Amelie Zilber is an actress, political activist, model and digital star. At just 21 years-old, she educates her Gen Z audience on politics in an easily digestible way and shares her self-described lifestyle of beauty and fashion with a socially conscious twist. On the fashion front, she recently became a DIOR ambassador and continues to work closely with Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co.
Amelie, we’ve been able to see you in the fifth season of ‘Grown-ish’. How has it been stepping in front of the camera and act in your first role?
My experience on set unequivocally ingrained within me a knowing that acting is my future. Despite the obvious nerves that come with preforming, especially for the first time on screen, I quickly felt a growing connection with myself and with the people around me, so much so that I felt more “me” on set, playing a character, than I did alone at home. There’s this unexplainable chemical, physical understanding the craft of acting is one I feel extremely passionate about and will wholeheartedly commit to for the foreseeable future. Additionally, working on ‘Grown-ish’, amongst the likes of some incredible artists and creatives, has made me feel proud to be a part of a legacy that has touched so many.
When did you develop a passion for acting and what are your goals for your acting career?
I’ve always admired the emotional vulnerability actors and actresses bring to their performances. For years I’ve watched film and television primarily through a performance-based lens and although every facet of a production holds equal importance, I’ve always been particularly drawn to the way an audience can be moved solely by a performer’s ability to reach into the depths of their emotional psyche. I aspire to do the same. I hope to be a part of a piece of art that moves the needle forward, changes a viewer’s perspective or leaves an audience member more enlightened than they were before.
You are highly involved in fashion. You attended Paris, Milan and New York fashion weeks sitting front row at shows such as Dior, Valentino, Fendi and Prada among others. What is the most exciting thing about attending fashion weeks?
Fashion week is a bustling shuffle of art and culture, which I love to be around. But more importantly, it’s an opportunity to really get a taste of what’s happening socially and politically. For designers alike, it’s really an opportunity to showcase their voice and speak their truth in art.
Recently, you became a newly appointed ambassador for Dior and Tiffany & Co. How do you identify and connect with these two brands?
Love and affinity for Christian Dior has been an inter-generational link between the women in my family. My late grandmother to my mom, my mom to myself and hopefully myself to my future daughter. I could not be luckier to partner with a brand like Christian Dior for they are one of the most, if not the most, feminist forward luxury brand. All it takes is a quick Google search to see how impactful Christian Dior has been in feminist fashion, especially under Maria Grazia Chiuri, from working with female artists and activists who are committed to women’s issues to unabashedly bridging politics with fashion in her collections. That’s my MO and I feel so grateful to be an ambassador to a House that really aligns with my values.
With Tiffany & Co. I feel a sense of nostalgia and inspiration. When I was younger, my dad gifted me a classic Tiffany silver heart pendant. Then, the necklace was momentous as it was the first piece of jewelry I’d ever owned. Now it feels equally as large, but because of the connection it brings in terms of my relationship with my dad. I rarely see him as he lives in France and in a cliche sense, it’s a memory that keeps on giving. Additionally, Tiffany & Co. is extremely committed to sustainability. Not many are aware of the ways in which the brand is devoted to a climate-reduction business model and it’s imperative I collaborate with brands who make socially conscious choices.
You love sharing your self-described lifestyle of beauty and fashion with a socially conscious twist with your audiences. Why is social consciousness so important in both beauty and fashion today?
Having social consciousness forces me to recognize the consequences my actions have on the rest of the world. I’m in a place of privilege simply by having choice options and it’s my obligation as a burgeoning young woman with an influence to do what I can, when I can. Social consciousness in the beauty and fashion world, especially in terms of consumerism, is vital in inching our way to global sustainability goals. Conscious consumerism cuts back pollution and waste, decreases the need for mass production and ultimately encourages the market to shift towards the demands of a population increasingly connected to socially conscious brands.
Besides acting and fashion, have used your platform to engage in a variety of political activations leading up to the 2020 election, collaborating with various non-profits to encourage young people to get to the polls. What makes you so passionate about politics? And why not only was, but it is so important for young people to go the the polls and participate in such important political decisions?
I’ve been political for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 years old, I created a weekly newsletter ‘TwoMinuteTimes’, where I summarized the week’s top headlines to make news palatable for young people. The ‘TwoMinuteTimes’ started with simple intent of educating myself and my peers on current affairs. Over the next 6 years, it evolved into a vehicle by which young people were moved to activism through education. Soon after, I began posting educational news videos to TikTok, speaking on a wide variety of issues to encourage young people to register to vote and be cognizant of global affairs. The rest was history.
My work has been, and will always be, to encourage young people to use their voice. Whether it be standing up for injustices across the world or raising awareness in their own local communities of wrongdoings happening at home, I always hone in on the idea of getting loud and making noise to create change. The idea that my generation can challenge status quos, shift our nation’s divided political narrative and create meaningful change was proven in 2020 and 2022 when we showed up to the polls and made a concrete difference.
Is a career in politics something you envision for yourself in the future?
Not at the moment. I formerly envisioned myself working at the state department or curating policy at a think tank, but I’ve realized creativity is an important feature of my identity and my occupation needs to be one in which this part of me can exist without borders. The work I do now feels like the perfect balance as I have the freedom to let my dualities flourish. Ask me again in 10 years.
You’ve been to the White House and last year you got to interview Kamala Harris. Were you nervous prior interviewing her? Through talking to her, what have you learned or what inspired you the most?
Nervous is an understatement. To have the opportunity to speak to such an influential figure in politics is one I will never take for granted and feel incredibly grateful for. Vice President Kamala Harris was so friendly and warm and served as a reminder to both myself and my audience that she is, in addition to being incredibly powerful, a real and normal person. She seeks targeted results by focusing on historically marginalized groups like women, people of color and low-income Americans, which is something I admire greatly about her as a figurehead.
On your platforms, you’re not only encouraging young people about politics, but also discuss key issues young people face, like racial discrimination for example. What are the hardest issues young generations are facing and have to deal with currently in the US?
Ironically enough, despite the GOP tokenizing the word ‘freedom’ and parading it as one of their party slogans, the most profound issue my generation faces is freedom. The freedom to live, to be safe, to have rights. This, amongst issues including student debt, climate inaction, dwindling abortion rights, etc. is one in which large demographic swaths of my generation are heartbreakingly not able to take for granted, let alone expect in this country.
You’re also engaging with numerous non-profits. Can you share a bit more on the projects you are doing with them and why is this so important yo you.
I work with non-profits often, usually engaging with a specific organization depending on where a particular tragedy occurs. On a broader scale, I work with Planned Parenthood and FairVote, as well as UNICEF. Too often we underestimate the power of giving, even if it’s as small of an act of caring as a kind word. I have lived a beautiful, lucky life on this planet and I owe it to humanity to give back.
What’s next for Amelie? Will we see you back on our screens?
Nothing I can share at the moment. But yes, there’s much more to come.
Talent: Amelie Zilber
Photographer: Nick Rasmussen
Stylist: Thomas Christos Kikis
Hair: Kiley Fitzgerald
Make-up: Shelby Smith
Photography assistants: Dawn Lu & Vasco Del Rey
Studio: The Ivory Space
Lit with Aputure Lighting
Editor: Timi Letonja