Felicity Jones On Women's Education, Diversity And Beauty
In her new film "On the Basis of Sex", Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones plays the quietly formidable US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For the 35-year-old Oxford University graduate, inhabiting the Notorious RBG, as Ginsburg is colloquially referred to, was somewhat of a dream role. Ginsburg’s story is a compelling tale of female empowerment.
At a time when tertiary education was considered a man’s prerogative, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and graduated first in her class from Columbia Law School. She spent her legal career advocating gender equality and advancing the rights of women, winning numerous victories before the Supreme Court.
It’s fitting, then, that Jones, having portrayed such a torchbearer for equality, should be the face of a new worldwide philanthropic initiative established by Clé de Peau Beauté that champions women’s education.
Power of radiance
Launched in March, the Power of Radiance Programme honours women whose work in this field has had a significant and lasting impact.
Each year the brand will select an award recipient who will receive a grant that can be donated to a cause of her choice. This year, the brand honoured Syrian refugee Muzoon Almellehan, whose work to keep Syrian girls in school has earned her an appointment as a Unicef goodwill ambassador.
“It’s been a fascinating programme to be a part of, particularly meeting Muzoon Almellehan, who is an extraordinary woman,” says Jones. “The key really is sharing these stories so that we can make sure that education is a right for everyone, and that it’s not just for a minority.”
Tackling gender equality
Jones, who starred with Eddie Redmayne in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, a biographical film of the life of physicist Stephen Hawking, is passionate about gender equality in the film industry too. While the #MeToo movement has done much to tackle insidious sexism in the world of acting, Jones believes more needs to be done to address the gender imbalance behind the camera.
“Often I will go on set and I won’t see a balance of men and women. What I’d love to see is a 50/50 split, with women equally represented in areas like lighting, for instance. The key is getting women into those key roles behind the camera.”
Diversity, however, needs to be encouraged in all its forms, she believes. Jones works with a UK charity which pushes young people from disadvantaged areas and schools into the arts and helps them understand what working in the film industry involves.
“It’s about introducing people to these industries at an early age. It’s important that these jobs are made known to people because a lot of people don’t know what jobs are involved in filmmaking.”
Felicity's beauty tips
When it comes to a beauty regimen, she “religiously” wears Clé de Peau Beauté black eyeliner and lipstick. To help keep her skin feeling fresh and hydrated while travelling around the world, she restricts her intake of coffee and has an airborne beauty routine.
“I always get changed into my comfy clothes on the plane, no matter how long the flight is. Then I just lie back and put on my Clé de Peau Beauté face mask.”
But Jones’ definition of beauty is broader than glowing skin and a scarlet pout.
“I think beauty is when you feel the most yourself,” she says. There’s one actress she feels best emulates this kind of confidence and contentedness. “I think Meryl Streep always has an inner radiance. I see it in people who take what they do seriously but don’t take themselves seriously.”
To stay grounded and well rounded, Jones ensures that she involves herself more broadly in the arts. “I love seeing friends and I love going to the theatre and art galleries; I think all of that is really helpful. I think you as a person have to grow outside of what your work is, and I find the more you spend time doing that, the more it feeds into your work and makes the work better.”
This year Jones is working with Eddie Redmayne again, making an action-adventure film, "The Aeronauts". Redmayne plays a scientist and Jones a pilot, and the two of them find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a hot air balloon. The film is scheduled to hit cinemas later this year. It’s up, up and away for Felicity Jones.
See also: A Chat With Cannes Chopard Trophée Winner Florence Pugh