Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
The Original Vamp
Getting Intimate with True Blood’s Jessica Clark
words by @FaleneNurse
pictures by ME
If Jessica Clark enters a crowded room—the crowded room tends to take notice.
When Jessica Clark (aka Lilith) enters that room, all 5ft11 of her drenched in blood (and nothing else), fully fanged with a smirk that sats “don’t run dear you’re already dead” the room comes to an immediate halt. There are two very good reasons for this—captivation and a foreboding sense of doom. Something in the way she walks, talks and even smiles (as Lilith) is unnerving, in the same way as “The Shining.” A movie she wouldn’t be that out of place in. The former supermodel is stunning as a creature superior to mere mortals in every way, with her intoxicating mix of beauty and dread. As the mother of all vampires she’s also convincingly nailed the delivery of that uneasy feeling, straight to your gut! A mix that has been working a treat for HBOs “True Blood” since her show stopping entrance in Season 5. I don’t think another actress could have quite pulled it off as well (that’s not a pun boys).
One thing is for sure Jessica is very comfortable in her own skin, and not just for embracing full frontal nudity on the bloodsucking soap opera. Her voice is husky and low, with an ever so slight transatlantic drawl privy only to fashion models and jet-setters. Her intelligence and calm, are charming yet strangely… relaxing. Like sipping warm whole milk or soaking in a piping hot bath. For a woman who is dangerously good looking, her presence is rather cozy. So she’s either an evil genius, or just a genuinely chill gal from London—I’m leaning towards the latter. We chatted about her recent Vogue cover, “True Blood,” her dog’s name that might be mistaken for an alcoholic beverage; and why in the next life she’d be quite happy to come back as a couch. Or if all else fails a horse riding archeologist, she’s not fussy.
I give you the Goddess Lilith (or Jessica, let’s be honest they both fit quite well), drum role please.
Cocktail of choice?
Nice. Can you make a good ‘un?
I actually can. Pretty good, yeah.
My lil man, Patron. It’s not just a good Tequila you know, he’s the boss. A Pomeranian I’ve had since he was 9 months and now he’s 10. Which means I must be an adult now. Oh no! (she laughs).
If you could be any vampire from "Nosferatu" to "The Lost Boys," who would you be?
Ah, you just said it "The Lost Boys"! I loved that movie. I was obsessed, obsessed, obsessed! (The woman even screeches elegantly, sigh.) If I wasn’t Lilith, I’d be a Lost Boy, definitely.
Back in the day I waited for that at the video store!
Can I tell you we were just talking about this, we were doing a night shoot and me and three girls on the crew were chatting about "The Lost Boys." The reaction, everyone LOVES that movie. Then we Googled it and started YouTubing clips.
(I just have to pause a minute to let the #Trubies out there soak that in. Lilith, talking about “Lost Boys” on the set of “True Blood,” as the crew Googles and YouTubes clips. Did your mind just melt?)
It’s like a cult!
But it STILL holds up today, the soundtrack, the cinematography. Everything!
I nerded out on Alex Winter… it was bad.
Shut up! (The Londoner comes out stronger in her accent. Love it!)
Did you turn into a total fan girl?
Seriously though, he just happened to be in two cult classics. As every other actor on the planet curses him (laughing wildly). I feel like a complete underachiever all of sudden. No he’s far too cool for my liking, it’s not fair is it? (chortling a little more).
(You gotta love this woman, on one of the most popular shows on HBO, having graced the pages of Vogue, Trace, Lucky, Allure and Maxim, yet she still has the same British humor as my mates back home. If they too were blessed by the Cheekbone Genie. )
LA or NYC?
I first came yo NY for modeling – it’s a much easier Visa to get then an actress. I saw your 917 number and I thought of NYC, I loved it. I was there for a long time, I did all the craziness; the nightlife, fashion, traveling. I love LA equally and it’s better for me to be here now for work.
How old were you when you first to NY?
I was 16 I think, I had lived in Paris before that. In some unlikely ways, modeling provides good training for leaving the nest. You have to be super self-sufficient, comfortable being by yourself —a lot. I had it easier than most, some start at 13. I remember landing, taking a cab, and picking up a key that let me into this model flat. Hit my bed and didn’t wake up until the next day, my 1st day in the Big Apple and I had to head to the agency. No idea where it even was (the memory of that makes her laugh fondly), I was working off the A to Z systems from London!
OK Usher’sBUUUURRRRRNNNN! That video (technically you) got a LOT of attention.
Which is quite funny because initially I didn’t really want to do it. I’m comfortable with nudity, but I thought it was going to be booty dancing and invasive camera angles. I’m not so good with that. Instead it was a stylized mini movie shot in Frank Sinatra’s old house, which was really very cool. The pool scene was shot in the middle of the night, in the rain and it was FREEZING!! Then of course there were the flame throwers! (that throaty laugh escapes again). A LOT of fun, but crazy. That skimpy swimsuit kept coming off, the tape didn’t work in the water. I loved the final results though, I think it won an award. I’m proud of that video.
You have to be super athletic, to continually dive into a pool?
Quite, I like a good challenge though, roles that are more active and less passive. Can you imagine if they picked someone who couldn’t? Or just wasn’t a strong swimmer? I wondered that as no one asked that diving be a prerequisite, to be honest that wasn’t mentioned at the casting at all.
Did a more athletic mindset help protect you from any modeling pitfalls?
Not really, when I stopped modeling I had to retrain my brain. Now I’m an avid runner now, which helped tremendously. (She was recently featured in Runner’s World and is currently training for her next marathon.) I’m more conscientious about healthy foods and lifestyle now. In that life if you are lucky and work a lot, you travel 150 days of the year. Good nutrition isn’t a priority, also there’s the reality of being a teenager. In some respects it’s a similar timeline to an athlete, your career starts very young and then tapers off as your friends are starting to get serious in their jobs. Not to play the violins by any means, but it’s definitely a thing to learn. To be constantly assessed as part of the job.
For this one too?
Truthfully, regardless of what people think, acting really isn’t as rigid. In fashion, you have to be “that size” or you can’t work. Period. With acting there are other things to bring to the table – there’s wiggle room. You can have an athletic physique, toned arms, have hips, a good bum! (giggling again). They don’t want any definition in fashion, they prefer the skinny-fat thing if you know what I mean. You start at 15 and by 21 you develop into a woman, a bit of butt action going on. I know I have some butt action going on, which is a good thing in my book.
Especially in scenes where you are nekid!
Right. Well, yes.
I like Lilith because I believe she could do real damage. She could destroy an entire village!!
I love that about her, so that’s a huge compliment, that’s why I really wanted the role. Her nudity is primeval as opposed to titillating. Even when she’s sexual, she’s predatory. I’m really glad they allow me to bring that to the table, it’s frustrating when you have to be sexy or badass, but you can’t be both.
Yeah, for a while there were no more Ripleys in the movies.
Ripley is iconic, one word, one name, from 20 years ago and everyone knows– that says something. I’m getting on my feminist soapbox now. To me really "kicking ass" and making it believable, is sexy.
We are a feminist soapbox, so we encourage that!
I get the fantasy, the marketing and business aspect too, but I also think that there are some super powerful women on TV right now and audiences love it. "Game of Thrones" women have what I like to call bad-assery and intellect. "Spartacus" women are sexual beings, but also political beasts! They are not there to please, which I think is important, clearly I’m not prudish. I mean I’m on “True Blood” and I’m naked – a lot (the unabashed laughter returns).
But it’s equal opportunity nekidness on that show. Which is great!
That’s the most reassuring part, everyone has done it before. So they are very supportive, they know the deal and everyone is super professional. Besides the ladies (and some of the fellas), need their eye-candy too.
Also I like the diversity of “True Blood” in general. Look at Lafayette, a gay man who wears eyeliner and will kick your arse! No room for stereotypes, fully developed and realized characters only thanks.
I’m very curious, due to your former profession, was the MIMP shoot any different for you?
Well I’m use to being photographed, but being photographed as a model isn’t… yourself. With MIMP it’s just you. That had a completely different feel, much more intimate, revealing… but personality wise. I have to get use to doing that.
I’m gonna ask some random questions.
Oh God, I’m going to seem very uncool right now.
What makes you swoon?
Ha hah ha swoon huh? When that bit at the back of your neck is kissed, or the breath just touches upon it. When the one I love does that, that’ll do it. Goosebumps every time.
Or a nice smile maybe?
Nah to swoon you gotta work a bit harder for that (laughs).
Go to comfy clothes?
Super soft jersey tank and underwear, nothing else. I live in that, I can wonder around house all day. That’s when I know my day is done. Also I’m really into blankets. I’m one of those nesty-types. I can never just sit on a couch, I always curl up into them.
Like a cat! Go to outfit when going out?
Great pair of high heels, jeans and a motorcycle jacket. It goes across the board, downtown or a posh event.
The worst chat up line of your life?
I’ve had a few, there’s that old cheesy classic, did it hurt? You know when you fell from heaven haha ha. That one’s an oldie but a goodie.
How about “Nice legs, when do they open?”
God that’s awful! (she guffaws)
What you listening to these days?
If I’m cooking Lana Del Ray. (She cooks too, this IS unfair!!) If I’m running, Jay-Z I like the energy of hip-hop when running. I’m training at the moment, so I’m listening to a lot of hip-hop.
You were recently on the cover of Vogue. Did it feel like a milestone?
There isn’t a woman that wouldn’t be thrilled to be on the cover of Vogue, right? So er yeah (she’s laughing). There are certain titles, that are just… glamorous. When I was little Vogue was escapism from working class life. Also it’s highly regarded, so if there’s an opportunity to embrace diversity on the cover - it’s a wonderful opportunity. All little girls should be able to grow up and see women that look like them being celebrated in the media, as fashion forward, smart and progressive. So it was a big deal to me and it was also very humbling. A very cool thing to look back on in your life history.
And of course… IT’S VOGUE!
Yeah there’s that too (her giggles are husky and warm like her voice).
You are between LA and NY?
I go back and forth but LA is my base, I need to go back to London for a bit, it’s my home town. I love to travel, but not insanely like I use to. That’s one of the pleasures of acting, you can appreciate the cities you visit a bit more. No packing one “cold clothing” suitcase and one “hot weather” case, ready to jump on the next flight.
In the next life what will you be?
A couch hah ha or the right blanket! If that doesn’t work out a female Indiana Jones, an archeologist who also rides horses. Yeah that’ll do it.
A horse riding archeologist, that is specific. Brilliant!
Yes if you could arrange that, that would be GREAT thanks!
True Blood Season 6 returns on Sunday June 16th on HBO at 9/10 p.m ET/PT.