Here is a name you should know: Riley Keough. (Pronounced “KEE-oh.”)
Forget for a minute that she is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis Presley. Forget that she’s drop-dead gorgeous. Forget that she’s got grandpa Presley’s eyes. And forget the string of supporting roles she’s had over the last couple of years in films ranging from Mad Max to Magic Mike. All you need to know right now is that she is the breakout star of the new Steven Soderbergh-directed STARZ show The Girlfriend Experience, and she’s good in it—really good.
Premiering this Sunday both on the STARZ channel and on STARZ’s online on-demand platform, the show is about Christine Reade, a highly stressed, highly indebted law student who turns to high-class escorting to make ends meet. I know—It sounds raunchy and cliché, and perhaps parts of it are. But between Soderbergh’s cinematic direction, the excellent script, and fearless performances by the likes of Riley Keough, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Kate Hewlett, the result is pure electricity.
On Wednesday night at Nobu on 57th Street, STARZ threw a blowout sushi and crispy-rice bash after premiering the show at the Paris Theater. The party drew in the likes of Hannah Bronfman, Fashion Unfiltered’s artistic director-at-large Daria Strokous, and filmmaker Julia Loomis. We crossed paths with Keough, who looked gorgeous in a blush off-the-shoulder knit Christian Dior dress. “This isn’t something my character would wear at all,” she said. “This is a little fashion-y and she’s a bit more corporate. But when I saw this at the Dior show in Paris, I knew right away—I must have that dress.”
“She’s complex and not necessarily very likable, and I liked that,” Keough told us of her character. “She’s unapologetic, controlling, likes sex, and those are things you see men play a lot.”
The role has been a huge growth opportunity for Keough, not just in terms of the obvious exposure and publicity, but also creatively as an actress. “The hardest thing for this part was getting used to sex without emotion,” she said. “That’s just something I’ve never been able to do. I can’t play something if I don’t understand it. And getting to a place where I could understand it was something that scared me a bit. It made me uncomfortable.”
The next night, the Guggenheim Young Collector’s Council took over the famed museum for its annual Young Collectors Party. David Yurman underwrote the evening, which started with a dinner and then proceeded to the main rotunda for drinks and dancing until the clock struck midnight. The YCC party is one of the art circuit’s more fun, informal affairs, and many of the women in attendance provided compelling examples of springtime party dressing.