By Jaclyn Bethany
Photographed for Constellation by Katy Lawrence
Jaclyn Bethany: Hi, Alice. Where are you originally from?
Alice Fernandez: I was born in London and my heritage is basically white British, but my surname is Portuguese.
JB: What was your childhood like? When did you discover the desire to act?
AF: My dad was an artist—incredibly creative and hands-on. When I was 12, he painted my bedroom to look like a jungle—as in he literally sketched everything onto the walls (e.g. trees, a tiger, rocks, an elephant, a crocodile, a lion, and even a sky with clouds on the ceiling) and beautifully hand-painted them. He also went above and beyond when it came to dress-up costumes for Halloween or themed birthday parties or school plays. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer so much when I was younger that he even made me a Buffy lunchbox, so there’s no doubt that my older sister and I inherited a bit of a creative flare from our dad.
Neither of my parents are actors, but watching films was a big part of my childhood. I learned everything through my mum’s taste in cinema, from Woody Allen to Merchant Ivory to Alfred Hitchcock. I had a huge imagination and loved performing, so it was natural that out of all the grown-up jobs that existed, I would act. I think the moment it dawned on me that the man in A Room with a View was the same man in The Last of the Mohicans (that man being Daniel Day-Lewis), that was the moment when I decided his job was the job for me.
JB: I love your Instagram. How would you describe your sense of personal style?
AF: In the past I’ve definitely worn a lot of color, and have loved mixing masculine cuts with pretty pink shades. However, you’ve caught me in a transition where I’m trying dress more like the sophisticated twenty-seven-year-old woman that I am: think Audrey Hepburn when she gets arrested at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s meets present-day Ashley Olsen. That’s what I’m going for in 2017. Wish me luck.
JB: Who are some British creatives currently inspiring you?
AF: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (writer), Anna Ginsburg (director and animator), Harley Weir (photographer), Adwoa Aboah (model), Camilla Whitehill (writer), Simone Rocha (designer), and Claire Foy (actor).
JB: What were some of your favorite roles in drama school and beyond?
AF: I got to play Anna Karenina at drama school, but had way more fun in the smaller roles I got, like playing the twisted and broken Ann Putnam in The Crucible. She was such a complex, sad, and cruel character. I found a real freedom in that. My favorite role came at the end of drama school when a part was actually written for me to perform at our Soho Theatre showcase. I’d spent three years at The Oxford School of Drama, being cast in roles that didn’t play to my strengths (that’s the challenge and the point, I know), but for our final showcase we performed two-handers, and mine was written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (acclaimed writer/actor of Fleabag and Crashing). [I thought], finally: a funny and flawed twenty-something character I could relate to. ★
Alice Fernandez is a London-based actress and a graduate of The Oxford School of Drama. She recently appeared as Izza in 1001 directed by Lucy Atkinson at the Southwark Playhouse. She has also performed at the Soho Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre. On the side, she runs the visually inspiring blog, Powder Blue.