The Old Guard's KiKi Layne talks about wearing bantu knots with custom Dior “Fashion is an opportunity to show everyone that Black girls belong in these places”

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As The Old Guard trends on Netflix, its star KiKi Layne talks exclusivesly to Stylist about the revoluationary power of fashion. 

There is one film everyone is talking about right now: The Old Guard on Netflix. The female-centred action film tells the story of a group of mercenaries who never die. Not only is it fun and fierce, it’s changing who traditionally gets to be part of blockbusting action films. It’s directed by the brilliant Gina Prince-Bythewood, has a gay romance, and is fronted by two female actors Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne. We speak to KiKi Layne in this week’s issue of Stylist, and you can download the interview on the App Store and on Google Play.  

Kiki Layne plays Nile a US marine who discovers she is one of an elite group of immortal soldiers and is recruited to the team as they are pursued by a pharmaceutical company who want to harvest their DNA. Layne is one of the most exciting actors working in Hollywood. She made her name in the gorgeous If Beale Street Could Talk directed by Barry Jenkins about two young people in love and torn apart by a false accusation, appeared in Native Son about a young man living in poverty and later this year will star in the follow up to the cult 1988 film Coming 2 America

Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne in The Old Guard

It’s not just her acting pedigree that has people talking. On the red carpet, Layne is bold, fun and unapologetic. She dresses with deliberation. At the 2019 Met Gala – her first – she was resplendent in head to toe Gucci. And she has a lot to say about how she uses fashion to express herself.

“Fashion is another opportunity for me to break through boundaries and to be seen wearing things. It’s not lost on me to have the ability to be wearing custom Dior or Gucci, with my box braids or my bantu knots,” she tells Stylist. “It’s another opportunity to show that Black girls belong in these places and that what I naturally bring as a Black girl belongs as well. The texture my hair, my skin tone; it does work, you don’t have to change. But historically we’ve seen fashion try to change that: straighten your hair, thrown on a super straight silky wig, lighten your skin tone.”

KiKi Layne at the Met Gala, 2019
KiKi Layne at the Met Gala, 2019

She goes on to say: “I like to be a part of the conversation that shows that is completely unnecessary and these brands need to expand their horizons of what does a Gucci girl or a Dior girl or Chanel girl look like? It can reflect me with my multi-coloured braids, and my chocolate skin.”

Kiki Layne knows fashion’s power and how it can lift people up. And with that in mind what are the brands she’s particularly excited about right now? “I just got super excited about Fe Noel, I’m like: I need all of that! The colours: I love how vibrant it is. I love Pyer Moss - everything that Kerby [Jean-Raymond, the founder of the brand] is doing over there is so good. Christopher John Rogers is great too.”

To read Kiki Layne’s interview download Stylist magazine on the App Store or Google Play. Pricing for our digital magazine starts at just 99p for a single issue, or £21.99 for a full year’s subscription –that’s less than 50p a week.

The Old Guard is on Netflix now 

Images: Getty, Netflix 

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