LOURD HAVE MERCY
SCREAM QUEEN BILLIE LOURD STYLES OUR HOLIDAY COLLECTION, AND OPENS UP ABOUT HER MOM, HER CAREER, AND STARTING THE J BRAND TREND AT HER MIDDLE SCHOOL.
STARRING BILLIE LOURD
PHOTOGRAPHER TASYA VAN REE
CREATIVE MARY PEFFER
STYLIST SIENA MONTESANO
HAIR CARLY WALTERS BETHEL
MAKEUP KATE SYNNOTT
WORDS MEGHAN BLALOCK
If you didn’t already know Billie Lourd for her powerhouse performances on American Horror Story and Scream Queens, as the daughter of one of Hollywood’s most beloved figures of all time (the late, great Carrie Fisher), and even as an influencer in her own right with more than a million Instagram followers, you’d never know it from her demeanor. In a cozy suite at West Hollywood’s iconic Sunset Tower Hotel, where we’re shooting her in our holiday collection, she comes across more like an endearingly bubbly and unfiltered theater kid than a major superstar. The tint of irony here is that, technically, she never studied acting—Billie graduated from NYU’s esteemed Gallatin program, one of the few in the country that allows students to literally create their own major (hers was “Art and Business as Religion”).
“Working on AHS and Scream Queens was kind of like the best acting school you could ever ask for, because I could just go to these legendary people’s trailers and ask, ‘What did you think of that scene? What would you do differently?,’” the LA native shares between quick bites of chicken fingers and fries, name-dropping the likes of costars Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Sarah Paulson, among others. “Everyone was so open and so communicative that I learned so much, and I just really tried to use it like a second college.”
So far, this tactic has worked out pretty well. On top of her starring roles in Ryan Murphy’s hit shows, Billie has a recurring gig in the modern-day Star Wars franchise as Lieutenant Connix—a role that, one might easily argue, is in her blood.
“I call myself the keeper of Leia now, and I feel like that movie is my family and is a part of me,” Billie says of her mom’s seminal role as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars film. “It allows me to connect with my mom in such a special way that I’m really lucky to have. It’s like a family reunion. I feel like she’s really with me when I do that role.”
Another thing that’s part of Billie’s DNA: strong, powerful, unapologetic womanhood. (Her late grandmother was another film icon, Debbie Reynolds.) Her mother was shamelessly outspoken about the mental health and addiction challenges she faced, and Billie intends to carry that torch in both her personal and professional endeavors.
“I feel like not only is my mom with me, she is me and I am her,” Billie says with just a tinge of palpable sadness. “I feel like I channel her every day; I try to be as eccentric and open and funny and as full of life as I can be. She used to say, ‘If life isn’t funny, then it’s just true, and that’s unacceptable.’ And that’s something I think about every day and that’s what I try to do: stay positive and enjoy every day. Be a yes person… to fun stuff, of course.
"J BRAND makes the most classic, comfortable, well-fitting jeans. I swear that J BRANDs are the one jean that fits everyone. I’m short, and somehow they all fit my legs! It’s the one jean I don’t have to hem. A capri fits me as a normal jean—that’s my move."
“Speaking out about mental health is the most important thing,” she continues. “It helps so many other people if you’re honest about it; I get so many comments from people saying she saved their lives. I really hope to be able to do the same thing, to be able to speak out about bipolar disorder and opiate addiction and all the things I observed as a child. The stigma surrounding it is awful. I’m trying to find projects to do that are about that.”
She reveals that she has such upcoming projects “up her sleeve—just you wait!,” but is forbidden from revealing them just yet. She’s very transparent, though, that it’s important for her to imbue her work with a deeper meaning—especially in a post-#MeToo culture.
"I feel like not only is my mom with me, she is me and I am her. I feel like I channel her every day; I try to be as eccentric and open and funny and as full of life as I can be."
"Honestly, I‘ve been wearing J BRAND jeans since middle school. In fact, I must say, I brought J BRAND jeans to my middle school. And if any girls refute that, they’re lying! I started this J BRAND trend."
“I’ve been trying to choose projects that are more passion projects and things that I really believe in. I have a 10-year-old little sister, and she is so confident, has so much swag, and is such an open person, and I think that’s a result of all these incredible people telling their stories that are so hard to tell,” Billie observes, in awe. “It’s really changing the next generation, and that’s so, so important. I think what people are doing is incredible, and I see the difference it’s making through my little sister.”
To be fair, swag has never been in short order in her household. Billie’s confidence extends well beyond the set, into her own personal fashion choices. Her go-to #OOTD is a classic pair of jeans, a rock ‘n’ roll tee, and a good boot.
“That is my jam! I wear jeans all the time. Honestly, I‘ve been wearing J BRAND jeans since middle school. In fact, I must say, I brought J BRAND jeans to my middle school,” she says with an aura of indisputable pride. “And if any girls refute that, they’re lying! I started this J BRAND trend. When I got the call about this shoot, the little middle schooler in me was like, ‘I’m so excited!’ I’m obsessed. J BRAND makes the most classic, comfortable, well-fitting jeans. I don’t have, like, a “normal” body—I don’t think anybody has a “normal” body. And I swear that J BRANDs are the one jean that fits everyone. I’m short, and somehow they all fit my legs! It’s the one jean I don’t have to hem. A capri fits me as a normal jean—that’s my move.”
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