"I've had a very exciting year with so many new experiences, so many firsts," says 2015's 'it' girl. Alicia Vikander, from Scandinavia, has had a breakout year nailing diverse performances in ways that make her almost unrecognizable in each role. When I interviewed her at the beginning of the year she was about to embark on a whirlwind tour for The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, and The Danish Girl. This week, the Swedish daughter of a stage actress and psychiatrist, was taking a brief sojourn from shooting Bourne and declared herself full of curiosity at the upcoming award season. "It's been nerve racking," she admitted, "Just a whirlwind, that's left me very thrilled."
With no sign of diva behavior, and despite the attention she's getting, the diminutive brunette is quietly assured. "I think you get what you want when you are true to yourself and speak up about what you feel. I try to be as open and honest as I can and trust that relaying what you want comes through that."
Having left home to study ballet at the age of 15, the husky voiced twenty-seven year old isn't phased by the word, 'no.' "If it's about someone else, and a personal true answer, you respect that, but if it's about me, and no one else is in the equation, just another's thought about me, I have another round of thinking about it, is their 'no' really for me or not."
"I'm not up for women to be exposed as sexual objects." She continues, her voice like honey covered gravel, "I've never been put in that position." But she's aware that the way women are portrayed in media sends a message to young girls. "It's hard. When I was a young teenager and bought magazines, I'd look at those photos and think that was the only reality. I'm still new to publicity, but I'm lucky because I am past 20 and have had a chance to mature." Yet even as an actress, she has been blown away to see a reality of what goes into a photo shoot. "It's all about the lighting and post production of photos." She explains. "When I step out on the carpet, it's after three hours of somebody doing my make up and hair and even I can be surprised at how good and professional they are," She laughs. "I mean right now I am in my sneakers and my woolen knitted sweater and a pair of track pants and they never put that on the cover and I sometimes wish they would, but they never do."
The other side of this new life she is living is the tutelage that goes into prepping for a role. "Each director is different, some like rehearsal, some don't, so you have to be as prepared as you can when you get to a set. For The Danish Girl, I had to do a painting course for four weeks, and for another film I had to learn to do ice hockey," her voice climbs the scales with incredulous delight. "But I loved the painting course, finding her strength, and confidence in the way she moved. I got to look at some very difficult paintings and got inspiration. I met with the transgender communities. Each role is different. I'm open to very different ways of approaching a character. I think the more the merrier."
One thing that doesn't make her merry is the pay disparity between genders. "It's a fact we are paid less, and yes we still have far to go but it's changing," She insists optimistically. We still have so far to change but as with anything in society, it all starts with bringing information and awareness." And just in case you thought she was placid on that point, she adds with confident assurance, "My agents are totally up for equal pay."