Simona Tabasco Is Planning to Stick Around

Like her character in “The White Lotus,” actress Simona Tabasco is riding high following the end of Season Two. The series earned the Italian actress her first Emmy nomination, for best supporting actress, and has opened new opportunities outside of Italy, where she got her start more than 10 years ago.

Tabasco started the year with an extended residency Stateside, which kicked off with the Emmy Awards ceremony in January — where she wore a custom floral Marni gown for the occasion — and wrapped up with a SXSW film premiere for “Immaculate,” followed shortly after by the theatrical release. In between events, she’s been in L.A. working on her English and exploring a more long-term move from Italy.

Simona Tabasco in Marni

Simona Tabasco in Marni.

Gilbert Flores/Variety

“I would like to live here, to be here, so it was an experiment,” says Tabasco from L.A. It’s the morning of the release of “Immaculate,” the Sydney Sweeney-led nun horror film that debuted at SXSW in Austin earlier this month.

Although she doesn’t share screentime with Sweeney — who produced the film, and is also an alum of “The White Lotus” — they got to spend plenty of time together in Austin and during joint press.

Simona Tabasco at the premiere of

Simona Tabasco at the premiere of “Immaculate” at SXSW on March 12.

Michael Buckner for SXSW 2024 Conference & Festivals

“I couldn’t wait to go there. I have a big passion also for music, so I knew this festival and I was so happy that ‘Immaculate’ was presented there,” says Tabasco, who opted to watch the completed film for the first time in person with the crowd. “I wanted to enjoy it on the big screen. The audience was very reactive. When the audience is reactive, you feel more excitement, because you are sure you’re receiving a response.” 

Although Tabasco’s character is only in the beginning of the film, she makes the most of her screen time. The film marks the actress’ first foray into horror, a genre that she admittedly doesn’t gravitate toward, but is interested in exploring further. “I discovered that you need to keep the fear all the time,” says Tabasco of her experience working on the film.

And as for what it’s like to be trapped in a coffin, ostensibly buried alive?

“It was claustrophobic and was really scary for me,” she says; at one point, her character lights matches to illuminate the cramped interior. “I was using these matches for real, and the matches were very close to my face. I wanted to keep the real fear — but I didn’t want it to ruin my face, so I was very scared from it,” she adds. “And imagining that you’re going to spend the rest of your time in a coffin? It was a scary thought, too.”

Simona Tobasco

Simona Tabasco

Daniel Doperalsk/WWD

Tabasco was connected to “Immaculate” through producer David Bernard, who was also one of the producers for “The White Lotus.” For Season Two she portrayed fan-favorite Lucia, an Italian sex worker who, along with her best friend, takes an opportunistic approach to the hotel’s clientele. She acknowledges the role as life-changing, crediting the show’s reach and resonance with audiences.

Similar to “The White Lotus,” “Immaculate” was an American production set and filmed in Italy, and both projects have inspired her to seek out more international and English-language projects moving forward.

“English is a very good language to express the message through acting. Because it’s a short language, it’s fast, it’s easy,” she says. 

Simona Tabasco at the Rouge Dior Dinner held at La Dolce Vita.

Simona Tabasco at the Rouge Dior Dinner held at La Dolce Vita.

Roger Kisby/WWD

Simona Tabasco at Gucci RTW Fall 2024 as part of Milan Ready to Wear Fashion Week held on February 23, 2024 in Milan, Italy.

Simona Tabasco at Gucci RTW fall 2024 in Milan.

Stephane Feugere/WWD

Tabasco started acting when she was a teenager, after being scouted by a director while on holiday with her parents, and she went on to study at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. She made her film debut in 2014 in “Perez.,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, followed by various Italian TV series roles.

She originally wanted to go into fashion, an interest that she’s since been able to return to through acting as a front row guest — most recently, at Gucci — and through her red carpet appearances.

“I found that life sometimes is funny,” she says, musing on the path that has led her here, to this current moment in the spotlight. “It’s fun to follow what happens to you.”

Simona Tobasco

Simona Tabasco

Daniel Doperalsk/WWD

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