Mozart in the Jungle's Lola Kirke on Big Sister, Girls Star Jemima Kirke: "She Is an Icon for How to Present Myself"

Lola Kirke
Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

If there’s one must-watch show right now, it’s Mozart in the Jungle. Amazon’s hit dramedy stars Gael Garcia Bernal as the New York Symphony’s conductor and Lola Kirke as a young oboist trying to make it in New York City’s cutthroat classical musical scene. The show has been getting a ton of buzz, which reached new heights earlier this month when it took home the Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy, in addition to Garcia Bernal’s win for Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy.

While Mozart’s critically-acclaimed first season kept us on our toes as it explored the relationships, competition, and drama that goes on behind the curtains of the professional orchestra, the show’s second season (available to stream now on Amazon Prime) is just as intriguing—and no one is more excited about the latest installment than Lola Kirke, whose character, Hailey Rutledge, has gone from maestro’s assistant to substitute in the symphony.

“Hailey has evolved in a way that she can really pursue her wants now,” Kirke recently told InStyle. “She’s sort of graduated to a place where she’s able to express her needs and go after them.” Hailey’s style has also shifted. “I think her look was a little too basic in the first season,” said Kirke. “I wanted the way she dressed to be the last thing she would think about, because all of her creativity was geared towards becoming a better musician. So she was just wearing what she thought women her age wore, which are clothes that I don’t think I would have gravitated towards myself.”

Mozart in the Jungle
Mozart in the Jungle/Facebook

Luckily for Kirke, that’s all changing in season two. “We talked about her becoming a little sexier, becoming a little more stylish,” said Kirke. “I think that she takes cues from her best friend, Lizzie (Hannah Dunne), who is very stylish, and I think that she just felt a little bit more empowered. It was like that hip ‘90s redux look of crop tops and high-waisted pants and ugly sandals, but also respecting women of this generation.” Scroll down to learn what Kirke had to say about fashion, music, and the difference between Mozart and her sister Jemima Kirke’s hit show, Girls.

How is your style different from your character, Hailey’s?
Her style is different from my own much more in the first season, but I think that was really important. This season, her style is more similar to mine. Someone who I worked with on the show would ask, "Is this your costume, or is this what you came to work in today?" But he was a man and couldn’t tell the subtle differences in how I would dress. So she’s in more silhouettes that I would wear this season, but as far as patterns and quality goes, it is different. I wear more vintage clothes, which I think takes a lot of time. I still think it is important that she is not spending all of her time picking out her outfits.

What are your go-to fashion labels right now?
I’m actually wearing my shoes from the show because I stole them from work! They’re Worishofer sandals, which are German house sandals, kind of like a Mary Jane. I like those a lot. And I love Wendy Nichol, but I can’t really wear that every day because it’s all leather. But German house sandals and leather jackets—those are things that I like.

Your sister, Jemima, plays Jessa on Girls. Has she given you any advice about being on a hit show and taking on red carpets?
Well, I definitely think that there is a huge difference in the popularity of Girls and Mozart. I think that people were so surprised by Mozart’s success at the Golden Globes because so many people hadn’t heard of it. And Girls, since the day a poster for that show came out five years ago, Jemima’s been hounded. And that’s a reality that I do not have. But as far as red carpet advice, Jemima has always been so stylish. For me, she is an icon for how to present myself, and I’ve looked up to her very much. I think [her advice is to] just wear what you think is great and don’t be boring—have some flair, for god’s sake! I think that is a mantra she lives by, fashionably.

Lola Jemima Kirke
@Jemima Kirke /Twitter

Do people ever mistake you for Jemima?
Yeah. I think that people confuse me and [our third sister] Domino more than me and Jemima. There was one time someone thought I was Jemima and I had to disappoint them by telling them I was not. But if you know us, we all have very different vibes.

And your dad, Simon Kirke, plays drums in the rock band Bad Company. Did he give you any advice about the music world when you started on Mozart?
Absolutely. My musical taste lies in the same kinds of bands as my dad and his peers—‘60s and ‘70s rock and blues, and country. And so having a dad who knew a lot about that kind of music was really informative. When it came to the drums, I think he was just easily frustrated by my inability to keep time. But with the other instruments that I tried to play, he was always incredibly helpful, and that was a great resource.

Drums aside, what instruments do you play off-screen?
I play the guitar and I sing, and write music. There was a funny moment in the second season where my character asks someone if they are a musician, as well, and the character responds that they are a singer-songwriter and my character laughs at that. And, it’s like, "I do that!" So I love being a songwriter—but my character does not.

What has been most surprising when learning about the world of classical music?
Initially, Mozart as a concept just surprised me. I had no idea that the world of classical music was so large and so self-sustaining, because it’s not something that’s really in your face at all. This season, I had the pleasure of working with an oboist named Lynne Cohen—who is about as successful as you can get as an oboist—and what surprised me about talking to her was the passion and sensitivity that she has for pieces of music. It was very much akin to the way you closely read literature, and it was great to hear the music spoken about that way.

Is there an artist that you’re listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Allen Toussaint, who’s a jazz musician who crossed over into rock and roll. And I am always into Joni Mitchell and Gene Clark, as well.

Everyone binge-watches your show. What series are you binge-watching right now?
Transparent, all the way. Big fan. I love that show.

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