From Chanel shows and Gucci campaigns to Vogue editorials, Dree Hemingway has more than earned her stripes as a model. (The Bruce Weber-photographed Vogue spread inspired by her great-grandfather, the legendary author Ernest Hemingway, is one of our all-time favorites.) Now Dree is earning serious cred with a role in Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young—out in March—which also stars Naomi Watts and Ben Stiller. We caught up with the young model-turned-actress while she was enjoying a post-production vacay in New Zealand to talk good advice, great music and her most prized fashion find ever: her Aunt Margaux’s vintage Levi’s.
Get To Know Dree
Dree's parents, actress Mariel Hemingway and Stephen Crisman. Photo: @dreelouise.
“I spent a lot of my childhood on the road with my mom because she was still working and filming movies. I spent time on film sets in random areas of the world, making friends with the crew. I didn’t ever really have any friends my own age except for in Idaho where we had our house.”
When She Knew What She Wanted To Be
Dree and her sister, Langley Fox Hemingway. Photo: @dreelouise.
“I always knew I wanted to do something that involved having an audience, and I just wasn’t sure what that was. I was a ballet dancer for years so that was kind of it for me when I was growing up. I was always interested in performing and seeing people’s reactions and making people feel something.”
Her First Job Ever
“I was a barista at a tea store in Idaho, and I was obsessed with inventing different kinds of coffee and hot chocolate drinks even though I’m allergic to chocolate. It was kind of odd. People get so happy when you give them coffee—it’s great. I feel like that job taught me how to deal with people and how to communicate with all different types.”
Her Role Models
Lauren Bacall. Photo: @dreelouise.
“My parents have been my mentors and my role models. Once I decided I really wanted to be an actress, I also studied and looked up to the women in the old movies I grew up watching: Katharine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Grace Kelly and all of those other beautiful, strong stars of the big screen are what made me want to get into the business I’m in.”
The Best Career Advice She’s Ever Received
Photo: Adam Katz Sinding.
"I remember when I told my mother I wanted to be an actress, she said, 'Pretty is as pretty does.' Then she said, 'The minute I hear you’ve become a brat, I'm pulling you out of there so fast.' I think it was important to her that I keep my humility. We’re all people at the end of the day.”
What It Takes To Be A Good Actress
A still from 'While We’re Young'. Photo: @dreelouise.
“I think a good actress knows how to connect with the audience and the camera. I think it’s really about being present and feeling the situation you’re in. Also it’s not only about one person, it’s about the whole team and how you work together. I think that’s why I like it so much because you build these mini families for as long as you’re on set, and you all depend on one another. You’re real, and you're just who you are. One day you may be in a bad mood—nobody’s perfect. You’re happy, you’re sad, but you all go through it together.”
Projects She Can’t Wait For Us To See
“I just wrapped a film in Tokyo I’ve been doing the past two months called The People Garden which is a very beautiful, weird tale that’s set in this forest outside of Mount Fuji. The whole time I’m looking for my boyfriend who’s lost there. He’s made the choice to go over there to shoot a music video. It’s a really beautiful script and kind of hard to explain. Right before I did The People Garden I did a movie called The Happy People which I shot in the Bahamas for a month in September. It deals with life and death and black and white and these life mediums you hit.”
On Fashion Week
Dree at a Thom Browne show. Photo: Getty Images.
“I love going to shows. I owe my acting career to my modeling career—I think it taught me a lot. I’m in such awe of these designers.”
Modeling Rules She Lives By
Dree in a Free People campaign. Photo: @dreelouise.
“I think you play a character every time you do a photo shoot. It’s just a shorter movie that’s unscripted. It’s about connecting with the camera and creating these images that have life in them somehow. Modeling has taught me how to have patience and really soak in every situation.”
Her Career Goals
“I’m so much about the present, and I’m really enjoying it right now. As long as I can continue doing what I’m doing I’m happy.”
Favorite Memories From Her Modeling Career
Dree Hemingway photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, June 2013. Photo: Vogue.com.
“One of my favorite shoots I’ve ever done was with Alasdair McLellan for i-D magazine. I just remember feeling such purity and innocence and really getting into the character. I also did an incredible editorial with Bruce Weber for Vogue that was a dream come true. He’s actually the reason I got into acting. I met my manager through him. I’ve shot with Bruce a bunch, and I remember him looking at me and being like, 'You’re an actress, Dree'. He’s been one of my biggest supporters and really helped with this movie I did called Starlet. He helped get that off the ground and into Hamptons International Film Festival. He’s truly kind of like the Godfather.”
How She Balances Two Careers
Dree in Louis Vuitton, Harper's Bazaar, January 2015. Photo: r1ma.blogspot.com.
“I don’t know, I’m still figuring it out. I don’t want to give up modeling because I love it. I feel like I wouldn’t be acting now if it weren’t for the experience of modeling. Modeling taught me a lot about myself, which I think you need for acting. I’m not one who likes to have a lot of time to do absolutely nothing. With acting there are fewer amazing projects that come up, and I’m very picky about what I get into. I feel like I’ve been lucky to have only made things I’m proud of so far. There’s nice familiarity to throw myself back into modeling and work with photographers when I’m not acting. Also the travel aspect of modeling is heaven.”
Her Style Muses
Dree with her sister, Langley Fox Hemingway. Photo: @dreelouise.
“My Aunt Margaux, Katharine Hepburn, Faye Dunaway and a lot of people on the streets, to be honest. The '70s always inspire me. The only blog I look at regularly is my sister Langley's blog. She’s an incredible artist and has a really great eye. Her blog is like you're in this Tim Burton world.”
Shop '70s Skirts
Pastel Suede Skirt
A-Line Popper Front Skirt
Pemma L Classic Suede Skirt
Teal Suede Skirt
Her Personal Style
Dree at the 2014 amfAR New York Gala. Photo: Getty Images.
“I’ve always been a little androgynous: lady touches mixed with a masculine vibe. When it comes to my everyday look it’s more simple—like grays and an earthy palette. I’m very inspired by men’s style and how men put themselves together.”
Her Most Prized Fashion Piece
Dree's mother and aunt, Margaux Hemingway. Photo: @dreelouise.
“I have a pair of my Aunt Margaux’s jeans from the '70s—they’re flared. They're Levi’s, and they're falling apart but I love them.”
Her Beauty Essentials
“I really like Tarte foundation, and I’m obsessed with YSL’s brown mascara. I use Weleda Skin Food for every type of hydration; it’s my favorite thing ever. I also love this lotion called Skin Trip you get at Whole Foods—it smells like coconut. For hair, I use the Wen shampoo and conditioner.”
Dree's Beauty Must-Haves
Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation
Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils in Brown
Yves Saint Laurent
Skin Food Cream
Skin Trip Coconut Moisturizer
Her Exercise Routine
“I do Ballet Beautiful which is really nice because I was a ballet dancer for so long that I have that muscle memory. It’s one thing that you can do anywhere you go. I also love hiking and swimming. I hate sticking to a routine though—I’m kind of sporadic.”
What’s Inspiring Her Right Now
Still from 'A Single Man', 2009. Photo: Vogue.de.
“I’m listening to a lot of New Zealand radio which is kind of epic—there's a very '70s vibe over here. I’m also listening to a lot of Alt-J, and I like listening to the soundtrack of A Single Man—I prefer soundtracks sometimes. I feel like they bring back memories from the movie and tap into whatever that film made you feel.”
How She Unwinds After A Long Day
“A bath and a feel-good movie. I always gravitate toward whatever's playing on TCM when I need to wind down.”
Three Things Most People Don’t Know About Dree
Dee at the Whitney Art Party in 2014. Photo: Getty Images.
"I keep nuts in my freezer.
I love to be alone—I like dancing by myself. I’m a big fan of picking a Pandora station and letting it ride.
I like to experimentally cook—I have so many cookbooks. Right now I’m very into Thai cooking."