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Gillian Amalia Zinser is an American actress, known for her appearances as Ivy Sullivan in 90210. A graduate of New York University, prior to 90210 she appeared in Southland, Cold Case and Cupid. She played a recurring role in 90210 during the second season from 2009 to 2010, as a young Californian surfer named Ivy Sullivan. In February 2010, she was signed as a regular cast member for the third season of the show. In 2011 Zinser starred in the MTV television film "The Truth Below". Additionally, she completed production on the independent thriller "Liars All". Off screen, Zinser spends much of her time and energy working with Artists for Peace and Justice, which included a recent trip to Haiti to aid in the building of a school in a refugee camp. Also she is involved with Hugh Jackman's Live Below the Line Campaign with the goal of ending extreme poverty.
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● Gillian as Sarah Harris
● Director: Tristan Dubois
● Status: Completed
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Highly addicted to road trips, I went to Iceland last summer to drive the entire circumference of the island by its Ring Road. It’s almost an impossible travel experience to describe, which is why it’s a photographer’s wet dream. I’ve never experienced anywhere with such an ethereal, spiritual, dreamy, diverse landscape. I felt like I was tripping on mushrooms on a different planet at times. If you’re searching for an unforgettable, supernatural adventure riddled with glacial lagoons, geothermal hot springs, 20 hours of daylight, rowdy volcanos, epic hiking and camping, rainbows, breathtaking waterfalls, sunshine and hailstorms, all in the same ten minutes, this is the place. There are mountain colors you didn’t even know mountains came in, electric blue icebergs, wild horses, glacial ice caves, stunning fjords, rolling hills of moss-covered lava that looks like something Dr. Seuss dreamed up—and of course, the legendary Northern Lights.
(N) How do you take your coffee in Iceland?
(GZ) Black at sunrise.
(N) Most memorable experience in Iceland?
(GZ) Going out at sunset on a boat on Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon riddled with the most beautiful electric blue icebergs that are thousands of years old. And cracking a beer in the nature baths in Myvatn at night, staring up at the Northern Lights.
(N) What is the most important item you bring when you travel?
(GZ) My 35mm point and shoot camera
(N) Who is a role model/mentor in your life?
(GZ) I don’t really have one. Any interested applicants please apply. But my favorite photographers of the moment are: Alec Soth, Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Ryan McGinley, Jordan Sullivan, Max Doyle, James Nachtwey and Sebastio Salgado.
(N) Why do you make art?
(GZ) I’m not ever sure. I guess I take photographs to try and capture feelings and moments I wouldn’t know how to recall or share through words.
(N) What are you working on now?
(GZ) Shooting a short film called “End Of Babes” directed by wunderkid Jimmy Marble.
(N) Where are you going next?
(N) What was the first thing you ate when you got back?
(GZ) Probably a burrito.
– Gillian Zinser is an actress, photographer and professional wanderer living between Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
Actress, artist and devoted Somme Institute fan, Gillian Zinser, uses our Regimen for clear, glowing skin. We’re obsessed with her style (check out her recent feature on The Coveteur where she shares some of her vintage pieces and prized possessions like her hat collection) and her flawless beauty looks! Today she shares some of her best beauty tips and tricks with us.
“I’m absolutely sworn over – the products are BRILLIANT – my skin’s clearer and smoother in texture than any time I can remember before.”
What is your favorite Somme Institute product?
GZ: I especially love the Transport pads! My skin is really pale and sensitive but constantly congested, so it’s hard for me to find a gentle yet effective enough exfoliant. This product is the perfect balance for me.
What is your daily beauty routine in the AM/PM?
GZ: I wash my face and follow with a vitamin C serum and sunscreen in the am and wash, exfoliate and moisturize at night. I also drink a few ounces of aloe vera juice daily which really helps to keep my skin clear, and try not to wear makeup if I’m not working.
What are some of the best beauty tips and tricks you’ve learned?
GZ: Don’t over pluck, never pick, sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen, and keep hydrated with lots of water throughout the day!
We hear you love shopping in your mom’s closet. Any beauty tips that she has passed along to you as well?
GZ: keep it simple – less is more!
Any red carpet beauty looks that you’ve done?
GZ: I honestly never feel comfortable in a ton of makeup, so i tend to stick to a fresh, bare face with bright lips when I’m feeling fancy!
When do you feel the most beautiful?
GZ: When I’m creating!
You eat mostly whole, raw foods. What does a day of eating typically look like for you?
GZ: I’m a huge believer that we can balance our bodies, minds and moods through a simple, natural diet so i eat mostly whole, organic foods, juice a ton, and when I can i cook most of my meals at home, ‘The Esalen cookbook’ and ‘Superfoods Cookbook’ are two of my favorite sources for recipes.
The 90210 star gave us the lowdown on what inspires her.
You probably know Gillian Zinser best as 90210’s resident surfer girl, Ivy. Her character’s Cali cool style is certainly enviable, as is the actress’s own edgy look. Gillian hosted an event with Urban Outfitters and MinkPink in Los Angeles last week (“I love collaborating with movers and shakers and anyone wild enough to push the borders,” she explains), and we were able to ask her about all things fashion.
What three words would you use to describe your personal style?
Quirky, mindless, and moody.
How does your look differ from Ivy’s?
Ivy’s style is truly Californian and bohemian. My own is all over the place and doesn’t belong in a niche.
What was your favorite outfit as a teen?
I’ve always been a jeans and a T-shirt kind of kid!
Where do you like to shop?
Topshop, flea markets, vintage stores, and my mom’s closet.
Who are your style icons?
I’m inspired by anyone who’s honest in their own expression, people who truly beat to the rhythm of their own drum. I love the way little kids dress themselves! They’re completely carefree about how others perceive them.
What’s the one piece of clothing or accessory you can’t live without?
What has been your best Halloween costume?
Jem and the Holograms.
What fall trend are you most excited about?
When we asked The Company Collective (not a member yet? Find us on Facebook!) who they wanted to see on the cover, one name came up several times. Well, here she is.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Here at Company HQ, we don’t just randomly throw style ideas at you – that would be far too easy. We’d much rather get fashspiration from your street style and then give it that Company edge.
That’s why we set up The Company Collective. It’s a closed group on Facebook where you can tell us what you’re wearing, how you’re wearing it and where you’re shopping for it. So when we asked who you style-stalk the most, one name popped into the timeline over and over.
You may know 26-year-old Gillian Zinser as the all-Californian surfer ckick, Ivy, from E4’s 90210. You may know her from uber-cool Tumblr, Indelible Shadows (gillianzinser,tumblr.com) an edit of music, images and quotes. Or you might be one of her 63,200 (and rising) Twitter followers (@msGILLIANZINSER). But, probably, like us, you’ve simply style-spotted her laid0back LA look on countless blogs and indie fashion mags – and got instant beach hair envy.
About time we met her then really, isn’t it? Over to The Company Collective girls…
Gemma Kohnson: How do you get that sun-kissed glow?
I’m actually quite pale and a big advocate of using sunscreen, so I’m not often tanned. I’m a big fan of Laura Mercier moisturiser with SPF. On set, they use bronzing make-up but in real life I just wear mascara, Chapstick and a spot of blush. I’m a Chapstick whore. I think less is more.”
Elena Cristin: Do you love surfing like your 90210 characted? And what’s you beach beauty must-have?
Yes. I love long-boarding in warm water and, as I’m mad about SPF, I also use it on my hair. My hair is really dry and brittle so I started using SPF to protect it from the salt water and sun. I love the look of ruined hair. It looks cool but I’m queen of split ends and SPF has definitely preserved the lenght and quality of my hair.
Rachael Victoria Wynne: What’s your tip for a fail-safe hairdo on a bad hair day?
I have a lot of bad hair days and when they come about I just throw it up in a top knot to get it out of my face.
Molly caughlan: How would you describe your style?
What’s important to me is always expressing yourself honestly. So when it comes to fashion, I think the less seriously you take it, or the less you think about it, the more unique your look is. A lot of people ask me how I describe my style and I never know how to answer that because fashion to me is simply a daily form of expression. I’m inspired by my moods. I think things tend to be more interesting when you’re not over-thinking them or trying to look one way or another.
Georgina Fineman: How would you describe the LA look?
That’s interesting because I would normally describe the classic LA style as quite awful! Maybe we’re talking about two parts of LA. The LA Hollywood is a hyper-conscious community, so there’s little unique expression as people to dress for trends rather than for themselves. Whereas the west coast has a bohemian beach look, which is more me – and I think that’s what a lot of Californians do so well. That laid-back look where you throw on your dirty, ratty t-shirt, denim shorts and biker boots. I guess like East London.
Nathalie Ward: Whose style are you coveting for S/S12?
No two people are alike so trying to mimic somebody else’s style never seems right to me. I’m sad to say that I don’t follow catwalk trends. I’m not as in-the-know as I’d like consider myself. I’m totally out of tune but I feel more comfortable there. The less I know about what’s going on, the more I feel I can do my own thing.
Alys Penfold: Do you have any style icons?
I’d have to say Anna Karenina, Patti Smith and Audrey Hepburn. Each of those women had such a unique way of expressing themselves in their own time.
Kirsty Whittaker: How did your love for fashion begin and you make any fashion fails?
Naturally! In hindsight, very little make sence. But, luckily, I’ve never been self-conscious enough on the moment to worry about what I looked like. I try not to look back but we all have pictures of those dumpy overalls and terrible flared jeans from middle school and it never guite translates. But I don’t really believe in fashion fails because it’s about growing up and expressing yourself.
Elena Cristin: What are your favourite stores and why?
I went back to New Your last weekend and I think my favourite kind of shopping is wandering around and finding a gem in the rough of a thrift store or vintage shop. The only contemporary store I walked into was Topshop and I just fell in love with it all over again. I’m really bummed that we don’t have one on the west coast yet because it’s a brilliant go-to for quick, simple, affordable pieces that you can layer with your one-off pieces. Little black dresses, oversized cardigans, t-shirts… I went a little stir-crazy in there!
Rachael Victoria Wynne: How did you first get into acting?
I started proffesional acting only a few years ago. I did it as a kid then I started teaching theatrical courses in a local community centre for under-privileged kids. I don’t think I feel in love with perfomance and acting until I saw it from an audience perspective. THose kids really came into themselves.
Lucinda Bounsall: Your 90210 character is different from the other characters like Naomi and Adrianna. Do you see yourself as different to them, and the Hollywood set, in real life?
We’re all incredibly different girls and that’s part of the pleasure of acting. You’re never going to be cast for something that you’re not right for because you’re always bringing a huge part of yourself to every role. But I agree that there is a ‘type’ in Hollywood and I don’t see myself in that bracket. I’m simply an actor who is in Los Angeles for work, and I keep my personal life quite separate to work. I live in a small bungalow by the beach and I think there’s something to be said for not having to run around town and be on show.
Stephanie Louise Saxton: If you could date any of your co-stars who would it be and why?
I am so madly in love with my own man that I don’t even know how to answer that! I’ve been with my guy Luke for a while now. But if I had to answer, I’d have to say Jessica Stroup.
Alexa Baigent: You always know hot to wear casual pieces, but what would you wear for a night out?
When I go out at night it’s usually for business so you’re there as some form of doll and have to dress up and have your hair and make-up done accordingly. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I’m still a tomboy, so when I have to throw on a dress and heels I try to clash it with something that holds on to a bit of me. No matter how high the stiletto or tight the dress I’m being told to wear, I add my own edge. Whether that’s a fancy floor-lenght dress with a cowboy hat, or a tight mini dress and biker boots, or even just red lips. It creates a balance between the appopriate attire and my own comfort zone.
Anna Hussain: What’s the one item in your wardrobe you’ll keep forever?
My grandfather’s bowler hat. I wear it all the time. Probably too much. It’s like my safety blanket.
– Season 4 of 90210 is out on DVD in October. Gillian’s new movie Savages is out on 28 Sept
InStyle: Your mother is from New York, your father from Berlin. Do you speak German? Gillian: (In German) Yes, of course! I’m half German. But I have a lot to learn.
InStyle: So I guess you’ve been to Germany a lot? Gillian: Oh yes! Berlin is my absolute favorite city in the world. My younger brother Max only just moved back to the States from Berlin. We used to go there a lot. Nowadays I unfortunately don’t have the time to go.
InStyle: You grew up in New York. Gillian: Yes. But I see Berlin today, as I imagine a New York back in the 70ties and 80ties. The art scene there is unbelievably inspiring. Everyone seems to enjoy expressing themselves in their very own, unique way. I wish to have a small apartment in Berlin one day, just so I can spend more time there.
InStyle: On 90210 you play surfer girl Ivy. Were you a fan of the original series? Gillian: Oh yes, totally! Even though my parents forbid me to watch it. I was a little bit too young.
InStyle: Do you have any impact on the outfits you wear on the show? Gillian:Yes , a lot actually! We have a great costume designer, Kime Buzzelli. She is the one who organizes the most amazing clothes you could ever imagine – but never afford. From her selection of clothes I can create the outfits myself.
InStyle: It’s mostly your private style that is being copied worldwide. Gillian: I always feel very honored that I’m getting that much positive feedback. My style is just me expressing my personality. There is no concept behind it. But that’s part of the fun. Many women are taking their styling too seriously and putting too much effort in it, just to fit in the image society expects from them.
InStyle: You like to wear no-name labels just as designers and vintage. Gillian: Yes, but I have to say my passion is second hand fashion. I like the idea of recycling fashion. I used to always go through my mum’s closet. I use these basics and worn clothes to create looks which I combine with stuff I have to invest in. They last forever.
InStyle: What do you think you have to invest in? Gillian: In a perfectly fitting leather jacket. You have it you’re entire life.
InStyle: You seem to be able to always look sexy but never cheap or fake . What’s your secret? Gillian: You can only be sexy if you beat to the rhythm of your own drum. Or it always seems fake. Mostly, people dress sexy to impress others. I dress just for myself. And I only wear what I feel comfortable in. If I’m going to a red carpet event and I’m wearing a long, elegant dress I normally break it with something completely opposite, e.g. my grandfather’s bowler hat. If I’m wearing a tight, short dress I combine it with biker boots. For me, elegance and sex appeal don’t work without confidence. Even if that means biker boots and Converse on the red carpet.
InStyle: …Or a hat that you seem to wear quite often at events. Gillian: Hats are somewhat of protection for me. They’re like a security blanket. If I’m on the red carpet, it is still not a normal or totally comfortable situation for me. Even though it is a lot of fun. I then normally put on one of my vintage hats , or, my grand-dad’s and I feel safe. Just like being all cuddled up in a blanket.
InStyle: What is that one piece in your closet that you cannot spare? Gillian: My Doc Martens from the nineties. They’ll never be out of style for me. I’ve got quite a few pairs but my favorite are the ones with flower print and in dark green. Doc Martens are forever cool.
InStyle: Coachella is almost here. What are you bringing? Gillian: Definitely old, worn jeans shorts, an old band shirt, bright red lipstick, Ray Bans and my Polaroid cam.
InStyle: Who is accompanying you? Gillian: Just my boyfriend ( Luke Grimes) and my brother. I’m a light traveler. (laughs)
InStyle: You three in a camping bus? Gillian: If I’d be going all privately I would. I’m living with them at the moment, too, so we’re used to do almost everything together. But at Coachella I’m hosting a party with ‘Planet Blue’ and ‘Foam’ magazine. And they kindly booked a hotel for us.
InStyle: Camping isn’t for everyone, I guess. Gillian: I love it! My boyfriend has an Airstream, you know, this silver trailer and we spend the weekends with it in Topanga Canyon. The Airstream is only 18 ft long and like 9 ft wide and you could think it’s hell on wheels. But the truth is, it’s the exact opposite. It’s incredibly liberating. And it makes you realize how little space and comfort you actually need.
InStyle: Where have you met Luke? Gillian:In L.A. at a red light and crazy traffic. That was true fate. Our first date was in the desert.
InStyle: Red lights, rendezvous in the desert – sounds very Hollywood. Gillian: L.A. is such a surreal, artificial city, so I figured the desert is the perfect place to get to know someone. You have no choice than to expose yourself. You just shake off the business and all clichés. Especially with my job it is great to get to know someone away from the industry, in all loneliness. Then there’s no one there except for that person and yourself.
InStyle: Is it more difficult to find real friend in a city like L.A.? Gillian: I have a very small but close group of friends, they’re very grounded, wonderful people. In Los Angeles, everything is so far apart and so insanely focused on the business that you have to value the little free time you get. That is why you are basically being forced to look closer at who you want to spend this time with and who not. I spend a lot of time on set, so I enjoy just being by myself when I’m off. Or of course my boyfriend, my close friends or my brother.
InStyle: Is your brother an actor, too? Gillian: No, he’s an interior designer. He’s an absolute phenomenon! And of everyone else my favorite person in the world. He might be two years younger than me but mentally he’s much older. He protects me.
InStyle: And your friends, are they also in the business? Gillian: Jessica Stroup just moved in across from me. She’s the only cast member I see a lot off set. The rest of my friends are mostly artists.
InStyle: Years ago, there were talks about Young Hollywood , a clique including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie and Mischa Barton. You seem to live a completely different private life. Gillian: Oh yes, I’m far away from that. I’m just no Hollywood kid. I purposely chose to live by the beach in Venice. I don’t really go out a lot and go crazy. I enjoy my small, peaceful neighborhood. It is a very simple, chilled lifestyle, very quiet. I am by the beach, I go swimming. You run errands by bike or just walk. The social scene is way less crazy than the one in Hollywood, which I definitely prefer.
InStyle: Do you sometimes get homesick for NYC? Gillian: I miss the beat of the city. New York has its very own pulse that you’re never going to find anywhere else. The energy, the people – everything is just really rough and in constant motion. Every time I go back I still find it very refreshing and inspiring, but right now , for me, I’m finding my life here in L.A. way healthier. New York is like an ex-boyfriend that you visit from time to time and share some nice moments with. But the next day you’re glad to have left him because everything is just better without him.
InStyle: Speaking of healthy life style: Especially in Hollywood everyone is focusing on being skinny. You recently told People Mag that you would like to put on a few pounds. How does that fit? Gillian: That’s what they wrote? (laughs) Well, I’ve always been kind of thin. But more and more I’m coming to the point where I learn to appreciate my feminine charms. It would be nice to put on a little weight and be more chill in general. I definitely don’t think that being skinny equals being sexy.
InStyle: Still it is size zero that reigns over Hollywood. Gillian: Yeah, probably. But I just don’t think that actors have to look like runway models. Models have to look like models, you put clothes on them. For us actors, it is more important to look like normal human beings, because who and what we play should be relatable for normal people.
InStyle: And they rarely have the ideal body. Gillian: It’s probably human nature to want what you can’t have. But at the end of the day I feel quite comfortable in my skin.
InStyle: And what helps if you don’t? Gillian: Bright red lip stick and my worn-out Converse. And my lucky charms.
InStyle: And those are… Gillian: A necklace with a pendant from my boyfriend and my parents’ wedding ring.
InStyle: YOU are wearing your parents’ wedding ring? Gillian: They bought many small rings in Bali back then which they use as wedding rings. When I moved away, they gave me on of them. It’s my mojo, I never take it off.
90210 star Gillian Zinser has crossed over to the dark side.
The naturally blonde actress, 26, showed off her new brunette hair color at An Evening for Cambodian Children’s Fund in Beverly Hills on April 17. Zinser — who’s sported pink hair streaks in the past — recently spoke to Us Weekly about what’s coming up next on The CW’s 90210 (airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST).
“There are some huge changes towards the end of the season. Someone gets married, somebody passes away, there’s a ton of breakups and reconciliations and triangles,” Zinser teased. “My character in particular goes way off the deep end, which has been really interesting to play around with.”
Off camera, things are much less dramatic.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” Zinser told Us. “In fact, we always joke that it would make a really great reality show to show the behind the scenes on 90210. What goes on in hair and makeup is far more entertaining that a lot of what’s out there!”
Institute: Do you remember the first time you realised you wanted to become an actress? Gillian: My mum took me to see ‘The Fantastiks’ off broadway when I was a kid and the opening scene was a girl my age praying at the foot of her bed pleading “Please God, PLEASE! Please don’t let me be normal!” I was an awkward kid trying to figure out where I fit in, and watching that character in that moment was so comforting and inspiring at that age where I felt so much pressure to conform to the ‘norm’ but didn’t really want to or know how to. The relief and inspiration that that one simple scene gave me was probably the first time I realized how powerful, effective, and inspirational performance could be.
Institute: Could you single out an actor or performance that has had a profound impact on you in the last five years? Gillian: I dont know about five years, but some of the most influential performances in my lifetime have been…Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of a spotless mind Audrey Tattou in Amèlie Diane Keaton in Annie Hall Annette Bennington in Running with Scissors Juliette Binoche in Lovers on a Bridge Ryan Gosling in Lars and The Real Girl
Institute: What can you reveal about Liars All? Gillian: Obsession. Ego. Lust. Revenge. Murder.
Institute: You play Missy, can you tell us about the character? Gillian: Missy was a hard character to understand let alone empathize with in order to play her. She’s a dark creature, a wilted flower suffering from manic depression.
Institute: Do you like to do a lot of research into your roles? Gillian: Yes. Although I’ve yet to work a role that requires the depth of research I’m eager to challenge myself with.
Institute: Do you ever become emotionally involved with your characters? Gillian: Inevitably.
Institute: What was the most valuable lesson you learnt from being on set? Gillian: Technicality, professionalism, and the importance of being a team player. I find there’s just absolutely no room for ego in this business.
Institute: What do you look for in a character or film? Gillian: Meat. Dimension. A la ck of comfort. Something I’ve yet to fully explore within myself.
Institute: What are your thoughts on fashion today? Gillian: I wouldn’t say I take fashion very seriously. I just look at it as another daily form of self expression to have fun with. I find inspiration in my moods and throw on what makes me feel good.
Institute: As an actress do you feel more aware of the way you dress? Gillian: Perhaps less so. I get so used to people dressing me for the characters i play that when its time to take the costumes off and slip back into my own skin, i’m only left with the energy to be as comfortably myself as possible.
Institute: Where do you think trends are created? Gillian: Through the infectious confidence of those unafraid to beat to their own drum.
Institute: Do you have a favourite fashion designer? Gillian: Balmain. Zac Posen. Chloe. Kimberly Ovitz. Rick Owens.
Institute: Top five fashion essentials? Gillian: Chuck Taylors. Leather biker jacket. Red lipstick. Old Levis . White Hanes t-shirts from Target.
The leading ladies of 90210 are known for their tiny frames, and Gillian Zinser is no exception.
“I guess I’m just built this way,” the svelte 26-year-old told Us Weekly at 2nd Annual Hollywood Rush Benefiting the Baby Dragon Fund in L.A. Sunday. “I’d love to put on a few pounds, so I hang out by the doughnuts [at craft service], but it hasn’t hit yet.”
Zinser joined The CW hit in 2009 as surfer chick Ivy Sullivan; she was promoted to series regular in February 2010.
“It’s a fun set and we’re all close in age and spirit,” Zinser said of costars AnnaLynne McCord, 24, Shenae Grimes, 22, Jessica Stroup, 25, Jessica Lowndes, 23, Matt Lanter, 28, Tristan Wilds, 22, and Michael Steger, 31.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. In fact, we always joke that it would make a really great reality show to show the behind the scenes on 90210,” Zinser told Us. “What goes on in hair and makeup is far more entertaining that a lot of what’s out there!”
“The whole cast is a bunch of pranksters,” Zinser added. “We’re always laughing.”
We managed to snag a quick interview with 90210 star Gillian Zinser at the opening of the new Converse store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The shop has an eclectic vibe, evoked by street-style designs and graffiti art.
We asked Zinser what her favorite part of the store was? GZ: The collaborative effort between the brand and customers through the customization station.
What are your favorite Converse? GZ:The Chuck Taylor All Star hi tops, are the only sneakers I wear.
The store offers roughly 200 different styles of footwear and the customization station gives shoppers the unique opportunity to screen-print their Converse in less than twenty minutes. You can choose from 150 pre-loaded images or you can bring in your own images to be screen-printed onto your kicks.
Gillian Zinser featured in Genlux magazine winter 2011 issue. I have added in the gallery magazine scan and high quality picture of photoshoot. Huge thanks to Melanie Doutey Web for heads up!
GENLUXSHOP STYLE I.D.
THAT’s GILLIAN WITH A ‘G’
Some girls have all the luck. Take Gillian Zinser: equal parts talent, charm, quirkiness and smarts. The beautiful, young, and successful actor, who recently graduated from NYU, has places in both New York and Los Angeles. Gillian plays Ivy, a carefree, Bohemian-spirited California girl on television’s 90210. Here, she gives us a few morsels that define her personal fashion style.
How would you describe your personal style?
Cowgirl meets Pirate. What’s your favorite item in your closet?
My grandfather’s vintage bowler hat. What’s always in your purse?
A plethora of Chapsticks, a good book, Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses, and my Polaroid camera. What’s your weekend look?
Jeans, an old t-shirt, and red lipstick. If you could wear only one designer from head to toe, who would it be?
I don’t know if I could choose just one – I’m too addicted to clash! I’d say Chloe, Acne, The Row, Kimberly Ovitz or Alexand Wang. What’s your favorite low-price secret weapon store?
Topshop. What are your earliest fashion memories?
My addiction to overalls, Doc Martens, and the “Jem and the Lolograms” cartoon in the early 90s. What do you sleep in?
An ex-boyfriend’s old, ratty band shirt What kind of watch do you wear?
I don’t own a watch. Time scares me. Who are your favorite fashion photographers?
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. What’s your favorite scent?
My boyfriend’s Old Spice deodorant… but I wear Chloe. What’s your dream vacation destination?
I think I just got back from it! I spent the last week in Hanalei Bay up on the north shore of Kauai, and I’m just mad for it. It’s the most simple, rejuvenating, beautiful lifestyle I’ve experienced thus far. I’d like to build a tree house there someday. What are your go-to boutiques?
I love The Reformation and Opening Ceremony when I’m feeling fancy, but usually I just live at flea markets.
GILLIAN ZINSER, actress/artist/philanthropist and 90210 cast member tells i-D about the hills.
Chatting with Gillian Zinser, actress/artist/philanthropist and 90210 cast member, we were pleased to discover the exhaustingly talented 26- year-old is every bit as awesome as we had imagined.
Articulate, warm, switched on and straight-forward, the precocious performer is graduating from West Beverly Hills High to the big screen this year with high-profile parts in upcoming features Manson Girls and Oliver Stone’s Savages. A former student of NYU, Gillian continues to explore her studies off campus, which include the inter-disciplines of art, film and philanthropy. Creating self-reflexive portraits and volunteering with projects such as ‘Artists For Peace and Justice’ in Haiti, Gillian has built up a well-balanced CV and loyal following. Returning to UK screens this week as surfing tomboy Ivy Sullivan in Season 4 of 90210, Gillian Zinser speaks to i-D online about the revamped TV teen classic and her own adolescence, talks performance art and shares her top 10 artistic influences.
What was the all-American high school experience like for you? I had an odd experience in high school – remember that movie Mean Girls? Tina Fey adapted that from a book about my school written by someone that went to it… I wasn’t exactly the most popular and I didn’t have the best experience. I was itching to get out.
Did you watch 90210 back in the day? Yeah, of course. I wasn’t allowed to though – I used to sneak off to watch it.
Are you a Kelly or a Brenda? I can’t really tap into my bad girl very easily, I’m going to leave the Brendas to the AnnaLynne McCords of this world. Ivy’s not like Kelly either, she’s more of an Emily Valentine, that’s the direction I would have liked to take her in but they took me on a really different path.
What attracted you to the part of Ivy? She’s not your typical teen drama character. I think just that. I’m not one to watch soaps and, as I explained, my high school experience was very trying and tumultuous and often not a fun one. I guess, in short, I was attracted to Ivy as a character because she was more of a black sheep than anything else and even though she’s your average teenage girl who is riddled with insecurities, she’s found a way to be comfortable enough in her own skin not to conform. That’s a really fun and important thing to bring to television and our audiences in particular because we’re speaking to a large group of teenagers who for the most part are going through such a formative period of development.
What’s working with Tristan Wilds like? Had you seen The Wire before joining the cast? Tristan is the classiest cat around. He’s an extraordinary artist whose talents are far underutilised on the show.
Can you tell me more about your childhood growing up? I grew up in Washington, which I shy away from talking about because I feel so detached from the city because it was so devoid of artistic culture and I grew up in a family of artists. My father’s an architect and my mother’s a painter – we didn’t come from a family of politicians, and I often found that I couldn’t really relate to or associate with the city I grew up in. My Dad’s from New York and my Mom’s from Berlin so I spent a lot of time in between the city (NY) and DC, taking the $10 Chinese Fung Wah bus up every weekend just to hang out with people and seek out forms of inspiration that I could actually understand. The minute I could leave DC I did – I moved to New York for college and never looked back.
Did you study art or acting at New York? My parents didn’t allow me to go to Tisch so I went to Gallatin, which is a tiny school within NYU. They let you choose your own major so I decided to study the relationship between fine art, the entertainment industry and philanthropy and see where we can build bridges between them.
How did that lead into acting? All my life I’ve just wanted to be a storyteller, to share my take on the human experience and explore the consequences of what we do and why. I’ve been infatuated with the potency of film as a platform to tell stories and I guess at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking through a script or the camera, I feel like I’m just here to share my perspective on things.
Are you still making art? Yeah, I’m always itching to make and create something. We have a million moments in between takes and scenes at work so I always have a pencil, a notebook or a camera on me – I’m addicted to the process of creation.
Have you ever done any performance art? I thought that might be a good medium for you… combining the two. A lot of people ask me that but no, I haven’t really had the desire to do that. For the moment I’m sticking to portraiture. I’m inspired by artists like Cindy Sherman… I’m on a show that takes up most of my year and I don’t get to play a lot of characters that I’d love to. Using my downtime to dress up for two seconds of a snap shot to play a character lets me sneak into the skin of someone I would one day like to be able to play but don’t have a chance to. So I guess that is a form of performance art.
What was the last exhibition you went to? I just got back from New York where I saw the Tim Burton exhibit. And did you go to the Tracey Emin show in London? At the White Cube Gallery? She’s so dirty, I love her!
Gillian’s Top 10 Artistic Influences
1. I’m currently obsessed with Marcel Dzama – he’s a Canadian contemporary artist.
2. Kati Heck is an artist I found in Berlin while I was travelling over there and I’ve been infatuated with her work ever since.
3. Goran Djurović – he’s a Serbian artist who I just discovered out at this gallery Obsolete, here in Los Angeles.
4. Mark Whelan is a good buddy of mine I met in Australia and he does something that looks like dipping dots mixed with S&M!
5. There’s a filmmaker, a guy named Cam Archer who just blows my mind… he made a film over here called Shit Year with Ellen Barkin and Luke Grimes and that’s definitely my favourite film of the year.
6. Also have you heard of a guy called Robbie Basho? He’s like one of THE uncelebrated 60s acoustic guitarists.
7. Also, a guy named Moondog – you have to look him up, he’s phenomenal. He dresses up like a Viking!
8. Then a band called Wiseblood who just put out their first EP this year.
9. My friend Malcolm Ford, he’ll be releasing a record later this year produced by Queens of the Stone Age.
10. Lastly a writer, a Kenyan author whose first novel/memoir is called ‘One Day I Will Write About This Place’. His name is Binyavanga Wainaina – he writes about the kind of Africa that’s long been forgotten. It provides a better perspective than that of the Western world, looking in on what we imagine Africa to be.
The latest in a series of intimate moments with beautiful women — in their own homes, in their own clothes (most of them, anyway), and at their invitation. Come on in.
For someone who is on 90210 — there’s a new one, and that’s perfectly fine that you didn’t know that — 26-year-old Gillian Zinser is a lot more like the “normal” women you see regularly on MeInMyPlace.com. She has one of those Tumblrs and she looks like she came out of the DVD extras of Dazed and Confused and she travels a lot for no apparent reason and she talks about things like “the responsibility of artists.” And yet: “I’ve never considered myself hip or in the know or cool by any means.” Well you should know her soon, not as your teenage cousin’s favorite hip surfer girl so much as one of those hippies in the new Oliver Stone movie about pot and guns and NAVY Seals. And because she invited us over. —The Editors
I found myself running in a lot of circles. I was willing to pick up anything from pencils to cameras to scripts to paintbrushes and make anything with them. But as soon as I graduated, I went to Kenya to photograph these slums of Kibera. And I met someone who convinced me to move to L.A. the minute I got back. So I went from the slums of Kibera to 90210. That wasn’t exactly the path I imagined. I didn’t come out here to be a part of a soap opera. I’m very, very appreciative of this job, but I think it was more of a learning platform. And from here I’d like to get back to the reason I wanted to be a part of storytelling to begin with.
Oliver Stone asked me to do a role in his film, Savages, and I have a tiny debut, but it was fun to be a part of his world for it. And I look back on all these experiences that I’ve had that maybe didn’t make so much sense at the time, and now I understand them as everything that I needed to give me the tools and experience to be able to now tell the stories that I want to be a part of.
I spent the winter down in Costa Rica learning how to surf. I’m partial to warm water — to not having to wear a wet suit — and I ride a long board, so it’s a very different sport than what you see my character do on the show.
No, I’m a water temperature snob. And the water here is insanely cold. It’s far colder than you would imagine. It’s a succulent collection back there. I mostly just like cactus because I don’t know how to care for plants — or water them, really. I’m a bad gardener.
T-shirts. Old t-shirts. And my mom’s old sundresses from the 60s, definitely.
I think everyone’s home is a pretty good reflection of what goes on inside their heads.
Gallery Links:x10 | Photoshoots: 014 x144 | BTS: Me in My Place with Gillian Zinser