Emily Robinson Tessa Thompson
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Emily Robinson is not your average 19-year-old—at least when it comes to style. The Transparent star somehow skipped those awkward teenage fashion mishaps and instead has cultivated a wardrobe of timeless pieces by the likes of Carolina Herrera, Valentino, and Elie Saab.

So while we’ve been coveting practically everything she’s wearing lately, we wondered: Who’s style does she have her eye on right now?

The answer was easy: Tessa Thompson.

So for our March issue, we connected the two actresses to talk shop. On the agenda? Navigating the red carpet, twinning with Cate Blanchett, and the politics of getting dressed. Listen in on their chat below.

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EMILY ROBINSON: Tessa, first of all, I love your work as an actor. And to see your grace on the carpet—it's inspiring as I navigate that myself.

TESSA THOMPSON: Wow, thanks! The red carpet is tricky. You want to feel like yourself, but there's lots of other noise about what's appropriate and what other people like on you. It's a balance.

ER: So how would you describe your style these days?

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TT: Well, right now I'm at home eating ramen, wearing a bathing suit randomly. So there's always an element of creation when it comes to event dressing [laughs]. Overall, though, I like things that feel classic, with interesting, architectural cuts.

ER: I like a mix of contradictions too. Soft clothing with an edge.

TT: Same. I don't ever want to be predictable. There's always new ground to break when you're getting dressed.

ER: Yeah, evolution of style is really fascinating. For me, it's been a journey experimenting with new designs and figuring out what feels right. It's very self-reflective.

TT: I get that. My early looks are embarrassing but really sweet. It didn’t occur to me for a really long time to even have a stylist. In a way, that girl was cooler and bolder than the girl who has a lot of people fretting over what she's wearing. I would just show up in my own clothes.

ER: Totally! What's been your most memorable look?

TT: Probably a Rodarte dress I wore to the N.Y.C. première of Selma. Rodarte has been such an inspiration to me over the years. How about you?

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ER: I love my white tulle Carolina Herrera dress [above]. It was the start of my relationship with her, so it's really stuck with me. Who would you say has influenced your style most?

TT: Prince, Grace Jones, Tilda Swinton ... people who play with gender fluidity. Cate Blanchett is my style crush too. We did press together for Thor: Ragnarok and ended up twinning in bright yellow [below]. It was life-affirming [laughs]. How about you?

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ER: For me, it’s Diane Keaton and Audrey Hepburn.

TT: Oh my God, yes. Diane Keaton. I just Googled your Carolina Herrera dress and it’s very Audrey Hepburn. Beautiful.

ER: Thanks! One thing that's cool about fashion today is it can be political. Do you feel that's by necessity?

TT: There's a lot of meaning in what we wear. Like for the Emmys last year, I'd been thinking a lot about the way the LGBTQ community is represented in the media. The fact that I wore a rainbow Rosie Assoulin dress [below] certainly wasn't an accident.

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ER: Yes, I loved that dress.

TT: You know the shirt by Otherwild that says, “The Future is Female”? After I wore it, my father asked me for one for Christmas. Now he walks around and has all sorts of conversations with people about what that means. When fashion can start a dialogue, that’s when it’s powerful.

For more stories like this, check out the March issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.