MAY 4, 2023














Gifted actor, proud vegan, and self-effacing beauty Wallis Day galloped into my studio with the enthusiasm of a Taylor Swift fan and the sophistication of a senior Vogue editor. On time, and with a videographer in toe, she was ready to get to work before her flight that night whisked her off to her hometown of London (she splits her time between London and Los Angeles). Wallis was finishing her exhaustive press tour to promote her new gig for Netflix's hot show, Sex/Life while attending fashion shows of some of her favorite American designers during New York Fashion Week. Wallis is no stranger to fashion; the former model has graced the covers of several magazines and knows her way around a photo shoot, as the following photos will affirm. And while her focus remains steadfast on acting, Wallis also has the mind of a businesswoman who knows how to build a brand—her videographer was documenting her time in New York for her social media fan base, and Wallis is the co-founder of Plant Punk, a UK based vegan food company. Throughout the day, I learned that Wallis is as funny as she is beautiful, knows how to have fun while staying focused, and takes her work seriously, but not herself. After our photoshoot where we vowed to be bffs, I caught up with Wallis over Zoom after she recuperated from jet lag and weeks of a grueling schedule that rivaled her former Queen. We discussed her early acting days, her near brush with the Olympics, the true love of her life, and why she'd like to be Jennifer Lawrence for a day.

Aknvas silver top and pants | Effy Jewelry 14k rose, yellow, and white gold diamond ring, and 14k yellow and white gold diamond ring | Graziela 18k white gold and diamond earrings | Wallis’ own shoes

AS IF: Wallis, I want to start at the beginning when you were a bright-eyed, squishy, little five-year-old and went to see a theater performance with your parents. It was there and then when you knew you wanted to be a performer and enrolled in a drama program. Do you remember what it was about that performance that inspired your passion at a young age?

Wallis Day: I remember the actors looked like they were having so much fun. The art of telling a story and seeing everyone on stage engaged in storytelling was fascinating. The audience was on a journey together watching the story unfold. I could see a woman's reaction and watch how different it was from someone else's reaction. The moment I was exposed to storytelling was the moment I knew that was what I wanted to do.

But I was amazed to learn you were also a competitive swimmer and had the opportunity to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics and turned it down. Your stroke was the butterfly, which must have taken years of dedication to master. The decision to bow out of the Olympics after so many years of sacrifice must have been agonizing.

That was the most difficult choice I've ever made. As a child, I remember moving my feet through the sand and into the ocean for the first time. I remember swimming and being like wow, I really am swimming! I'll never forget that feeling, and it was the same with acting—it's a kind of spiritual elation. Since I love to act and swim, I was always choosing between the two and eventually got to the point where I was training for swimming five hours a day, seven days a week—two hours before school, and three hours after school. Acting is competitive, but with swimming, there are stats and figures, it's on a different level. It wasn't that the competition became too much, but the pressure was immense because swimmers have a ticking clock, you peak as a swimmer in your early 20s. The 2012 Summer Olympics would've been my peak, and I didn't have one trainer, I had a group of trainers and so many people counting on me. I remember deciding to stop. I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't eat. I remember saying to my dad, I'm not going to training tonight. He was shocked, but my parents never put pressure on me. I remember the guilt I felt for taking a step back while all my fellow swimmers were taking a step forward. I knew that with every training session I was missing I was getting further and further away from my goal. I missed the following morning, and missed the next night, and it just became so overwhelming that I knew I had to bow out; it was horrible. I couldn't even swim for fun; my whole life changed. Swimming encompassed so much of my life, from my schedule, to what I ate, and how early I woke up—it's a serious routine. Suddenly, I was a teenager with nothing but free time.

It says so much about your discipline. You put in 100% or you don’t do it at all. Are you a hard judge of yourself?

I definitely am, but it’s also about sacrifice. I have to make a sacrifice worth it in the end.