Amanda Seyfried on beauty, motherhood and the genius of David Lynch
Amanda Seyfried has landed some plum roles in her career: From Karen in Mean Girls to Sophie in Mamma Mia! to Cosette in Les Misérables. It's safe to say that she has a certain cachet in pop culture history, with these memorable performances that have endeared her to each new generation. The 31-year-old actress and new mum has also proved to be deft when it comes to the different mediums in which she showcases her talents. She switches between film, onscreen musicals, television and theatre without missing a beat.
Beautiful in an almost otherworldly way, yet adorably self-effacing, the Pennsylvania-born actress has a likeable charm for sure. But make no mistake, she's not all sugar with no spice, as some of her more daring roles have shown. Think her performances in Chloe, Lovelace and her ongoing role as Becky in David Lynch's brilliant and bewildering Twin Peaks reboot. And speaking of spice, we were surprised to see that despite growing up with "hot dogs and cheese", as she puts it, Seyfried has a pretty adventurous palate and consumed satay gravy and even ayam buah keluak without batting an eyelash.
Here for the opening of Clé de Peau Beauté's flagship boutique – the first of its kind in the world — Seyfried has been the face of the luxury Japanese-French skincare and makeup brand since 2011. And what a beautiful face that has been, gracing everything from makeup collections to campaigns for skin creams shot by such luminaries as Bruce Weber. Known for her candid and down-to-earth demeanour, Buro had the opportunity to spend some quality time with her both as she did a mini tour of Singapore and in an intimate sit-down with media. Find out what has changed since Seyfried became a first-time mother, her more relaxed approach to diet and beauty and why she'd rather not do live musicals on Broadway.
How has your skincare routine changed since you've become a mum?
It hasn't really changed. I mean if you have something that works, you might as well keep doing it. My regimen hasn't really changed, but my skin has changed. I used to get little red spots every once in a while, but it's been much clearer with pregnancy and having given birth. My skin doesn't feel dry ever since I started to use Clé de Peau Beauté. Even when I fly, I just layer on La Crème for flights. Now I don't use the Concealer Stick, half as much, because I don't need to. My skin is the best it's ever been. It's incredible.
You have great skin, but what products do you reach for when you're having a bad skin day?
I try to drink more water. The Concealer is what I use because I don't use foundation, as I don't really like covering my skin when I don't have to. But I sometimes get photographed when I'm running errands and it's really embarrassing when you don't have anything to cover up with.
And also when I have a bad skin day — and although of late, I've been dyeing my eyelashes — I will just put mascara on for the day just to accentuate my eyes and to take away from what's happening with my skin. And I think that's actually a really good trick when you feel really gross — for lack of a better word. It's good to pump up your lips and eyes and focus on your features as opposed to your skin, because you can control that.
What are your three beauty travel essentials?
La Crème, the Concealer and a little bit of a red lip. I'm jet-lagged all the time. When I travel, it can be an 11-hour flight. So you can just like, put your finger on it [the lipstick] and just dab it on during the day and it doesn't feel like it's too much. It looks more like a tint, which I prefer.
What was the first Clé de Peau Beauté product you've tried?
Oh it was La Crème, and it was something I felt I was missing for so long. I was trying to find something that made me feel like I was protecting my skin, but not over-moisturising. It's super luxurious, and I don't think I've ever had something like that before. It's really easy to love — it smells really good, it goes on really light and you can put a little bit of makeup over it and put mascara on without it bleeding down. And I didn't have to go on to anything else.
That's what is great about this brand: It's the best you can put on your face. And for people that can afford it, why wouldn't you use it? The first meeting that I had with Clé de Peau Beauté in New York, they explained how they made it. And I thought it was so fascinating. It's kind of like a weird puzzle to find out what works for you. Especially when you're in your twenties. And La Crème, along with a lot of water, and not too much drinking, is a perfect, perfect thing.
What is the one thing you would never do to look beautiful?
I'm certain I would never undergo elective surgery to feel more beautiful. And you can come after me if that changes.
What do you do to unwind?
You know, I'm not going to lie... I watch a lot of television now. There's so much good programming, just on cable, Netflix, and Amazon, especially right now. My whole family and I kind of get really attached to binge watching these series. I crochet and I watch TV at night and that's very much unwinding. And also, now that I can [since giving birth], I'm back to working out, swimming, hiking and stuff like that.
How would you describe your personal style?
Casual and comfortable. My drawer is mostly full of black, grey, and white T-shirts. I love cashmere sweaters and jeans and shorts. I'm in yoga pants more than anything else. Like you can actually dress yoga pants up now... which is great as it's really comfortable.
Since you binge watch Netflix, and you also love cashmere sweaters, which is your favourite Netflix show and where do you usually go to get cashmere sweaters?
I've recently splurged on an Elder Statesman sweater. I will probably never do that again. Because they're insanely expensive. But I'm going to wear that sweater every single day of my life.
I have no favourite show. I mean, I've just watched 13 Reasons Why, I think that's really good. The acting, for me, was the selling point. These kids — this new generation of actors — they're incredible. I feel really lucky to call them peers. I love House of Cards and I'm so glad it's come back! And I'm watching The Handmaid's Tale on Amazon. And my favourite show, really, that is not on cable, is Dateline. We watch it every night... which is embarrassing.
You mentioned that motherhood hasn't changed your skincare regimen, but how has it changed your perception?
You know, I feel like nature is beautiful and instinctual, and that Mother Nature really takes care of us. As a mother, everything comes naturally. I'm feeding my daughter everything she needs right now from my body and I've gained weight, but over the years I really focused on having a certain body type. I mean I got sucked into it too, and now it's so much less important to me. I'm a healthy weight now where I wasn't necessarily before.
I still love working out and keeping healthy, but I plan on keeping the extra weight because I feel way more feminine, which is interesting. I am massive right now in my chest, for obvious reasons, and that's not necessarily comfortable, but that fact that I'm creating food and that I was lucky enough to bear children... I am much less worried about stuff that we've been made to feel is important. It's opened my eyes to what is really important — which is taking care of yourself in a non-obsessive way.
Is there something you wish to communicate to the younger generation and to mothers?
I still have a long way to go in terms of my own body image, but I'm definitely on the other end of it. As she [the baby] came out, I was like "Oh my God, there are so many other things that are more important." I learned that I wasn't as present as I am now, and a lot of that had to do with my obsession with keeping in a very specific shape. And it's just not important. You don't take your body with you when you die.
What drives you in life?
A lot of things that should, and a lot of things that shouldn't. My next meal... though that's just in Asia! The next episode of a TV show. Being with my family, and knowing that I have a place to come home to, and wanting to keep a safe space for me. I want to feel like I can rely on people and I want them to feel like they can rely on me. Honesty drives me. That's a really tough question, because it can be really ambiguous. My family and my farm. And now my daughter and wanting to be a really good mother.
What was it like working with David Lynch on Twin Peaks, and do you have any cool anecdotes to share about working on such a seminal, cult television show?
I found out about Twin Peaks a couple of years ago. And I begged my agent to get me a meeting at Showtime. And so I had a general meeting with the head of casting, and there I met David Nevins who is the president of Showtime, and I was like "Please, I know you're doing Twin Peaks. Whatever I can do to be in it... to even have a line, or not even have a line, just to be a part of it, let me know."
Because it's just so weird, and it's so... I just really wanted to be a part of this world for like a minute, and then everybody kind of had an audition. The audition was talking with the casting director for about 20 minutes. The anecdote I have to share? Well, it was my sister's wedding day and she was taking a shower. And I was in the bathroom doing my makeup — it was just the two of us. And I got the text message that said: "You got Twin Peaks." And I opened the shower door, because my sister is the biggest David Lynch fan, and I've always wanted to make my sister proud. She's not that interested in my career. She doesn't have anything to do with Hollywood, and she doesn't really care that much. So when I saw that text, I swung open the door, and I was like "I got Twin Peaks!" and she started jumping up and down — even though it was her wedding day and she had so much else to be grateful for and excited about. But to see that pure excitement, I just felt like she was really proud of me, which is something I'm always kind of looking for from her.
Working with David Lynch was wonderful because he is such a sweetheart. He's so nice. And he looks you in the eye, and he's very earnest. And yet his brain... wherever he comes up with this stuff... in meditation or if he was on drugs for part of his life...I don't know what it is, I don't know what his inspiration is, but he's insane... somewhere. But you can't tell when you meet him. And I think he's just a special person. And yeah, I'm totally freaking out about the fact that I could be in one of the episodes. But they're not called episodes, they're called "events". Parts. I'm really hoping that I did a good job, because it was a 500-page script and nobody read it — it's crazy.
Do you have a favourite role, and a role that you would like to play in the future?
My favourite role? Actually, her name is Judy in a movie called The Clapper, which is not out. It doesn't even have distribution yet. But it's a Dito Montiel movie that I did last summer with Tracy Morgan and, she was such a weird character. She worked at a gas station on the east side of Los Angeles and she has a very good outlook on life. I would love to keep playing her. So that's my favourite so far. I hope you see it.
I would really love to play Eva Cassidy, but I just heard, a week ago maybe, that they already did a movie based on Eva Cassidy. So, that sucks. Such a bummer. And I would love to play Glinda in Wicked. But I heard a rumour that it's still going to be a while until they make it. And I'm going to get too old, probably. I've been practising for so long, for three years I've been practising with my voice coach in New York.
Would you want to do it on stage, instead?
You know, the main reason why I wouldn't want to do a musical on stage is because I did Les Misèrables live. So you had to live like an actress performing in a stage musical. So you could have no milk, no dairy and no alcohol because it dries up your chords. And I didn't like that. It was so hard. Because I like drinking wine sometimes and I hated living like that.
So the idea for doing it for six months on Broadway is kind of daunting for that reason. Simply that reason. And when you get sick — you get bronchitis or laryngitis, or something — and you can't perform, that is really hard. And you actually have to have days where you go without speaking. That just doesn't appeal to me at all.
Do you have a muse in your acting career?
Growing up, I watched Annette Bening a lot and I still think she's one of the greatest actresses that exists. Whenever someone asks me who my favourite actress is, that's kind of who I think about. There are a lot of people my age, a lot of peers that I think are so wonderful. Natalie Portman never goes wrong. She's always really prepared and really tuned into whatever she's doing. Jackie was extraordinary. I've worked with a lot of them. Julianne Moore. Meryl Streep. Judi Dench, is someone I've always wanted to work with... I could give you names all day.
Is achieving a work-life balance a challenging issue for you now?
Yeah, you know it's just starting to become a very daunting thing for me. Both my husband [Thomas Sadoski] and I love to work. And it's really stressful, the idea of both of us working at the same time because of projects that are really important to us that we don't want to pass us by.
So the idea that I'm going to be shooting Mamma Mia at the same time he's shooting his show in Los Angeles and we're going to have to be apart, and he's going to have to be apart from our daughter... is really hard. It's hard to maintain a career with a newborn, especially. And the older they get, the more they remember. We're going to really have to make decisions based on what's good for our family and not just what's good for us. And I've been independent for so long, and now I have to make decisions and compromises — and it's going to be a challenge.
On a lighter note, you mentioned that food drives you. Are you practical about your diet? Do you have any favourite foods?
Right know I'm not that particular about my diet at all. I got used to eating macaroni and cheese once a week when I was pregnant. And burgers once a week. It would be like a sliding door — every Monday we would have chicken, every Tuesday we'd have take-out from this place and every Friday we'd have macaroni and cheese. I ate terribly when I was pregnant. And so it's still really hard to not eat terribly. But I always eat in moderation. That's the only way I can stay sane. I don't overeat. I hate that feeling, so I don't do that.
But I do know it would be better if I ate less fat, and less cholesterol because, you know, it's not good for your heart. And I'm going to attempt, when we get back from Singapore, to eat less sugar for my health. But I'm not trying to lose weight right now, so its really hard when I don't have an actual goal, because when I see something I like, I eat it.
Is there anything you would like to eat in Singapore?
I think I already did. I ate everything I wanted to eat. This morning I went to see the monkeys and we went for kaya toast. I had char siew and chicken rice in China Town. And we went to Violet Oon for lunch yesterday. So I've eaten really, really well here.