These young stars are taking over Hollywood.
On Tuesday, Elle magazine unveiled its new Rising Stars issue, featuring cover stars Rachel Zegler, Simone Ashley and Alison Oliver.
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Looking back on her experience of coming to fame with her role in “West Side Story”, Zegler opens up about having to answer questions about the sexual assault allegations against co-star Ansel Elgort.
In 2020, the actor was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2014, when he was 20 and she was reportedly 17. At the time, Elgort said he had a “brief, legal, and entirely consensual relationship” and denied the assault allegations.
“It was a real gut punch, honestly,” Zegler recalls. “I reverted back to this brain space I was in [back in] June of 2020, when the accusation surfaced.”
She continues, “Those days were some of the worst mental health days I’ve ever had. I was sitting there having just turned 19, on the precipice of what was promised to be the biggest moment in my life, and was being held accountable [by the public] for accusations that not only had nothing to do with me but were made about a situation that was said to have occurred [five] years prior to when I had met and worked with this person. With no thought to the fact that I was also 17 when I met this person, 17 when I worked with them, 17 and 18 when I had to do love scenes.”
Finally, Zegler adds, “In the grand scheme of things with this woman who has come forward with these allegations, I cannot imagine what she had to go through. If I’m sitting here thinking that those days were traumatizing for me, I don’t pretend to know. I could never know. I really don’t have anything to do with this conversation, and I’m looking forward to moving past it.”
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Ashley shares what it was like landing the coveted role of Kate in “Bridgerton” amid all the difficulties of the pandemic.
“When you get thrown into this industry, especially as a young woman, you’ve got to learn quickly how to take care of yourself – how to use your voice, how to set boundaries, how to speak up for yourself,” she says of the character. “Sometimes she has a bit of an imbalance of it. Sometimes she can be a bit too hard-core – not that I judge her.”
She also talks about shooting steamy scenes with her “Bridgerton” co-star Jonathan Bailey.
“We didn’t have body doubles. We knew what we were getting into, but the scenes were beautifully shot, and we tried to portray female pleasure, seeing it from that point of view, which was really interesting,” she says. “We encouraged each other to just take it all in, and [accept that] it’s never going to be the same ever again. Having anonymity, and then filming a show this big.”
Ashley adds of watching the first few episodes of the season, “God, it just really captures your imagination, and it is a fairy tale. As I watched the first dance with Jonny and me, I was just so emotional, I find it hard to admit.”
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Ahead of the premiere of her new series “Conversations with Friends”, based on the novel by Normal People author Sally Rooney, Oliver opens up about having the opportunity to play Francis on the show.
“I was in college at the time, and I’m not from Dublin, but there were similarities in terms of things about Frances’s life that I really resonated with,” she says. “She’s such a multifaceted character; she can be really, really awkward and embarrassed and nervous, and then she can be ballsy and brave and a bit reckless. I tried to have fun with all those elements of her, and I was just lucky that maybe they saw I was trying to do that.”