Almost Famous

Photography by Matthew Welch
Fashion editors: Kemal & Karla

dress Erik Hart; bra Calvin Klein, nylons H+M; neckalces and bracelets Pyhrra

This season’s crop of jeune Hollywood up-and-comers includes a surprising number of heirs to fame and fortune. Rumer Willis is the scion of he-man actor, Bruce Willis and controversial Vanity Fair cover girl, Demi Moore. Nathan Corddry is little bro to The Daily Show’s comic reporter, Rob Corddry. And, hailing from Hong Kong, Josie Ho, daughter of casino magnate Stanley Ho, was named by Forbes as one of the world’s most intriguing heiresses. Odette Yustman and Nicholas D’Agosto? Well, if things keep going the way they’re going, they’ll one day start Hollywood dynasties of their own.

top Cushine et Ochs; leggings American Apparel.

Odette Yustman

There are some behaviors that are learned, and others that are instinctive. For Odette Yustman, acting falls squarely into the latter category. Starting her career at the young age of five on the set of Kindergarten Cop, Yustman has literally grown up in the spotlight. Hard to believe from someone whose parents once thought her introverted. “I realized early on that acting was such a great art,” Yustman recalls. “As time progressed I really enjoyed acting and then I found a true love for it, and now it’s really just my passion.” Her resume is riddled with numerous small and big screen appearances, but it wasn’t until she landed the role of Aubrey on the ABC cult drama October Road that brought her to the attention of Hollywood’s elite. Since then, Yustman has quickly made her mark on the big screen, taking lead roles in the monster movie Cloverfield and the psychological thriller The Unborn. But, despite her legions of horror-fan followers, she doesn’t want to be chain-bound within the pantheon of scream queens. “I don’t want to be stereotyped, that’s one of my biggest fears,” she worries. “I just want to see what challenges me the most. I’m still looking for that.” It’s not only her acting skills that are helping her make a name for herself. In 2008, at 23, FHM ranked her among the sexiest women in the world, and Rolling Stone hailed her as its “Bombshell of the Year.” Yustman is excited about her upcoming project Rouge’s Gallery, a dark, dry-wit action-comedy. “I play a really funny assassin…who gets to kick ass. What’s better than that?”
Text Miranda Benner

t-shirt American Apparel; jeans, belt Diesel; shoes Converse

Nicholas D’Agosto

Nicholas D’Agosto is not just another theater-kid transplant here to wait tables and “pursue the dream.” The Omaha native has had a long-term love affair with the stage dating back to his grade school days when he was first introduced to acting. “Actually, how it started, really, was a teacher walked up to me and said, ‘I think you should go into speech,’” D’Agosto recounts.

Soon he began taking center stage in competitive speech tournaments and improvisation classes. “I realized acting was an outlet for my gregarious nature.” D’Agosto explains. By the end of his senior year in prep school the tenderfoot had already started making strides, landing his first professional role in Alexander Payne’s Election, “I couldn’t have happened into a better situation… I was 17, in Omaha Nebraska, reading with Matthew Broderick,” D’Agosto exclaims. Since his film début the rising star began firmly establishing a name for himself by cutting his teeth and on a wide array of highly acclaimed TV series, including The Office, Six Feet Under, Without a Trace and House. With his messy bed-head mop and his brown button eyes, D’Agosto has locked down his heartthrob appeal and has certainly turned a few heads with his recent entry into NBC’s hottest TV show, Heroes. With or without magic powers, D’Agosto has the ability to make the ladies swoon and, since locking lips with famed co-star Hayden Panetiere, doors have started opening up for the compelling young actor. With two major starring roles in Fired Up and Mardis Gras scheduled to hit the silver screen this year, the sky’s the limit.
Text Miranda Benner

jumpsuit Kova +T; blazer Obedient Sons; shoes Jimmy Choo; brooch stylist own; necklace Rumer’s own

Rumer Willis

The children of Hollywood stars have something slightly going against them—their parents. But as Rumer Willis, at 20, the eldest daughter of actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, walks into Matthew Welch’s studio, disheveled and crying out for caffeine, one can see she has something to prove… or at the very least she’d gotten herself out of bed for another photo shoot. “I definitely want to earn the respect, and work my way up the totem pole,” she points out, referring to the harrowing audition ladder every young actor must climb. “Otherwise you’re not ready for it.” As she glided upon the stage, a mere two days prior, Willis shined as Ms. Golden Globe at this year’s Golden Globe Awards. She recalls, “I was nervous when I first got onto the stage, but then it was easy.” After parading around on one of Hollywood’s largest stages, Willis is ready to get the attention of filmgoers. Recently, she starred opposite Anna Faris in the hit The House Bunny, and is taking on another college-themed role in Sorority Row. “It’s a horror film,” she coyly remarks. “It’s a remake with a great cast—Carrie Fisher is in it.” At this point, Willis is just eager to show that she has her own acting chops. She says, “Right now, I just want to get work. That’s all that matters.” As she is about to step in front of the camera, Willis speaks of her next audition, “I have an audition later for a new film, like a modern Girl, Interrupted—and it’s for this crazy guy.” Willis seems be doing just fine, braving the turgid and shark-infested waters of Hollywood, allowing the familial anchor to rust away below decks.
Text Adam Keleman

t-shirt H+M; jeans Levis

Nathan Corddry

“This will be a big year!” proclaims the up-and-coming actor, Nathan Corddry, wryly noting that last year wasn’t as eventful, work-wise. His access to the Golden Globes may not have been as backstage as Ms. Willis’, but you’ll soon see Corddry’s name among Hollywood’s brightest lights in 2009. Corddry, at 31, sat down for the Young Hollywood shoot, he recalls growing up in a middle-class family in Boston. “I was the only non-Catholic at my high school, and my family was afraid of art.” he laughs. This may have not been the ideal scenario for a young creative, but he could look up to his older brother, Rob Corddry (comedian and Daily Show correspondent), for support. After training with the Williamstown Theatre Company, Corddry took up a gig as a correspondent with The Daily Show, his brother’s alma mater, calling it “the nerdiest frat house” in television. Thoroughly sharpening his comedy chops in the School of Stewart, Corddry found his way over to Hollywood in Aaron Sorkin’s most recent primetime event, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He says of the experience, “You’re working with the most talented people, and that alone is worth it.” Now that a new year has arrived, Corddry looks forward to his full plate, with roles alongside Toni Colette in the new Diablo Cody show The United States of Tara and in Ricky Gervais’ feature directorial debut This Side of the Truth. Corddry says his single status allows him to better choose roles: “I don’t have a family to look after… I’m trying to get work, period, but I can be more choosey.” You’ll definitely remember the name: Corddry—that is Nathan, not Rob. “Together, we’re important,” he affirms.
Text Adam Keleman

cape Anna Sui; bodysuit H+M

Josie Ho

Singer-actor Josie Ho isn’t afraid of taking risks.

She’s conquered challenging roles as an actress, started the Hong Kong-based film company, 852, and is currently producing a line of designer handbags under the label “Matahari.”

Her entrepreneurial spirit is a family trait passed down, no doubt, from her billionaire casino-tycoon father, Stanley Ho, and it projects onto the screen with fiery charisma, and lead to a nomination at the Cannes Film Festival—a first for a Hong Kong film.

Her bold roles as provocative, sexually charged women have won her the title of “Indie Queen of Hong Kong” and earned her two prestigious awards: the Hong Kong Film Award for her scandalous role as a prostitute in Naked Ambition and the esteemed Hong Kong Film Critics Golden Bauhinia Award for her riveting performance in Forever and Ever.

Having graced the covers of countless magazines and appeared in more than 30 films abroad, Ho has finally landed on American soil, making her first U.S. film début as Cantana in the highly anticipated Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, out this February.

Viewer discretion advised—Ho is no one trick pony. Separating herself from other singers-turned-actors/producers, who fade away or drown in a sea of sharp-tongued critics, she has been highlighted by Forbes as one of the world’s most intriguing heiresses. With six albums under her belt and dual awards for Best Female Rock Artist and Best Album for her 2008 Hong Kong release of Elastic Rock, Ho is clearly a legitimate triple threat, teeming with talent.

SOMA caught up with Ho in Hollywood, emerging from nightmarish LA traffic in the safety of her entourage. Dressed to the nines in gold-plated, America-branded Bernhard Willhelm high-tops with bloodshot jeans and shirt to match, she certainly seems to have caught the American spirit.

Can you describe your singing style? It feels very edgy, very Karen O.
Oh, you can tell? Karen O is my all-time hero. I absolutely worship her. At home I have to watch her on YouTube every night before I go to sleep. She’s such a great performer. My music is definitely influenced by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

You have an amazing sense of style, and have won numerous best-dressed awards. Who are some of your favorite designers?

I like Bernhard Willhelm a lot, Vivienne Westwood—I admire her, I get crazy with her stuff… Christopher Kane, Matthew Williamson… I’m really into all of these up-and-coming designers. I’m just really into putting every favorite item on myself at the same time. I want to experience shapes and different textures—just mix things up and mess around.

When did you first want to become a serious actor?
I had fun on each film until Purple Storm. It was a very serious drama, a lot of action. The director was really serious [and] literally took me aside to warn me this is not a joke. He said, “I’m giving you this golden opportunity; I hope you treasure it, spend some time and get into your character.” That really slapped me on the face. I worked really hard on that movie and I saw the results, that’s what happens when you concentrate.”
Is that the point where you started taking more challenging roles?
Because of my strong Eurasian features I always got offers to do all these tough, modern independent women roles. They sort of just came to me… I was fortunate. I really got into it and I started yearning for more, and now I go out and develop more challenging roles for myself.

Who has influenced you most in your career as an actress?
I really admire Julianne Moore. She’s always been my one of my favorite actors. I saw her in Boogie Nights and I saw Magnolia and loved it. She can really explore humanity in-depth.

How was working on Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li?
It was my first time getting involved in a Hollywood film production. Hollywood seems very surreal to us in Hong Kong, and playing Cantana was the first time I ever played a villain. I’ve always played these heroes who had to sacrifice and I really enjoyed it being on the other side. You never get to think this way. It was really cool… and I hope to do more… the only pity was that, I’ve always wanted to be able to pull a spinning kick on screen. So I showed it to the action-choreographer and he’s, like, “Okay, this is your last move… the money shot, what would you like to do?” And I’m like, “A spinning kick!” [But] when we got on set we forgot that we were fighting in the ladies room in a club and… water was exploding and the whole floor was wet and slippery and we were fighting in heels! So they canceled the move. I was like, “No! That’s my money shot!” …but it was like trying to do a spin on a skim board and they’re like, “Sorry were going to have to change it into a left hook.” “What? A left hook?” I said. ‘I’ve come all this way for a left hook?’

What are your plans for the future?
I definitely want to work more in the U.S. and I really want to work with some world-class directors like P.T. Anderson and Todd Solondz.

Any advice for aspiring actors?
I’d say whatever project you’ve got in your hand, just believe and enjoy. When you really believe in your work then your audience can tell. Only true emotions can move people, and everyone owns a very different set of emotions and everybody is unique and that’s the beauty of it.”

I understand you are starting up a film company.
Yes, it’s called 852—that’s the area code for Hong Kong. We are going to produce our first film and begin shooting at the end of February.

What kind of films are you going to produce?
Well we do everything, but our direction is toward the younger generation. We want to push the culture, and we want to show Hong Kong cinema in a way that’s never been seen before.

What so far is the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
I’m still learning that but the most important thing is to learn how to deal with people.
Text Miranda Benner

fashion asst: Erica Cloud hair: Andre Blaise using loreal texture pro. Makeup: Mary Klimek for Kanebo cosmetics