New York City is still in the throes of winter, which means the city’s filled with bare branches, winds that will definitely blow your umbrella inside out, and people bundled up in dark layers, dreaming of warmer, brighter days to come.
But there’s probably nobody more delighted by the prospect of new blooms than Stephanie Hsu. “I am definitely the person who gets the most excited when spring is about to happen in New York,” she tells ELLE.com. “All my years living there, the moment that there’s any bud on a tree, I’m on a massive group text telling my friends.”
So it makes total sense that Kate Spade tapped the Joy Ride star to be the face of its Spring 2024 collection. The highlight of the campaign, which launches tomorrow, is a short film that features Hsu wandering the streets of NYC in the brand’s latest colorful looks as the city transitions from a dull, gray winter to a flower-filled spring.
“I feel so seen that they approached me to help launch the Time to Spring campaign,” she gushes. “I think it’s going to feel really good to have a line that is just celebrating color and joy and playfulness after a very dreary winter.”
It’s almost been a year since Hsu attended the Academy Awards as a Best Supporting Actress nominee for her role in Everything Everywhere All At Once, and she’s spent much of that time recuperating from all of the red carpets and press tour craziness. But that’s not to say she hasn’t stayed booked and busy—not only was she recently confirmed as the lead in a new Peacock comedy show, Laid, but she’s also in the upcoming film The Fall Guy, led by Barbie’s Ryan Gosling.
Read on to find out more about her favorite new Kate Spade pieces, her experience filming The Fall Guy, and what she got to take from the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
I am a sucker for the Flora patent leather bags. There’s three different ones, but I just think that they’re so beautiful. And they’re so sweet but feminine, but still wearable and playful. And just kind of lovely. I really love the 3D one and the summer Daffodil—they’re my favorites. There’s this bomber jacket that they’re releasing—the Noel Bomber Jacket. And it feels kind of new for Kate Spade to also have something that’s a little bit maybe more androgynous or boyish, but still feminine. And I think it’s just a really kind of awesome, awesome jacket. I wore it for a shoot recently. And it’s really comfortable and just feels good.
Totally. And you’re posing with one of the handbags in the campaign. What are some things that are always in your bag?
Right now, eye drops—my eyes are so dry for some reason. Just chronically dry. I love chapstick. Specifically, I can only use one chapstick and I don’t know if they know this, but I’m obsessed with Evanhealy chapstick. It’s like shea butter. And it’s the only thing that helps it when my lips are chapped. And I’m such an old little Asian lady, but I do love a little hand balm too. Especially in the wintertime.
Do you have any favorites in particular?
Hand balm, I’m always experimenting with. I mean, back in the day, I would make my own.
But that’s not happening so much these days.
What are some beauty products you can’t live without?
I am a big hydrosol-serum combo person. I’m not a huge beauty product person. And anytime anyone asks me for advice, I’m like, “Serum is key.” Serum is like the water that your skin drinks before it’s even ready for balm or moisturizer or face cream. Because I travel a lot, I like thinking about the seasons or where I’m traveling [to], and then trying to use things that are more local to different areas. Because oftentimes that’s better for your skin, just because the things that are growing, wherever you are, are going to be the things that are going to support your body in the way that it needs.
Is there one particular serum that comes to mind?
I have had the great fortune of working a lot with Joanna Czech. She has a whole line that is amazing. But her serum is incredible.
Back to the collection. How does it speak to your own personal sense of style?
When people ask me what my sense of style is, I’m like, it really changes on the day, it changes on the season and the year and what’s going on in my life. And, to me, fashion has always really been a further extension of whatever you’re feeling or however you want to feel, and it should be playful and have no definition and be something that can be ever evolving. And I think Kate Spade does such a beautiful job…they have pieces that sort of are more every day. But there are also these pieces that are really eclectic and sort of wild and eccentric, and a little off-center that I think are really fun and fabulous and enjoyable, which I think doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I think sometimes fashion can. So I would say that that sense of play is what really aligns for me.
And speaking of wild and eccentric, we have to ask: Which of Jobu Tupaki’s outfits was most like your personal sense of style?
Ooh, see, this is a new question. This is like one year late because people would always ask which was your favorite, but no one’s ever asked what is most like my personal sense of style. I would say, in this current moment, there was one moment kind of right when Jobu was being introduced, where it’s after the Elvis costume and then when she’s beating up the cops, and she’s in this like blue leotard with crazy silver boots and a blue fur jacket and braids. I mean, I’m not dressed like that right now at all. But I do feel like my inner essence is somewhere in there right now.
Everything Everywhere All At Once won Best Picture at the Oscars a year ago. How does it feel now, looking back at it? And have you seen any of this year’s Best Picture nominees?
Not even a year ago. It’s one month until it’s a year ago. Isn’t that crazy? They say it takes one year to recover from awards season. So I’m looking forward to March. Yes, I’ve seen all of the Best Picture nominees, and I was fortunate enough to get to join the Academy and get to vote currently and also the first voting cycle. And it was an incredible year for movies. And I can’t tell you what’s my favorite because I think that’s an Academy rule. I don’t know—I just got here! But it was such an incredible, incredible year for movies.
Pivoting to TV, did you get to take anything from the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
You know, it’s so funny because they just sent me a few clothing pieces. And a lot of them get archived, but the team reached out to me, and every single piece that we wore on that show was custom made to us. So they’re very, very special to me. I just got sent this one custom cashmere coat that Mei wears in the finale, and a dress that I got to wear maybe in that season. It’s one of those things where it’s like, wow, I don’t know when I’ll wear the dress. But it feels like I just have to keep it forever and ever.
As for The Fall Guy—who did you get to hang out with most on set, and what was your biggest takeaway from working with them?
I got to hang out with Mr. Ken himself, Ryan Gosling. Most of my scenes were with him. I mean, most of everybody’s scenes are with him for that movie because he is the fall guy. But I’ve been a huge fan of Ryan’s since I was a kid. And I have always admired him because I think that he is not only an incredible actor who deeply cares about his work, but you can tell that Ryan is weird. He’s just funny. He’s so silly and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He takes the work incredibly seriously. But his sense of humor is so playful and he’s so supportive. And I was filming The Fall Guy throughout awards season, so I would fly back and forth to Australia for like a day. I found out that I was nominated [for an Academy Award] on a flight back from Australia. I then had to go back like two weeks later to film another insert of a scene, and I got to be with the whole crew. They were so supportive, excited for me, and it was really sweet. Ryan was really kind and very excited for me because he’s gone through that journey so many times himself. So it was pretty special to get to experience that. And I’m really excited for the world to get to see that movie because I think he’s amazing in it.
Okay, one last question. You were featured in The New York Times crossword puzzle last year. Are you an avid word games girl?
I am not an avid word games girl. I don’t do Wordle. And here’s the thing about crosswords—they are so hard. I want to be better at them. But I’m not! But that was definitely, wow, such a huge, huge deal for me because I am a big journalist nerd. I’m not a word game nerd, but I am a word nerd. So to be included in that really felt pretty legendary for me.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.