‘Why Women Kill’ star Lana Parrilla on her passion for fashion — and the surprising advice she’d give her younger self

·3 min read

For actress Lana Parrilla — who stars in season 2 of the Paramount+ original series, “Why Women Kill,” premiering June 3 — fashion has been a lifelong passion.

“I've always loved fashion,” Parrilla tells Yahoo Life. “I like getting dressed up. That is something I really take a lot of pleasure in. I think it's an expression of oneself.”

So it’s no surprise that the actress had fun with her character Rita Castillo on “Why Women Kill,” which is set in the glamorous late 1940s. Parrilla credits “brilliant” Emmy award-winning costume designer Janie Bryant with giving her character that “sort of Hollywood movie star look of that period,” adding: “I personally feel it was probably one of the best decades of fashion in our history of fashion.”

Actress Lana Parrilla as Rita Castillo on season 2 of
Actress Lana Parrilla as Rita Castillo on season 2 of "Why Women Kill," which premieres June 3. (Photo: CBS)

In the show, Parrilla’s character, who was inspired by Rita Hayworth, Hedy Lamarr, and Marilyn Monroe, wears “beautiful,” “extremely form-fitting” dresses with silhouettes reminiscent of “Jessica Rabbit,” she says. Pulling off these retro looks meant that Parrilla had to wear corsets under these dresses, sharing that she was cinched in every day. “The challenges were breathing and sitting and walking,” she says.

When it comes to her own personal style, however, it’s all about comfort. Parrilla says she feels most confident when she’s wearing an outfit that’s “extremely comfortable” but one that also accentuates her body without being too tight. “A nice pair of heels anywhere from two to three inches of height and a beautiful dress always makes me feel great,” she says.

In general, Parrilla shares that her taste in fashion runs the gamut — from polished to relaxed — which she attributes to growing up on both coasts. “My wardrobe consists of Dolce [and Gabbana], Italian, French-inspired looks,” she says. “But then there's also a very sort of relaxed hippie, boho chic kind of thing that I have, too. And that is probably because I grew up on both coasts — both in Los Angeles and New York.”

Parrilla reveals she had to wear corsets under the 40s-style dresses she wears on
Parrilla reveals she had to wear corsets under the 40s-style dresses she wears on "Why Women Kill." (Photo: CBS)

Parrilla also appreciates a good graphic T-shirt. In fact, she even launched her own online clothing boutique, Keep It Regal, about a year ago, which was inspired by the “Brooklyn street girl in me who really loves graphic tees.” Parrilla says her clothing line is all about “self-empowerment” and that “it's been really fun to design these images with my team and to bring it to life and then see people wear it.”

Speaking of confidence, when it comes to colors, there’s one shade in particular that makes Parrilla feel empowered — and that’s the color red. “That color not only looks great on me, but it’s a… statement and it's a showstopper. People look at you,” she says.

Parrilla understands, however, that it’s not only about what you wear, but also how you move — something she took to heart while playing her character on “Why Women Kill.” “With Rita Castillo, the walk became very seductive and intentional, and she used her body and her beauty and power to get what she wants in life,” she says.

With that in mind, Parrilla shares her surprising advice that she would give her younger self: “Really focus on your feet and your legs when you're walking,” Parrilla says, “because I often think that a lot of people don't think about how their body is moving. But I think if you tap into your feet and your legs, there is a grounding that takes place. And with that grounding comes an enormous amount of strength and confidence.”

Video produced by Stacy Jackman.

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