Felicity Jones: “What my life really looked like in 2009”

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In October 2009, the first issue of Stylist was published and magazine history was made. Now, 10 years later, we look back at what Stylist cover star Felicity Jones was watching and reading in 2009 – and the one thing she regrets never doing.  

We need to talk about Chalet Girl.

The underrated romantic comedy starred Felicity Jones as a reformed skater girl who rediscovers her love of the board after she takes a job for a season at a posh ski resort. There’s hot tubs, there’s cosy jumpers and there’s lots of canoodling in the snow. Bill Nighy stars as the benevolent, champagne-swilling owner of said posh chalet. What more could you possibly want in a romcom?

In 2009, the year that Stylist was launched, Jones was about to start working on that movie. “It was one of my first lead roles,” Jones recalls. We’re talking the night after the premiere of her latest film, The Aeronauts, at the London Film Festival. Between Chalet Girl and The Aeronauts there have been nine other lead roles. One took her to a galaxy far, far away, another allowed her to step into Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s shoes and another, The Theory of Everything, led to an Oscar nomination.

But Chalet Girl was where it all started. “It’s one of those films where we all loved making it,” Jones says. “It was so much fun. Which doesn’t always translate. Normally, you can tell, but sometimes it can end up being such a rubbish film. But with this, that’s why I’m so fond of it and have amazing memories. Because looking back, I was 25 or 26 and it was such a magical time. I had so much fun going to these terrible apre ski bars and getting far too drunk in between shooting.” 

As part of our 10th birthday celebrations, Stylist is asking some of our favourite women to reflect on the year 2009 and what their life was like 10 years ago. “Happy birthday Stylist,” Jones says, smiling. “It’s so weird because 2009 is such a long time ago, we’re in a new century now, but it doesn’t feel like it,” she adds. “It doesn’t feel like that long ago.” 

10 years ago

I was about to…

I was about to go and make a film called Chalet Girl, which was a snowboarding romantic comedy. My dad used to take me and my brother dry slope skiing, which is really 90s, so I’d done a tonne of dry slope skiing with a ski plough. Then I sort of lost interest in it, whereas my brother became completely obsessive and is absolutely brilliant. But in my fantasy life I’d always wanted to do a ski season. And then I got to do it. Because I was Kim in Chalet Girl

I was reading…

I was being quite conscientious and I was reading through the classics. I read Anna Karenina and it took me about two years. And I think at that time I was reading War and Peace, too, and it took me about as long. I was perhaps reading things in between, but I was definitely making my way through it. It took me ages.

Felicity Jones in her cover photoshoot for Stylist.

I was listening to…

I was very into Emmy the Great and Adam Green. This type of music is very ‘art school’ and I had been so obsessed with it since university.

I was wearing…

I was partial to a little bootleg, so I’m sure there was some of that going on. And I was definitely wearing men’s shirts, oversized and hanging. I was obsessed with the Diane Keaton [and her love of] blazers, that was huge for me. And there was probably a little bit of a hangover of my obsession with French new wave cinema, with a few A-line skirts with little jumpers.

I was watching…

Looking back, one of the really big films for me was An Education. That was a massive moment, and I remember being so impressed with Carey [Mulligan’s] performance and really feeling like I’d love to make something like that. It felt so modern and fresh. It’s such a special film. I know the biggest movie of 2009 was Avatar, which I’ve never seen! So I wasn’t watching that.

Felicity Jones in On The Basis Of Sex.

I was talking about…

Jade Goody. I watched Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain recently and that was so moving. That was definitely quite a moment when she died. It came to symbolise the end of an era with Big Brother and her very tragic death.

I was obsessed with…

I think I was really into snowboarding for quite a lot of 2009. So much of snowboarding culture gets its lines from skateboarding culture, so I was learning to skateboard at the time, which was really fun. I was going to the skateboard park in Notting Hill under the westway. I’d always been a bit of a skater girl growing up. I loved revisiting that and looking at old 90s skate movies.

The thing I wish I’d paid more attention to…

I wish I’d lived in a different country earlier on. I think that would have been a really nice age to have spent a few years abroad. I’d have loved to have learnt French and lived in France, or Italy, and it just gets harder to take the time to do any of that now. That’s definitely something I’d have liked to have fit in at some point. You do [travel as an actor], but, stupidly, you don’t know any other languages and I feel remiss that I’m not more fluent in another language. If the stars had aligned, I’d have loved to have had a year doing that.  

The Aeronauts is in cinemas on 8 November.

Images: Getty, Stylist, On The Basis Of Sex

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.