Oscars 2021: Getting Ready with Maria Bakalova

The Louis Vuitton gown she chose for the evening was a fitting conclusion to her princess story, white with “layer after layer after layer” of tulle paired with a deep V neckline adorned with diamonds. “It’s modern, but it’s timeless,” Bakalova said. “And it’s magical. It’s princessy and it’s still romantic.” To choose the jewels, Bakalova visited Moussaieff Jewels in-person in London, describing “the most beautiful sparkle ever …. My mind was blown away the moment when I entered the store. I was, ‘Can we have all of them?’” 

The hair and makeup looks created by Williams and Dennihan continued the princess theme, but with a grown-up twist. “For every actress, Grace Kelly is an inspiration, but [Williams] has his own version of it,” Bakalova said. “He has his own new, modern vision of how to make it work for me.” Dennihan created the red lip to pop against the white dress, achieved through a combination of different, cooler shades— as Bakalova put it before the process began, “it’s going to be a piece of art.

Oscars 2021 Getting Ready with Maria Bakalova
Photograph by Phylicia J. L. Munn.

Rocketed to fame in the strangest of times, Bakalova was meeting her fellow supporting actress nominees for the first time on Sunday evening, and stopped for a moment of praise for every single one of them (“I want to be like Glenn Close, oh my god, I was in love with her when she played Marquise de Marteuil in Dangerous Liaisons.) Like everyone probably will be when attending their first post-pandemic party, Bakalova was nervous for what the night would bring.

“I’m still stressed and excited because it’s going to be my first in-person event,” she said. But like any fairy tale princess, she was also ready to get to the ball: “Wearing Louis Vuitton, wearing Moussaieff, it’s just a dream come true.”