because of the escapist, about-time quality of its December-May love affair and what it says about an aging woman’s worth. Hathaway says she appreciated that her character, Solène, is a complete person before she meets her love interest. The film is different from the book in that Solène is less tony and more relatable, but the sex scenes are still very sexy. “It’s not like one healthy, consensual female orgasm (okay, multiple) is going to change the world,” Hathaway wrote to me, “but I’m really happy to be part of a story that takes pleasure in female pleasure.”

Just as she was informed that she wasn’t sexy when she was young, Hathaway was told her career would nosedive when she hit 35. She hasn’t forgotten that. Before Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie took on Barbie, Hathaway and a friend, Ocean’s Eight cowriter Olivia Milch, were attached, and it sounds like their script would have explored ageism-adjacent terrain. As Milch puts it: “the idea of a Barbie who feels like an outsider and doesn’t make as much sense in Barbie Land anymore.” (Milch echoes Hathaway’s own praise for Gerwig’s movie when she adds, “The version we were working on was wonderful and exciting, but I’m so glad that the version that exists is the one that is in the world.”)

Anne Hathaway wearing Louis Vuitton.
Corset by Louis Vuitton; veil by Piers Atkinson; gloves by Carolina Amato.Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

Hathaway doesn’t gloat when she remembers those old prognostications about a nosedive. She talks about how grateful she is that she can still help movies get made (“You never know how long that’s going to last”) and admits that, despite everyone’s best intentions, not everything works (“I have definitely cashed a few of my chips in recently”). But there’s no denying, for instance, that her turn in the thriller Eileen last year—she played a platinum-blond prison psychologist who captivates a young woman working there—was one of the most assured performances of her career. And there’s no shortage of upcoming projects, often unexpected narratives about women, to keep Hathaway’s lifework at a high altitude.

Next up, Hathaway and Jessica Chastain will star in the psychological thriller Mothers’ Instinct as women whose relationship fractures after the young son of Hathaway’s character dies in a freak accident. Hathaway signed onto the role as a new mother but, because of scheduling conflicts and the pandemic, the project didn’t start filming until her oldest son was close in age to her character’s son. “I couldn’t back out on a friend,” she says, meaning Chastain. But the experience was sufficiently harrowing that Hathaway found she couldn’t eat on set. “Even though I loved the people I was working with, I needed to get out of there when it was done and never look back.” After Mothers’ Instinct, Hathaway and Salma Hayek will produce and star in an action buddy comedy called Seesaw Monster, Netflix’s adaptation of the novel by the Japanese author Kotaro Isaka, who also wrote Bullet Train.

Hathaway will likely always get questions about a potential Devil Wears Prada sequel from fans hoping to manifest more Andy, Emily, and Miranda. At the end of every performance of the Broadway show Gutenberg! The Musical!, surprising celebrities appeared as producers and added a grace note to the plot. In January, Hathaway showed up with Anna Wintour, the inspiration, of course, for Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly. Onstage, Wintour introduced Hathaway as her assistant. To which Hathaway, mock dejected, responded, “Still?” Then, in late February, the actor reunited with Streep and Emily Blunt while presenting at the SAG Awards. But Hathaway will likely never do a Prada sequel because the media landscape is digital these days, and she prefers her movies to be true escapes from everyday details like texting. Looking at my recorder, she feels that itchy need to clarify: “I’m just realizing this as I talk to you,” she says. “I haven’t turned to my team and said, ‘Only send me movies that predate the personal computer revolution.’ ”

In January, Hathaway did have an honorary moment as a Condé Nast staffer when, during the first attempt at taking photographs for this article, she left the set in solidarity with the Condé union members taking part in a one-day work stoppage as they negotiated a new contract. Hathaway’s own guild, SAG-AFTRA, had just waged a 118-day strike, so her sympathies were clear. The shoot was rescheduled for the following day. In the meantime, she trended on social media, and Vulture ran the headline “Anne Hathaway, Formerly of Runway, Walks Off Photo Shoot in Support of Union.”

When Hathaway goes viral now, it’s generally for celebratory reasons. For instance, a handful of videos of her connecting with fans have captivated certain corners of the internet. In a video taken in Rome in 2022, Hathaway, wearing a sparkly pink Valentino skirt suit, addresses frenzied fans and photographers, telling them, “Calma, calma, amore.” In another, taken in London last year, the actor, wearing a red couture dress in the shape of a rose and thigh-high boots, soothes a crowd of fans and tells them how things are going to go: “Do not move please. I’ll come to you. We are not going to push. This is very calm.” There was no sound to the video, so a deaf content creator posted a TikTok lip reading that was liked more than 3.4 million times. “So much poise, class, and talent,” one commenter wrote. “She’s an assertive queen! Good boundaries and safety awareness are awesome.”

When I bring up that last encounter, it’s clear that Hathaway has no idea what I’m talking about; these are regular occurrences. But she remembers events by what she was wearing at the time, so I describe the thigh-high boots. “You’re going to have to give me more,” she says. “I wear those a lot.” (Pretty Woman is still her favorite movie.) “The thing is, we all have nervous systems,” she says when we’re on the same page, then pokes fun at herself: “I have a very intimate relationship with my nervous system.” She pauses. “People just want to be seen. And in that moment we can get on a wavelength together.”

Hathaway says Julie Andrews taught her what it meant to be a gracious star when she made time to sign autographs at the end of each day on The Princess Diaries. “She respected that they had a relationship to her work that spanned their entire lives and made it a beautiful experience for them,” she tells me. “I don’t know that I was always capable of that. So I’ve learned that I want to handle myself in a way that I’m going to be proud of at a later date.”

Anne Hathaway wearing

Bodysuit by Viktor & Rolf Couture.

Photograph by Norman Jean Roy; Styled by Deborah Afshani.

These days, Hathaway tells me, “what I feel more comfortable with is letting things happen.” Though she doesn’t say it, that sounds like a significant step forward for someone shadowed by anxiety and by critics, including herself, for so long. Last year, Hathaway was captured on camera dancing to “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle at a Valentino after-party during Paris Fashion Week. “I turned and I realized I was being recorded,” she says. When I scowl, she says, “But I didn’t do that.” Instead, she told herself, “I’m in a nightclub and I’m dancing and this is the world. Don’t stop, don’t perform. Stay where you are because you feel great. Despite…” She stops herself. “Despite nothing. Why wouldn’t anybody wearing Valentino at a nightclub in Paris dancing feel great?”

Her unapologetic happiness was viewed more than 20.7 million times on TikTok. “And by the way,” she tells me, “if I watched you, I would think you looked great, and I’d be really happy for you too.”

HAIR, ORLANDO PITA; MAKEUP, GUCCI WESTMAN; MANICURE, MERI KOHMOTO; TAILOR, OLGA DUDNIK; SET DESIGN, VIKI RUTSCH. PRODUCED ON LOCATION BY BOOM PRODUCTIONS. FOR DETAILS, GO TO VF.COM/CREDITS.

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