Jessica Chastain is the quintessential actress. Not just because she’s won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Oscar—twice—but because she is the ultimate shape-shifter, seamlessly transitioning from a bubbly blonde in 2011’s The Help to a tenacious CIA agent in 2012's Zero Dark Thirty. (Both of which earned her those aforementioned awards, where she received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nods at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, ultimately winning the Globe for Best Supporting Actress for The Help.)
In InStyle's January issue, available on newsstands and for digital download Friday, Dec. 12, Chastain is just as chameleon-like, appearing on the cover in a vibrant top and trousers by Céline (with a necklace by Chloé and bracelets by Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, Tiffany & Co., and Vita Fede), and embroidered black and white looks by the likes of Proenza Schouler and 3.1 Phillip Lim, among others, within the pages of the magazine.
Her favorite red carpet looks are just as eclectic. “Emotionally, my favorite is definitely my first Oscars (dress),” she says in the video below. “The wonderful, beautiful Sarah Burton created this incredible dress for me for Alexander McQueen. And I also loved Roberto Tisci’s (for Givenchy) purple, beaded, sparkly Cannes dress that I had. If you look at those two dresses, they are so incredibly different, but also, I guess they capture my personality because I like to change things up.”
At our shoot, change she did. The 37-year-old arrived at The Apartment by the Line boutique in N.Y.C.’s Soho wearing black Derek Lam trousers, a cashmere coat, and black patent leather Jimmy Choo flats, which she soon swapped out for towering 4-inch heel sandals by Saint Laurent to complement a white silk blouse by Carolina Herrera and black wool-silk pants by Valentino.
Throughout it all, the star casually sipped green juice and chatted about learning Italian. “Jessica is incredibly charming and a super-chill person to be around,” says photographer Giampaolo Sgura.
Maybe so, but there is one place Chastain admits she is not at ease: the red carpet. “I can get embarrassed,” she tells us. “At events I’m just not a pose-y girl.”
For more from Chastain, like wearing nothing but Armani in her upcoming film, A Violent Year, details on her skincare routine, and the hair color and cut she really wants to try, watch the video above, and to read her full interview, pick up the January issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Dec. 12.