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Dree Hemingway: Why I Refused To Wear Makeup After Hurricane Sandy

Tue, November 6, 2012 4:15pm EDT by Add first Comment

The ‘Starlet’ star and granddaughter of literary icon Ernest Hemingway showed up to the premiere of her brilliant new film in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, dressed down, but with her career looking up.

Model-tunred-actess Dree Hemingway, 24, has lent her all-American looks to nearly every top fashion house on Madison Avenue. But the New York it-girl is more than just a pretty face, as learned at the premiere of her fantastic new indie drama Starlet, hosted by the Cinema Society & Sandro.

Dree, though, hasn’t let being born beautiful, a Hemingway, and her rising star go to her head. Only days after Hurricane Sandy, still without power in her Manhattan apartment, the actress showed up to her Nov 2 premiere casual chic, in a denim jacket, cords and without a stitch of makeup – none!

“I always say it’s better to be under-dressed than over-dressed,” joked the star. “And I think because of the hurricane and what’s going on, it’s kind of a time to just be comfortable, and considering that it’s my movie premiere … I dunno. I ended up wearing a head torch and going through my closet.”

Starlet is the story of an unlikely and touching friendship that blooms between a budding pornstar, Jane [played by Dree] and a lonely senior citizen, Sadie [Besedka Johnson]. Incredibly, the two-hour film had only a 70-page script and nearly all the dialogue was made up on the spot. The result is a completely authentic feeling story that reminds you more of real life than anything even the best dialogue writer could muster.

“It just came naturally,” shrugged Dree. “To me, she [Jane] was my friends growing up in high school mixed with a bit of myself.”

The center of the film is the unbelievable performance from a superstar in the making, in Dree, and the bond she forms with Sadie. I asked her if she drew on her own life to foster such a realistic onscreen relationship. Dree, like most grandkids, carries some guilt, but interestingly, found a substitute in the also stunningly subtle Basedka.

“My grandmother, I love more than anything, and she’s 95-years-old, and I’m an awful grandchild because I don’t see her enough. Part of it was me and Besedka’s relationship was kind of that fill-in for what I’ve been missing – and has really made me think I need to see my grandmother more.”

Later as the actress pulled up next to me at the bar after the screening, she told me the personal inspiration she drew on to give such a naturalistic performance – her hero, another accomplished actress: her own mother, Mariel Hemingway.

“Her acting and her sense of self in Manhattan is kind of the reason for me wanting to act. And the way she is so natural in that makes me so happy. So that was kind of it.”

Maybe in a family this talented, there isn’t need to look any further than home for inspiration.

Don’t forget to check out Starlet in select cities Nov. 9!

— Gino Orlandini

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