I continue to not really get the Allure re-boot; I miss the way it used to just focus on the cover subject’s face. I’m sure they felt like they had to re-vamp it to boost sales, and goodness knows I sympathize, but this sort of feels like the cover of a late-season Sassy that someone wandered away from until it was too late to actually finish. The photo’s not great — she looks like a vampire with a low grade fever — and if it’s “the good issue,” you need to use the word “good” in more than two cover lines, or in none of them, because otherwise it just feels like you couldn’t think of related phraseology for the rest of the pieces you’re plugging. It just feels undone.
As far as the cover story goes, though, it’s good. Lily James comes across as likable and well-intentioned in the interview (not that I am surprised; she has a likable aura).
James has been a supporter of both Time’s Up and ERA 50:50, a campaign for equal representation and equal pay in the entertainment industry launched by a group of women in the U.K. The actress recently attended a meeting for ERA 50:50 and was horrified by the statistics presented. “It’s not just actresses moaning for more money,” she says. “It’s about the direct impact on our communities, and that extends to all things with diversity and women. It’s got to be fixed.” She frowns and says adamantly, “I’ve got to get more involved.”
That involvement may mean adopting an inclusion rider on future projects, which James has spoken to her agents about. “I don’t know if people will laugh at me if I say I need to have it, because I guess you have to have a certain amount of status to actually enforce those things,” she says. “But actually, I think whatever point you’re at it’s something you can say, and we’ve all got that power. It’s certainly stuff I’ve talked to my agents about. When I did Little Woods, it was a really split crew. I guess because women were producing it and there was a female director and they were aware, like, ‘Let’s keep this as evenly split as we can.’ And it was great. It made such a difference.”
I found it believable and honest that a 29 year-old actress might worry that people would laugh at her for asking for an inclusion rider — she is right that she’s probably not famous enough to be able to demand things and be certain of getting them. But it’s good that she’s talking about it and hopefully she is going to try. After all, we’ve all just got to do the best we can.
[Cover: Sharif Hamza]