How Dacre Montgomery went from film geek to luxury ambassador

Dacre Montgomery admits to me that he has a serious case of OCD. His bed sheets are always crisp, pillows always fluffed for weekly movie viewings and he's in bed by 9:30pm almost every night - no earlier, no later. You could say this trickles into his professional career; he'll go through a rigorous 'do or don't' process before he gives the green light for a role that has been presented to him. 

Perhaps that's what makes him so good at what he does - acting. You only need to witness his role as Billy Hargrove on the Netflix smash-hit Stranger Things to fully comprehend the Aussie's talent.

But besides brooding good looks, gentlemanly charm and hunger for life, Montgomery appreciates the finer things in life, like craftsmanship and luxury - two factors that have afforded him the opportunity to become an ambassador for the French Maison Cartier.

A balancing act

Montgomery, who hails from Perth, admits he had a tough childhood as a chubby movie geek who loved drama. But that all changed after school. He lost some weight, toned up, dominated drama school and eventually landed the role as Billy.

Since then, life has been a whirlwind for the 25-year old who is taking on a plethora of jobs and projects that keep him busy and driven. But life is about balance, even for the Aussie star who has all but yet reached the height of his career.

"I have a good sense of balance as I try to take periods off between acting roles. Sydney provides that respite to allow me to work on my own personal projects," says Montgomery.

"At the end of last year, I directed and produced my first short-film and prior to that, I started my podcast DKMH. I have also been working with the Red Cross, shooting a video with an African refugee down in Wollongong, so I'm just trying to get involved in anything and everything creative and philanthropic while I can." 

A life-changing role

It was Montgomery's stellar performance as Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things that garnered the attention of the creatives of Hollywood and beyond - and a performance that has since cemented his status as one of Australia's next generation of young actors to make their mark in the formidable Tinseltown. 

"Billy was a once-in-a-lifetime character because not only was he so interesting, but because the show had such a big platform, the process of developing his character was so collaborative and special. I had a wealth of knowledge bestowed upon me and the creative freedom to really build the character which was truly special," says Montgomery.

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"Life has changed, yes, but for the better. It has given me the opportunity to explore and be taken seriously by a lot of different creatives in the industry which is really amazing."

Away from the big screen

When Montgomery isn't working  17-hour days in Atlanta, Georgia (the location of Stranger Things' fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana), or juggling new and upcoming acting projects - some which he couldn't divulge - he focuses his time on writing and producing poetry through his podcast platform DKMH.

"DKMH is centered around what drives you to do what you do. And what drives me, personally, is constant curiosity; that's what gets me out of bed. I feel the most successful people in the entertainment business are always hungry, never satisfied and always curious and willing to learn," says Montgomery.

DKMH also delves into real thoughts and feelings we face as individuals, like the idea of failure - a notion that Montgomery himself resonates with.

"I love the idea of being willing to fail and I'm constantly afraid of failure in my own career, whether it be choosing the right project, in my personal life in being the best boyfriend, friend, son - whatever role you play in your life."

Luxury at its finest

But what does a former geek from Perth make of his rather glamorous new partnership with one of the world's biggest names in luxury?

"I'm a huge fan of the Cartier brand and it's pretty amazing to understand that this brand was established in 1847 and it truly symbolises the epitome of high-standard jewellery and craftsmanship, and the Panthère collection, in particular, represents true elegance to me," says Montgomery.

"Combining both that element of craftsmanship, brand and quality with this idea of elegance and power in the Panthère motif, it's an interesting thing to be able to exhibit. It's luxury at its height, and the Melbourne exhibition is so well put together because it's not just focusing on the luxury aspect, but it focuses on the education; teaching you about how the brand came to be which I find really fascinating."