The Future Is Now

Actress and screen siren BRET 'ETTE' PRUITT surprises SHONIE MILLER with her unconventional Hollywood approach, how she feels about last year's nude selfie leak, and talks filming Mad Max.

Photographs by SHARIF HAMZA    Styling by JULIA VON BOEHM

When you first hear the last name Pruitt, leggy blondes aren't exactly the first thought that pops into mind. "We actually call him 'The Softy' at home instead." the twenty-nine year old jokes, "he's an amazing man." Ette Pruitt is talking about her father, Grammy winning rocker Garrett Pruitt, and his old nickname 'The Boss' that's haunted him since his club gig days. The jersey-born actress talks fondly of her father and apologizes for being tardy: "I have to set my clocks ahead!" she explains, "I'm always running late, it's my absolute worst habit."
    The warehouse she's shooting in today feels dark and gritty, which Pruitt is used to after coasting the night portraying Sookie Stackhouse in HBO's True Blood. Is it hard being seen as something other than sultry fairy bait? "No, I don't think so. I mean, I've done a few other projects on the side and I'm hoping people will see a different side of me with the things I have lined up."
    She's talking about upcoming Mad Max and Jurassic World, both which are slotted to come out in the first half of the year and projected to do well. "It's been a while since I've done that kind of press and I'm pretty

stoked to see everyone again."

Little direction is needed when she gets in front of the photographer - the body sprawled out in an old, scarlet red Mustang is both voluptuous and delicate, toned from "years of ballet" and it's no wonder she came in at #6 in Maxim's 2014 Hot 100 list.

SHONIE MILLER: You seem really comfortable in front of the camera, has that always been easy for you?

ETTE PRUITT: I grew up on the stage with people watching and criticizing my body, because ballet is one of those forms where perfection is demanded at all costs, and I think that's really helped me understand everyone is always going to have an opinion. You might not like it, you might not agree, but it's always going to be there. So I try to just do what I want to make me happy.

MILLER: That's a positive outlook to have, but is it hard to stay that positive with today's image-centric focus?

PRUITT: Don't get me wrong, I have my bad days like everyone else -

there's some days I just wanna live in sweatpants and whine to anyone who will listen, but usually someone will tell me to shut up [laughs] and I get over it. But I do think it's our responsibility to show young girls they don't have to be perfect or look a certain way to be valuable, which is why I'm so obsessed with Instagram and showing that side of myself that isn't Photoshopped and fake. I'm like, 'I have cellulite too'! I don't want to be part of the problem."

MILLER:Is there anything off limits on there [Instagram] or are you an
open book? Last year you were part of the iCloud hacking scandal and a lot of personal things got leaked, does that still bother you?

PRUITT: Of course it does, wouldn't it bother you? It was less about the content - because, seriously, who hasn't sent a nude picture to their boyfriend? - and more about the invasion of privacy, that someone thought they had a right to see those things without my consent. I took those pictures years ago, which shouldn't even matter, but the point is nobody had a right to see them. The
idea that it was somehow my fault because I took them to begin with is so tired. It was an attack on women, plain and simple, and I only feel ashamed those a**holes got away with it.

MILLER: So that experience didn't make you want to stop sharing?

PRUITT: No. I refuse to let anyone have that kind of power over me and I didn't do anything wrong. I think pulling back would infer I felt like I did something I shouldn't have. There's some things I think Natalie [her agent, Natalie Jones] wishes I wouldn't post, but mostly I try and be normal like you'd expect from everyone else just living their life. There's no point in hiding anything anymore, people always find out somehow and I think my weird personality proceeds itself. I'd rather people see what I'm doing and experience then make their minds up about me instead of putting everything on lockdown and letting speculation roll in. It definitely taught me I can't control everything.

MILLER: Are you a control freak?

PRUITT: YES. But I'm learning to
be better about that kind of stuff. Kind of. A little bit. [laughs]

MILLER: Tell me about filming Mad Max. You guys shot in Africa, right? Was that your first time visiting?

PRUITT: Yeah, it was. I'd always wanted to visit, go on a safari, which I actually got to do with some of the girls while we were there. This was almost three years ago and all I remember is how hot it was and sand getting everywhere - everywhere - and here I am working with Charlize, who is this Amazon goddess in the flesh, and it was just so awesome.

MILLER: I interviewed her a few years ago. She's so beautiful in person - and intimidating! How was it different from filming The Dark Knight Rises?

PRUITT: It was a smaller role, less pressure, but [The Dark Knight Rises] required a lot more stunt work and I got banged up, but we filmed part of it in New Jersey and my parents got to come see the set. I think that was the first time something I was doing professionally really turned my dad into fangirl. That was really cool.
MILLER: So he was proud?

PRUITT: Extremely. But he's always been my biggest supporter.

MILLER: Can you tell me about your role in the film [Mad Max]?

PRUITT: I play one of the Five Wives named Splendid, we're basically a bunch of concubines that Furiosa rescues from the bad guy - Immortan Joe - and join her fight. I can't tell you much more than that, but it's awesome and I really think people are going to be into all of the action and explosions. It's the first apocalyptic-type role that I've done, and I was really nervous reading for the part because they namedropped who was already signed on and I freaked out thinking like how am I going to not let all these people down? I wasn't really in the right frame of mind to be doing it, but I didn't want to back out either. Everyone was really nice, though, and supportive. I got really close with the other girls and worked out a lot of things I needed to.

MILLER: I hear Logan [Lebouf] really gets into character and doesn't interact with everyone else much, is
that true or no?

PRUITT: No, that was really just a stupid rumor. He's a phenomenal actor and gets really into character, but I think everyone else fed off him being Max instead of Logan. He's one of those actors who completely makes you believe he is the role, you know?

MILLER: I feel that way about Johnny Depp.

PRUITT: Yeah, he's really great too.

MILLER: Can we go back to when you were filming for a second? You said it was hard for you. That was right after your sister's accident, right? I wasn't sure whether to bring that up or not, but you've been pretty outspoken about it in other interviews. There were a lot of rumors swirling around then, especially about whether or not your career was over after those Vegas pictures. Do you think that experience changed your perception on life and how you live?

PRUITT: I don't think something like that happens and you don't change in some way, good or bad.
I went through the grieving process in my own way, the only way I knew how then, because you're never prepared for something like that. It's like an electroshock to the heart. I mean, I wouldn't take anything I did back because it was what I needed to do at the time, and I think if anyone wants to hold that against me they probably haven't experienced that level of loss. Therapy helped me learn to process how I was feeling in a non-harmful way, which I'm a big proponent of now. There's nothing wrong with asking for help.

MILLER: So you're doing better now?
PRUITT: Yeah, every day gets a little more awesome.

When Ette gets called back to shooting I can't help but wonder whether or not the positive, upbeat attitude she presents is real or a facade. Everything in Hollywood feels fabricated, but something about her excitement when we talked felt real and genuine. I'm buying into the hype for now. One thing's for sure, Ette Pruitt knows how to sell herself as a hot commodity of the future.