Anika Noni Rose: Powerful Style

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Anika Noni Rose likes to wear feminine and flirty clothes in her day-to-day life, but for the past few weeks onscreen, she’s been sporting an outfit she’s not used to: a cop uniform.

Rose guest stars as LaVerne “Jukebox” Thomas on the third season of Starz’s Power, which follows a high-powered New York night club owner, James “Ghost” St. Patrick, who moonlights as a drug kingpin. Jukebox is a Maryland cop who grew up with Ghost in New York, which “which allows her a very different vision of the streets.” While she did gun training and worked with an ex-cop, the uniform really helped her get into character.

“It’s not comfortable, I have to say!” Rose says, sitting on a couch at Drift Studios after her photoshoot. “That belt, that whole outfit that they wear—it doesn’t look comfortable on the subway watching them and it is not comfortable on your person. So it informs your body very differently than things that we would normally wear moving around in the street.”

Broadway Style Guide chatted with Rose about her fashion choices—from red carpets to everyday—and what she enjoys doing in her free time.

What a Woman Wants
When Rose is choosing a look for a red carpet, her first requirement is that the piece be figure-flattering. “I’m a short person, but I am curvy and I have a tiny waist so it’s important to me that what I wear fits in the waist or else I look like a box because everything else is curvy and full,” she explains. “I like designers who design with a love for woman as opposed to designing in a way that makes us feel trapped or wrong somehow in the body that we have.”

She’s wearing a fitted Sachin & Babi patterned dress today, and she also cites Kate Spade, Burberry, and Byron Lars as some designers she’s worn recently and loved. She enjoys vintage shopping and prefers to discover “funky” items as opposed to wandering around a mall. “My style icons when I think of them are Dorothy Dandridge, Audrey Hepburn, and Lena Horne. I think part of that is because those women lived at times when things were made to accentuate.”

Righthand Men
Rose has been working with stylists Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald on red carpet and event looks. “This is a new experience for me,” Rose says of working with stylists. “They really get my aesthetic so they’ll bring a rack of stuff and they’ll bring things that I would never think of on the hanger, and then I’ll put it on and it will be great…It’s like shopping in your house! Believe me, I don’t have them for my every day Trader Joes situation! But if I’m doing events or stuff like that, they bring me options and it makes that portion of the hecticness of event time, much easier so you can focus on the work that you need to do outside of that and fashion can continue to be fun.”

Warm-Weather Wear
Rose says that her everyday style “depends on the weather,” but this summer, her standbys have been a fitted jean and a blousy top or flowy summer dresses with wedges or sneakers. “I don’t like things to touch me in the summertime!” she says with a laugh, adding that she’s very into the off-the-shoulder trend since she thinks a woman’s collarbone can be “very sexy.” She’s also waiting for a pair of Allbirds shoes to arrive, and she excited to try out the wool sneakers, which breathe in the heat and insulate in the cold.

As far as her beauty routine goes, she’s happy with “with a bright lip, some mascara, and maybe some shimmer on the eye lid.”

Seasonal Salads
Rose is a total foodie and loves to cook, and while she likes to “experiment and play around with food,” she’s been making a lot of salads this season. “I like a little bit of fruit in my salad,” she says. I like something with some crunch—not necessarily a crouton. It’s fun to put crunch up vegetable chips and put them in your salad and they are a fake crouton but they give you that texture. Because in the summertime you don’t really want to be heavy. I make a vinegrette. I can just squeeze a lime, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It makes me very happy.”

She’s a huge fan of Sweetgreen for casual dining, and is recently obsessed with the restaurant at the Nomad hotel. But she’s not good with names for her other haunts. “I tell people to meet me at a certain corner and we walk and we find it. I’ve always been like that. I just know how to tell you to get there. Maybe.”

Reading and Relaxation
Rose is looking forward to vacation—she’s about to leave for a faraway island that she won’t name. She’s been very busy lately, and in her downtime, she loves hiking, bike riding, and anything that lets her “be in touch with nature.” She’s also an avid reader. Her two recommendations? The Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward and Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam.

A Broadway Return
Rose was last on Broadway in the revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and while she’s sang onscreen in The Princess and the Frog and Dreamgirls, she hasn’t belted on the Great White Way since she won her Tony Award for Caroline, or Change in 2004. “I do want to come back—I just want it to be the right thing,” Rose says of coming back to do a musical. “I don’t want to just be onstage to be onstage. I want to be in something that I find thrilling so that I can also thrill the audience. I’ve got my eye open.”

Styling by James Brown III
Additional Styling by Allegra Levy
Hair and Make-Up by Erin Acker
Clothing by Nicholas K and Hellessy
Shoes by Marion Parke