Since starring on this year’s new series UnREAL (Lifetime), 27-year-old Johanna Braddy has earned herself some sizable American sweetheart cred. The sugar rush amidst the series’ gaggle of hard-edged characters, Braddy’s Anna showed off the actress’s keen ability to simultaneously flex homespun charm and channel Grace Kelly. See UnREAL’s Season 1 finale for proof. (Spoiler Alert: She manages to make being a runaway bride look pretty classy.)
Though the actress evidently possesses a knack for playing the girl-next-door—and looks the part—Braddy’s latest show, Quantico, means to challenge audiences’ perceptions, casting the porcelain beauty as Shelby Wyatt: Southern debutante turned FBI recruit/firearms expert.
In the role of Shelby, Braddy flips expectation on its head and shows just why one should never judge a book by its cover. As the actress shares, characters on the show “all have many different sides to them;” something Braddy believes will keep audiences tuned in. “Nothing is what it seems on Quantico,” she says. “I think that mystery is what will bring people back week after week.”
Premiering Sunday, September 27th, Quantico follows a group of young FBI recruits, as they endure grueling training, personality clashes, spots of romance and a devastating attack on New York City, unmatched since 9/11. Looks like audiences now have an alternative to binge watching Homeland on Netflix.
Neck deep in action, intrigue and conspiracy, Braddy has officially graduated from ABC Family—on which she had a reoccurring role in Greek—to ABC proper. And while on screen her slow drawl and doe-eyed babydoll face might incite other characters to jab her with a little Taylor Swift name-calling, offscreen the actress’s southern charm—courtesy her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia—is the cherry on top impeccable personal style.
Eagerly awaiting the premiere of her new series, Braddy takes a minute to dish on Quantico, and talk life offscreen, specifically how she likes to dress while living it.
The “Quantico” premiere is just around the corner. Are you excited for the show to begin, and to find out what viewers think of it?
Of course I’m excited! I can’t wait.
Tell us about your character Shelby Wyatt. What motivated her to join the FBI, and what’s her role in the action on the show? Is she a catalyst or is she more a problem solver?
There are a lot of things that inspired Shelby to join the FBI. Unfortunately those things are part of her secret so I can’t give any details on that one. As far as the action goes; catalyst or problem solver? I’d say a bit of both.
Without giving too much away, does Shelby find romance at “Quantico?” Seems almost inevitable with all those good looking FBI trainees around!
(Laughing.) I think a lot of the characters will find romance. It’s a sexy show, for sure. We explore all sides of humans, love and romance included.
What part of Shelby’s plotline are you most excited about exploring this first season?
Her storyline in the future, once she’s out of Quantico
This role calls for quite a bit more physicality than your Anna Martin character on “UnREAL” did! Did you have to hit the gym to prepare before filming began?
Lucky for me, Shelby isn’t meant to be as physically up-to-par as the others. Her specialty is firearms.
Let’s move on to fashion. You wear fashion well, as we’ve seen on “UnREAL” and through your red carpet appearances. What’s your style like, what type of clothes do you gravitate towards?
It really depends on the day for me. I absolutely love feminine clothing. Vintage, specifically. Though some days, there’s nothing better than jeans and a t-shirt.
Using three adjectives, how would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic. Bohemian. Classic. Those don’t really go all that well together. (Laughing.)
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?”
Overalls, t-shirt, sandals and a giant hat.
What about your red carpet style, do you have a particular look you prefer?
I’ve been all over the place in the past. I think nowadays I lean towards classic with a twist.
On that note, can you tell us what you have planned for the red carpet premiere of “Quantico?”
Zero plans. We are shooting 16-hour days with one-day weekends currently. I haven’t had a spare moment to think about that.
What’s your favourite red carpet style moment so far in your career?
Hopefully my next one!
What item in your closet would you never want to part with?
A vegan…or, let’s just say, “pleather,” mini backpack that I bought in London.
What item in your closet might have already overstayed its welcome?
I have a t-shirt from pre school. It’s kind of a belly shirt at this point, but I can’t seem to part with it.
Any particular fall trends you’re excited about this season?
Short hair. I’m feelin’ it.
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 like to shake things up a bit. Mixing high-end fashion with items I find at thrift stores. And not “vintage stores” that claim to be thrift stores. I’m talking The Salvation Army and The Discovery Shop.
What are some of your favourite brand/designers, and what do you like about their style?
Chiara Boni! I’m obsessed with her dresses right now! I can’t tell you how well they fit. Sexy and sophisticated. I could go on and on. I’m also a massive hat fan. I’ve been yearning for a hat called The Bianca from Gladys Tamez Millinery for a while now… maybe one day.
What style trait do you feel like is most attractive to people? In other words, if you were looking to attract attention from someone, what element of your personal style would you seek to highlight?
I think clothing that really shows you off as a person is what attracts people to you. At the end of the day, you want people to like you for you, so wear clothing that helps people see who you are inside. Clothing is like the cover of a book. Its exterior is what draws you in and makes you want to read it.
Who is your style icon and what do you love about their signature fashion look?
Coco Chanel! The way she mixed masculine and feminine was just brilliant. What an inspiring woman.
Photography by Collin Stark and Jessica Stark