Gemma Chan’s bold beauty and fashion looks aren’t the only thing that’s striking about her. The actor’s poise, confidence and passion for social justice earned her a spot as one of the faces of L’Oréal Paris—and she’s an impeccable fit. The British-Chinese actress stole the show in the 2018 smash successful film, Crazy Rich Asians, and since then has become one of Hollywood’s most powerful stars. During the Cannes Film Festival, Chan has dominated the carpet with her stunning looks on the croisette. When she’s not on set or walking the red carpet, the Oxford law graduate turned actress, advocates for children’s rights through her work with UNICEF UK, she is on the front line for anti-Asian hate and a strong supporter of equality and justice.

Chan is once again attending the Cannes Film Festival this year, promoting L’Oréal’s Lights on Women Award, which encourages exposure for women in film by honouring female filmmakers, while celebrating the featured films and all women in the industry. Below, Chan shared her thoughts on the challenge of being a woman in the film industry, the role of a L’Oréal beauty ambassador and her favorite beauty look.

How does it feel to be back in Cannes and to be reunited with your fellow L’Oréal global spokespeople at the festival?

“I’m so happy to be back in Cannes, it’s so great to see my fellow spokespeople, and to see some films. Fingers crossed that the weather stays dry!”

L’Oréal will present the wonderful Lights on Woman Award again this year. How do you believe the award sheds light on the importance of women in cinema and the immense role women play in the industry?

“The Light on Women Award spotlights an emerging female director; the winner is picked from the Cannes Short Film Competition and it’s now the third year. What it does is that it shines a light on not just the winner but also female filmmakers at a very crucial point in their career where they get financial support and also a spotlight on the international stage which is really crucial.”

I truly admire your work done combating systemic imbalances and inequalities in the film industry and although women continue to be underrepresented in cinema and there is much work left to be done, do you think safer spaces have been created in the last couple years, inviting women to take the reins? What more would you like to see done?

“I think things have definitely changed for the better in some respects, we still have a way to go. I think there are some systemic problems in the industry and we need more women and more people of color in decision making positions,  right through the industry. I definitely think bad behavior is tolerated slightly less than it was, but it’s still hard. It’s one thing to say things are changing but to change the culture can take time so we still have a way to go. “

What advice would you give a young girl seeking to pursue a career in your industry? What do you think should motivate women to pursue such a career?

“I would say stay true to yourself and know that you have a voice and it’s okay to say no. Trust your gut and be persistent. When you find a project or a story that you’re passionate about, don’t take no as a final say, just keep going.”

What was your main motivator, personally, to pursue a career in this industry?

“I am just so passionate about storytelling. When I was younger I didn’t realize that a career in the creative arts or in cinema was possible but I feel so fortunate now that I get to work with amazing creators and to produce as well now so I get to find stories and help bring them to life and shine a spotlight on those that haven’t been heard.”

What are your favorite kinds of stories to tell, and show on the screen?

“Well, it varies, I’m interested in people who maybe haven’t had their due. As they say “history is written by the winners” but I’m interested in the stories of the losers. That’s the best way of putting it. There are so many stories out there that haven’t been told and that are important for our understanding of who we are, both kind of on a micro and a macro level. It can be about anything really.”

What is your favorite beauty look to rock on the carpet?

“Well my everyday style is pretty laid back so when I’m on the carpet I like to ring in a bit more glamor and a bit more drama because why not! The particular look can change depending on the outfit but I like to switch it up as well.”

What is a beauty rule or regiment you swear by?

“Always wear sunscreen!”