Paz de la Huerta: Easy Rider
Inspired by men’s fashion week, actor Paz de la Huerta slips on some of the season’s more masculine inspired pieces, and later, little at all. Shop de la Huerta’s sexy, come hither style as we capture her in New York’s SoHo.
Photographs by Sante D'Orazio. Agency: EFFIGIES
“I’d say I’m extreme, emotional, honest, and a hot-tempered Latina,” says model, muse, and actor Paz de la Huerta. Seated outside Cafe Gitane in Nolita, Paz sips Moroccan mint tea, eyeing the frenzied paparazzi crowding the street opposite her. “They must have gotten the same boring picture about a million times,” she says.
María de la Paz Elizabeth Sofía Adriana de la Huerta was born in New York City in 1984. Iñigo de la Huerta, her father, the Spanish Duke of Mandas and Villanueva, and her mother, Judith Bruce, an authority on women’s issues in developing countries, raised Paz and her sister in SoHo, the center of New York’s burgeoning art scene. As a child, Paz was raised among downtown’s creative class, visiting galleries in her stroller and dancing to classical music in her home on West Broadway. But by age 12, her parents divorced and her father, an alcoholic, returned to Spain.
In 1998, Paz appeared in her first feature film, The Object of My Affection with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston. “I had just turned 13, I had never watched Friends—she [Aniston] didn’t interest me,” Paz recounts. “We all have our taste.”
A year later, her role as a slightly deranged, overtly sexual young woman in the critically acclaimed film, The Cider House Rules, brought the Paz we now know to the public. Since then, she has played myriad nude, sex-crazed female characters in upwards of 20 feature films—including Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control and Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void—and more recently, in the culty HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
Yet, for all her onscreen coitus, sex is just another narrative element according to Paz. “I don’t really consider sex scenes ‘sex scenes,’” she says. “It has more to do with the emotional context going on underneath the scene—like any scene.”
As a director, Paz has often explored religion in her work, without leaving sex and seduction very far behind. “I was raised Catholic and I think it played a very predominant role in my life,” she says. “I think my fascination came from witnessing some members of my Spanish family doing really unforgivable crazy things, and yet considering themselves spiritual, religious, and holy.”
The most recent of six projects, her version of The Red Shoes, is one she’s finally willing to show a wider audience—even if in the discussion of it, she’s still a bit coy. “It’s about sinning and redemption and asking for forgiveness,” she explains. “It also has another twist to it that’s quite controversial. But I don’t want to let that out yet.” —Sasha Levine