When I ask Ellie Bamber for the names of some of the actresses she admired growing up, her answer unintentionally provokes a giggle. “Definitely Nicole Kidman,” she starts. “Moulin Rouge was one of those films that I watched as a kid and was like ‘Oh my god, that’s what I want to do.’ And I love Emma Stone, I think she’s a really amazing actress.” I pause, waiting for the moment of recognition, then laughing, point out the common theme of red hair, shared also by Ellie. All at once, she’s surprised and apologetic, almost as if it didn’t occur to her. “That’s so weird, sorry!” She nervously laughs. “When I was a kid, I was blonde. I’m naturally blonde. It’s weird how as a kid I was already gravitating towards that – that’s funny actually.”

Real or not, Ellie Bamber is a redhead rising through the ranks, her signature strawberry-blonde hair a striking point of difference from many of her peers. It’s this hair that would have played at least a small part in snagging her career-making role in Tom Ford’s haunting 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals, where she joined a flame-haired acting trifecta completed by Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. After a disturbing, but powerful performance as a daughter on a doomed family road trip, it sparked excited murmurs surrounding the Berkshire-born newcomer. But hair is just one thing. Talent is another.

And talent is something that Ellie has in buckets. She’s been lauded as somewhat of an industry chameleon, seamlessly embodying all manner of roles. Pre-Nocturnal Animals, there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a comic, feminist, gore-filled riff on the Jane Austen classic which saw her train for two months in martial arts. Last year, she made her much-celebrated Donmar Theatre debut for a modern adaptation of the famous Henrik Ibsen play, The Lady from the Sea. In 2017, after the visuals for Shawn Mendes’ hit “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” were released, fans went into a frenzy investigating the identity of his music video love interest – played convincingly by Bamber, a free-spirit in the early raptures of love.

A stint as Tom Ford’s muse means that her style – which she describes as “a combination of classic, pretty things, and street style” – has also snagged her opportunities such as being appointed as a Chanel ambassador. Casual. She’s also the lead in upcoming project, Taipei (High Resolution), a love-in-the-age-of-social-media tale, about “a couple who takes loads of drugs together, film themselves and put it out on the internet.” Currently, she’s speaking to me over the phone from Brazil, where she’s shooting a harrowing abduction true story, The Seven Sorrows of Mary, which she calls a “tough” but also “really important piece of work.”
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Ellie Bamber attends the Salvatore Ferragamo show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 22, 2018 in Milan, Italy.

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Ellie Bamber attends the Emilia Wickstead front row during London Fashion Week September 2018 at the Phillips Gallery on September 17, 2018 in London, England.

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Ellie Bamber attends the Jasper Conran show during London Fashion Week September 2018 at The Sackler Gallery on September 15, 2018 in London, England.

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Ellie talked about her next work, the BBC mini-series Les Misérables, with WWD during the Chanel Haute Couture Show today in Paris.

“It’s like a terrarium,” said Ellie Bamber, who had wrapped filming “Les Mis” the day before. (The six-part drama adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 19th century classic also stars Dominic West and Lily Collins, with Bamber in the role of Cosette.)

“It was really challenging, it’s been amazing creating Cosette’s journey. I feel like there are so many new things that an audience is going to see that, if they’ve watched the musical, they might not know about,” she said. “The book is 1,500 pages long, Victor Hugo goes into so much detail, and [screenwriter] Andrew Davies has captured that so well.”

Coming “from that to this was just beautiful,” she continued, adding: “I sat in my room and had French onion soup last night — it’s something I do every time I come to Paris.”