The actress and L'Oréal Paris ambassador opens up about her glamorous Cannes red carpet look

Actress Aja Naomi King had “the time of [her] life” wearing a romantic coral Zac Posen ballgown on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet.

“I felt like a princess,” the L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador tells PEOPLE of her statement-making ensemble, which she teamed with Casadei heels and Messika jewels at the premiere of A Hidden Life on Sunday. “You know all eyes are on that carpet and you don’t want to come up shorthanded.”

Although the How to Get Away with Murder star, 34, thought her dress was “beautiful” and “loved” her hair and makeup, she still feels the nerves kick in the second she pulls up to the event.

'A Hidden Life' premiere, 72nd Cannes Film Festival, France - 19 May 2019
Credit: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

“Of course you get there and it’s like, ‘Ooh, this is kind of scary. This big carpet,'” she says. But one she started posing for the photographers, King immediately found her confidence.

“All of a sudden, I don’t know, like the sense of like calm came over me, and I literally thought to myself like, ‘This is fun!'” King says.

"A Hidden Life (Une Vie Cachée)" Red Carpet - The 72nd Annual Cannes Film Festival
Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

She continues: “One photographer was like telling me to spin and I started spinning and that was just the moment of my life right there. I’m like, ‘I’m spinning on the Cannes carpet in this insanely beautiful gowns and having the time of my life.’ I hope at least one person gets a good picture of it.”

King says her confidence, on the red carpet and off, has been uplifted ever since she started working with L’Oréal Paris.

“They emboldened me. It’s too easy for us to want to doubt what we’re capable of but [they’re] here saying you’re beautiful,” King says. “I feel bolder and more committed to celebrating myself than before.”

— with reporting by Mary Green