When Devon Ross was 16, she showed her hair stylist a photo of George Harrison.
“That, but a bit longer,” she requested, transforming her blonde locks into a jet black crop.
The now 22-year-old’s hair has “evolved over time,” but one thing remains the same: Ross’ entire being is informed by music.
For starters, the model-actress is the daughter of Craig Ross, the lead guitarist of Lenny Kravitz’s band. As a child, she toured the world with him and came to take up guitar as a teen.
I meet Ross at a Sunset Strip-adjacent hotel (yes, one with an impressive rock ‘n’ roll history) on an especially warm March day. Over the course of our chat, music is at top of mind. She lists Almost Famous as one of her favorite movies and, while talking about method acting, mentions she listens to the Taxi Driver soundtrack all of the time.
When we dive into her most recent project, Ross describes the 1996 film Irma Vep as “the coolest” and cites the soundtrack. She watched the infamously meta Olivier Assayas movie while signing onto the new HBO limited series of the same name.
Irma Vep (the show) stretches the original story into eight episodes, also under the eye of creator, writer and director Assayas. The A24-produced series stars Alicia Vikander as Mira, an American movie star disillusioned with love and her career who journeys to France to star in a remake of a French silent film classic. However, the role turns out not to be so ordinary. Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and her character blur.
Ross takes on the role of Regina, Mira’s assistant.
“Regina is probably the smartest girl in the room,” Ross says. “She's a huge film buff, so she spends probably all her time just watching movies and studying, and loves indie films and is always working towards making a feature film, and she just knows so much about it. She's not the most outspoken, but I think she knows that she's the smartest girl in the room.”
The miniseries is Ross’ acting debut, marking the extension of her talents from the runway to onscreen. In addition to playing music, she has made a distinct presence in fashion since her 2019 runway debut for Gucci. Over the last few years, she has also walked for Valentino, Simone Rocha and Erdem and starred in campaigns for Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry.
As the premiere approaches, Ross admits to feeling anxious to see what “diehard fans” of the original film will think of the adaptation. Still, she feels confident in what the series has to offer with all of its unexpected twists.
“I think it's a great time to bring [Irma Vep] back as well because I think the ‘90s are having a huge resurgence and, at least everyone my age that’s super obsessed with the ‘90s, are going back to watch those films,” Ross says.
“It's essentially about the craziness of filmmaking, which a lot of people don’t see,” she adds. “It's definitely telling of filmmaking and stuff that goes wrong and how chaotic it truly is.”
Alongside Vikander, Ross makes up a cast that also includes Vincent Macaigne, Jeanne Balibar, Lars Eidinger, Byron Bowers and Carrie Brownstein, among others. Immersed in a sea of seasoned talent, she describes being on set as the “ultimate crash course in acting.”
Nevertheless, getting into character didn’t prove to be too difficult. Because of her fervent love for music, Ross could easily embody Regina and her passion for film.
As life imitates art, Ross intends to dive more into acting— but don’t think she’s leaving behind modeling or music anytime soon.
“I’ve always loved the old-fashioned triple threat. Back in the day, you couldn’t even break the business unless you could sing, act, dance, you know? I’ve always wanted to do multiple things. I’ve always been that way.”
Irma Vep airs Mondays on HBO at 9 p.m. and is now streaming on HBO Max.
Photography by: Greg Williams