By Eric Wilson
Updated Feb 27, 2016 @ 7:30 am
Credit: Venturelli

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has a new role as of this week, as ambassador to the Italian house of Bulgari. Actually, her official title is accessories ambassador, and her duties are strictly limited to representing Bulgari’s handbags and eyewear collections on the promotional stage, but the model-turned-actress clearly has taken her role to heart, for she cannot help but talk about its famous jewelry, too. She is that much into Bulgari, and who can blame her? After Britain and France, Bulgari is generaly considered one of the world’s most coveted diplomatic posts for aspiring ambassadors.

She has even agreed to give us an interview on the subject. So here, in a private room at Milan’s Bulgari Hotel, we find her, a beautiful fashion dignitary wrapped in Bulgari snake jewelry from neck to wrist to fingers.

Really, Rosie, you could have had your pick of fashion brands to represent, so what was it about Bulgari that brought you here?

It’s really sweet, actually, because my mother worked in a jewelry shop for many, many years. I grew up in a really rural part of England, on a farm, and she worked in a local jewelry shop. She had this real love for glamour and jewelry and film stars, so we would bond over magazines and estate catalogs of jewlery. She would always point out the beautiful brands. Bulgari was always one of her favorite brands because of Liz Taylor and the stories of how she would choose a piece of jewelry before she did any film, and the studio would have to buy it for her as part of her coming to set.

I’ve been modeling for 13 years and I understand the heritage of what a brand like Bulgari really is, and how much meaning it has to the country. It’s so iconic of Italy.

Were you a Bulgari shopper before becoming its ambassador?

Well, prior to being able to afford the jewelry, I bought the fragrances as a young girl. They’re really exquisite. But last year, I bought my first piece, a vintage Serpenti watch that I had seen on a friend. I love that it had a little edge to it.

Yesterday we shot the campaign so I became really familiar with the accessories as well. My favorite is this little blush one with the onyx stones. I love beige and black together. [She points to a new bag from the Serpenti Forever collection in a Desert Quartz color-way.] It’s such a sensual color combination, almost like lingerie. That’s such a rock and roll bag for evening, or one you can just throw on with jeans and a T-shirt for day. It’s such a versatile bag, really.

So should I presume you’re not afraid of snakes?

No, I love snakes. Well, I don’t love-love them, but I’m not scared of them. They’re such beautiful, interesting animals. I really find them cool.

On your next film project, are you going to have that written into your contract?

What, that I have to be in a snake scene?

No, that they have to buy you a piece of Bulgari jewelry!

Oh! Well, we’ll have to see about the movie, but I don’t know if I could get away with that at this point. I think the only actress in the world who ever could have gotten away with that is Liz Taylor. She was such a fabulous, eccentric person who we all love to hear stories about.

What’s the most symbolic piece of jewelry you own that’s not Bulgari?

I have lots of pieces that are priceless. Literally. They’re not worth anything. But they are little things my mother gave me when I was a little girl, like a tiny little silver bear she bought for me. I don’t know how I’ve never lost her, but it sits in my jewelry box and I think of her every time I see it. That’s what is special about jewelry. It’s not always the expensive things that you have a real connection with, it’s the ones that have personal value as well.