Chances are, you’ve heard the name Bria Vinaite. And if you haven’t, you can go ahead and memorize it because I’m telling you now: This girl is the next big thing. If you have been following the 24-year-old up-and-coming actress, then you know she had her breakout moment this year starring in the indie film, The Florida Project, alongside Willem Dafoe and Brooklynn Prince. And while it may have been this role that brought her to the forefront of people’s attention, I can almost guarantee you it’s her unmatched “cool factor” that will keep people watching.
Maybe it’s her seemingly never-ending maze of tattoos, which span her entire body; or perhaps it’s the fact that her cocktail of choice is Hennessy and cranberry (casual.) Or, it could be that unlike most people, she prefers blue mascara over the ever-traditional inky-black. Whatever it is, she’s got it — and she’s not going anywhere.
The Florida Project is Vinaite’s very first film, so we were honored to get a chance to learn more about the actress during a stunning, lace-inspired photoshoot for our December 2017 issue. Keep reading to learn all about her favorite things, what it was like making a movie with a seasoned actor, and her top beauty picks (because, of course we had to ask).
Reporting by Maxwell Losgar
For your Allure photoshoot, you’re wearing lace in every photo. What is your take on the trend?
“I love lace because it can be really feminine, sexy, or dark. There are so many ways to wear it, no matter what your style.”
Awesome. Now let’s tackle this rubric of favorites. What’s your favorite tattoo parlor?
“There’s one in Miami — I think it’s called Ocho Placas — but they were the ones who did my cover ups that were impossible to cover up, and they did such a good job.”
What about your favorite beauty product? Actually let’s make it more specific: What’s your favorite mascara?
“That would have to be Benefit Cosmetics Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara in Beyond Blue.”
Favorite nail polish shade?
“This is going to be really corny because it’s every girl’s favorite fragrance, but the pink Chance by Chanel. It’s so good.”
Favorite skin-care product?
“I really like Clinique’s Moisture Surge Hydrating stuff. It’s a super concentrated moisturizer. It’s pink and comes in a tube.”
Favorite Instagram account?
Who are some of your fashion icons?
“It’s cliché, but Rihanna, because she makes everything look fucking amazing. Let’s see, who else? I should have thought this out. Okay, Rihanna and — why can’t I think of anyone? That’s so crazy. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
“It depends on the genre because I like a lot of different kinds of music. But a really good album would probably be Lana del Rey’s first album, I forget what it’s called.”
Born to Die?
“Yes, that one. That whole album is so good, or Anti by Rihanna, and the one she did before, Unapologetic.”
So basically, for you, it’s everything and anything Rihanna…
“She’s going to be my best friend one day. You can quote me on that. In the future — somehow it’s going to happen.”
Do you have a favorite spa?
“No. But my favorite weird workout is aqua cycling. It’s really fun.”
“It’s literally stationary bikes in a pool of water. Amazing.”
“Right now it’s How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell.”
“It’s so hard. There’s a lot of movies. If we’re talking about an older movie, I grew up watching Thirteen on repeat, so that would be one of them.”
Okay, now that’s out of the way. So this is your first film — how did it come about?
“Sean [Baker, the director,] messaged me on Instagram and wanted to know if I was interested in reading the script and trying out for the part, and I thought it was a joke. But I Googled him, he checked out, I flew to Florida and met him, and I got the part. A month later we were filming. Dream come true.”
I love it. Was acting something you had any interest in prior?
“No, but it definitely is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve never worked such long hours and felt so good at the end of the day. That feeling made me want to keep doing it over and over again.”
You play a mother in the film. What was it like working with children?
“It was definitely interesting getting used to somebody calling me “mom” every day, because I don’t have children. But they became my little best friends, and sometimes I would forget they were so little because they were so mature for their ages. And we would just talk all the time, and I got really used to them being around. Then when I went home I was really lonely because I didn’t have them around me.”
When you went to the Cannes Film Festival for the screening, was that your first time in the south of France?
“Yes. Literally when I landed I started crying on the car ride to my hotel because it was so beautiful, and I was really overwhelmed. And my driver kept asking me if I was okay, and I was like, I’m good, I’m fine, leave me alone.”
Once you made it to the festival and people started seeing the film, what was your reaction to how positive it was received?
“I definitely need to learn how to take compliments, because it was very weird to go from sitting in my house all of the time to having hundreds of people coming up to me and congratulating me and telling me I did a good job. It was very bizarre, the transition from nobody knowing who I am to people who I admire being like, Hey that was great.”
What was your biggest pinch me moment?
“Honestly, probably just the screening itself because it was the first time I ever saw it.”
The first time you ever saw it was at Cannes with an audience?
“And then afterwards they put the light on our row, and we were sitting with the whole cast, and everyone in the theater was crying, and I was just — I was floored. I was just like, wait…that reaction after my first time seeing the movie was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe it.”
What was it like working with someone as famous as Willem Dafoe?
“I was a little intimidated, but when I first met him and I realized how nice and down to earth he was, it made all of those feelings go away. And after a few days, he just became a regular person to me. It was great because I didn’t know what to expect from him, and the fact he was so approachable and easy to talk to made it easy to be on set with him. He was so helpful.”
Did you learn anything from him on set?
“To be confident about what you’re doing. He could tell when I was a little nervous about something and he would say, ‘You got this, you’re going to do a good job. Just be confident and know you’re going to do it.’ And even that little bit of encouragement helped me a lot. Because if someone like him could tell me that I could do this and to be confident about it, then I could do it. He just made it seem like an easy thing.”
Do you have a favorite scene in the film?
“The scene where him and I get into an argument and I smash the pad on the wall. It initially got cut because I was too nervous to do it, but when I arrived on set they told me the scene was put back in. So I was sitting there, shitting my pants, because I was like, How the fuck am I going to make that believable? Because no matter how angry I would ever get, the last thing I would resort to is smashing a bloody pad on a mirror. And I did it, and it ended up looking pretty good.”
What would your advice be to yourself if you could go back in time before getting this role?
“I would pull up that video of Shia LeBeouf screaming ‘Just do it!’ and I would literally say that to myself. Have you ever seen that? That’s what I would say to myself: Just do it. But in his voice. Screaming.”
Is there anything that you hope audiences take away from this film?
“That poverty is real, and that people really live like this. It’s not some made up story about some made up people. There are real Halley and Moonees out there who live life like that every single day. And they don’t have the tools around them to help them, and it’s a real thing that needs attention.”
You can’t really say what you’re working on next, so is there anything else that you think is worth mentioning about this project, and the experience?
“I just feel like everyone needs to see it and kind of get a wake up call. I feel like it’s easy to get lost in your own world and get distracted, and sometimes seeing things from different perspectives helps you appreciate your life a little bit more. I feel like sometimes people lose that, that every day you need to be thankful for what you do have. And this movie reminds you that sometimes your problems, compared to others, aren’t really as bad you think.’
To find out more of Vinaite’s favorite things, be sure to pick up the December Issue of Allure!