Grey’s Anatomy Star Jaicy Elliot trades scrubs for gorgeous designs with Hallmark’s body positivity rom-com romance in stylepremiere on August 13.
“It’s very different. It’s kind of cool because it was a first for them in terms of what they wanted to do with the theme of the movie and we had a lot of fun making it its own little Hallmark project” , Elliot, who hopes to see more movies love him and do more with Hallmark, tells TV Insider.
In the film, Elliot stars as Ella, a confident and passionate plus-size fashion designer, opposite Benjamin Hollingsworth (Virgin River), whose handsome and disarming Derek, the “publishing prince”, is about to take over the business of high profile fashion magazines where she is freelance. When he enlists her to show him the ropes, she teaches him about areas of fashion that are overlooked and, of course, they fall in love.
Elliot tells us more about romance in style.
What seduced you in the film and in the role of Ella?
Jaicy Elliot: Ella is such a great character to live with. She’s a force of nature and she’s so committed to her mission of liberating women through her inclusive fashion that she works on. It was a very nice energy to be there all the time because it’s a very positive and uplifting version of myself that I have to put forward. And then the movie, I love that it opens with her working on her craft rather than looking for love. Love comes as the icing on the cake, but the main focus is her and her own growth, which I think is very exciting to see in a Hallmark movie.
And the film is pragmatic about the message of body positivity.
Yeah, it was good that it wasn’t like we were trying to support Ella as she was on her own journey to find herself. I feel like it was kind of done before the movie. We find her in her self-confident, complete and shameless version. And it was nice to pick up the movie from that point and see her as she carries it into the world, rather than as she discovers it on her own. That difference isn’t that we’re discussing whether body positivity is a thing or not, it’s that we’re discussing how to implement it in our society. And that’s an easy way to see it. It’s funny. It is non-confrontational.
Speaking of that confidence, she’s very confident in meeting Derek. What is her first impression of him?
When she meets Derek, he kind of represents everything Ella thinks about in terms of the jock-y kind, the superficial, wealthy, elite kind of New Yorker. In a way it’s funny because she accepts people the way they are on the inside and her first response to Derek is an instant judgment that she makes of him based on how they feel. meet. She kind of locks him into this bias of a personality that he turns out to kind of break down and she eventually meets him as himself later on. I think the mistake plays a part in her also opening up a bit more and that turns into a very real connection that they have together. So it’s a nice contrast.
What do you think will make viewers fall in love with their relationship?
I think their disagreement is very mild. We live in a world today where we are always faced with everyone’s opinions and it is sometimes difficult to see that in the end we are all doing our best. It’s good that they meet and they don’t like each other at first and they overcome their differences and learn from each other and grow together. It’s a kind of beautiful organic relationship, very human, that we see unfolding in front of us.
Talk about Ella’s career because I love her designs and we see the relationships she has.
Yeah. It’s funny because obviously fashion is a big part of the movie and we were very lucky to work with Quita Alfred, who was the designer of the wardrobe, and she came up with — with her team — 21 outfits for 14 days of shooting. So it was the first time I had heard of such an intense sartorial focus. We worked together on creating the Ella Original look. It was really important for me to understand who she was and everything is so full of color and pattern and it’s flattering and comfortable and that’s all Ella is from the start. And we wanted it to be very accessible as well, so we made sure to include the patterns and fabrics multiple times and in different ways throughout the film. It created a very honest and very real take on what a fashion designer in New York can look like.
You mentioned accessibility – I also love how affordable his designs are. She thought of every aspect.
Yeah. She has this theory which she calls the IFFF. It’s the inspiration, the cut, the fabrics and the finances. And I think it’s true that we see a lot of high fashion and it’s so unreachable and it’s not comfortable and it’s something to aspire to, which a lot of people believe is what high fashion should be be, but its whole concept is that we just need to feel beautiful, and then everything falls into it. And if money, if affordability gets in the way of that, then we’re missing the message that she’s trying to get across.
I liked the relationship between Ella and her friend Katie (Connie Manfredi). How do these two support each other?
I think they look a lot like your chosen family. Connie Manfredi is a wonderful firecracker of a human being. I love him so much. And since the first Instagram message we sent to each other yesterday, we were texting each other, it has been a great pleasure to meet and work with her and the relationship of Ella and Katie has been nurtured by it. It’s funny, because when we shot the movie, the message and the feeling of what we were looking for in the script really intoxicated us and it kind of seeped into our relationships in the movie and everybody was supporting everyone and Katie and Ella ended up being this true powerhouse of friendship and like sisters. They are very important to each other because their careers and their relationships are kind of born out of this powerful bond that they have.
And it really shows from their first scene together.
Yeah, and their apartment and their creations and they confide. Ella comes with this assurance of everything she’s been through in her past relationships and she’s so set in her ways that she’s so stubborn and knows what she wants and how she’s going to get it. And Katie is a very important mirror for Ella to look at herself in and she calls it out on some walls she’s built around herself because it’s so hard to be – body positivity is not something that is easily acquired, especially in the society we live in today. And so she’s there to remind Ella that she can be vulnerable even as she’s on a journey to fight for this new worldview.
romance in styleMovie Premiere, Saturday, August 13, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel