Her stylists bustle up and down the stairs and racks of clothing creep into the living room of the Hancock Park apartment where Emma Roberts has come to be dressed for an evening event. But the 24-year old is calm amid the storm, curled up barefoot on the sofa in a white Isabel Marant top and AG jeans. She notes how her feet need a break after 10- to 15-hour days in six-inch heels on the set of the new Fox comedy-horror series “Scream Queens,” set to premiere on Sept. 22.
“And if you must know, my bra and underwear are Aerie,” she says coyly, plugging American Eagle’s lingerie and relaxed apparel brand.
For the Record
Sept. 17, 2015, 11:35 a.m.: An earlier version of this article said Emma Roberts was interviewed in her apartment. She was interviewed in a stylist’s apartment.
Roberts is the first celebrity to star in the Aerie Real advertising campaign, which launched last year featuring un-retouched images “to help promote body positivity and encourage the celebration of reality over fantasy,” according to Aerie President Jennifer Foyle.
Roberts’ ads for the campaign began Sept. 3, and while some might consider it easier for a thin, fit star such as herself to appear sans Photoshopping, the actress acknowledges that the campaign triggered self-doubts.
“The first outfit was just the bralette and underwear, and I walked on set wearing a robe,” she says. “I got really nervous when I was about to take it off. There were 20 people around and all of a sudden I felt really, really vulnerable and insecure, wondering how I looked. But basically all my best friends were at the shoot: My hair and makeup people and my stylists [Brit and Kara Smith, also co-designers of L.A.-based fashion label Elkin]. Having the comfort of people who I know and trust and love around me gave me that confidence to be silly and have fun and just not worry about it. Because the pictures were going to look like me, which I think is the point of this whole campaign.”
“We live in a world of social media, of Instagram and Twitter, and everyone’s constantly posting photos of the best versions of themselves and adding filters and Facetuning and creating this image and this life that may not be real,” Roberts continues. “I think it’s important to show your real self, for me at least. Because even though I’m an actress and I look a certain way and this and that, I definitely see pictures of ad campaigns and feel insecure and think, ‘Why don’t I look like that?’ … I look like a normal person. And I think it’s important for people to know that, because I think it’s really easy to get caught up in always worrying that your hair and makeup are perfect or if you have the coolest clothes. And it’s more important to just live your life and have fun. It’s about being comfortable in your skin.”
Comfortable is also a word that Roberts uses to describe her off-duty style.
“I’m really into California style these days,” she says. “I feel very inspired by Blake Lively and Kate Hudson, that effortless blond hair and L.A. vibe…. Even when I’m dressed up, I try to be comfortable and hold on to my California roots.”
Her favorite street uniform lately has been a T-shirt paired with vintage Levi’s cut-offs and Charlotte Olympia’s Kitty flats, embroidered with cat faces. Other signatures include boots, high-waist jeans and easy little dresses by local labels For Love & Lemons and Elkin. She has also been reaching for pieces by Zimmerman, Jenni Kayne, Maiyet (for evening), Isabel Marant (for standout jackets) and Jennifer Meyer (for jewelry); a preferred shop is Madison in Beverly Grove.
An avid handbag collector, Roberts is carrying Max Mara’s burgundy leather Whitney tote, a collaboration with Italian architect Renzo Piano, who recently designed the new Whitney Museum of American Art building in Manhattan. And she dubs a new Balenciaga fanny pack her “favorite purchase of the past five years.” Why? “It’s nice to have your hands free,” she says. “You can dance! I’ve been trying to bring the fanny pack back for a long time. And I punched more holes in this one to make it a high-waist fanny pack, which I’m not sure is chic or not. We’ll see!”
“I keep all my handbags in the guest room closet because there’s no room for them in my closet,” she says.
So how does her personal closet compare to the two-story dream closet of her “Scream Queens” character, fashion-crazed sorority president Chanel Oberlin?
“We get to wear a lot of amazing vintage Chanel on the show,” says Roberts. “Lots of pastels. I didn’t [used to] wear pastels, but I started to fall in love with them after playing Chanel. And our shoe collection is gorgeous; we have Louboutins and Tabitha Simmons [heels]. Chanel never wears flats or sneakers … she doesn’t wear jeans. Never! Too casual for Chanel. I definitely have a lot more denim, and I’m all about boots. I think I’ve probably walked a thousand miles in my Chloé studded ankle boots; I’ve had them resoled twice now.”
“My look on the show is completely done-up at all times,” she continues. “And our makeup is always red-carpet-ready, which is really funny at 6 a.m., but it’s fun.”
Roberts readily admits to the need for hair help during off-time. When in L.A., the actress frequents Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood.
“I can’t do my own hair; I can’t even blow-dry my own bangs,” she says. “It’s really bad!”
Never mind. She can style her own film character. For her forthcoming role as high school senior Vee in the 2016 film “Nerve,” a thriller about an online game of Truth or Dare with actor Dave Franco, Roberts selected her own wardrobe (mostly T-shirts, jeans, hoodies and Adidas sneakers, aside from one custom-made emerald sequined dress).
She ‘fesses up to buying more than 30 magazines a month and ripping out inspirational clips, stashed in an old pink Miu Miu shoe box and decorating the inside of her front door, in the hopes that another fitting fashion collaboration might come along — Roberts created jewelry for BaubleBar in September 2014.
“I’m all about putting stuff out into the universe lately,” she says, smiling.