What does it take to be the next big thing? Whether you say innovation, irreverence, or a lot of flash, it’s undeniably the elusive It factor—that can’t-look-away but also can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it instinct. And we’re doubling down for It Girl, It Brand, our latest series speaking to who and what are on the edge of being huge.
This time around, we found something quite kismet in the pairing of actress Maddie Hasson and the Australian label Albus Lumen. The two have their differences: Hasson is making a name for herself as an on-screen (and style) chameleon of sorts, yet the brand, led by Marina Afonina, has made a solid impression for its consistent, strong message of being laid-back yet refined thanks to Afonina’s structured but non-stiff silhouettes, medley of desert colors, and signature tie belts. The biggest similarity between this It brand and It girl? They both make it all look so easy.
“I would probably teleport out of a party to somewhere with pasta,” laughs Maddie Hasson, a woman clearly after our own hearts. Within just a few minutes of meeting the actress, we learn not only that she’s down for a carb-loading session at L.A.’s Gusto but also that she has an affinity for getting dressed up and names Anna Wintour among her style icons (yes and yes!). But it’s not just Hasson’s taste in food and fashion that makes her obsession material—we have to credit the former North Carolina native’s latest on-screen performances for landing her firmly on our radar.
While Hasson’s breakout came via the 2014 ABC Family series Twisted, we were introduced to the rising star in last year’s Novitiate as the rule-breaking nun-in-training Sister Sissy (a fantastic and emotional watch we highly recommend). This month, however, Hasson finds herself in a completely different role of note, that of time-traveling teenager Henrietta “Henry” Cole in the YouTube Red drama series Impulse. Hasson’s performance is nothing short of fantastic, proving once again her star power is no flash in a pan.
Impulse has all the makings of a great sci-fi thriller—an on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot packed with action—but setting it apart from the countless others is the independent young heroine at the center of the story. It’s that which drew Hasson to the project right away, the opportunity to play a well-written female character who is flawed yet still fully sure of herself—a rare find in Hollywood. “I don’t think that’s something commonly portrayed in young characters, especially young female characters, because people have this misconception that because you are young and a woman you can’t have a good understanding of who you are already,” Hasson says. As such, she praises the writers for brilliantly crafting a 16-year-old who isn’t likable just for the sake of it.
Yet while a strong female character is an attractive draw for an actor, Hasson isn’t afraid to portray someone on the opposite end of the spectrum either. In fact, in a perfect world, you won’t see her playing the same character twice. Though most newcomers don’t have the luxury of being choosy about their projects, Hasson is careful to not pigeonhole herself into one type of character early on, a smart effort to showcase her range. If all goes to plan, we’ll see an entirely different Hasson next. In her words, “someone meeker, less sure of herself.”
Luckily, Hasson is no stranger to an identity change, particularly when it pertains to her own personal style. Looking at Hasson in front of us, polished in classic silhouettes and with sun-drenched locks, it’s hard to believe she went through a “huge” Goth phase. Hasson credits her husband, composer Julian Brink, for her style 180. So in lieu of taking style cues from Courtney Love (her former muse), she found inspiration from Anna Wintour’s uniform: cool jackets paired with long skirts and boots. “I really like being covered now,” she says. “It makes me feel very powerful for some reason.” With warmer days upon us, though, Hasson tells us she is settling into a heavy rotation of lightweight linen dresses—like we said, a woman after our own fashion hearts.