Joey King ‘Became a Happier Person’ By Taking Fashion Risks (Exclusive)

Joey King traveled to the 1940s in her new show We Were the Lucky Ones and fell in love with the fashions of the era.

“Every time I put something on, I was like, ‘I feel like this is how I’m supposed to dress every day.’ It made me feel really beautiful in my own skin,” King, 24, tells PEOPLE. If I started dressing in 1940s outfits all the time, I think I would get some strange looks and people would be like, ‘That’s not the trend. That’s not the vibe,’ but I really loved wearing [them].”

The Emmy-nominated actress adds that she hopes some of the ‘40s styles make a comeback “sooner rather than later because I really think that was an era for clothing that you can feel the celebration of a female body through.”

Off-duty, King says she can typically be found lounging around in something much more casual.

“I’m usually at home, and if I’m at home, I am in my pajamas,” she says. “But when I do take a second to put on jeans or something — which can be tough — I get so much more done and I feel so much more productive. Whether it’s a brush of mascara or putting on a cute little necklace with an outfit that I was just whatever about, I do feel it affects my confidence [and] my productivity level.”

Joey King at the L.A. premiere of ‘We Were the Lucky Ones’ in March 2024.

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

King got her start in Hollywood at age 4 because she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her older sisters who had been acting in commercials.

“They were my idols,” the star says of sisters Kelli, 32, and Hunter, 30. “My mom was like, ‘OK, I’ll put you in little theater class with them,’ because we were friends with the theater owner and they weren’t allowed to have 4-year olds there, but she was like, ‘I know you. Bring her in. She’s fun.’ My love for it really took off from there.”

Growing up as the youngest of three girls, King mostly shopped at off-price department stores like Burlington, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.

“We were fine, but we didn’t have a lot of money,” the star of The Act says. “Fashion was never necessarily something that was talked about in my house. We just wore what fit us, and I got my sisters’ hand-me-downs. I did not grow up really understanding the importance of how fashion can make you feel.”

Joey King in L.A. at the The Double Club Los Angeles presented by Prada Mode in March 2024.

John Sciulli/Getty Images

As King rose in the industry, she started working with stylist Jared Eng who she says, “made me realize how fashion can really affect your relationship with yourself.”

“I fell in love with playing around,” King continues. “I have a pretty big personality, and I have never shied away from taking fashion risks, but now I feel a lot more confident in myself because I have more of a taste and more of a style.”

The Kissing Booth alum hopes her love of fashion will rub off on her mom.

“I always say to her, ‘Try on that dress. You look beautiful. Take the risk. You don’t need to hide yourself with these things that you’re not even comfortable in,’” King says. “I’m constantly working on her because I could see what I saw in myself when I started taking those risks — my face lit up. I became a happier person because of how I felt in myself.”

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We Were the Lucky Ones is streaming now on Hulu.

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