One to Watch: Angourie Rice Is Telling Her Own Origin Story
Aug 10, 2022
She’s yourself in a former life, the rebellious daughter navigating grief, the high school overachiever who learns to have fun—Angourie Rice is tackling archetypes left and right, all while making her way onto streaming platforms everywhere.
In 2021, the Aussie-born actress quickly turned heads her way thanks to juicy roles in HBO Max‘s Mare of Easttown (the Kate Winslet-led thriller from peak lockdown binge watching) and as Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Okay, NBD! But with back-to-back 2022 bookings like Netflix’s Senior Year with Rebel Wilson and the titular role in Honor Society (now streaming on Paramount+), alongside Gaten Matarazzo of Stranger Things, we’re seeing Angourie take a much-deserved step to center stage—and our Spidey senses tell us this is just the beginning.
Behind the scenes, she’s all-in on her craft: diving into scripts, devouring stories, and exploring new mediums (she’s a podcaster, too!) to build a foundation that will surely serve her for years to come. So to capture her icon-in-the-making essence, we brought the star-studded glam team of hairstylist Kat Thompson (don’t miss the step-by-step style breakdowns), makeup artist Katrina Klein, and wardrobe stylist Rebecca Grice to Fairfax High School to channel entertainment idols from the ‘90s to now—with Grice’s epic vintage collection to set the mood. But first, we went tête-à-tête with Angourie to get the scoop on life, style, and everything in between.
Mane Addicts: Growing up with a family in entertainment, did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the arts?
Angourie Rice: I always wanted to do something creative, though I didn’t know what exactly. I wanted to be an author, a singer, a dancer, an astronaut at one point! Eventually, I figured that being an actor meant I could be anything.
MA: Honor Society is officially out on Paramount+…congratulations! How did you prepare for the role of Honor and her rivalry with Gaten Matarrazo’s character, Michael?
AR: Thank you so much! I’m so excited that it’s finally out there in the world. Gaten and I had a few rehearsals before we began filming, which was a great help. We spoke about the characters’ dynamic and their relationship. I’m a huge fan of Fleabag, and I found a lot of inspiration from Fleabag’s relationship with The Priest in season two. He’s the first person who really sees her—and that’s what happens with Honor and Michael, too. She feels so vulnerable around him because he sees right through her façade.
MA: It seems you’ve been initiated into American high school life through your roles in Honor Society, Senior Year, and Spider-Man: No Way Home—what was your real life high school experience like?
AR: My real life high school experience was pretty standard. It was interrupted by me traveling for work, but when I was at home, I went to my local public high school in Melbourne. It was great to make friends separate from film work.
MA: Those roles must also feel so larger-than-life compared to the heavier themes and realism of Mare of Easttown. What was it like working with such a stark contrast in subject matter?
AR: I knew Mare of Easttown was going to be a challenge, and it was. The show is dark and the characters are healing from so much trauma. But I really connected to Siobhan as a character when I first read the script, and I wanted to be a part of telling her story. What was great about Mare was that everyone was so invested in it. So even though the story was heavy, everyone’s dedication made the process comfortable.
MA: Let’s also talk about that Mare of Easttown hair! Was that chop a mutual idea between you and the makeup/hair department?
AR: It was my suggestion! In the script, Siobhan’s hair was long and auburn and shaved on one side. I’d had long hair for such a long time, I was ready for a change. I sent them pictures of Kristen Stewart’s short blonde hair, and they said they’d think about it. I thought they hadn’t gone for it, but when I showed up on my first day of pre-production, they said: “We’re cutting your hair!” That day, I came home with all my hair gone.
MA: Did it take a minute to embrace the hairstyle for yourself?
AR: Definitely. My long hair was such a big part of my femininity and sense of self. I had to reframe my own style and the way I present myself to the world. It was strange, because the short hair felt like a part of Siobhan, rather than myself. I had to take extra care to separate myself from the character and find my own style with the short hair.
MA: It looks like there are a lot of exciting projects in the works for you which probably means tons of travel…what are your must-haves for life-on-the-go?
AR: Always my journal, and a little sketchbook and pen. I like having something to write on or draw with when I’m waiting or traveling. It’s nicer than looking at my phone.
Kat Thompson’s Get the Look:
1. Start with clean, dry hair. Add a small amount of Oribe Dry Texture Spray to the roots to create some texture while still keeping the hair soft.
2. Then, take a small section from the front of the hair and clip it out of the way. Pull the remaining hair into a loose-but-high pony.
3. Now, incorporate that front piece with the pony. By doing it in two different sections, you can be sure to maintain volume at the top of the head.
4. Lightly pull some baby hairs and shorter layers down to give it the romantic-yet-casual ‘90s updo look.
MA: You’ve been the host of The Community Library for a few years now. Can you tell us more about how it came to be and why it’s such a passion project for you?
AR: I started The Community Library when I graduated high school, because I missed reading and discussing books. I also wanted to focus on the accessibility of discussing books using critical thinking. Talking about stories is for everyone—you don’t need a degree or fancy vocabulary. All you need is some ideas, and some evidence to back it up. My hope is that The Community Library is for anyone interested in how and why we tell stories.
MA: Who is your dream guest for your podcast?
AR: I’d love to have Jacqueline Wilson on the podcast! She’s one of my favorite children’s authors and I grew up reading and loving her books.
MA: As a voracious reader, have there been any stories you’ve read that have influenced your personal style?
AR: I grew up with the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child—they’re children’s picture books about a little girl called Lola and her big brother Charlie. I always loved the brightly patterned collage style of the illustrations. I still love bright patterns and colors—I think that sense of fun is important to my style and how I want to present to the world.
MA: Have any characters helped you explore different facets of yourself?
AR: Yes, many! Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma is the first one who comes to mind. She’s a very flawed main character, but that’s what I love about her. She has a very strong arc of learning and growing, but she doesn’t completely change who she is. She holds on to the unique qualities that make her herself, while still learning from her mistakes.
MA: Are there any characters from the books you’ve read that you would love to play?
AR: Playing a Jane Austen heroine has always been a dream of mine. But I also recently read In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes. It’s a 1947 noir crime novel set in L.A. The female lead in that book would be great to play—I love the cool demeanor of the femme fatale, but Hughes gives her much more depth.
MA: Tell us about your time as a literature student. How has that helped formulate your podcast?
AR: I took literature in my senior year of high school and loved it. It pushed me to think deeper about the media I consume, but it also taught me many practical skills, too. I learned how to write an essay very quickly! And that’s stuck with me while creating the podcast.
MA: Do you have any plans to ever write your own book one day?
AR: Maybe! I always wrote stories as a kid. It’s so much fun, but also a lot of work! A very different skill and craft to acting.
MA: Have you ever been able to have any influence over script changes for some of the characters you’ve played?
AR: I think understanding story conventions and historical storytelling patterns is very helpful in analyzing a script or a character. But I think, more than anything, creating The Community Library has taught me to ask “why”. Why is this character behaving in this way? Why is the story told this way? If the reason isn’t justifiable, then we can suggest changes. But it all starts with curiosity and an openness to listen to others.
“The Baby Spice”
Kat’s Get the Look:
1. Starting at the nape of the neck and using the GHD Original Styler 1″ Flat Iron, straighten the hair.
2. To keep an effortless and cool look, I added two small triangle sections at the front of her hair and tied them with a small elastic before braiding them—it takes the braids from boho to ‘90s pop princess.
3. After braiding, secure the sections with another elastic.
MA: You channeled a few ‘90s icons for our One to Watch shoot—who are your personal icons (for style or whatever!) and why?
AR: Cher in Clueless is definitely a style icon for me, and I was very excited to wear some Cher-inspired looks in the photoshoot! I love how she keeps classic silhouettes, but adds fun patterns and layers. Kristen Stewart is also a fashion and hairstyle icon for me. Her personal style is so distinctive, but I think she really blends into the characters she plays, too.
MA: How would you describe your style right now? How has it evolved over the years?
AR: My current style, summed up in one word, is: “comfort”. This summer I’m wearing long dresses, denim overalls, and jumpsuits. I like anything in one piece—it’s often comfier, and I don’t have to stress about putting together a whole outfit.
MA: We’re sure working in film means there’s some limitation in what you can/can’t do hair-wise—do you ever have the urge to make a drastic change?
AR: Yes! I’ve always been blonde, so it would be cool to dye my hair a different color for a role. I also constantly want bangs, and I still miss my short hair. Every time I start a new job, I beg them to do something different with my hair.
MA: What (or who) inspires you?
AR: I’m inspired by the books I read, the movies I watch, and the people I love. My friends and family constantly inspire me to be curious, open-minded, and to take care of myself and others.
MA: And because we obviously need to know, how do you keep your signature blonde so vibrant?
AR: This is a very annoying answer, but most of it is my natural hair color! Sometimes the hair department adds highlights for a role. But then I just let it grow out. I leave it to do its own thing.
MA: Finally…describe your perfect day off.
AR: Pancakes and tea outside on a sunny day, reading a book, and seeing friends in the afternoon.
Kat’s Get the Look:
1. This is my favorite look from her “Stronger” music video—and the key to the style is creating multiple distinct textures in the hair. I started by using a lightweight hairspray and going section by section, wrapping the hair around a one-inch curling iron, alternating directions with each section.
2. Once I moved closer to the crown, I left out small strands of hair to be crimped. Using the classic Conair Crimping Iron, I took those remaining sections and sprayed them really well with hairspray. By doing that, it keeps the hair together so those shiny crimps pop out and don’t just become frizzy.
3. After it was styled, I used Ouai’s Finishing Crème to help define and smooth out the curls, giving it that perfectly piecey look!