Those Vying Wives
On Billions, they’re the oh-so-stylish powers behind their conspiring mates.
Photographs by Mike Ruiz
Maggie Siff And Malin Akerman don’t share much airtime on Showtime’s Billions, but there’s definitely a power dynamic at play between them.
Akerman plays Lara Axelrod, the fiercely loyal, street-tough wife of hedge-fund king Bobby Axelrod (Damien Lewis). Siff is Wendy Rhoades, wife of U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), who’s on a mission to build an insider-trading case against Bobby and bring him down. And as the star in-house performance coach at Bobby’s firm, she helped her boss build his empire from the ground up.
The two women, in other words, are rivals once removed — and stylish ones at that. You’ll never catch them in anything as drab as a power suit.
“Wendy is sleek and sophisticated,” Siff says. “She’s at the height of her confidence and power, and she conveys that with dresses that are structured but sexy — they’re tailored and fitted, but they always have some suggestive detail, like interestingly placed zippers or grommets or a cut-out silhouette. She’s swimming with the sharks in alpha-male territory, and her clothes are how she holds the floor.”
But Lara also holds her own. “She comes from humble beginnings and is a real survivor,” Akerman notes. “Lara doesn’t need anybody and gets things done her way, especially now that she’s reached the top.”
And her wardrobe has changed as much as she has, the actress adds. “She used to buy jeans and T-shirts at Target, but now she shops at Barneys. When she gets dressed up, she shows just enough skin to say she’s all woman, but you better not mess with her.”
If the two should cross paths, who would win the fashion throw-down? “Oh, no doubt, Lara,” Akerman says. “She’s got way more resources, and her closets are full.” Siff concedes that Lara’s casual vibe might prevail in L.A., but Wendy would crush her in N.Y.C. “She’s got an exquisite collection of clothes herself, since that’s where she clearly spends her fortune.”
Whoever wins, they both look like a billion bucks.
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 3, 2017