Wonderland.

KOTA

Starring in the latest X-Men flick, Dark Phoenix, Kota Eberhardt is the burgeoning actor to know in the Summer 19 issue.

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue black suit

Jacket and pants JIL SANDER. Bra, earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN, Shoes DORATEYMUR

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue black suit
Jacket and pants JIL SANDER. Bra, earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN, Shoes DORATEYMUR

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the issue now.

Believe it or not, the transition from medicine student to movie star in one of this year’s most hyped motion pictures was a logical one for Kota Eberhardt. During her time at medical school, the now-actor was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and increasingly began to study holistic, “naturopathic” healing methods, finding she favoured the intensely introspective studies of the human body and soul over the more traditional pharmaceutical options that made up the bulk of her studies. “That changed my trajectory,” the 29-year-old explains. “I started getting really curious and inquisitive about the human body and the human experience.”

Eberhardt’s fascination continued at Howard University, the esteemed, historically black Washington institution once home to the likes of author Toni Morrison, actor Chadwick Boseman and Presidential hopeful, Kamala Harris. There, Eberhardt found herself naturally drawn towards the drama kids, despite a lack of familial interest in the subject. “I spent about half my life growing up in a pretty tumultuous environment,” she says. “Sheer experience, trauma, adversity, poverty, watching addiction first hand… Just things that have happened in my life I draw upon as experiences.” Treating her craft as a cathartic release in such a way has fast- tracked her through the industry with little to no formal training; her rejection of convention ever apparent. “For me, acting is just about being available,” she reasons. “If you relinquish and let go of something, but you can still emotionally revisit it… that is power. If you can visit it but it doesn’t consume you, you aren’t contained, you commit your face off every day – that’s acting to me.”

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue brown outfit
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue birds eye
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue upside down

(LEFT) Coat and dress BOTTEGA VENETA. Top and skirt No21. Necklace CARTIER. Shoes CALVIN LUO
(MIDDLE) Coat LINDER. Jacket and pants FRAME. Sunglasses STYLIST’S OWN. Earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN. Bag CALVIN LUO. Boots DORATEYMUR
(RIGHT) Jacket, skirt, tights and shoes CALVIN LUO

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue brown outfit
Coat and dress BOTTEGA VENETA. Top and skirt No21. Necklace CARTIER. Shoes CALVIN LUO
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue birds eye
(MIDDLE) Coat LINDER. Jacket and pants FRAME. Sunglasses STYLIST’S OWN. Earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN. Bag CALVIN LUO. Boots DORATEYMUR
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue upside down
Jacket, skirt, tights and shoes CALVIN LUO

Eberhardt has a witchy quality, speaking as if she’s been here before, something I’m not surprised she’s been told in the past, most recently regarding her casting as the villainous, immortal Selene in Marvel’s upcoming X-Men movie, Dark Phoenix. “It makes total sense that I play someone who’s very old and yet very young,” she explains cryptically, laughing. “I’ve actually been told that’s one of the reasons why I was cast: I’m a very old soul, but I have this youthful exterior.” This dichotomy presents itself often as we talk about Eberhardt’s character in the film, the actor’s acute analytics (she talks at length about Selene’s “multi-dimensionality”, which I have to Google afterwards) intersperse with bouts of nerdy, child-like enthusiasm for the fantastical nature of her subject (“she’s a psychic vampire, she has superhuman strength, she can mind wipe, she has telekinesis which means she can create fire, she has such a great matter, psycho-manipulation, super cool!”) The film sees Eberhardt face off against Sophie Turner and the X-Men, though the actor is not wholly convinced as to the character’s evil nature, insisting that “she’s multi-faceted, she’s not necessarily just known as a villain.”

The popularity of Marvel films is often linked with the luxury of an escape from the real world, so it’s surprising when Eberhardt breaks down the parallels between the film and real life, rather than the differences. “[These films] are mirrors to the real world, it’s just done in a safe environment. I don’t know if people really want to escape as much as they want to get in touch with themselves, and the world around them,” she explains in a characteristically considered manner. “What these shows do, why there’s this huge recursion is because it’s a safe film for people to talk about real concepts, real people and real problems in a digestible, non-diluted way. That’s a very clear allegory to what’s happening in the real world. You want to make a statement? You want to say something? Star some dragons in it.”

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue floor pose

Jacket, skirt, tights and shoes CALVIN LUO

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue floor pose
Jacket, skirt, tights and shoes CALVIN LUO

Still in the genesis of her career, Eberhardt is plotting a careful path through the inevitable fame that films like Dark Phoenix will bring. “I keep it lowkey,” she says, “I tried to stay surrounded by people who help behind the fame.” This is in reference to her team, endearingly nicknamed her “mafia”. She hasn’t yet decided how she will balance her public and private lives, especially in recognition of the power that a young black woman with a platform can have as a catalyst of change. “We need a flag,” she says, “we need people who are willing to lead our generation, who are willing to ask difficult questions, and that means that when you become a public figure and gain a global platform, people are going to become interested in you as a person and your personal life.” You see? Witchy. Eberhardt exists in a philosophical state, seeing her own burgeoning fame as a constituent part of a much bigger cycle. “I have no idea [what’s next],” she says breezily, “and I think that that’s the most exciting thing. But with the force like the one that I have behind me, I can only imagine there’s golden things to come. I’ve got the mafia! I’ve got the swat team. I’m ready to take on the world.”

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue beige outfit
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue orange outfit

(LEFT) Dress ACNE STUDIOS. Necklace CARTIER. Shoes DORATEYMUR
(RIGHT) Jacket, shirt, skirt, earrings and boots BALENCIAGA

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue beige outfit
Dress ACNE STUDIOS. Necklace CARTIER. Shoes DORATEYMUR
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue orange outfit
Jacket, shirt, skirt, earrings and boots BALENCIAGA
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue tulle
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue floor

(LEFT) Dress SIES MARJAN. Earring and bracelet CARTIER. Shoes DORATEYMUR
(RIGHT) Jacket and pants JIL SANDER. Bra, earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN. Shoes DORATEYMUR

X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue tulle
Dress SIES MARJAN. Earring and bracelet CARTIER. Shoes DORATEYMUR
X-Men Dark Phoenix actor Kota Eberhardt in Wonderland Summer 19 issue floor
Jacket and pants JIL SANDER. Bra, earring and necklace KOTA’S OWN. Shoes DORATEYMUR
Photography
Guillaume Roemaet
Fashion
Scott Shapiro
Hair
Alice Labrandon at Cotter Barber
Makeup
eorgi Sandev at Forward Artists using MAC Cosmetics
Production
Federica Barletta
Photo assistants
Kevin Drelon and Felix Cadieu
Fashion assistant
Amber Alston
KOTA