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 won the Ian Charleson Award for 2017, which honors actors under 30 in a classic role.

Bamber won the third prize for her performance as Hilde in The Lady from the Sea, at the Donmar Warehouse in London.

They are given in memory of actor Charleson, who died in 1991, with the first prize winner receiving £ 5,000, second prize receiving £ 2,000, and third prize £ 500.

The shortlist also included Daniel Ezra, Sope Dirisu, Hannah Morrish, Rebecca Lee, James Corrigan, Arthur Hughes and Douggie McMeekin.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at the National Theatre.

– 1st prize, Natalie Simpson, The Cardinal
– 2nd prize, Tamara Lawrance, Twelfth Night
– 3rd prize, Ellie Bamber, The Lady from the Sea Donmar Warehouse

Great news! The nominees for the 2017 Ian Charleson Awards have been announced. The awards are for actors under 30 in a classical role (in a play written before 1918), in memory of the Scottish actor, who died at 40 in 1990, shortly after taking over the role of Hamlet at the National, despite his ill health. The awards ceremony will take place at the National Theatre, London SE1, on May 18.

Ellie Bamber for Hilde in Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea
Donmar Warehouse, dir Kwame Kwei-Armah

The actress and model, 20, was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award last year for her role in High Society at the Old Vic and is starring in The Lady From The Sea at the Donmar. Next up is the Disney’s live-action version of The Nutcracker And The Four Realms alongside Dame Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley.

Oh, and she’s an ambassador for Chanel.

We meet in a private room at members’ club Library on St Martin’s Lane on a chilly afternoon before Bamber’s evening performance of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea at the Donmar Warehouse.

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Elinor Cook’s new version of Ibsen’s masterpiece The Lady from the Sea at The Donmar Warehouse features Nikki Amuka-Bird, Ellie Bamber, Jake Fairbrother, Jim Findley, Jonny Holden, Finbar Lynch, Tom McKay and HeLena Wilson.
Check out a a first look at the cast in action below!

Following his production of the Olivier Award-nominated One Night in Miami…. Donmar Associate Director Kwame Kwei-Armah returns to direct Ibsen’s moving play about duty and self-determination.

Ellida, the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, is trapped in her marriage and longs for the sea. When a former lover returns from years of absence, she is forced to decide between freedom and the new life she has made for herself.

Ellie plays Hilde in theatrical production.