Miami Living Magazine

Willa Ford

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Page 60 of 115

COVER STORY F rom a horseshoe-shaped booth in the back of The Belmont in West Hollywood, one of my favorite happy hour haunts, I notice Willa walk in. Though I am only 83% sure it's her, since the entrance is shrouded in such soft lighting – as is the entire place for that matter. I wave. As she walks toward me I see that it is, in fact, her. Her typically blonde tresses bear a strawberry tinge to them — compliments of her role on Starz's television series, Magic City — and she is wearing a billowy white button-up that falls casually off her shoulder, paired with shorts. She scoots in beside me and naturally launches into what the last few hours of her day had entailed –the unpacking of dozens of moving boxes. Fresh off of a move from Texas (and a recent divorce from husband of five years, retired hockey player Mike Modano) to Los Angeles' valley, Willa is in high spirits as she explains her innate need to create order amongst the disarray. "I couldn't even fathom driving it," she says about her truck. "I can't even look at it right now 'cause it's got boxes still in it. Even a dirty car makes me anxious," she expresses with easy candor. I disclose that I am the same way and proffer that it must be an Aquarian trait (we share the same astrological sign). Moments into her animated oration, and after a confession of being slightly O.C.D., I feel an immediate connection to her. I initially presume it's our native- Floridian tie (Willa grew up in Tampa), but ultimately decide that it's because she is, true to Aquarian form, refreshingly frank and genial. It's not rare to receive responses from those in the public eye that seem routine or calculated, but Willa doesn't seem to repress who she is, exuding a genuine and trusting air about her. "I'm just staring at that mac n' cheese." Willa is eyeing the restaurant's famous blue-crab-infused dish that I ordered for the table. "You should probably start it before me." I goad her to dig in. She takes a bite and at once coos, "Why is it so good? It's rude — it's so good!" The beautiful, whistle-registered (which, she tells me, simply means she can hit those super high notes) songstress, best known for her outrageously popular hit, "I Wanna Be Bad" off her debut album, Willa was Here (2001), has stepped into a recurring part on Starz's Magic City, starring Danny Huston and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as Janice Michaels. Set in 1950s Miami, Magic City revisits a time when the mob's influence was at its zenith. Quite factual, though "jacked up a couple of levels," Willa shares that the show includes a number of true stories that creator Mitch Glazer witnessed while working as a valet and cabana boy in Florida. To play the show's resident wild child, Willa was immediately transformed into a redhead. Janice, unlike her cohorts who are motivated by money and power (she comes from both), is only looking to "piss daddy off." "She brings in this sense of danger. We don't know what she's going to do next… If she had a choice of a cigarette, cigar or pot, she was smoking pot… I don't think a lot of people were smoking those kind of options, unless you had money," Willa muses. Glasses Gucci Fur Jacket by Sumthin Cute Vintage Shirt by Sumthin Cute Vintage Earrings by Sumthin Cute Vintage FALL / WINTER STYLE: OLD BECOMES NEW White nails in the fall — I wore them for a second in the summer and was like, This would be good in the fall and the winter when nobody's doing it. I'm uber vintage inspired — I have a whole vintage closet. This season my goal will be not to buy any more pieces because I have way too much, but to repurpose everything that I have in different ways, whether shortening a dress or taking a pair of pants and wearing them completely differently than before. MIAMI LIVING 59

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