• Golden Globe Awards

Alicia Vikander

“I’m excited and curious,” says the husky voiced Alicia Vikander about the upcoming award season. She is taking a break from shooting Bourne, and reflecting on a string of roles that have defined her as the new it girl. The petite Scandinavian who left home at 15 to pursue a ballet career, has had a stellar year culminating in a double nomination in two categories for the 73rd Golden Globes. Appearing in critical darlings, and blockbusters alike, Alicia got a Best Supporting Actress nod for Ex Machina, and a Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama nomination for her role alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl.Her passion for acting was fostered by watching her stage-actress mom, Maria, who separated from Alicia’s Psychiatrist dad, Svante, when she was five months old. However, her pursuit of acting only solidified when she snuck out of ballet school on a whim to audition for a role on television. “I knew that I couldn’t say ‘no’ when they offered me the role, even if it meant leaving ballet school.” Luckily, she was able to complete her ballet education, but her true love had been revealed.The girl from Göteborg became a household name in her country with her role in the Swedish soap opera Andra Avenyn (Second Avenue). In 2012 she appeared in Anna Karenina, her first English-speaking role but truly caught the eye of directors in a A Royal Affair which garnered Best Foreign Film at the 2013 Academy Awards. There followed The Seventh Son and Son of a Gun, but it is in 2015 that the twenty-seven year old, has made the world take notice.Alicia is a mix of youthful enthusiasm and grown-up wariness. Her sentences begin slowly, often with a long pause that may be due to English as a second language or to an awareness that everything she says will now fly across the Internet. Once she starts talking, the words come quickly and uninhibitedly, often curving up an octave into a smoky laugh. Alicia is close to her family and an eager cook, “I love to make things in big bowls” she jokes, “Chile, pasta, food for a lot of people.” She’s most comfortable in jeans and T-shirts. “I like clean silhouettes and experiment with accessories.”The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, one of her 2015 films, not only allowed her to experiment with a sixties look but also act in her first action gig. “I did not tell (director) Guy Ritchie that I didn’t have a driver’s license when I auditioned for the part – which required driving these amazing vintage cars and doing car chases,” she laughs. “We had a lot of lessons before the first take.”She’s been delighted at the word of mouth that has made Ex-Machina into a hit. In it she portrays a robot with a mind of its own. The performance is haunting and addresses underlying themes of control, independence and what it means to be human. “(When) I read the script I wanted to talk about it. I think that’s one of the reasons for its success. People recommend it to their friends so they can discuss it.”The theme of strong independence is also visited in Testament of Youth, which is based on a memoir by Vera Brittain, who left Oxford in 1914 to serve as a nurse during WWI. “I read all her letters and books, and at first was terrified because I knew it would be difficult to do her justice.” Luckily she surrounds herself with strong women who have become mentors and inspire her in challenging roles.The Danish Girl was perhaps her most challenging role; it is the story of Danish artist Einar Wegener who undergoes the first recorded sex change. Alicia plays his wife, who experiences a transition of her own: from thinking her husband’s cross-dressing a sexual titillation to battling with the realization, and ultimately accepting, that he actually wants to be a woman. “It was such an interesting character that sparked so much discourse. It’s sad to see what a lot of the transgender community is going through. It’s time to let everyone be exactly who they are and love them.”With her ability to slip from action films like the upcoming Bourne sequel to Golden Globe caliber fare, we’ll be seeing a lot of Alica Vikander in the years ahead.