COVER STORY: JEMIMA KIRKE IN HER OWN WORDS

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Story + CD // Koko Ntuen

 Photos // Eric T. White

Styling // Nicholas Centofanti

Makeup // Yumi Mori

Hair // Andrew Chen 

PA // Sam Berlin

When Jemima Kirke was younger she thought she might be a teacher, “Because teachers were mean, and I was going to be a nice teacher,” she says in her signature citizen of the world accent.

It turns out Jemima would have a hand in the education of “cool” to millions across the world inspired by her effervescent noir on and off screen. Most known for being the cool girls’, cool girl, Kirke’s persona, and that of Jessa her critically acclaimed character on Girls, were often been blurred in a way that was hard to tell them apart.  Almost ten years the first and foremost artist said to Vulture, “I do notice that it’s there and I sometimes try to explain that away and explain that it’s not the case.”

Her on-screen debut was a bohemian blaze of glory but has since broken free of that typecast as evident in her darling performances in her most recent roles in Sex Education, Conversations with Friends, and the thrilling City on Fire. Each additional role has given us the sense of a  Jemima who is versatile and extremely watchable.

Her “je ne sais quoi” is a nod to Jane Birken à la sophisticated chaos— the kind that leaves you bewildered but intrigued.  It helps that she is a wild beauty, capable of playing complicated roles that feel like Fiona Apple songs.  Acting is what first gave Kirke a voice, but the first time she felt her voice mattered was when she had kids.

Her own childhood was voiced by a British rock and roll father and a fashion industry maven mother. She’s the middle of the Kirke sisters, a trio all made up of super beautiful and revered women in their own right. Fellow LADYGUNN cover girl Lola and musician and doula Domino. It seems like an idyllic way to be brought into the world but Kirke remains meta-self-aware of how she might come across a child of such DNA. 

 “Well, I’m terrible at relationships, I spend too much money, I’m selfish, manipulative, self-blaming, untrusting, reactive, and have a proclivity to isolate myself but I have good manners.”

That’s the cynical British side speaking. The half of her from across the pond that guides certain sensibilities. “Certain words like “trauma, trigger, inner child, process, etc. make me cringe. But I have lived in the US for a long time and will accept these words used sparingly.”

Kirke has time and time again been crowned a favorite of the It Girls. However, her first idea of cool, growing up in New York, didn’t come from rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous— it came from a girl named Lilly Wheelwright. “She was a magnetic and bold-faced girl at my high school. She had great hair, amazing t-shirts, and a gold tooth. She had great mix tapes. She smiled a lot and spoke softly,” Jemima reminisces.

In her own words, Jemima gives us an inside peak to some of the most challenging and rewarding things in life. Take notes!

Jemima on artistry-

If you’re making something that the majority of audiences like, you’re off the mark by a long shot. I’m not the first person to express this but it’s something that’s on my mind. Make your own work now. Don’t stop. It’ll pay off one day. You might be dead. But your grandchildren will be loaded.

Jemima on motherhood-

Breaks my heart open every day. 

Also, if you’re a single mother, don’t get sick. Ever.

Jemima on love-

Beware of falling in love. The further you fall the harder it is to climb out.

Jemima on books-

Hard to read since Instagram.

Jemima on friends-

You can have as many or as few as you want. Sometimes we don’t want any so we can say we don’t have any. 

Jemima on New York-

Better than LA. Although there’s too much pressure to finish your projects. And if you can’t finish them, I suggest you move to LA. 

Jemima on sisters-

Having two is nice because when one of them is a nightmare, you can always go to the other one.

Jemima on sex-

It’s all in the specifics. But my rule of thumb is, to leave your “skills” at the door.

Jemima on firsts-

Don’t put too much importance on them. If you think you have a good story, tell us, but make it better.

Jemima on politics-

Don’t steal other people’s ideas. 

Jemima on celebrity-

Nice work if you can get it (without committing a heinous crime.) 

Jemima on womanhood-

I’d rather be a woman than a child or a man.

Jemima on what most people don’t know about her-

I’m extremely organized. I label things. I have a long to-do list and each day I make a small to-do list out of that list. I color code. I highlight. I check things off. I drive everywhere. I went to space camp. I exercise 4x/week for 20 mins but only work out my ass. I wrote my college thesis on 1930s Hollywood comedy. I hate texting and have been trying to find a way to turn off the feature for a long time now. I write every single morning and have 50+ diaries. I use a handwritten calendar. I listen to sleep sounds when falling asleep and also find them highly erotic. I clean my outdoor trash cans every week. I have my AC filter cleaned once a month. I hate to shower. I’m extremely vigilant and exacting. I remember what people say. It throws me off and confuses me when people aren’t consistent. My family calls me the “public prosecutor.” Alex used to call me “the stenographer.” Lovingly of course.

Jemima on her tombstone-

“Even in death, I feel triggered.”

“Currently working on myself.”

“Here lies Jemima, finally practicing self-care.”

“God bless Jemima’s inner child. Died age 7, 11 and 18”

“Codependent No More.”

“No longer processing. ”

“Between therapists.”

“Cancelled.”

COAT. Marc Jacbos. SHOES. Marc Jacobs
DRESS. LaPointe SHOES. Acne Studios

DRESS. Genny SHOES. Bevza (Mode World)

TRENCH. Vatanika (LIT PR) BODYSUIT. Marc Jacobs SHOES. Camper (Kaleidoscope PR)

BLAZER. Gestuz (LIT PR) TOP. Interior (Lindsey Media). PANTS. Gestuz (LIT PR). EARRINGS. Alison Lou (MVPR) RINGS. Agmes (Mode world), Celeste Starre (Yaya PR), Acchitto (Yaya PR), SHOES. Casadei (Purple PR)

DRESS. Acne Studios. SHOES. Puppets & Puppets. EARRINGS. Elizabeth Hooper (Mode world). RINGS. Agmes (Mode world), Jocvana Djuric (Yaya PR)

 

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