potential of a good bubble bath.
- MAKEUP BY Jillian dempsey
- JILLIAN DEMPSEY KOHL EYELINER IN JET BLACK
- GIORGIO ARMANI EYES TO KILL EYESHADOW IN 1 MAESTRO
- CHARLOTTE TILBURY'S FULL FAT MASCARA IN GLOSSY BLACK
- VELOUR LASHES IN CLUSTER-HOLIC MINK LASHES
- DUO EYLEASH ADHESIVE
- KOH GEN DO MAIFANSHI AQUA FOUNDATION
- BOBBI BROWN CREAMY CONCEALER
- KEVYN AUCOIN CREAMY GLOW BLUSH IN TRESBELLE
- KEVYN AUCOIN SCULPTING POWDER
- M.A.C. PRO LIP PALETTE IN MODERN BROWNS
- NAILS BY TRACEY SUTTER
- YSL LA LAQUE NAIL LACQUER IN TAUPE RETRO
Directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma chronicles the three months in 1965 when Dr. King led a series of marches in Alabama to crusade for equal voting rights. Though fraught with violence and resistance from racist factions, the campaign ultimately led President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, the film venerates King without glossing over his flaws, namely his alleged infidelities. As Scott King, Ejogo (whose previous films include Sparkle and The Purge: Anarchy) delivers a quiet yet gripping portrait of a loyal wife who must contend with both her husband’s public persona and extramarital dalliances. “I remember looking at the dailies and yours was the first face I saw on the first day of shooting,” Winfrey tells Ejogo, who has been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. “You did such a beautiful job in this film.”
Below, the two women enjoy a conversation that runs the topical gamut from Ejogo’s thoughts on beauty and aging to her current “obsession” with offbeat comedian Reggie Watts.
CARMEN EJOGO: Yes. We did it at this beautiful home in Bel Air. Cassandra had in mind that I was essentially the powerful owner of the home. She gave me certain film references like Brigitte Bardot in Contempt and Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. It’s exciting when someone has very clear intentions for what they want to do.
C.E.: I think I become too self-conscious. I also get nervous that I’m not quite getting the pose right! Given the medium, I often assume it’s best to try for something still, which is so different from acting to me, where you’re constantly in motion. I have to remind myself that the best models are very fluid and are playing out a scene in their head.
C.E.: What Ava wrote for Coretta was so different from what I was working with the first time around that I inevitably had to portray her differently. But I didn’t ever feel anxious. I was excited by the challenge of getting somewhat messier with this portrayal. And by messy I mean not being scared to explore Martin Luther King Jr.’s alleged infidelity or exploring the fact that Coretta, who was a brilliant and dynamic woman, was, at times, frustrated in her iconic role of the first lady of the movement, being stuck at home and not necessarily having a platform to express herself fully.
C.E.: I have been in this business long enough to know that Ava had to exhibit some very special qualities — not to mention stamina — to get to a place where she was taken seriously. I ultimately felt that what she had undertaken was quite incredible and trailblazing, not to mention that she was doing it with such grace, vision and leadership.
C.E.: Yikes! That’s really hard. What would yours be?
C.E.: What was the book?
C.E.: One of my most enjoyable evenings was around a campfire in the mountains of Colorado. I was with my mom and two kids and we spent the entire night singing songs and telling stories about each other. It was just one of those really wonderful family moments.
C.E.: When I’m swimming. It can be in a pool or, even better, a lake or the sea. But there is something about being underwater that gives you space to think and meditate. It makes me feel very connected to myself somehow. I also come alive when I’m painting. I like to work in oils and acrylics, and the full sensory engagement and self-expression is very stimulating to me.
C.E.: Kindness, empathy, compassion, passion and a sense of humor. And intelligence. I’m a sucker for somebody that’s got serious brain power.
C.E.: Kindness, actually. I’ve been with the intelligent guy who’s mean-spirited and a real jerk. That’s no fun to be around. Intelligence starts to get pretty dull if it’s not coupled with kindness.
C.E.: I’ve had as many as maybe three, maybe four baths in a day. Is that really excessive?
C.E.: I’d invite Josephine, Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife. I want to know more about what made that woman tick. She was quite a fascinating creature. I would also invite Gandhi. Now, let me lighten the whole scene up with Reggie Watts. He’s this awesome, out-of-his-mind comedian who I’m a little bit obsessed with. As far as the menu, it would be a potluck dinner. Gandhi could bring some Indian food, Josephine would bring a French dish, and I would make my three favorite desserts: banoffee pie, crème brulée and panna cotta.
C.E.: I think my definition of beautiful has shifted over time. It means something different than it did when I was 15 and aware that how I looked had power. Now it’s more about character and having something to say. When I see those things in someone, I find that very attractive, particularly in women. It’s important for me to set an example for my daughter, so I actively try to stay away from projects or situations that make me too hung up on the exterior. To be honest, that’s always been a criteria for choosing work, avoiding the vanity trap.
C.E.: Thank you. I think everyone involved was clearly motivated by a deep-seated love for the project and its message.
VIOLET GREY has a file on everything from
the genius of Pat McGrath to
the best eyelash curler in the world.