A visit to the Sleepless and The Path star as she prepares for the red carpet.
Michelle Monaghan is a very busy woman. The LA-based actress, who’s also a mother of two (she has an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old), is starring in two current films and a TV show, plus she manages to make time for a semi-involved beauty routine (although she brushes her enviably thick hair but rarely). “I just started using this new shampoo and conditioner called Iles formula. I use a Mason Pearson brush only, like, once a week. I just run my hands through it in the shower and let it air-dry for more texture.”
The irony is not lost on her daughter. “She always asks me, ‘Mom, why do you tell me to brush my hair when you don’t brush your hair?’ But my hair gets worked over because of my job, so when I’m not working I give it a break as much as possible.”
Speaking of that job: Monaghan’s film Patriot’s Day is now in theaters, also starring Mark Wahlberg (who plays Monaghan’s husband, police officer Tommy Saunders), Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons. “I’m so proud of the film; it talks about the Boston Marathon bombing and delves into the stories of the first responders and celebrates the citizens of Boston and how they came together.” Later this month, it’s season 2 of The Path, in which she stars opposite Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as the “matriarch” of a religious cult. “I love the show—religion is such a universal theme, and cults are so provocative and taboo. It delves into the idea of what people will do in the name of faith.” She continues, “I like a morally ambiguous story.” Also forthcoming: “A great little indie called Sidney Hall with Elle Fanning and Logan Lerman, then hopefully season 3 of The Path,” Monaghan says.
Her au courant concern, however, is her film Sleepless—Monaghan calls it “the Jamie Foxx version of Taken”—which hits theaters today. The actress did her own stunts and Mixed Martial Arts opposite the actor. “I trained three hours a day for three months,” she laughs. “I got into great shape.”
Amidst all this, Monaghan allowed VIOLET GREY to stop by the Four Seasons on a recent evening to chronicle her getting ready for a night out. Her sleek ensemble, selected by longtime stylist Karla Welch, was Monique Lhullier—black, lacy, and partially see-through. The hair and makeup were a classic affair courtesy of John Ruggiero and Shane Paish, respectively. Read on for the details and a look at Michelle’s laid-back event prep.
SUBJECT: Michelle Monaghan
OCCASION: Critic’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles
VENUE: Four Seasons
GETTING-READY SOUNDTRACK: The sound of silence. “Generally I’m getting ready at home, and I have an 8-year-old and a 3-year-old, so they’re either coming home from school or it’s breakfast and I’m trying to get them organized—the fewer distractions, the better, or they’ll be dancing all over.”
PRE-GAME BEVERAGE: Filtered water. “I like to be very hydrated and drink a lot of it prior to an event. Often you don’t have access to water or there’s only one glass during the whole evening.”
IDEAL DINNER DATE: Anthony Bourdain. “All I want to do is hang out with him. He’s such an adventurous spirit.”
FAVORITE EVENING DESTINATION: “La Pergoletta, my favorite restaurant in LA. It’s in a little strip mall next to a dive bar and a Laundromat. It’s the most incredible Italian food; I can’t recommend it enough. I love to eat.”
THE OUTFIT: Monique Lhullier jacket and pants. “I’ve been working with Karla [Welch], who’s incredibly creative, for a long time. She makes me look like the best version of myself.”
“I was flipping through a book and saw a Modigliani painting that inspired the look. It’s simple and lets the woman be herself, just a little bit amped.
“We did a red lip. I used the Serge Lutens stain first in case the lipstick started to wear off over the course of the night. She’s got great lips, so I just used a bit of liner to lift the outer corners a little and make sure the lipstick didn’t bleed. The lipstick is Dior 999, which is a nice red. I wanted it to look satin, not matte. I used the Shu Uemura angled brush to get into the corners—a good brush makes a big difference for lips. Because the mouth was the focus, I kept it to clean skin and a little bit of an eye. I always work out whether it’s going to be a lip or an eye; I rarely do both.
“For the eyes, to get some definition I used a Pat McGrath marker pen along the top line and winged it out for a dramatic effect—a little flirtier. The eyeshadow I kept taupe just to contour. The mascara was Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes, one of my favorites, on the top. Then I used an Hourglass pencil to fill in the brows. The outfit was chic and polished, so I wanted to keep the look simple—I like women to feel like themselves.”—Shane Paish, makeup artist
“I don’t like hairdos. I like a clean, refined, simple look. I have very thick hair, so I have to be careful or it can go very big,” Monaghan explains of her desired aesthetic. “[Hairstylist John Ruggiero and I] were going for a modern Modigliani look, with hair over the ears a little.”—Michelle Monaghan, actress
“The first inspiration was a Helmut Newton flipped, kind of shiny, ’60s-looking hair, but then I decided to give it a twist and tuck it behind the ears like a sexy Lincoln’s wife. We went over it with a GhD flat iron and put it into a ponytail to make it more youthful, then I took two bobby pins on each side to hold it there, but also to be part of the look. Then I shellacked it with Bumble & Bumble spray. The whole look took 15 minutes to complete.”—John Ruggiero, hairstylist