To celebrate the 85th anniversary of its sunglasses, Foster Grant gathered a group of editors to chat with the new face of its campaign, Kat Graham. Here’s what the singer-actress had to say about ’90s style icons, if she’d ever pull a Pharrell and wear Uggs on the red carpet, and why Rihanna can do no wrong.
Kat Graham wearing Foster Grant sunglasses
Q: Hi, Kat!
Kat Graham: Hi! Love the short ‘do!
Q: Thanks! Well you had a recent crop, right?
KG: It was a wig! I’ve never cut my hair. Well, I just cut it this past week. This is my hair. I feel pretty good! I don’t know if I’ll make it any shorter, but I wish I could make it that short.
Q: You have the face for it, though.
KG: Thank you! I think I’ll just stick with the wigs for now because I finally cut it. I don’t think I’ve cut my hair in five, six, seven years. It was actually down to here [points to below-chest]. And I would wrap it up and put on that short wig. And I was like “why am I being such a chicken?!” Just do it. So I let my girl Kendra Styles—shout-out to her in ATL—just do it.
Q: Let’s chat about your style for a second. You’re basically the gift that keeps on giving. You have fun! A lot of these girls wear the same thing all the time…
KG: Yeah, but not me! I have fun because, you know what, I just want to wear it for me. And thank God I have a stylist who’s a great collaborator because I’ll show up in a baggy T-shirt and Doc Martens because I feel like it. Because I’m like “this is who I am!” but you can still be that without having to be like that all the time.
Q: That’s funny, because I wanted to ask you, you play Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries, you have Kat the musician, and you have Kat in your real life. How does your style differ across the three?
KG: The hardest thing as somebody who does both is—and I’m very serious as an actor and I consider myself very serious as a musician, engineer, music artist—is learning that it’s OK to be versatile. There have been a lot of different kinds of girls out over the past few years that I was so excited to support like Rita Ora and Rihanna, who can turn up in a gown one day and then the next day wearing see-through mesh jerseys. And I love that because that’s how I am. And I finally see that the world is starting to accept it.
Q: Do you ever find yourself thinking, Oh, this is such a Bonnie outfit?
KG: Bonnie, the style, is so precious to me because it’s so reserved for that character. If I started wearing those clothes I’d start behaving like her because for the past six years that’s been the routine. So I don’t even think consciously I’d be aware of it. I’m really into boho chic now, but in the Pharrell way [laughs]. The big hats, the button-down shirts, the oxfords…
Q: Would you ever wear Uggs on the red carpet a la Pharrell at the BET Awards?
KG: You’re lying. No he didn’t. My boo did not.
Q: He accepted two awards in them!
KG: But maybe that’s the trick. When I hope I’m going to win something, but I don’t want to jinx myself I’m going to show up to the awards show in Uggs. Because there’s no way I’m going to accept an award in Uggs. It’s almost like a trick to the universe. So I might just do that! If you see me wearing Uggs you can be like “oh she’s trying to win that award!”
Q: You’re hysterical. OK, so let’s talk about these Foster Grant sunglasses, the whole reason we’re here. You have these style icons behind you—Raquel Welch, Cindy Crawford—who have starred in the brand’s previous campaigns. Who would you say are your style icons?
KG: Actually right there. That’s Cindy Crawford. I have been a fan of hers since ’90s House of Style. She was someone who wasn’t, you know, super skinny; she was somebody who was the epitome of glamour and sexiness, but if you watched her, she was very silly and fun and a girl’s girl and, you know, had her own identity and represented the ’90s.
Q: Did you ever find yourself dressing like her?
KG: I still dress like her! Have you seen when they catch me out? I have way too many high-waisted jeans and crop tops. Way too many. I mean come on.
Q: Ha! OK, so Victoria Beckham once said sunglasses hide a multitude of sins. What are you hiding when you wear sunglasses?
KG: Ooh. I actually don’t feel like I’m hiding anything. In fact I feel like it makes me a bit more visible. What I love about these sunglasses is that you can pick what kind of person you want to be that day. So when I want to feel big celebrity fabulous, there are those big celebrity fabulous-type sunglasses. When I want to be low-key, there are great aviators. I think sometimes when you want attention you can wear sunglasses and people are like “Who is that?”. Which is kind of the thing about the campaign. Sometimes you shine more. But anytime I see Victoria Beckham wearing shades, I want to know everything. She can’t hide from anyone, that gorgeous thing.
Q: Seriously! So for my final question: What are you looking forward to buying this end of summer and into fall?
KG: I’m actually on the hunt —literally the website— for some oxfords. I’m really into kind of finding different masculine pieces and making them feminine. Like cool oxfords.
Q: Have you tried Church’s? Cole Haan has some great ones too.
KG: I’ll have to check that out. I’m all about the earrings and the ear cuffs with this short haircut too. I’m an ear-cuff girl. I like different statement jewelry, especially around the ears. I’m into piercings. I had a septum ring, and I took it out because I had makeout scenes with one of my actors on the show and the camera kept seeing it in my nose. But I have fake belly rings, fake earrings.
Q: Rihanna was wearing a fake septum ring the other day.
KG: She can do no wrong. She’s one of my favorites artists of all and she’s somebody who has taken a lot of heat for her fashion and is still so unapologetic about it. That’s a huge reason why she got her CFDA award. I love that there’s someone like her who exists for us black girls. It’s like we are different and you’re not going to put us into a hole so shout-out to her.