Magazine article Sunset

Golden Girl

Magazine article Sunset

Golden Girl

Article excerpt

There is a rushing stream of water flowing down the street in front of Malin Akerman's Hollywood Hills home. The moody sky, as dark and mottled as a bruise, is dumping sheets of rain. Through a rustic, wooden gate, down a short walkway paved in fieldstone, the house is bustling but quiet. Fairy lights strung on a terrace shine optimistically. A fire roars in the fireplace to fight the chill, as the photographer sets up a shot. On the lower level, a stylist arranges a rainbow of cheery ensembles for the day, working hard to keep the rain from dampening spirits. The hush is interrupted by occasional giggles coming from a bedroom, where Akerman is playing with her toddler son, Sebastian. When she appears, wrapped in a light-gray sweater, her blond hair in a wavy bob, it's as though a small ray of sun has peeked through the storm.

"It is a beautiful day, right?" she jokes. And then she shrugs in a "What are we gonna do about it?" kind of way.

Technically, despite the fact that she has lived on and off in Los Angeles for the past IS years, Akerman, 37, is not a Californian-or even an American. She was born in Sweden, to Swedish parents, and raised in Toronto. She made her acting debut at age S on a commercial in Canada and, at 17, won a Ford modeling competition there, began acting, and moved west. But her impressively chill demeanor in the midst of chaos makes her seem as Californian as they come, and judging by the amount of love she's put into her colorful and eclectic 1940s house-which she started renting in her 20s, eventually bought, and has been building out and changing ever since-she's in no hurry to leave.

"Life is a vacation here in L.A., and I really, royally enjoy it," she says. "I was just in New York for a long time for work, and it took me a minute to adjust to living there with a small child. I love the vibe of that city, but I don't mind the calm of Los Angeles. You get grounded here."

The Showtime drama Billions, costarring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatd, is what called Akerman east, to play Lara Axelrod, the wife of a self-made billionaire hedge-fund manager who favors less-thanlegitimate business practices. Portraying the tenacious spouse of an imperious man, Akerman is a shape-shifter, turning from a smiling, supportive partner to a formidable ice queen in a millisecond.

"She's not just coldhearted with a lot of money. She came from humble beginnings, and her edginess comes from her family," she says. "She would kill for her family. …

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