Wonderland.

JORDAN KRISTINE SEAMON

Ever wondered what it would be like to call Kid Cudi your dad and Chloë Sevigny your neighbour? This We Are Who We Are star can tell you all about it…

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland

Coat ESCADA, boots JIMMY CHOO, gloves A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland
Coat ESCADA, boots JIMMY CHOO, gloves A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

Taken from the Autumn 2020 issue. Order your copy now.

There’s nothing better than a long hot summer, right? If there was, the sun would definitely stick around a bit longer in the winter, and Girls Aloud would’ve penned their 2005 smash hit about another season. It’s the type of thing people romanticise in novels, design for in cruise shows and even construct entire TV shows about. Of course, they don’t (or are yet to) write scenes about heatwave-induced, sweaty Zoom calls with the stars of these shows, but that’s a conversation for another time.

If there was anyone better suited to such a climate than a writer stuck in stuffy east London, it’s Jordan Kristine Seamon, the actor and soon-to-be breakout star of Luca Guadagnino’s latest directorial feat, We Are Who We Are. It’s actually supposed to be her day off, but for me she made an exception. She appears on screen boasting bubblegum pink hair and exceptionally prominent cheek bones, but not before her beaming, visor-clad mum scopes out the scene before her.

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pool

All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pool
All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

Joining us from her bedroom in sunny Atlanta, home to Usher and arguably the best franchise of The Real Housewives, Seamon is as cool as a cucumber, positive that we’ve put the worst of lockdown behind us. She moved to the city a few years back to attend boarding school, leaving both her parents and the streets of Philadelphia behind for her first taste of independence. “We were so used to being next to one another that we kind of got a little tired,” Seamon says of her mother, though I’m glad to see the two still can’t be separated.

Like all of us, Seamon dreamed of stardom from an early age, setting up the foundations for a fruitful career by joining local youth troops and throwing herself into as many musical theatre productions as she could. “I want to say I was like six or seven when I told my parents I wanted to be an entertainer,” she explains. “All the other kids were talking about being like ballerinas and astronauts. And I was like, ‘Well, I can do all of that and more. I’m an actor.’”

At the time of our call, it’s been exactly two weeks since the show’s dreamy trailer dropped online and set Twitter ablaze, offering a first glimpse into the sandy-hued, Blood Orange-soundtracked world that’s been Seamon’s life for the past year. Set in the barracks of a US army base, the show is a love letter to Italy and the complexities of youth, touching on sexuality, gender, power and religion all under the Venetian sun.

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Fringe

(LEFT) Top and earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY, dress PARKER, boots SAM ELDEMAN (RIGHT) Dress by DRESS THE POPULATION, boots CATHERINE MALANDRINO, earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY

Top and earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY, dress PARKER, boots SAM ELDEMAN Dress by DRESS THE POPULATION, boots CATHERINE MALANDRINO, earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY
Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Fringe

Immediately, Seamon found herself drawn to Caitlin, the show’s aloof yet well-meaning protagonist. “They described her as a really cool girl,” she tells me, connecting with this idea of the adventurous spirit, and the duality of Caitlin’s existence. She recites poetry by D.H. Lawrence, totes rifles with her dad, pies off boys with a piercing stare that would break the toughest of hard nuts, and sometimes doesn’t go by she at all. “The idea of how she was different than most young people, I had experienced some of that,” Seamon says. “Her personality was one that I really admired.”

To prepare for the role, the actor spent months psychoanalysing her friends, learning their stories from birth to adolescence and how their individual experiences have shaped them. She then took to the video sharing mecca that is YouTube, and poured over countless clips on youth culture (though I’m unsure if she ever unearthed the British docu-gem that is Educating Yorkshire), followed by a tonne of brutal workout sessions that would manifest in Caitlin’s agile exterior. This is actually the only place Seamon thinks the two differ. “She’s really tough, and I’m just a big lazy boat,” she giggles. Did I mention she spent four months learning Italian too?

Taking to the Italian countryside like duck to water, or a group of bulky-bagged tourists to the middle of a busy pavement, Seamon became totally enamoured by her new surroundings, glossing over as she describes the mesmerising canals of Chioggia or the rural charm of Bagnoli di Sopra. “I loved the way everything looked. The countryside where we stayed was always so beautiful and the people always super fun,” she effuses, “it felt like the sun was right there, you could see every single colour — so beautiful.”

But not even all the sun in the world can cure the homesick blues, which hit Seamon like a ton of bricks on her birthday back in November. “I’m super thankful — I always want to emphasise that — but it was definitely hard, this being my first big film project [..] You just want to be with family sometimes,” she explains. “It definitely took a toll on me, and it did help, ‘cause in that episode Caitlin’s not supposed to be the happiest.”

Earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY, top ALICE AND OLIVIA, jewellery and trousers stylist’s own

Earrings A WARDROBE COMPANY, top ALICE AND OLIVIA, jewellery and trousers stylist’s own

Sensing something was up with the budding star, or just because he’s the sweetest man ever, director Luca Guadagnino bought her a huge cake to honour the milestone date. “He had me sit with him in the director’s chair and watch a lot of the scenes, and they sang happy birthday. Everyone! There were almost like 200 extras there, and everyone was saying happy birthday… I got flowers,” Seamon beams. “It was an amazing day.”

Besides making us yearn for the carefree days of our teens, and a time we could embrace each other without icky feelings of pandemic-related guilt, the trailer also introduced the star-studded ensemble with whom Seamon embarked on this journey. She talks of unbreakable bonds and lifelong friendships she made with her castmates, defying any preconceptions she might’ve had going into her first major role. People like seasoned actor Alice Braga — a well-wishing talent Seamon had idolised since her youth — Chloë Sevigny, or her on-screen dad Scott, known to us mere mortals as accomplished rap icon Kid Cudi. “Sorry!” she laughs over the mix-up, “so used to calling him that.”

“I found out like, the day we did our first read. [He] walked in and didn’t know it was him, which wasn’t great,” she says of meeting Cudi. He was ready and raring to go at the time, introducing himself in character to the actor, who then proceeded to rip the piss out of him for not knowing Italian. “I found out an hour later,” she explains, “I was like, ‘Oh no! I hope he still likes me…’” No love was lost between the pair though, with Cudi taking Seamon under his wing for the duration of the project. In fact, she calls him one of the most supportive TV dads she’s ever had the chance to work with. “I still, like every once in a while, get calls and texts from him to this day and it’s so nice to hear from him [..] He’s just so kind and wants everyone to do their best.” Talk about a glowing character reference!

Another life-changing bond Seamon would foster on the show was with partner in crime and catalyst for chaos Fraser Wilson, played by a mop-haired, bleach blonde Jack Dylan Grazer. The two were thrust together on day one of filming, Grazer armed with an electric razor and instructions to shave Seamon’s head, and Seamon with the unbounded excitement of someone who’s about to get their head shaved for the first time. “It’s so monumental,” she explains, “not only for Caitlin as a character, but also for me because I’ve never had my hair cut, and the first person that’s cutting it is some guy that I just met.”

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pool Pose

All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pool Pose
All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY and jewellery stylist’s own

This isn’t just a quick-fix for a dodgy lockdown trim, however. This scene constitutes something far bigger for Seamon’s character. “Ready?” she calls out to her accomplice, sporting a faux-moustache above her heavily gritted teeth. She’s about to transform into the wholly more androgynous Harper. “I was genuinely so excited,” Seamon says of realising this new character arc. “I think those make for the best scenes, where you see the actors are genuinely feeling whatever emotion they’re trying to portray in the scene.” Quickly, the two go from strangers to neighbours to the only souls in each other’s orbits in Guadagnino’s little slice of paradise.

Often finding themselves at odds with the rigid environment of the US army base they dwell in, they may feel misunderstood by their family and their friends, but never each other. “I think during the actual show she finds her strength in Fraser. The two of them experience so much together in such a short amount of time, and Fraser is there accepting and loving Caitlin for who she is,” Seamon tells me of their friendship. As the season unfolds, we see plenty more of Harper, with the picture becoming clearer each episode that the two aren’t opposite sides of the same stone, but separate beings entirely.

But whilst Caitlin fleshes out the intricacies of her gender identity, another sinister battle is brewing back home in the states. Set against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, Trumpian propaganda slowly makes its way into the lives of Seamon’s nearest and dearest, with her on-screen father even presenting her with a MAGA hat. “Can’t wear this around the base,” he quips. As the US’ political climate has exploded in a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests over the last three months, I wonder where Seamon would see her character in the movement.

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pose
Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Street

(LEFT) All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own (RIGHT) Coat ESCADA, boots JIMMY CHOO, gloves A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Pose
All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own Coat ESCADA, boots JIMMY CHOO, gloves A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own
Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Street

“I think she views herself as a person of colour first, which is similar to me,” she explains. “I totally feel she would be in a protest supporting BLM, on whatever social media platform she had — probably leading a protest, honestly. It’s a movement that’s been going on for so long and finally, Caitlin’s generation and my generation are taking the steps to really make change. Caitlin would definitely not only want to be involved in it, but create as much as she could, in whatever little way that she could.”

With her plans for Caitlin certainly concrete, talk turns to what’s next in Seamon’s own future. Having checked off everything on her sixth-grade vision board, well at least 90% anyway, the actor is a little stumped. “I did everything that I said I would love to do. I’ve released an album, I have the single out, I’m a verified music user on Spotify, I’ve been in a television show — a really well-known television show. A lot of those were things I didn’t think I would ever [do] until my 20s, maybe 30s,” she reasons. Though the whole world seems to be at her fingertips, Seamon isn’t fussed to know what’s next — she just hopes that she’s happy.

Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Parasol
Jordan Kristine Seamon We Are Who We Are Wonderland Parasol
All clothing A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own Coat ESCADA, boots JIMMY CHOO, gloves A WARDROBE COMPANY, jewellery stylist’s own
Photography
Christian Cody
Fashion
Abs Petit
Words
Bailey Slater
Hair & Makeup
Darnayle Mizrahi
Art Direction
Marc Igbinadolor
JORDAN KRISTINE SEAMON