The first thing I notice about Rachel Brosnahan is her gorgeous skin. The next is her piercing blue eyes. She has the bluest of blue eyes—I have to remind myself to not stare, but she does have me entranced. The actress is just as charming as her The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel character, Miriam "Midge" Maisel, but in her own fabulous, currently blonder, not-as-fast-talking way.
We immediately bond over my industrial ear piercing. Brosnahan and I both had our noses pierced (twice!) and had to unfortunately remove them—me for private school, her for Boardwalk Empire auditions. We're also the same age and had our lives changed by the same esthetician. We are so simpatico that I actually find myself at ease with the strikingly beautiful, well-spoken, and perfectly-postured actress, as if we knew each other long ago.
Long ago, Brosnahan could be spotted in cameos on Gossip Girl and Grey's Anatomy, or giving stellar supporting performances in House Of Cards and The Blacklist, but Midge propelled Brosnahan to new heights. To date she's won an Emmy (she ended her speech asking viewers to vote!), a SAG award, and two Golden Globe awards for playing the spunky housewife-turned-comedian—and she's just getting started. The actress and I caught up to talk about her new partnership with Cetaphil, breaking skin stigmas, and what’s next for Midge and her perfectly manicured self in season three of Mrs. Maisel.
On Growing Up With Sensitive Skin
"It felt like a constantly confusing challenge. There’s so much conflicting info out there about what best to do for your skin, and the truth is everybody’s journey is completely individual. It is something that seems like it shouldn’t be very hard to talk about because it’s something everybody experiences. Everybody had some kind of issue with their skin, no matter how simple or how embarrassing. But it is hard to talk about. I guess it’s deemed like something that’s meant to be private, and part of what I’m hopping to be able to do through this partnership is to put it all out in the open. You know, let’s talk about our... uh... I was going to say most embarrassing conditions, but not even just that. What works for us? Let’s put it out in the open.
For me, Cetaphil has always been the place that I can turn, that I trust when my skin is at its most challenging. I’ve been using it since I was 16 years old; my mom introduced me to the brand. I had been overcompensating [laughs] for various skin issues, like you do at 16. I'd have, like, one pimple and was reaching for the strongest thing I could possibly put on it. My mom really taught me that less is more when it comes to just about everything, and I’ve held onto that ever since then.
Skin issues are nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s something that we should be able to talk about more openly so that we can find solutions."
On How She Practices Self-Care
"Cuddling my dogs [laughs]. Spending time with loved ones is my favorite form of self-care. But also, though, on a sort of day-to-day level just taking a minute to slow down and take some deep breaths. So when I’m working a lot that involves putting a mask on. I really loved using the Cetaphil purifying mask, it’s sort of a forced meditation. You know, put it on for half an hour, dog under each arm—I’ve got two—and listen to a podcast or just sit there and think and spend some time with myself."
On Preparing for Awards Season
"I try to be more conscious of what I’m putting into my body because it’s reflected on the outside. When I have a big event coming up, I try to drink more water. Water, water, water. It’s the simplest thing in the world, but it’s one of the hardest things to remember to do. And I try to come up with a plan with my hair and makeup team. Throw some ideas around about what we might want to do so we don’t feel like we’re rushing or stressed about it on the day. And facials are important."
On Keeping Her Skin Glowing on Red Carpets
"I'm always sure to stop by Joanna Vargas. Love her! She’s phenomenal. And she’s been my sort of pre-red-carpet-skin-saver. She goes between New York and L.A., so thankfully I can see her on either end. But yeah, she’s my guru, my skin queen."
On Midge's Season 1 Episode 1 Routine to Look "Fresh" for Her Husband
"Some women still do it. My biggest takeaway shooting it on set—we have a lot of women on our set, which is amazing, women at every level of this production—was the amount of women who were like ‘I have done this.’ It isn’t actually something that’s totally in the past.
I mean I’ve—not quite to that degree—but I’ve definitely done it. When I was younger and in a relationship that made me feel kind of insecure, I woke up once in the middle of the night—not in the middle of the night but early in the morning—to put concealer on and went back to bed. The difference, though, was that to me it was a response to feeling very insecure, but for Midge it’s actually something that makes her feel powerful. It’s something that makes her feel good. That makes her feel purposeful and accomplished and that’s something that’s been important for me to remember. That while it’s easy to look on that kind of very involved routine and lack of sleep as a burden, Midge doesn’t do many things that don’t make her feel good first."
On What to Expect in Season 3 of Mrs. Maisel
"Midge likes to do what works for her. She’s not someone who loves changes, although the last seasons have been almost entirely been about change. Keeping a look that makes her feel the most like herself is something that almost never changes, despite everything else undergoing a lot, a lot of transformation. But this season you may see a slightly different look from Midge. That will debut for a brief period, but it’s pretty funny. It’ll be a good laugh."
On Her New Blonde 'Do
"I’m starting shooting in a few weeks and the character is blonde, so I started doing it a while ago, so that I had time to do is safely and slowly. But I like to change up my look. It’s fun to change colors and length and textures."
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