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Dree Hemingway is tall and delicate, all spindly limbs and cascading blonde hair, but she gives these bear hugs that seem beyond her weight class. At the premiere of her new movie, “Starlet,” last week, everyone is getting them: her boyfriend, Phil Winser; friends, and reporters. It’s the first Friday after Hurricane Sandy. New York is still crippled, but Hemingway is ebullient. She unexpectedly wraps her arms around people and holds them, like she is trying to recharge them with good vibes.
“I’ve always been somebody who’s really real and I love connecting with people instantly,” she says. “I love hugging people and I think we should be real and, yeah, that’s it.”
This story first appeared in the November 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
She may be Ernest’s great-granddaughter and Mariel’s daughter, but the model and aspiring actress has carved out a role of her own as the sunniest Hemingway. She’s always, like, in a chill mood. At first, Hemingway was weirded out that the Sandro- and Cinema Society-presented party, which was moved from a powerless Tribeca Grand to The Lambs Club, was going forward. But why not?
“I realized we’re all just coming together and need things to celebrate,” she says.
Things have a way of working out for the literary scion. A California kid, Hemingway has gone from famous last name to having a modeling career — much like aunt Margaux — and is now emerging as an actress. “Starlet,” in theaters today, is her first major role.
The hurricane didn’t bother her much, either. She’d spent it mostly in Los Angeles and arrived in New York two days earlier. Though her TriBeCa apartment was dark, Winser, who owns the Fat Radish, put her up. Bubby’s was still serving coffee and food in the mornings. Her only complaint was that her favorite spa, Aire Ancient Baths, was closed. All in all, the post-Sandy camaraderie that had swept over parts of New York agreed with her world view.
“I kind of love it. Everybody’s so nice,” she says. “I think it’s the most amazing thing ever.”
Hemingway’s free spirit was put to the test on the set of “Starlet,” where she plays a young porn star. She doesn’t like porn. At all.
“I feel very awkward trying to watch it,” she says. But she spent time with porn actors to prepare for the role, and learned some life lessons.
“I was really surprised by them being so normal,” she says. “They taught me we shouldn’t judge people by who they are or what they are.”
Hemingway sounds so sincere, one wonders what she makes of this nasty presidential election, which was then a few days away. She says she hadn’t voted, and probably wouldn’t. Is she appalled by the partisan bickering? The un-Californian mudslinging?
“I just don’t think I know enough and I haven’t been keeping updated with what’s going on to really have an opinion on things. If I vote because of me being a Democrat or something, it’s kind of bogus to do that just because of peer pressure,” she says. She then returns to her hugging duties.