“M.O.D.,” or model off-duty, the aesthetic ascribed to Alexander Wang’s collections, is a look perfectly embodied by Erin Wasson, the designer’s muse and friend. But the notion of Wasson being an “off-duty” anything is kind of a joke. The 30-year-old top model, animal-rights activist, hipster goddess, stylist, and fashion designer has just added actor to her list of métiers, appearing as Vadoma, an exsanguinating ne’er-do-well, in the quasi-historical bloodbath Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which lands in theaters this Friday.
From a corner booth at the bar inside the Downtown W Hotel, the street-smart cover girl, dressed in jeans and a tattered T-shirt, sips a pisco sour and considers her transition from posing to acting. But before getting to her breakout role in what’s expected to be one of this season’s biggest films, we had more pressing concerns: sex and sin.
So, this interview will run in our Sin issue.
Are you about to ask me to remember the last time I sinned? Jesus Christ. I sin every day.
You just did it again when you used the Lord’s name in vain. But before three seconds ago, when was the last sin?
Listen, I don’t know what sin really means. If you’re a radical religious freak, then sin is everywhere. It’s everything. If you’re a realistic and open-minded person like myself, then you don’t believe in regret, therefore you don’t believe in sin.
According to someone else, when did you last sin?
Who is this someone else? Is it a woman who goes to church on Sunday and thinks I’m a sinner because I have sex before marriage? Am I a sinner because I’ve had intimate encounters with men?
Wait, why did “sex” just become an “intimate encounter”?
I’m trying to be articulate. I tend to drop a lot of F-bombs in interviews, and it’s not becoming of a lady like myself. I’m still trying to be ladylike.
You don’t believe in regret?
I don’t regret anything in my life. Be a future thinker but live in the moment—that’s what I say.
Is getting into film part of that future thinking?
It’s just part of the future, apparently. I was sitting on a beach in Australia and I got a phone call from my agent. The part of Vadoma came up, and the next thing I knew, I was asked to put myself on tape. I pulled myself away from the Hotel Bondi, which is a total grime hole, and three days later I was Skyping with Timur [Bekmambetov, the director of Abraham Lincoln] in Melbourne.
Tell me about Vadoma.
She’s a woman of few words. She’s a kick-ass-and-take-names kind of chick. The whole goal is to take down Abraham Lincoln, who has privately trained himself to be a vampire slayer. We learn about the power he’s accumulating and we want him dead. Acting is the first thing that really scared the shit out of me.
You’ve never been scared before this?
Not really. Walking onto a film set is like walking into a foreign country. I didn’t know what anyone was saying and what anything meant. Modeling is a very coddling industry. Everything is handed to you on a silver platter. When you walk on set, everyone is like, “Erin, what can we get you? Do you need anything?” This was the opposite. I was in a small trailer in the middle of New Orleans for three months. Every night I had to do my homework and make sure I was walking on set knowing what was to be expected from me. It was so humbling to be thrown down to the bottom of the totem pole, and it was a fucking gift from the universe. It was almost like I needed that spiritual bitch-slap.
Do you intend to act again?
I think so. I’ve been auditioning, which is a really arduous process. I don’t think that my looks are going to do me any favors. In fact, I think they do me a disservice at times. It really is based on skill and talent.
I wish that were the case, but it’s not. Sometimes, even though a young woman looks right and acts the part, the casting director will come back and say, “Her hair is too short,” or, “Her tits aren’t big enough.”
I’ve gotten that one before.
Photography by Andrew Yee
Styling by Melissa Rubini