Zoey Deutch Isn’t Afraid to Mix Politics with Performance
"You should be really grateful you're not catching me when I've had a full night of sleep," Zoey Deutch says, by way of introduction. "Because you would be so exhausted!"
Due to her electric personality and machine-gun diction, the 22-year-old actress is often called a spark plug, but it might be more accurate to describe her as a nuclear reactor. Wrapped in an oversize camel coat from Max Mara at Milan's Mandarin Oriental hotel shortly after attending the label's fall runway show, she bounces between the topics of fashion, film, family, and even her irrational fears (don't get her started on revolving doors) with an impressive exuberance. "When people tell me I have a lot of energy, I usually feel bad for them, but then they only have to spend a certain amount of time with me," Deutch says wryly. "I have to be with me all the time."
In fact, her enthusiasm is infectious, which helps explain why Deutch has managed to vault from Vampire Academy and Disney tween fare to the forefront of the millennial generation in Hollywood after a handful of eclectic yet well-received performances, notably in Richard Linklater's 2016 teen romp Everybody Wants Some!! and the young-adult yarn Before I Fall. And she will appear in several daring roles coming this year, including that of the wild-spirited Oona O'Neill during her 1940s romance with J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye.
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But it is Deutch's commitment to speaking up for social causes at a young age that inspired Women in Film, which promotes equal opportunities in the media industry, to name her its 2017 Max Mara Face of the Future Award winner. "I'm so involved in women's activism and rights that it feels very fitting to be aligned with a brand that celebrates women in film and art," says Deutch, who began campaigning on behalf of Planned Parenthood two years ago after reading about congressional efforts to defund the nonprofit. And with her family (her mother is the actress Lea Thompson, her father the director Howard Deutch) she has worked for more than a decade with Corazón de Vida, which supports orphanages in Baja, Mexico. "It's nice to be part of a generation that is taking more of a vocal stance," Deutch says. "I don't think silence makes you safe."
Deutch's advocacy has won accolades on Instagram, where she mixes personal images with feminist messages. "I'm just trying to have an open conversation with as many people as I can, and that includes those who don't always agree with me," she says.
Yet it's not all politics for Deutch. She's already captured the attention of designers—beyond her Max Mara connection, the actress turned heads in Tory Burch at the Met Gala this year and was seated front row at Dolce & Gabbana's millennial-themed show in 2016.
"I'm very particular about what I wear," she says. "One of my favorite things to do with my mom and sister is to go to garage sales. We take road trips to visit thrift stores in Albuquerque or Montana."
Vintage clothes and Max Mara coats aside, Deutch likes to be unpredictable with her look. "I'll go out with my friends to a club in L.A. in a full black lawyer suit, totally buttoned up, with pointy heels, and I'm barely even showing the tips of my fingers. They'll be like, 'Zoey?'"