Why did you decide to launchTwoHalves with your husband Josh?
Where to begin? My husband and I launched a blog just over a year ago and it was really fun working together. Both of us have had such a strong interest in fashion and it seemed to make sense to do that together. We’ve both been asked to do design collaborations in the past and Josh had his own streetwear company for a few years. We wanted to close the chapter on his store and re-launch and rebrand under a new title, with a new esthetic that is a mismatch of both our aesthetics and passions. Mine is that of a California bohemian rocker while Josh’s is London-street punk rocker. That’s how we collaborated as far as the design was concerned. We launched our debut collection the second week of July of this year and it’s been going really well. We sell on our e-commerce site, but we’re also in a couple stores in LA and just now in Toronto.
Who are some of your own fashion influences?
Steven Tyler is one of my biggest style inspirations. What Vivienne Westwood did for the 80s with the Sex Pistols was great. As far as women, I live in LA and I try to stay on top of the ‘blogger scene’. Girls who can take those really heavy rocker influences and dilute them into their own personal style are the girls I admire.
How or when did you decide to take a break from acting and move towards fashion?
I was in Japan when the big earthquake struck and it kind of refreshed my perspective. I interned at Fashion Television in Toronto before I began working on 90210. My agents wanted me to take on movie roles during hiatuses, but I was shooting for eight or nine months and just wanted a break. I wanted to do something else with my time, so I interned. After Teen Vogue in 2011, I interned at What Goes Around Comes Around, which is a high-end vintage store in LA. It gave me a first-hand look at the design process and I had never explored that personally before. When the show ended it was kind of a kick in the ass. I could continue what I was doing and not live my creative potential to the fullest or I could take a big risk.
How do you think you’ve evolved since Degrassi?
Well, my style has evolved immensely. When I was on Degrassi, I think I was about 14 years old and had just discovered my first flea market. I came home with all this crazy shit and I definitely looked unique. When I was younger I loved wearing things that you would never see on anyone else. I still love those weird pieces, but I balance them out with basics and timeless staples. I’ve refined myself since then, but I’m still a sucker for a flea market.
As far as personally, I don’t even know where to begin. I was thrown into this world at such a young age. I was expected to go to work by myself, have responsibilities, interact with adults and basically act like an adult. On 90210, we were still such young, fresh faces, the people behind the show really just wanted to do whatever they wanted with us so I had to learn to grab on to the values my mom raised me with and hold on for dear life. I went in as a young, boisterous girl, in for the ride of her life, and I came out a married woman who doesn’t get her feathers easily ruffled.
I interned at Fashion Television not too long after you did and I remember being told that you were still there when you got the role on 90210.
I almost didn’t audition for 90210 because I was given the opportunity to host my first segment on Fashion Television. When my agent told me to come in and make a tape for 90210 I was like ‘Whatever dude.’ I didn’t want to waste my time. The opportunity at FT was here and now, I didn’t want to jeopardize it. I just happened to finish filming that segment early and had time to get a tape together. The next day I got a call asking me to fly down to LA for a screen test. Then I heard nothing for about a month. So I continued interning at FT and didn’t even think about it. I thought it was dead. I finally got a call while I was at home alone, I had this life-changing news and there was no one around to share it with! But I wasn’t leaving for LA just yet, so I went to work the next day. I got there early, you know the drill, to hand out mail and put out the newspapers. All the bosses walked in and were like ‘what the fuck are you doing here?!’ It was already all over the internet and everyone knew. I was just like, ‘I don’t know, I’m still interning.’ It turned out to be the perfect hideout. The press, that I didn’t even know existed, were trying to hunt me down. They couldn’t find me and there I was doing my intern duties, organizing tapes and whatnot. It was hilarious.
When we met, you were back at FT filming a fashion short film. Is that something you see yourself doing again?
I would love to. I’ve done a few music videos since then. I directed a video for Cassie Steele, one for my husband and a couple others. It’s a big undertaking. I feel like the next one I would want to direct…something with dialog, because that’s not something I’ve ever done. It adds a whole other layer and would be a challenge.
You mentioned that you like to wear clothes that you don’t see on anyone else, which makes me want to mention your black wedding dress. Why did you choose it?
When I started shopping I had a very specific image in my head of what I wanted. I tried on a handful of beautiful dresses and while I felt pretty, I didn’t feel like myself. I looked into Vera Wang, because that’s just what you do when you’re looking for a wedding dress and she had just done a collection of all red and black dresses. I saw one and just knew that it was the one. I tried it on and sent my mom a photo and she was like ‘That’s it! Walk out right now with it.” It was quick and painless.
In 2009, you were in People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People issue in a photo where you had no makeup on whatsoever. Is that when you feel most beautiful?
I’m not going to lie to you: no, I really don’t. It is when my husband thinks I look the most beautiful, though. But I feel most beautiful with a lot of black eyeliner on. I love super-smoked-out eyes and that whole rocker chick thing. The more black or brown eye shadow I can pile on without looking too crazy, the better. He hates it. Every time we go out, without fail, he’ll say, ‘You look really good, but just maybe wash your face.’ I wish I had the balls to rock the fresh-out-of-bed look on red carpets.
What’s coming up for you?
Right now we’re hustling on this store stuff. We do everything ourselves from shooting the lookbook and the product shots to everything on the website. At the moment we’re designing the next mini collection and hoping to get it ready for the fall/holiday time. We’re doing more customized basics and some high/low jewelry.
I love how hands-on you are with your label.
It’s the only thing that feels right. Once you get a little bit of celebrity, people want you to attach your name to stuff. For me, fashion is something that’s always been so close to my heart. I could never just hand over my name and let someone else have control. The only way this felt right was with complete control, shared with my partner in crime. It doesn’t get better than that.