In this file, Grey sat down with Mendes and asked a series of questions on acting and beauty.
shatters the EGO.
E.M.: History. I like antique furniture and walls that can talk. Being an actor, home is sometimes a Holiday Inn in Schenectady or the Marriott in Shreveport. I bring home in a suitcase packed with history: Scarves from my grandmother, my linens, my lady paintings and a string of Christmas lights, and scent, scent is very important. I bring different stuff depending on the season.
E.M.: I am a sucker for the bergamot note in Thierry Mugler’s Angel perfume and violets, of course! No really, coincidentally one of my favorites is Royal Violets, which is actually a cologne. It’s a Cuban rite of passage for a child to be dabbed with the cologne, so the smell of it always reminds me of that tradition and of my family. It’s so violet, right?
E.M.: In a bowl of penne arrabiata… or what about Disneyland, isn't that the happiest place on earth?
E.M.: On acting it was to make sure you humiliate yourself. But isn't that true in life as well? Humility shatters the ego.
E.M.: Very important. I love playing characters and these elements all help with the physical manifestations of the character. In my next film, Holy Motors, I play a French fashion model, and my hair and makeup was extreme and key for getting into that character. For Pines (A Place Beyond The Pines), my character was emotionally conflicted. I needed to feel uncomfortable to feel her pain. I lost weight, wore clogs, my unflattering jean cutoffs from high school, and I didn't wear a bra. There is nothing like wearing clogs, being underweight and having no underwire support to make a girl feel rattled in her skin. I did my own hair and makeup, which included just a little powder and lip liner. It felt right, like what she would've done.
E.M.: Yes, for the second half of the film after her tragedy I decided she was a picker, and in her quiet despair, she picked all of her eyebrows off. On the opposite side of the spectrum in Clear History I played this nutty character, Jennifer, whose name I decided would be pronounced, Yennifer. I thought she should have bushy eyebrows and tight, curly, cuddly hair.
E.M.: Alyssa Milano from Who’s The Boss. I just thought she was living my ideal life on that show. It was a rags-to-riches story and I felt like that maybe it could happen to me. I just loved her little attitude and her name, I loved her actual name and her character’s name, Samantha Micelli. She also had this workout video called Teen Steam. I know it word for word. When I was 15 I even went to the Glendale Gallery mall and waited in line for hours to get my picture taken with her. I still have that picture. More recently I admire Julianne Moore as an actor and a woman. She’s fearless in her role choices and really embraces being out of her comfort zone. Though at the same time she’s grounded and elegant in her private life.
E.M.: Ayn Rand, Charlie Chaplin, Antoni Gaudi, Hedy Lamarr, Carl Sagan, and my cousin, Chuchie—he knows how to keep the conversation going.
E.M.: When I was a young girl, my mother worked at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood on the weekends. She would never leave me with a babysitter, so she would cart me into work with her on the bus. Her uniform for work was a red cheongsam, which is a Chinese traditional dress. We would be sitting on the bus, traveling from Echo Park to Hollywood, and I just remember looking at her and thinking that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen—wearing this red dress on the bus.
E.M.: Yes, about five years ago and of course I brought my mother. That was one of those “dream come true” moments for both of us.
E.M.: I still have nightmares about my auditions. They were always in office buildings with florescent lighting and they always gave you the most difficult scene in the script like five minutes before you were expected to nail it. Luckily after you've made enough movies, you don't really have to audition anymore. But for Larry David’s Clear History they didn't think I was right for the role so I insisted they just let me read for it. They said the character was for a plain Jane girl and Larry didn't want to waste my time. I had to fight for it. Even on the day before the audition, the casting director called me again and said, “It’s really not a glamorous role, are you sure you want to come in”. I thought, “Do they think I sit around in my Golden Globes gown everyday?”. I showed up to the audition in baggy sweatpants, a dirty t-shirt, those Vibram Five Finger sneakers and a baseball cap. I'm standing there looking like a schlub and Larry doesn't even recognize me. The audition was so fun because with Larry it’s all improv after he sets the scene. I loved every second of it. It’s taken fifteen years for me to finally have an enjoyable audition.
support to make a GIRL feel rattled in her SKIN.
hell bent on donning that fat suit, I can tell you that. NEVER have I seen anyone who looks like her so EAGER to change her
VIOLET GREY has a file on everything from
the genius of Pat McGrath to
the best eyelash curler in the world.