Elegantly attending a Diva seems to be the dream job of Maggie, Dakota Johnson's character in the movie Personal Assistant.

At her side, to complicate her life, is Grace Davis, played by actress Tracee Ellis Ross, a star of the song facing her age in a universe of millennial executives who know more about video games than music. Curiously, Tracee Ellis Ross, is the daughter of Diana Ross, and debuted as a singer and songwriter in this film.

Dakota Johnson, who steals the limelight for her family with her passion for life, the essence of music and, above all, her genuine imposture over fame. She herself is an example of an allergy to public attention and is not lavish in participating in the reality show circus or Hollywood parties. Johnson, who became famous thanks to 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, debuts as the director of a Coldplay video clip where she directs her partner, the musician Chris Martin. At her home in Los Angeles, with a piano behind her, we interview the young actress via Zoom. The Step daughter of Antonio Banderas confess her love for Spain, her interest in being fluent in Spanish and her passion for Lorca and Picasso

Q: How is your relationship with your personal assistant?

A: I am very lucky because my assistant is wonderful, one of my best friends. I adore her, she was not with me during the shoot, but she has seen it and she has loved it. We have a friendship relationship that goes beyond professional collaboration. I think Flora Greeson, the scriptwriter, was an assistant and many of her circumstances are part of this narrative. I would highlight Maggie's humanity, her strength, her ambition ... honestly, it seems to me that the job of assisting someone is not easy because you have to give up your own life

Q: You and Tracee both have very famous parents. Did you talk about growing up with famous parents?

A: Of course, we talk a lot about that topic. There are many things you can say without putting them into words when it comes to relating to someone who grew up with a famous father or, as in this case, an international icon. We definitely recognized each other. It is very difficult to explain without having lived it. Knowing that there is someone who can understand you without having to put it into words is a wonderful feeling. I not only have a famous father, but I have three and my grandmother. It has been a struggle growing up in a famous family looking for my place. But I recognize that I had an immense privilege and a fortunate life. Since I was a child, I have traveled all over the world and that, I think, has helped me understand that sometimes life takes time. I haven't been to college and when I started as an actress, I needed to show what I was capable of. I had to face myself and the idea that others had of me for choosing the same profession as my parents and my grandparents. It is not that I was in the shadow of my family, but that I had to maintain the status that they had achieved. I am building my path without depending on my parents because I have many dreams to fulfill.

Q: Did your parents offer you any advice on dealing with fame?

A: No. They, still today, are trying to solve that enigma (laughs)

Q: What is your relationship with music?

A: I live surrounded by musicians; my brother is a musician, I have musician friends and I have been playing the piano all my life. I took lessons when I was a child, but I had to rehearse to make this movie. I have loved being able to spend so much time studying an instrument that I am passionate about. I have spent a lot of time in recording studios and understanding the environment and the language. Before filming, I spent time with my friend Annie Clark, who is a musician and producer, (Her stage name is St Vincent). I studied her for a few days and stole a lot from her; your body language, your attitude and your behavior in the studio.

Q: You did a great job directing the Coldplay music video Cry, Cry, Cry

A: It was an incredibly special experience. I had the honor of directing that video accompanied by high-quality artists who gave impetus to my work. For me it has been fascinating and has meant a lot on a personal basis.

Q: The dance scene was your idea

A: Yes. I was a dancer before becoming an actress. Dance is a way of communicating emotions and communication dynamics in a non-verbal way, the plasticity of the feelings of that relationship are shown with their dance. In music videos you can play with reality without having to explain yourself.

Q: How have you experienced the pandemic and the lockdown?

A: It has been very distressing. It is a totally amazing moment for every individual on the planet, no matter where you are or what your social situation is, we have all been affected by the pandemic. Like everyone, I have lived this experience with ups and downs, some days better than others, but I am very fortunate to live where I live and to have the family and friends that I have. As for my existential experience, as a human being, every day is different. I try not to fall apart, not to consume myself with the anguish of anxiety and it comforts me to talk with my mother, with my sister, try to be better and kind with whom you meet along the way. At night, to sleep, I take melatonin

Q: How do you relieve anxiety?

A: I have been practicing meditation and yoga for many years, and that has helped me a lot. I confess that I would be totally lost without my daily yoga and meditation session. I do not take any pills, only melatonin, there are others who prefer chemicals and it is their decision, I, at this moment, try to take care of my body the best I can

Q: What it means to be an LA Girl, how do you see the stereotype 

A: I don’t know, I don’t consider myself an LA girl, whenever I think like LA girls I think of, you know, girls who like to do this or that, girls that are not very smart perhaps, girls who like to smoke cigarettes and talk about how many pairs of rip jeans short they have, yeah but I don’t really consider myself an LA girl because I didn’t really grow up here 

Q: No? Where did you grow up?

A: In Colorado. And all over the place sort of 

Q: How is your relationship with Spain

A: It’s pretty good 

Q: Have you being there many times

A: Yes, I have. I grew up being there a lot in the summers and for Semana Santa.  I love it so much. Is great. I have not been there in a while because I’ve been working, I’ve been very busy but I love it 

Q: Is there anything you miss from Spain

A: The food, my cousins. Well one of my cousins is actually living here right now. But the food and the architecture and the music, I miss all of that but mainly the food

Q: If we compare acting with aristocracy you belong to the aristocracy of Hollywood. That works against you sometimes

A: Yeah sometimes you know it goes both ways people sort of expect more of me. I feel like I have to prove myself a bit more and still am probing myself but also, I’ve been able to open doors that probably wouldn't be able to do it because I didn’t know these people already. It’s up and down. 

Q: Do you speak Spanish?

A: I understand it very well. I don’t speak it very well 

Q: Would you like to be in a movie in Spanish?

A: I would rather do that when I’m completely fluent in Spanish because I think is a beautiful language and I wouldn’t like to butch it 

Q: Are you trying to learn it?

A: No actively no. See. This is my plan. I can understand Spanish fluently I can speak it pretty well but I’m more embarrassed and I don’t want people to be like oh she is an asshole she should know Spanish so this is what I’m doing. Slowly I’m going to become fluent in Spanish. I’m taking classes right now to be fluent in French because I’m pretty good at French as well so then I’m going to be trilingual and then nobody can fuck with me 

Q: Have you read any Spanish authors?

A: I read Lorca. Loved it. And also, I love Picasso paintings. My dad did an amazing job portraying Picasso

Q: Do you look for your name in the internet

A: No. It’s like the worst thing ever I wouldn’t. In my real life just as a person I don’t care what other people think but when it comes to whether or not someone is going to give me a job or not again I would like them to think of me good, but there is no way to get away of that in this business and is terribly sad 

Q: How do you deal with success and fame, which are two completely different things?

I don’t know. I don’t think I had either of those yet 

Q: What is your dream director that you would like to work with?

A: I would love to work with Quentin Tarantino and I would love to work with David Fincher I did work with him but it was only for a day so I would like to do that again 

Q: You always wanted to be an actress

A: Yeah. I think when I was younger because I was always on set with my parents I don’t think I knew you could do other things, I don’t think I knew there were other jobs so this is what I’m going to do and this is what I do. Then obviously I learn that is not the case but still kids will be like I want to be a doctor, I want to be a fireman or whatever and I will be like I can just play a doctor or a fireman and then be done with it when I’m bored with it, I can have every job in the world

Maria Estevez

Correspondent writer

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