Unfortunately, Jane By Design is not coming back for a third season, but you can still watch the first two seasons on ABC Family, VOD or Hulu. We got to speak with the show’s villainess, India de Beaufort about her experience on the show and her real life fashion designs.
India de Beaufort played India Jordain on the show, the cold sniping B-word of the fashion house Donovan Decker. In real life, de Beaufort designs her own dresses, and she has presented designs in New York Fashion Week. When she called, she was taking a break from prep for this year’s Fashion Week.
Fanhattan: We got to speak a few years ago for Krod Mandoon.
India de Beaufort: Oh wow, that as a few years ago.
Fanhattan: How much has changed, huh?
India de Beaufort: I know, now from a man’s show to a woman’s show and fashion, a bit of everything.
Fanhattan: Is that was Krod Mandoon was, a man’s show?
India de Beaufort: I definitely think it was targeted towards men, 100%.
Fanhattan: I guess the way they had your character was very sexed up for men.
India de Beaufort: To put it nicely, yeah.
Fanhattan: Do I remember correctly that you used to have long hair?
India de Beaufort: I did and now it’s short.
Fanhattan: Was that choice for Jane By Design?
India de Beaufort: No, it was for me. I actually cut it, but I did speak to the network first to approve the cut because I used to wear hair extensions on Jane as it was, so we could hide the cut if we needed to. But I kind of just got to a point where I wanted something different. I just wanted to start over and have a fresh, clean cut and cut off some history I suppose. I just felt like a fresh start and a haircut is always a great way to do that.
Fanhattan: It seems a very appropriate look for someone in the fashion industry, very sharp.
India de Beaufort: Yeah, well good. Then it worked out!
Fanhattan: Was the name always India in the script?
India de Beaufort: It actually originally was Amy and after I took the part, they decided to change it to India. So I called my mom to double check that she didn’t mind. She didn’t mind. We just took it from there.
Fanhattan: I understand they might change the name of a character, but why did they go all the way to naming her after you?
India de Beaufort: One of the executive producers, Gavin Polone, just really liked my name. He said it was unusual. I was not going to argue. It’s funny when you’re on set on any production and usually you don’t have your name, you learn to turn around to either one. So if you called me Aneka or India or Miranda or any name of any character I played, I probably will turn around. So it was refreshing to be on a job where I just had one name, it said one name on my trailer and one name on my chair and nobody got confused. It was easy. It was nice.
Fanhattan: So unfortunately Jane By Design is not coming back?
India de Beaufort: Unfortunately the show is not returning which is sad but I feel like the characters, a lot of them came to fruition and had a nice bit of closure at the end of the last season. Unfortunately, the leading two characters were our big cliffhanger, waiting for Jane and Billy to have that first kiss. So it’s sad for them but we all had a great time and unfortunately these things happen.
Fanhattan: Where would you have liked India to go in a third season?
India de Beaufort: Actually I think she ended the way I would have liked her to, had I known it was the finale. My goal for India was always for her to love and be loved and to bring out such a side of her, and in the finale that happened and we saw that. So for me, I felt like I got my closure which was really important because you do get attached to your characters.
Fanhattan: Is she really going to warm up? That wasn’t just a single moment?
India de Beaufort: No, I think Jeremy’s always been the one for her and she just didn’t have the skills to get him the right way. She has become so used to doing things in a vindictive, manipulative way that when it came to something that really hit her in her heart, she didn’t know how else to be. I think he taught her that she could be a nicer, sweeter version of herself and everyone would not only love her as much, but more. So I was really glad with the way the characters were wrapped up.
Fanhattan: If it had gone a third season, would you have enjoyed playing a nicer India?
India de Beaufort: I definitely would have liked to play her nicer. I don’t think you could’ve taken her all the way sweet because part of her character is to play the villain to Jane and also she’s funny the way she is and hopefully the bitch that people love to hate. It would be a shame to lose that but I definitely would’ve liked to have continued in the vein and seeing softer sides of her with certain characters.
Fanhattan: What was your favorite India episode of the two seasons you got to do?
India de Beaufort: My favorite episode was episode 6 which was a ton of fun. I got to do a lot of comedy in that episode and that’s what I feel the most validation from. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a great time.
Fanhattan: It occurred to me, you’re actually British but Jane’s the one that got to go to London.
India de Beaufort: Yeah, well, my character did go to London but we actually shot that on Sunset Blvd. and just pretended that India Jordain was in London. But Erica [Dasher] had never been to London before and obviously I spend a lot of time there so it was okay.
Fanhattan: Was doing an American accent easy for you?
India de Beaufort: For some reason, it’s one of those things that has just come naturally to me for a long time and I can’t entirely explain why. It just has. I’ve been very fortunate. I haven’t had to coach. I just had an ear for that particular accent. So it’s not too difficult for me to switch in and out.
Fanhattan: What is your actual experience in the fashion industry?
India de Beaufort: I trained in fashion from the age of 16-18 in college in England. The education systems are slightly different there. You finish high school at 16 and then you go to college for two years and then you go to university, but college is your first experience of being on a campus and calling your teachers by their first name and all that kind of stuff. So I took fashion because I’d grown up in the industry and I knew my close friend Carol is a phenomenal seamstress and my other good friend Tim Goodchild is an incredible Olivier Award winning set and costume designer. They had taken me under their wing a lot over the years, let me go and sew on West End musicals with them and look at their designs and go fabric shopping with them and Carol allowed me to design pieces that she would make for me. So when I turned 16, I was like right, I’m going to go learn to sew myself. So I did and unfortunately, instead of continuing in that vein, I got sidetracked. I was shooting a TV show in England at the same time and so I never completed my education at a degree level. I got an A level in fashion and that was it but I have continued to make my own clothes and designed pieces for Jane By Design and myself to wear at New York fashion week. So now I am designing and creating a collection for the up and coming New York fashion week.
Fanhattan: Was it unfortunate, or you found your calling with acting?
India de Beaufort: Well, I had already been on a show since I was 15 so I had already been acting for a while. I think it’s unfortunate that I didn’t study more in the fashion realm because now that I’m sewing on a daily basis, I’m definitely coming up against issues with my ability. My vision is much better than my ability. I get by. I can make great pieces but I can’t make the pieces I wish I could make. So it’s definitely unfortunate that I didn’t continue my training in a more in depth way. Is it unfortunate that I went into acting? Not at all. I love my job.
Fanhattan: What were the outfits you designed for India on the show?
India de Beaufort: I designed four pieces for the character and I only ended up wearing one of them. I submitted the four to the network and they approved a black dress that I wear in episode 13 and it was just a really fun piece. I set out to get a piece on the show and I achieved that and I was ecstatic about it.
Fanhattan: How accurate was the show to the real fashion world?
IBD: Well, my experience in the fashion world has obviously been in the backstage of theaters and on sets, not so much in New York in fashion houses. So I’m not really the best person to ask. I trust our team and our crew and I know that they will have done the best they can to stay true to reality.
Fanhattan: We only know what we know from movies like Devil Wears Prada so it seemed right to me.
India de Beaufort: Yeah, and it definitely fit in with that, but you’d have to ask someone who’s been working at a fashion house for a long time. I’m sure they would know better than me.
Fanhattan: What fashion items are you currently working on?
India de Beaufort: Actually, I’ve stopped sewing to take this phone call. I’m currently piecing together a bodice that’s going to be a ‘50s style dress, but I’m trying to do a modern take on everything so I’m using some geometric lines and fun construction, and I’m staring at it right now and it’s going the way I want it to, so it’s a good day.
Fanhattan: Where is this piece going to be available?
India de Beaufort: This piece is part of my collection for New York Fashion Week. I’m going to be showing 10 looks on some lovely tall models, so unfortunately none of the clothes fit me because I’m a shorty. So I’m going to have to get them all altered after the fact so that I can wear them. It’s September 11th in SoHo at the Emerge Fashion Show.
Fanhattan: Is there anywhere online fans can go to see your work or maybe order something?
India de Beaufort: I’m not selling at this point. In a funny way, it’s a love of mine and a hobby of mine, and because of my profession, I’ve been able to fulfill a childhood dream of having models walk down the runway in my clothing. I never set out to sell anything. I never set out to make money. You pay to show, so I’m actually doing it I suppose just to fulfill something I’ve always wanted to do, put my designs out there and show people what I’m capable of and my taste in fashion. Whatever comes from it comes from it, but for now it’s just me sitting here sewing and loving it for the sake of loving it.
Fanhattan: That’s an interesting distinction. It’s ultimately for people to wear but it’s more about the art at this point.
India de Beaufort: Yeah, I think it’s about the art. First and foremost it’s about wearing it for me, because it comes from having an unusual taste in clothes and I can’t find those clothes. If I can’t find those clothes and I want to wear the clothes that make me feel special and I have the ability to make them, I’m going to make those clothes. So I thought, why not make a collection of those clothes for other people to see and models to wear. It is an art form in the sense of when you’re making a collection, you’re choosing complementary colors and patterns and shapes. It all has to be cohesive, everything down to the fabrics and the cut and your hemline, it all creates a story. So when it’s all up there walking down the runway, to me it will definitely feel like the creation of mine in an art form. But first and foremost, I think it’s important that it’s wearable and it’s something that women would want to wear, and I definitely would want to wear it.
Fanhattan: If you were taller.
India de Beaufort: If I was taller, but I can get it altered.
Fanhattan: It’s funny you’re designing for a body type that almost exclusively exists in the fashion world, so that’s a different art versus the reality of most people who would wear it.
India de Beaufort: I’m actually designing for my body type. When I design things, I design things that I would want to wear myself, and also I’ve chosen a lot of shapes that would be flattering on many different forms because clothes are on models for two seconds when they walk down the runway, but models are one in a million. The rest of us are all different shapes and sizes. We don’t have legs that long, so when I design pieces, I design pieces that each one would be flattering to a different kind of woman for a different reason.
Fanhattan: And then you alter them for the show?
India de Beaufort: When I’m designing them, I’m keeping all women in mind. When I make them, I make them to fit a size four model and then when I meet the models, they’ll be altered to fit the model, and then after the fact, the designs and the patterns will exist. Should I decide to create it for somebody else, it’s very much possible.
Fanhattan: What’s next for you on the acting front?
India de Beaufort: You know, I can’t give you any answer because I haven’t got one. At the moment I’m just trying to figure out my next step.