Five minutes with Allison Williams

The Girls are back in town

MOST POPULAR

In the flesh, Allison Williams looks every inch the preened Upper East Side princess her character Marnie aspires to be in the HBO sitcom Girls. Returning to our screens tonight on Sky Atlantic, we met her in the Soho Hotel to chat about season three of what’s been described as ‘the real Sex in the City’. She’s a beauty alright, but we discovered the most striking thing about Allison is her sharp wit and geekish love for English literature.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Welcome to London Allison, what’s on your agenda while you’re here?

I’ve been to London a few times so I’ve done all the touristy stuff, this time I’m just looking forward to exploring the city a bit more. I have such a fondness for London; I would love to live here in the future. All my friend say to me ‘It feels more real for you to live in London than in Brooklyn!’

You seem to love British designers too; you wore Alexander McQueen to the Golden Globes and to the Girls premier last week.

British designers have such incredible craftsmanship. I’ve always been an admirer of McQueen and walking into the studio to choose a dress for the Globes was literally a dream come true – I ended up borrowing two dresses as I was so overcome I couldn’t decide! Lee and Sarah are both such inspirational and cerebral designers, every detail is to delicately shaped; they even brushed the feathers before I put it on. There’s just this intimacy between British designers and their work.

MOST POPULAR

Was fashion always an interest of yours?

Fashion wasn’t initially something I knew would be part of my career but being exposed to amazing designers for special events opened my eyes to how fascinating the fashion industry is. I’ve got to know some very talented designers and it’s been a really illuminating experience. I’m going to the Dior couture show in Paris with my mum this season; I am insanely excited for it!

What are you wearing today?

I’m in Gucci loafers, J Brand jeans, a Vince jumper, Alexander McQueen scarf and the jewellery is all Jessica McCormack.

Let’s talk Marnie, a lot has changed for her since season one, what can we expect for her in the third sries?

Marine took great pride in being a very pulled together person. She had a great job, she lived with her best friend and paid her rent on time, she had a boyfriend who was dependable. Now, she’s a total mess, she’s been dumped without explanation, she’s sleeping on her mums couch, she’s working in a coffee shop which is like rock bottom in her eyes. I think fans of the show really feel for her and want her to figure it all out and get back on track but there will be a few more bumps in the road for Marie. We’re a very true to life show so it’s not all going to magically get better for her, but I think it’s good for the audience to see a completely side to her.

In what ways are you and Marnie similar and different?

I was much more like her three years ago. We’re both relatively type A, thorough, responsible and organized. She’s a lot more uptight, defensive and practical. She has a lot of trouble admitting when things go wrong which I am quite capable of doing, particularly to my girlfriends it all just comes tumbling out every time I see them. We’ve got different approaches to friendship too. My friendships are really important to me whereas Marnie and Hannah seem to see it as more of a duty.

You’re close friends with Katy Perry and Tina Fey, but outside of the celebrity world do you have a close group of core friends?

Yes, I grew up with a group of girls in Connecticut who are still my best friends. We’ve all gone to different universities and had been apart for a few years but we’ve always been a big support network for each other and now that we’re all grown up, most of us live in Manhattan, which is so much fun. I think they would all describes themselves as ‘Marnies’.

Are you similar to any of the other characters?

I’m like Hannah in the way that she’s always known she wants to be a writer and is so focused on it. I told my grandparents when I was four years old that I was going to be an actress and I’m so impassioned about my career. Shosh and I don’t have very much in common – I wish we did! And I aspire to be more free-spirited like Jessa.

You studied English at Yale, is writing an area you’d like to get into?

Working on Girls has been like a masterclass in script writing. I’ve had the pleasure of working with an incredibly talented group of writers and it’s definitely on my bucket list. I have fantasies about going back to grad school and studying more English literature, my main guys are the old English writers; T.S. Eliott, Shakespeare, Yeats, Dickins.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt so that I can read The Goldfinch. It’s been sitting on my shelf for years and I don’t want to read her second book until I’ve read her first. I’m also reading some very interesting scripts I’ve been sent – watch this space!

Your boyfriend Ricky Van Veen is man behind the hilarious College Humor. Is comedy an area you’d like to work in?

I love comedy; in college I did a lot of improv. Some of the show is actually improv. Usually, what ends up airing is scripted but there is some occasional off the cuff gags. I feel like my funny side is very nurtured on Girls but who know what opportunities might come my way down the line.

As well as being very funny, Girls does raise a lot of awareness around modern feminism. Would you identify as a feminist?

I am definitely a feminist and am very keen to support modern feminist campaigns. Fundamentally, modern feminism is elevating women so that we can finally bridge gender gaps and establish equality. I love how women cheerlead each other in a really positive way. Its ridiculous that we still don’t earn as much as men, and it’s crazy that we’re still categorized because of our gender in a way that doesn’t happen to men. With Girls, we’ve got the honour of breaking down stereotypes and we can empower women with our portrayals of young women who are ambitious, intelligent and funny. There is a lot of potential with a show like Girls to champion womanhood and support feminism.

Read our favourite Lena Dunham tweets

Watch the video of Allison singing that landed her an audition for the role of Marnie

Read our five minutes with Margot Robbie interview

More from ELLE UK: