In Conversation With
My Life in Jewellery: Lydia West
Introducing our video series where we look inside the jewellery boxes of our favourite creatives. We sat down with actor Lydia West to talk about auditions, aspirations, and the pieces she adores.
Watch out, the star of Lydia West is rising. After her standout performance as Jill in the smash hit It's A Sin, we're already seeing her face everywhere.
It’s A Sin follows a group of gay men who move to London in 1981, with the fast developing HIV/AIDS crisis in the United Kingdom deeply impacting their lives. Jill is the sole female protagonist, a pillar of strength for the friendship group as tragedies begin to unfold.
“I was trying to understand why my character resonated with everyone. I learnt that all of us have a Jill in us."
– Lydia West
"There’s a kindness in humanity that prevails through everything, that sense of unity and wanting the best for people and equality," West says. "I think that’s why people connected to Jill and why I connected to Jill. Playing Jill helped me find my own voice in what I think is right, humanitarian causes I believe in – basic human rights I didn't have an awareness of that I’ve learnt about because of this period of history.”
After working with Russell T. Davies on 2019’s Years and Years, Lydia West was called in to read for Jill – but heard nothing for an entire month after her audition. ”I just thought it’s not going my way,” she said. However, late one Friday night, she was offered the role. Filming began just under three weeks later. “I was so thrilled and shocked, and I didn’t expect it at all. It was such a different character from what I’d played before. I was crying after reading two episodes at the audition, it was gorgeous.”
“The show was life-changing and fun,” West says about her break-through role. “What we made and created was so special, and the friendships we all made. It felt like such an ensemble piece, made from such a place of love. From the writers and creators, Channel 4 and HBO, every single person involved loved the show so much. It was life-changing in so many ways.”
“Being your authentic self is self-expression for me.”
- Lydia West
Along with her wide, beautiful smile, Lydia West is eye-catching in her pared-back fashion. So, where does she get her styling inspiration from? It’s a family affair. “My sister is very influential in my styling choices. She knows my taste and what I like, everything goes through my sister. Once I get her seal of approval I’m good to leave the house. She’s more in the know with trends – I like basics and essentials.”
Describing her style as “the modern woman,” West likes jewellery she can wear over and over. “I never take off my two Missoma rings, my huggies and three lobe piercings,” she says. “They’re my essentials. If my hair’s up I like to show an ear so I’ll rock a hoop or a pendant earring. I choose between an ear or a neck. If my hair’s down that’s when I get out the stacking collection. If I was trying to dress it down I’d take everything off and just wear my rings."
And whose jewellery box would Lydia herself raid given the chance? “Erykah Badu’s jewellery box. Her jewellery must tell so many stories about her life.” Well we're sold, she’s gone to the top of the list of our dream My Life in Jewellery guests.
"I like jewellery that tells a story, like rings from different places around the world. It helps me express myself depending on the mood of the day."
– Lydia West
From her great grandmother's ring, to the earrings that may or may not have landed her a role, get to know Lydia in the first ever episode of My Life in Jewellery.
Along with It’s A Sin, you can find Lydia in Apple TV’s espionage thriller Suspicion, and the upcoming movie The Pentaverate with Mike Myers, plus a new Netflix series called Inside Man with Stanley Tucci and David Tennant.