Jaime King Does It Her Way
While most celebrities do their very best to appear uncalculated when interacting with the public, generally these efforts are about as spontaneous as a People Magazine cover shoot… But actress Jamie King isn’t exactly ‘most celebrities’. For starters, the Hart Of Dixie scene-stealer has been a part of the entertainment business for practically all of her life, ever since she first left Omaha, Nebraska at the ripe old age of 14 for the glamorous catwalks of New York, Paris, and Milan.
More importantly however, King has managed to build an enviable career in this town – successfully transitioning from top model to in-demand actress – while somehow still honoring the disarming authenticity and rebel spirit that made her a star in the first place. “I’ve always felt that it was important to share my truth”, she says not without ample conviction, “specifically because I want people to know that the processes that we all go through, yes, they’re challenging sometimes; yes, they can be heartbreaking; but above all, they’re experiences that we all share.”
The actress is big on acknowledging our common humanity, not in a wannabe-Oprah, let’s raise my branding potential kind of way, but rather because she genuinely believes that we are all in this together. It’s a world-view King says she’s always had, but one certainly honed through years spent as a globetrotting model in the late 90’s- when she could easily hit three different continents in a weekend (“The world was opened up for me in a such a way that I will always be grateful.”)
And in return, Ms. King opened up her own life to her devoted fans – mostly teenage girls her same age yearning to escape suburbia for the glamorous catwalks of Europe – acknowledging her struggles with drugs and depression as an impressionable youth thrust into a decidedly adult world. Those days are clearly long gone, but the former model’s need to be authentic, and to let others, especially women, know what it’s really like behind the glamorous facade, has never waned.
Case in point, her recent decision to come out about a difficult health problem that many women suffer from in silence. “I had never spoken publicly about what I’d been through in regards to endometriosis and my process of trying to conceive my son, but I’d gone all these years with this undiagnosed, very painful thing that many young women have but that we just don’t talk about”, she says, referring to the female health disorder that affects the cells lining the uterus. She credits conversations with friends for helping her first to realize that she wasn’t alone and then to muster up the courage to go public with her story.
But ironically for the former model, it was a picture that truly set everything in motion. “It was 4 am, and I was breastfeeding my son, when the woman who was helping me take care of him took the picture”, she says, explaining the much talked about snapshot she posted to Instagram back in June. “Everything you could possibly feel, I was feeling during that sacred, challenging, beautiful, scary time.”
Her adorable son, James, was not yet 7 months old, her husband of 7 years, writer/director, Kyle Newman, had been gone for 5 and half months, working on a film project, and King herself was still juggling obligations to the hit CW show on which she stars. But even sleep deprived and emotional, the actress felt she had to take a stand, tagging the picture – “Breastfeeding should not be taboo- and bottle feeding should not be judged- it’s ALL fun for the whole family :)”
The new mom explains: “I had been hearing so much BS about breastfeeding (being) the only way and that if women use formula there must be something wrong with them. And it made me think about this thing within mommy-hood where there’s all this women against women stuff going on, so I posted it because I believe every woman has a right and a choice to do what she wants to do.” The immediate response from most people was passionate support, with fans reaching out to let King know that they once again related to her bold candor, but of course, there were some haters who cited King’s breastfeeding shot, along with those taken by fellow models, Miranda Kerr and Gisele Bündchen, as examples of Hollywood showboating.
“Yes, I live a very blessed life, but I come from a blue-collar family in Omaha Nebraska, and I’ve supported myself since I was 13-years-old”, she says defiantly. Then, as if any explanation is owed, King begins to justify her need for a nanny before rightfully stopping to equate this ‘help-shaming’ with the breastfeeding vs. formula argument that her Instagram post was so effectively trying to diffuse.
Alas, as she has learned from the two decades he’s spent in the biz, somebody’s always going to have an opinion. But unlike another willowy blonde fashion plate who’s ventured from acting into the domestic debate with far less success (Goop anyone?), King’s supporters most definitely outweigh her detractors, especially when it comes to her enviable style. “I used to be made fun of for the way that I dressed as a kid and ironically that’s what I’ve became noted for today”, she says. The actress favors pairing classic and eclectic pieces but admits, “I get inspired by different things every day. Like, I’ll watch Chinatown and all of a sudden be like, Oh my God, Faye Dunaway!”
And passion like this extends itself way beyond fashion for the admitted fan-girl…“I love Harry Potter and anything magical or mystical,” she declares before proudly bringing up her involvement with the Lucas Films family (King has lent her voice to the popular animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2009). She’s also a huge fan of young stars like Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham, and Emma Stone (“They’re completely authentic with what they put out there.”) And she greatly admires the Oscar-Nominated actress, Hailee Steinfeld, with who she appears in her husband’s new film, Barely Lethal (“She’s a fashionista, but also just a good girl.”)
Until then, you can catch Ms. King reprising her roles as twins, Goldie and Wendy in this month’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, albeit briefly… “It was bittersweet that I couldn’t do more than basically a scene because I’m under contract with Warner Brothers (the studio that produces her CW drama), but so great to reprise the role for the fans.” And of course there’s Heart of Dixie’s Queen Bee, Lemon Breeland, a character who actually helps to illustrate the actress’s belief in the commonality of us all. “Like Lemon, I have this side of me that has grown up to be this people pleasing, put a smile on in front of the camera, perfect person, and in many ways, that is what our industry and our world demands of us all”, she says, before quickly adding, “but ultimately I’ve learned that I have to say and do what I know in my heart is right.”
And that’s why in a business of beautiful and talented women, there’s only one Jamie King.
photography ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC www.alekandsteph.com
creative director LUIGI IRAUZQUI special thanks GLADYS TAMEZ MILLINERY
set producer JASMINE VO
styling JEFF KIM for TheOnly.Agency
makeup KATEY DENNO for BURT’S BEES at THE WALL GROUP
hair ROBERT RAMOS for robert ramos.com at CELESTINE AGENCY
manicure by CARLA KAY at CLOUTIERREMIX
special thanks to SMUDGE STUDIOS www.smudgephotostudio.com
Production Bello Media Group