English rose Gabriella Wilde sizzles in slushy romance Endless Love.. but doesn’t care for big Valentine’s Day gestures
ENDLESS Love actress Gabriella Wilde gave birth to her first child last week and admits she’s not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day, preferring more romantic everyday touches to one-off displays of affection.
LAST night, many of you will have gone to the cinema to get all romantic for Valentine’s by watching Endless Love. But the star of the film, 24-year-old Gabriella Wilde, stayed in and reckons romance is doing nothing. Gabriella, who gave birth last week to her first child, said: “I’m not really a fan of Valentine’s Day.“I think it can be romantic doing nothing on Valentine’s Day. It’s more romantic than being given a big bunch of flowers that everyone else is doing.”
Instead, she likes romance to be everyday little touches.She added: “I think probably honesty is the biggest quality I look for in a relationship. Being exactly who you are with the other person.” Gabriella is busy looking after her baby son Sasha Blue Pownall, who was born on February 3.She got engaged to her musician boyfriend Alan Pownall last year after dating for four years and they decided the wedding will wait until after the birth. Having hit the Hollywood big time last year in the remake of Carrie playing school bully Sue Snell, she’ll next be seen in Squatters with True Blood star Luke Grimes and Richard Dreyfuss.
She said: “It’s going to be a big year. ”Talking of big, Burke’s Peerage gives Gabriella’s real name in full. Take a deep breath. It’s Gabriella Zanna Vanessa Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe. She laughed: “It’s a Scottish name, it’s very long and it’s kind of ridiculous in modern day life.”
I have to admit I haven’t met many Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpes among the Browns, Wilsons or Andersons of normal Scottish life. She changed her mouthful of a name when she got into acting. Gabriella said: “I was going to change my name for obvious reasons and I couldn’t think of a name to change it to. “It was a strange thing to think of and I was with my agent and she just suggested Wilde because we were looking through her bookcases and plays and Oscar Wilde was there. So that became the name.”
Her family have some very big connections. She is a descendent of Charles II and is best friends with Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas. In some complicated family tree shenanigans, Gabriella and Cressida share a half-sister in Isabella Calthorpe, who in turn is married to Virgin heir Sam Branson.
Gabriella is quick to discount any royal connection. She laughed: “I don’t have a personal connection, he’s not a friend of mine, basically she’s my dad’s ex-wife’s daughter. Sadly, I don’t have any stories of inside Buckingham Palace.” And despite her royal connection to Charles II, it seems Gabriella isn’t wholly on the side of the royals. She said: “I think there is a sensitive, fun side to it. Then there’s the political side of it , which I won’t go into. “I think the patriotic side of it and the ceremony side of it, I have my opinions about all that but not ones I should probably say in an interview.” But then, Gabriella was always something of a rebel. She grew up in Hampshire and went to posh all-girls school Heathfield, in Ascot, Berkshire, where she was suspended for smuggling in vodka. She said: “I think in boarding school, everyone’s thing is to get out, so I would just sneak out a lot and go to London. “We would go to someone’s house and sit there, but it was just the fact that you were kind of taking your life into your own hands a little bit and it was fun.”
It wasn’t just freedom and drink Gabriella became interested in, boys were also a draw. She said: “I think at that age, 13 until I was 16, you are sort of at an age where anything you are told you can’t have, you want and you sort of rebel against that, and so having boys entirely removed is bizarre. So all you think about is boys, which is a sort of weird one. “I think the point of being an all-girls school is to remove that so you are more focused. But I think it makes you more focused on the boys.”
Despite her privileged upbringing of boarding school, Gabriella doesn’t agree with it. Gabriella said: “It was an interesting experience, it’s a sort of strange thing the English do. I don’t agree with boarding school. It’s not something that I would do with my children but I think it’s something that kind of exists in England in a traditional way and you do form very close relationships with the girls you go to school with. “But it is a strange thing to live in an environment which is solely female. And I don’t think there is ever a time in your life that you will do that again unless you become a nun or something.”
Clearly restless as a teenager, her first escape was modelling. At 14 she was spotted by Naomi Campbell at a dinner party and the supermodel promptly sneaked her off to the bathroom to shoot her first model Polaroids. Gabriella went on to model for Burberry, Lacoste and Abercrombie & Fitch, quitting her then school St Swithun’s in Winchester at 17. But she only lasted at being a model for three months before she went back to school. She studied fine art at the City and Guilds of London Art School, dropping out to become an actress.
She got her first acting break playing a bad girl in St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold (not really much of a stretch for her), appeared as a vampire in an episode of Doctor Who and alongside Orlando Bloom in the 2010 film version of The Three Musketeers. Gabriella admitted: “After studying art, I was a painter for a while and was asked to audition for a movie randomly. “I hadn’t thought of acting before that.”
Endless Love, which co-stars Alex Pettyfer, is a remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film of the same title starring Brooke Shields. After Carrie, it’s the second remake in a row for Gabriella. She is fast establishing herself as a hot new talent but the lure of moving to Hollywood hasn’t occurred to her. She said: “I think I like Europe too much. I feel happier here and I feel like a bit of an alien in Los Angeles. I think culturally it’s so different, I don’t drive so I am stuck. But I think also for me as an actress living in a town that revolves solely around one industry, it’s kind of strange.”
Her two breakout films have been playing American teenage roles but surely some period dramas will be heading her way. Again, despite being associated with aristocracy, she’s hoping she won’t be typecast. She said: “I think for me, that’s the refreshing thing about working in America, I come over as an actress more than anything else.”