“I’m always inspired by somebody who’s brave and courageous, comfortable in their skin and illuminates that with humour and generosity,” actress Sienna Miller tells Grazia Middle East. “I think you have to have a sense of self.” We meet the 37-year-old style icon in Manhattan on the set of her latest photo shoot for shoe supremo Jimmy Choo. Sienna, who sits effortlessly in a svelte gold dress teamed with a sharp swipe of crimson lipstick, could easily be describing herself. The British-American actress, who rose to fame in the early 2000s with lead female roles in Layer Cake, Alfie and Factory Girl, has always understood the power that remaining ambiguous and unassuming can hold. She’s spent much of her career navigating tabloid scrutiny with equal parts poise and aplomb. Try stalking her Instagram and you’ll find just one post from the actress in two years (donning nothing less than a ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ Dior T-shirt); similarly, she keeps her now-seven-year-old daughter completely away from the public eye – Sienna is no stranger to doing things on her terms.
Her eclectic allure has quietly influenced fashion for almost two decades and she embodies a rare quality of appearing as unpretentious when showcasing a laissez-faire boho-style dress as she does walking the red carpet in a heavily embellished Chanel gown. “A person that’s wearing something as simple as black jeans and a T-shirt can radiate glamour, and that comes with self-confidence and being calm and centred,” she asserts. For both down-days and magazine cover shoots her hair style rarely strays from a nonchalant, perfectly dishevelled wave, while eyebrows remain poised, nails nude and skin naturally luminous and fresh. Forget full-beat beauty, Sienna stands alongside the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Chloë Sevigny and Vanessa Paradis as unwavering advocates for down-to-earth style. “I was born in the Eighties, and obviously, the fashion was insane. We lived near the King’s Road in London, where all the punks used to hang out – it was inspiring,” recalls Sienna. “I did that thing which I think a lot of little girls do, which is dress up in my mother’s clothes and put make-up on, so I had an aesthetic that was all shades of wrong.” Which later became all shades of right.
“I don’t think I have a golden rule to dressing up… actually that’s not true – you definitely want to wear shoes that you can dance in,” she muses. Through the In My Choos, Jimmy Choo campaign, Sienna moves between the wearable kitten-heeled, white mesh Fetto 65, a functional satin bootie named Mica 100, and the bejewelled and majestic Shiloh 100. Each piece is pulled from the house’s Pre-Fall ’19 collection, inspired by the spirit of the ’90s. “The ’90s for me were just the chicest moment. Women in oversized blazers and very little make-up, I love that aesthetic. No-one really looked like they were trying too hard,” expresses Sienna, who as a teen would fawn over photos of Winona Ryder, Kate Moss and Kurt Cobain. “I get sad looking back and seeing these pre-social media days where people were wild and reckless, and nothing was contrived or overthought. There were these original moments in fashion. I was young, but I remember it.”
In My Choos is a storytelling franchise celebrating women who dare to stand out, and Sienna embodies this sentiment through both fashion and film. “I am not drawn to the ingénue wallflower lady. The characters I am drawn to run all shades of the gamut,” she explains. “They can be detestable and irresponsible or maternal, but strength is always the common thread.” That ideology is felt through stand-out roles including Sienna’s portrayal of socialite Edie Sedgwick in 2006’s Factory Girl, and on stage as Cabaret’s Sally Bowles – “It was the most liberating and creatively fulfilling thing I will ever do,” she says. The past two years have been busy for the actress, with lead roles in American Woman and 21 Bridges, due for release this summer. She has also played a pivotal role in women’s equality, speaking in 2018 at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, admitting she felt professionally “undervalued and undermined” and disrespected because of her gender. “We’re in a pivotal, interesting moment for gender,” she continues. “I think what probably defines the modern woman is that she doesn’t even have to refer to herself as a woman these days – we’re on the way to equal.”
“I feel much more grounded and settled in myself,” Sienna claims as she moves into her late 30s. “I love that feeling of wisdom that comes with age,” she adds. “I am absolutely not willing to tolerate things that I would have tolerated before, and everything about life seems to become more and more enriching the older that I get.” With dynamic roles, advocating for women’s rights, and unwaveringly sophisticated style choices under her belt, Sienna has become a worthy role model in pop culture and beyond.