If supernatural occurrences and tales of the occult are your thing, then you likely know all about the Hexenbiests (witches) and Blutbads (werewolves) kicking up toil and trouble on NBC’s Grimm. And, you would also know that amongst the nastiest of all these nightmarish creatures is Adalind Schade. A cunning Hexenbiest, cloaked beneath a deceptive girl-next-door façade, Adalind isn’t quite her evil self these days, in fact, the plot of Season 4 so far suggests that Portland’s most dangerous beauty may be ready to embrace her softer side.
“Season 4 finds Adalind paying major retribution for her past actions,” shares Claire Coffee, the actress behind Grimm’s favourite villainess. “Adalind’s gone through an incredible evolution throughout the past three seasons; from the Captain’s favorite assassin, to manipulative psycho bitch, to doting(-ish) mother.”
From first appearances, it’s hard to imagine this sweet and bubbly Californian could pull off playing such a foul-natured and duplicitous character, but as audiences of Grimm can attest, Coffee is quite the wicked witch. What might though surprise fans of the show, is that the actress, like them, is more than a little fascinated with the otherworldly. “I believe in witches, werewolves, aliens, all of it,” she declares. “I’m more afraid of alien abduction, than I am of earthquakes or muggings, and don’t even get me started on ghosts…”
With Season 4 in full swing, we caught up with Coffee to talk about her love of all-things-spooky, Adalind’s road to redemption, and life off-screen, including where she likes to shop and how she gets herself looking red carpet ready.
How has your character changed since season one, and how much of that has to do with the birth of Diana redirecting her motives?
The birth of Diana changed her entire world view. For the first time in her life, she had something to care for, someone who depended on her, and someone reciprocating her love. It was her first experience with real humanity. She finally became human.
That’s kind of sweet for a witch. Has it been interesting imagining and playing out Adalind’s maternal instincts? I imagine it adds a different depth to the character when playing her?
It adds leagues of depth! The rescue and recovery of her baby is providing extraordinary motivation to endure some pretty treacherous conditions and makes her resolve as tough as nails.
Any narrative developments you’re especially excited to explore this season?
Because of Adalind’s involvement with the removal of Nick’s powers, we see them inextricably linked. I’m very curious to see all the ways that bond will effect alliances and complicate things toward the end of the season.
On the show, your character’s style is simple and classic, do you admire her look, or do you prefer a different feel when it comes to your personal wardrobe?
My own wardrobe could not be more different than Adalind’s. I’m very rarely in heels, since walking is my favorite mode of transport. Jeans, sweaters and vintage dresses are my staples.
On that note, how would you describe your personal style in a nutshell?
I would say preppy/vintage. I love A.P.C., Steven Alan, J.Crew, Madewell, and Lauren Moffatt. For more formal situations, I opt for vintage or whatever has made it to the sale rack at Barney’s or Gilt.
Ah, so you’re a savvy shopper, I like it. Often, people unintentionally end up with something of a “uniform” in their closet, a staple look that they depend on. Do you have an outfit from your wardrobe that is like this, something quintessentially “you?”
Absolutely. My nudie or A.P.C. jeans rolled up two hems, a navy striped sweater (I have about nine) and ballet flats. That’s if I’m not wearing gym clothes. I’ve found that if I dress for the gym in the morning, I’m much more likely to actually work out.
Ha, that’s true! What about your red carpet style, do you have a particular “look” you gravitate towards?
For the carpet, I love colour and a flattering silhouette. Fit is the most important thing on the carpet, since it seems those flashbulbs show every fold. The shape of dresses from the ’20s and ’40s seem to work best on me.
What’s your favourite red carpet style moment?
I loved my dress for the Comic Con Entertainment Weekly party. I had repurposed a dress originally worn for my wedding rehearsal dinner by having it altered to above the knee. It was backless, a beautiful blush color, and the lace was incredible. I found it at a store called Albertine in New York.
Sounds beautiful! What item in your closet would you never want to part with?
A men’s vintage camel cashmere sweater I found for $40 at BillyGoat Vintage in Portland.
What item in your closet may have already overstayed its welcome? If you had to pick…
I’m pretty obsessive about cleaning things out, giving hand-me-downs to my sister, but there are definitely a couple of ripe pairs of shoes that could walk out on their own at this point.
Any particular trends your excited about this season?
I love jackets, sweaters and scarves. I love the new take on menswear oxford shoes that are out right now. I’ll definitely need a pair of those.
On the topic of trends, are you one to chase the latest looks off the runway, or would you say you prefer sticking to classic ensembles?
I stick to the classics, a bit unintentionally. Every time I go shopping I wind up with similar versions of what I already have hanging in the closet.
What are some of your favourite designers?
Speaking of classics, A.P.C. always knocks it out of the park in that department. The clothes I’ve bought from there (mostly during their spectacular end-of-season sales) are the pieces that stick around in my closet the longest. I love Lauren Moffatt’s patterns and use of color. Isabel Marant Étoile is a favorite for the same reason. My dream red carpet designers are Giambattista Valli, Roland Mouret, Jenny Packham and Prabal Gurung.
Those are some great ones! What style trait do you feel like is most attractive to people?
I think confidence is always the most attractive quality in a person.
Who is your style icon and what do you love about their signature fashion look?
My style icon is actually a pair of stylists, Emily Current and Meritt Elliott. They always find a fresh way to interpret what’s going on in the fashion world, and in a way that really looks comfortable on whomever they happen to be dressing.Published November 28, 2014