karidja touré had a girlhood to remember

Thrust into the limelight and raring to go after her unforgettable performance in Girlhood, meet bright-spark French actress, Karidja Touré.

by Felicity Kinsella
09 September 2015, 1:33am

Much was made of four black faces plastered across Paris on a film poster late last year. With her seminal, game-changing film Girlhood, director Céline Sciamma took the spotlight away from the Left Bank bourgeoise we're all familiar with to the far less glamorous banlieues. Spotted at the Foire du Trône funfair in Paris, 21-year-old Karidja Touré was street cast as the lead, Marieme - later christened Vic (for Victory) by the girl gang into which she's initiated. "I heard that in the US they have a law saying that every film must have a black actor," says Karidja. "I don't know if it's true but when I watch an American movie I can always relate to characters who have the same skin as me, but we are not really represented in French cinema." 

Girlhood tells Vic's story, a shy young girl with braids who has to take care of her younger sister and stand up to her abusive brother. She finds kinship and strength in three other girls from the estate where she lives, and the relationships change her physically, mentally and irrevocably. From the outside, the girls are troublemakers, embroiled in street fights and shoplifting, but inside they're vulnerable, and they depend on each other. In the most dynamic film scene since James Franco sang Everytime in Spring Breakers, the girls lip-sync to Rihanna's Diamonds. "My life and Marieme's life are not so very different. I also danced and sang to Rihanna!" says Karidja. Her parents are from the Cote d'Ivoire, and although she was raised in Paris's 15th arrondissement, Karidja's experiences of the social and racial hardships in France are not worlds apart from her character's either: "I had the same problems at school. My teachers wouldn't let me choose want I wanted to do. And when I went shopping like normal kids, the security guards followed me around the shop. That still happens." With a dream to continue acting and the most earnest work ethic we've ever heard: "Work hard in silence, be polite and grateful", we hope Karidja lands more lead roles and gets her inner superstar out. Watch. This. Face. 


Text Felicity Kinsella 
Photography Angelo Pennetta 
Styling Ondine Azoulay
Hair Cyndia Harvey at Streeters
Make-up Adrien Pinault at Management + Artists
Photography assistance Jack Day, Alex Hertoghe
Styling assistance Hisato Tasaka
Make-up assistance Laura Casado Arino
On set production Thomas Chapuis
Karidja wears jumper Isabel Marant. Earring and necklace Stone Paris

angelo pennetta
felicity kinsella
the coming of age issue
karidja toure