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Now that Zoë Kravitz, who played the luminous hippie-turned-hero Bonnie in the HBO mini series Big Little Lies, has secured her rightful place on the A-list, she shows no signs of losing ground. (She’ll soon appear opposite Johnny Depp in the sequel to the J. K. Rowling adaptation Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, for one). In ELLE’s exclusive interview in the January issue, Kravitz’s friend Janelle Monáe joins her to discuss her recent projects, Harvey Weinstein, being a black woman in the entertainment industry, and what it’s like growing up with superstar parents.

Here, a sneak peek at our cover story, on newsstands December 12:

Fluid wool and Lurex jacket, $3,850, pants, $1,490, stretch-viscose bodysuit, $1,150, all, Tom Ford, at select Tom Ford stores nationwide.

Paola Kudacki

On how she fell in love with film: “I didn’t grow up with television. We had a TV, but it wasn’t connected to anything except for a VCR. My mom [Lisa Bonet] would go to the video store, and I was allowed to watch one movie a weekend. I was an only child, and your imagination goes crazy. These films kind of became my friends.”

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On her Big Little Lies cast mates: “I said, Wait, I’m getting to work with whom? When? Women like Laura [Dern] and Nicole [Kidman] and Reese [Witherspoon], I’ve grown up watching them, and to me they’re, just untouchable. …They were so encouraging. When those women are in your corner, it gives you a little pep in your step.”

Crystal-embroidered silk jacket, $4,300, silk crepe pants, $1,500, both, Gucci, Diamond and white gold stud earrings, Hearts on Fire, $895–$2,500 per pair. Satin pumps, Stella Luna, $327.

Paola Kudacki

On how fashion inspires her acting roles: “For me, clothes are a gateway to characters. I watch Audrey Hepburn movies and I want to do my makeup like that. I watch Stand by Me and I think, I want to look like a boy.”

On the importance of being honest: “It’s good to be polite, but it’s important to be honest. There’s a difference between saying hurtful things and saying, ‘This may be a little uncomfortable, but no.’ Or ‘Please remove your hand from my lower back’ or ‘You made a weird joke. Why did you make that joke?’”

Black resin and gold-plated hoop earrings, Kenneth Jay Lane, $65,

Paola Kudacki

Styled by Samira Nasr.

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