Tara Agace’s jewelry can be seen adorning celebrities and all over the pages of women’s fashion magazines. But this hugely successful designer has even more strings to her bow – including acting and producing credits – as well as a burning desire to play a tough-girl part like Linda Hamilton’s in ‘The Terminator’.
Q. You attended the London Academy of Performing Arts. Was acting always your first passion?
Tara Agace: Acting, painting, singing, anything with an ‘ing’ that involved art.
Q. What drew you to Hollywood?
TA: A movie I worked on called The Big Empty.
Q. How did your jewelry business evolve from being a hobby to a global success?
TA: Vogue magazine borrowed a piece which landed on the neck of the beautiful Bridget Hall. Following that the magazine wrote a story on me, so thanks still to Vogue and my jewelry being to their liking.
Q. What makes your jewelry different to other jewelry labels?
TA: I trained learning the ancient hand-made jewelry technique with Ralph Goldstein from UCLA and studied at the Gemological Institute of America. I have had an obsession with collecting antique jewelry since I was nine years old. My designs have been influenced and inspired by the old techniques all along. I have a permanent collection of different handmade chains and everyday jewelry, along with a constant change of bespoke designs that are all made here in London now. After having lived in Los Angeles for ten years, I have now moved my workshop to London along with a new family of craftsmen.
Q. I read that Madonna was one of the first to buy one of your jewelry pieces. What other celebrities are wearing Tara Agace?
TA: Cher, Shakira, Dixie Chicks
Tara Agace Stack Rings
Q. To what extent do you think having a celebrity wear your label affects sales?
TA: I think we all have very individual taste but when there is so much to choose from, it becomes difficult to make a choice on what designer to buy. When a celebrity is wearing a piece it can have an incredible effect on sales. In a style conscious world people look towards them for fashion approval. Celebrities are walking endorsements, so admirers look to them to help them make that choice. A team of people – photographers, fashion directors, stylists, make-up artists etc – complete the picture.
Q. In terms of your jewelry, where to from here?
TA: I am very excited to be making some larger one-off pieces that have been taking some time and money to develop. I will tell you when they are finished including some home interior items.
Q. In terms of acting/producing, where to from here?
TA: That has been on the back burner since I started making jewelry; I have always had a fantasy to play a part, like Linda Hamilton from Terminator. Perhaps I will keep my ears to the ground for that and keep training for it in the mean time!
Q. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the world of jewelry design at the moment?
TA: I think the most positive thing happening in the jewelry industry is that businesses are becoming more aware and ethically conscious about the sourcing of stones and materials.
Q. What makes you happiest?
TA: Turning the phones off, sitting in my studio at night, starting a new piece and playing around with all my tools and bits of metal shapes. And having some quality time with my friends.
Q. Where is your favorite travel destination?
Q. What is your greatest vice?
Q. What are your top 5 hotels?
TA: Cuixmala (Mexico), Hacienda de San Antonio (Mexico), The Ritz (Paris), The Chateau Marmont (LA), The Mercer (NYC)
Tara Agace Tear Drop Necklace
Q. What is your favorite restaurant?
TA: E&O in Notting Hill and Yauatcha in Soho, London, which has the most exquisitely presented desserts. They are almost too beautiful to eat.
Q. What is your favorite museum or gallery?
TA: Serpentine Gallery, Victoria & Albert, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum
Q. What is your favorite beach?
TA: A white sandy one with no one in sight. Cuixmala has one tucked away from the world in a protected bay.
Q. What film has had the greatest effect on you? Why?
TA: Blade Runner is one of many. I first watched it when I was 14 years old. It was moody, dark, had amazing costumes and characters. I lost myself in it. It gave me a perspective on time and how little we have of it. Sean Young’s character, even though she was a man-made machine, represented the same vulnerability as a human. I loved the tagline, “Man has made his match... now it’s his problem.”
Q. What is your favorite book?
TA: I just bought a beautiful inspirational book, The Maharaja’s Jewels, by Katherine Prior and John Adamson.
Q. What cause is closest to your heart? Why?
TA: Drop 4 Drop, an independent charity set up by the founders of Life Water. It acts as a vehicle for other drink companies to act responsibly on behalf of their consumers. It helps alleviate the world water crisis. This organization donates the same amount of water you buy to help the developing world’s sanitation programs, water pumps, in-home filtration systems, wells etc.
Q. What’s one thing you would like to change about yourself?
TA: I would like to stop being such a perfectionist.
Q. Which artist do you admire most?
TA: Bjork, who has children with Matthew Barney, an artist who I admire also. What a cool couple.
Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
TA:Racing vintage cars.
Q. Who is your favorite historical figure?
TA: Harriet Taylor Mill
Q. What upsets you the most?
TA: That I still smoke cigarettes.
Q. What is your favorite bar?
TA: Gold bar!
Q. What gadget can’t you live without?
TA: My Apple Power Book and all the tools I use to make jewelry; the polishing machine, hammers, files, drills etc.
Q. What are you most afraid of?
TA: Sharks – the human kind!
Q. Were do you love to shop?
TA: Antique markets. And every time I travel I always check out the local markets.
Q. What are your top 3 songs?
TA: ‘Living Darfur’ by Mattafix, ‘When I Get You Alone’ by Robin Thicke, ‘Don’t Explain’ by Nina Simone
— Laura Jakobovits