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Jessica Chastain Covers NY Times T Style Summer 2012

Posted Friday April 13, 2012 2:41 PM GMT

She's fresh off of a career-defining past twelve months capped off with an Oscar nomination, so it seems fitting that Jessica Chastain was chosen to grace the cover of the Summer 2012 issue of The New York Times T Style magazine.

The 35-year-old actress looked elegant in a yellow Louis Vuitton dress with David Yurman earrings and Dolce & Gabbana Voluptuous Lipstick for the Cass Bird shot spread while opening up about topics including her upbringing, image and thoughts on theater.

Highlights from Miss Chastain's interview are as follows. For more, be sure to pay a visit to New York Times T Magazine!

On finding success as an actress:
"It's a strange moment when your dreams become your reality. What does it mean? Yesterday I had my portrait taken for the Academy. The photographer told me he shot Rita Hayworth! For the rest of my life, I am 'the Oscar-nominated Jessica Chastain.'"

On tight times growing up in Northern California:
"Growing up, a big expense was a fashion magazine. I got $100 for clothes at the beginning of the year, and I had to be very careful about what pieces would last – I bought thrift and vintage."

On being a bit of an outcast as a youth:
"I was awkward. I looked like a boy when I was 8 years old – lanky with short red hair. You know that book 'Ramona the Pest'? I felt like that."

On not being overly protective of her image:
"My job as an actor is not to be vain. When we were making 'The Help' in Mississippi, we drank moonshine and had huge dance parties. I ate a lot of fried food. I had to gain 15 pounds for the role. I'm not the girl who goes to spinning class. I do yoga once in a while. I used to think about dieting, but I'm vegan now, so it's not really a problem."

On her feelings on taking theater roles:
"I love being on stage. There's an energy-sharing in the room, with the audience, and you're responsible for that energy. You can feel when they're bored – the coughing, the unwrapping. That's what makes it terrifying!"

Photo Credit: Cass Bird for The New York Times T Style