One of awards season breakout stars, Ethopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga, who is up for Best Actress for her role in “Loving” at this Sunday’s Golden Globes, has already been winning on the red carpet. In addition to playing Mildred Loving opposite Joel Edgerton’s Richard Loving, Negga plays the lead opposite her real-life beau Dominic Cooper in AMC’s supernatural dark comedy “Preacher.” She’s also appeared in “World War Z” and “Warcraft.” WWD caught up with the 34-year-old on Tuesday afternoon in Palm Springs.
WWD: Why did Mildred Loving’s story resonate with you?
Ruth Negga: I was surprised that Richard and Mildred Loving’s story wasn’t more well-known. I’m drawn to stories that give voice to people who may not be the loudest voice in the room or maybe who have been forgotten by history. It’s a deeply human, humane story about love, but also what interests me is people refusing to be told who to be, who to marry, and refusing to be quieted. That’s important because I think black women in history have been quieted and their voices have maybe not been heard and their stories not told. But I think that’s changing now, isn’t it? I think Jeff’s film is part of that conversation.
WWD: You were honored last night at Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala. And you’re up for a Golden Globe on Sunday. Not a bad start to the New Year.
R.N.: It’s lovely. People are really responding to the film. I’ve been moved by that. It’s so gratifying because that’s why we do this job. The response has been overwhelmingly joyful. All this attention is so lovely for us because it is quite a quiet film, but I think we really, truly believe that this couple deserves for their story to be told and people deserve to hear it. Hopefully, this will bring more people into contact with this couple.
WWD: What do you do to prep for the red carpet?
R.N.: I have a wonderful stylist Karla Welch. She does all of that for me and I’m so grateful. She has such a creative eye and it’s original. She psychic-ly gets in tune with her clients. She knows what you want and desire and what makes you feel confident as well as comfortable. I think that’s a great feat.
WWD: What do you look for in a dress?
R.N.: Gosh … I like things that are unique and are a bit original and creative. I love Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Prada. And the Rodarte sisters are amazing.
WWD: What can you tell us about your Golden Globes dress?
R.N.: I’ve done the fitting, but I haven’t seen the finished product. It’s going to be exciting. It’s beautiful and it’s quite dramatic.
WWD: Following award season, what’s next for you?
R.N.: I don’t really have plans. I think I’ll try and search out the projects that interest me that I think I’ll be happiest doing. For the moment, I’m working on “Preacher Season Two.” I go back in a month or so. My character Tulip O’Hare is a breath of brilliantly strange, fresh air. She’s a unique, original character and I think there’s not many people like that on screen. It’s a privilege to play her.
WWD: What can you share about next season of the show?