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Actress and comedian Hannah Einbinder was the breakout star of HBO Max’s comedy series Hacks, earning an Emmy nomination for playing Ava Daniels, an aimless, bisexual young comedy writer who provides jokes for the no-nonsense and brash Las Vegas stand-up comic Deborah Vance (Jean Smart). With the success of the Emmy-winning comedy (it picked up three trophies in the fall, including one for Smart), the Los Angeles native, 27, suddenly found herself in unfamiliar territory: on the red carpet.
Working with stylist Kevin Michael Ericson, Einbinder has elevated her everyday look — vintage T-shirts, jeans, black Doc Martens — into A-lister style, more often appearing in suits and tuxes. “I have been so lucky to work with an all-queer team [Ericson, Molly Greenwald and Brian Fisher] for glam and styling, and as a result, I have always felt incredibly seen and heard when it has come to how I want to dress and present,” says the actress, who identifies as bisexual. “I’m also so lucky to come up at a time where I’m able to wear whatever I want.”
How would you describe your red carpet style?
Detail-oriented, tailored and gentleman-like.
You often alternate between suits and dresses when you’re on the red carpet. How do you decide on which to wear?
There’s an incredible amount of security, for me personally, in wearing suits. I feel really safe in those types of garments. It’s been an ongoing conversation with my stylist — who is the most incredible collaborator in this very fun and very new-to-me art form that is fashion. That conversation always revolves around what feels safe and what feels like pushing a personal boundary. And that is a good thing. Whenever I wear a dress, I gravitate toward looks that still feel like there is a strength to them.
When you’re not on a carpet, how do you dress? Do you still prefer a more structured look?
The truth is, when I’m not on the carpet, I’m on the couch. (Laughs.) My day-to-day style has definitely been elevated by working with Kevin, but I kind of dressed the same way since high school: Doc Martens, black vintage jeans, a T-shirt and a flannel. Pretty much some version of a jacket with that base layer. Since working with Kevin, I’ve gotten way more into trousers and tailored pants and prints. It oscillates between loungewear — I do chill as much as I possibly can — and a more put-together version of what I have always worn.
What have you learned about fashion since you started going to so many red carpet events?
My instinct as a native Los Angeleno is to wear, like, all black. Later today, I have an FYC event with the creators and Jean [Smart], and I’m wearing an orange, blue and cream houndstooth Alexandre Vauthier suit. If you asked me two years ago if I felt like I could confidently stand in that, I would say no. Kevin has really massaged me to get to this place where I now have a more complex understanding of fashion and color theory and silhouettes. I know what I like and what works for me, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m absolutely all-in on it. It’s been a really wonderful thing to feel like, “Oh yeah, I can wear that.”
Would you say that Ava’s style on Hacks is similar to your own? Do you ever show up and see a costume and think, “I want to take that home”?
On the first season, some of her clothes were things that I brought [to set]. In the pilot, Ava wears a beige flannel shirt jacket and black vintage Levis — both of those were mine. But I love her style. I think she’s a mixture of the way that [co-creators Jen Statsky and Lucia Aniello] dress. There have been multiple days where I come to set in costume, and Jen, Lucia and Ava are very similarly dressed, which I love because it feels like they’ve lent that direction to her themselves. I happen to align with their style in my day-to-day life.
Who is your ultimate style icon?
Fran Lebowitz. She’s so hot, it’s crazy.
Have you ever seen Jean Smart on a red carpet and thought, “Wow, I’d like to wear that”?
Her look at the Critics Choice Awards was incredible. It was Valentino, a white top and sequined skirt — I couldn’t [pull that off], ever. She went with really gorgeous ’60s-style hair that flipped out at the bottom, it was so cute.
What’s a show you’ve been streaming lately?
[HBO Max’s] Made for Love. Cristin Milioti is one of the most superb actresses working today. I loved season one, but what she’s doing in season two is incredible. There’s a storyline where she has to play a different version of herself, and she’s just masterful.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
This story first appeared in the June 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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