Shopping and Talking With Cool-Girl Jamie Chung

Jamie Chung is having the best day ever. The 32-year-old actress has booked a pilot, landed a new movie, and learned that a cartoon series of her beloved animated film Big Hero 6 has been picked up on Disney XD — all in 24 hours. “Last year was a really rough year, coming so close to parts that could possibly be career-changing, and it just kind of made a 180 today,” says Chung, who is celebrating her success by — what else? — shoe shopping.

The actress, wearing a yellow cardi and black mini from cool-girl French brand Zadig & Voltaire, has stopped at the launch of the first-ever Gilt pop-up shop: an IRL version of the popular designer flash-sale site. Nestled inside Manhattan’s new Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th — itself a mecca for discounted designer goods — the Gilt shop features a new in-store flash sale every week, starting Wednesdays at noon, kicking off with Zadig & Voltaire and an ode to Parisian style.

Between sips of champagne, we catch up with Chung about her new married life, her beauty secret, and the key to getting so many Instagram followers.

I would say, I’m waiting for the Giambattista Valli [gladiator] sandals to go on sale, and I love all of Valentino and the Dior shoes with the acrylic heel — it’s so dope. I don’t really buy many bags, but I want that Chloé saddlebag with the multicolored tassels. I feel like tassels are really big this season — floral, bohemian, silk chiffon, long-sleeve dresses: It’ll be a fun time.

My very first Chanel! It was like a camera bag from the ’80s or ’90s, but it’s a leather Chanel camera bag with the classic chain strap, and it has a cool little tassel and the emblem. It was right after college, and it was when Gilt first came out. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I wanted to buy a designer bag, so I remember I preshopped, where you can look at the collection before the sale starts. And I woke up at 6 a.m. on the West Coast, I think, so I could get online and have my credit card ready, because those bags sell out quick. It was my first splurge.

Oh, so many. I mean, there are certain really loud-patterned maxi dresses that were just too heavy. A lot of the matching sets I purged. A lot of the lace sets. I’m constantly making room in my closet. I’m not a hoarder!

My mom would always tell me as a child to stay out of the sun. She would like scold me for tanning — but I was always outside. I played sports, I loved the beach, I loved running. I was always outside and never wore SPF. But my mom was right — in fact, the sun is directly correlated to wrinkles and aging skin. So now I stay out of the sun.

Lighting is the key. So if there’s direct sunlight above your head, it’s the worst time to try and take a selfie because it’s really harsh light. You don’t want direct light because it will blow you out. The best lighting is, like, around 3 or 4 o’clock, when the sun is behind you so you’re backlit. That’s the prettiest light, the softest light. We call that magic hour.

That everything’s the same! … I feel like the thing that’s changed the most is our home furniture, because now that the deal is done, I am going crazy with redoing the kitchen, the living room, everything. His [husband Bryan Greenberg’s] style is very bachelor, but it’s very cozy and craftsman and midcentury, but I’m throwing some feminine flavors in.

It was so fun. We were a bit scared only because in terms of our characters we needed — that first moment when you meet each other and there’s a spark but a little bit of fear of not knowing who this person is. I think the hardest part was unknowing each other, so we got separate hotel rooms because we wanted to detach from each other for a little bit for the beginning of filming. It didn’t work!

I think the best way is to stay outdoors, and I feel like what keeps me grounded is honestly my husband and my dog. There are more important things, like hanging out with good, positive people and volunteering — I started volunteering at the West Hollywood Food Bank on Friday nights, and I really loved it. And, you know, kind of having an outside perspective that’s not so concentrated on yourself. It’s not always about you. I think the lesson that I’ve learned is not to take any success for granted, because work did come so easily early on in my career. And, like, really savor the victory and validate your own personal hard work.


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