Evan Rachel Wood on Tilda Swinton, HBO’s Westworld, and How to Know When You’ve Found The One
It’s hard to predict what Evan Rachel Wood will do next. The chameleonic actress has been tapped to play a shoplifting 13-year-old, a temperamental opera singer, and a woman living in a future where artificial intelligence blends in seamlessly with the real world for HBO’s forthcoming series Westworld—this all from a girl who calls music her first love. When she’s not filming a critically acclaimed series or groundbreaking movie, she might be found singing “Wrecking Ball” at the top of her lungs to friends in her basement karaoke lounge, writing, spending time with her 2-and-a-half-year-old son, or finding other means of “staying creative on my own terms.” It’s this pioneering spirit that has won her a role as the face of Gucci Guilty Eau, a lilac-, lychee-, and musk-spiked fragrance she describes as giving the wearer “a strong sense of self, confidence, and independence,” descriptors she could very well apply to herself. To find out more about what’s next for the 28-year-old actress, we hopped on a call with Wood to talk about the importance of applying perfume straight to the skin, why she’ll be shaving her head when she’s 50, and how to tell when you’ve found the one.
How do you like to put on perfume?
I spray it into the air and walk into it. I think it’s good to put it on bare skin when your pores are still open [like after the shower], so it’s on your clothes, but it’s also [still there] if clothes aren’t in the equation. I think the senses ignite imagination. It can help make memories—you leave your mark with someone a little more prominently when you have a signature scent. The original Gucci Guilty is a bold, daring, take-control-of-the-situation vibe. And now, it’s evolved into a more romantic scent—ethereal and soft and sexy, but still grounded. I feel naked when I leave the house without it.
What else do you make sure to do before you leave the house?
Mascara is another thing, if I forget to put it on, I’m like: Man, that was a good day, but it would have been great if I had had mascara! I love CoverGirl’s volumizing, non-clumping mascara. That’s essential to me. Eyes are just as important as scent [when it comes to] sensuality. I like to accentuate them a bit. When the lights are low, a smoky eye is a good way to draw people in.
Do you have a trick for the perfect smoky eye?
I’ve been really into using an emerald green pencil, then taking a brush or sponge and smudging it [to] soften it up. I wait to apply any makeup under my eyes [until] I do my [eyeliner] first. Then you can clean up the line and make it really perfect.
You also wear a bold lip a lot—how do you maintain it?
When I do a really bold lip, I notice that when I try to line it really perfectly on the [edge of] my mouth, it runs. If I put it inside the line, it will then bleed to the edge and not get really crazy. I learned that by trial and error. I love all the NARS shades, and they have really long wear. My makeup artist gave one to me.
What else have you learned on set?
I loved Mildred [Pierce]—the old glamour and getting to wear the costumes and the hair. I got really into mastering the Clara Bow lip for a while, which is just drawing a heart on your mouth and not bringing your lipstick to the edge. I also loved Running With Scissors. [They had me in] peacock eyeshadow, blue mascara, and hot pants. I probably kept wearing that blue mascara. [But the most important thing I’ve learned on set] is not to splash water directly on your face [when you’re washing it] or in the shower. It can disturb your pH. Instead, I get facial sponges or use a hot towel to loosen all of my makeup and my pores. I put it in the microwave with eucalyptus [oil to heat it up]. Then use the towel as gently as possible. Don’t be in a hurry to get your makeup off. I use [a cleanser] from Acure [Organics] that’s less harsh. But if I’m on set and don’t have it, I’ll use olive oil and a hot towel. I’ll call the kitchen at the hotel and say, “Hey, you don’t have any olive oil, do you?”
Your skin is pristine. Tell us about your routine.
I have to change up my routine every year because my skin gets used to it. I will find a miracle product for a while, and then my skin adapts and it won’t work anymore. [Right now] I wear La Roche-Posay [Anthelios] SPF 60 every day, and I always use St. Ives collagen-booster moisturizer. It smells great, and it helps your skin not lose elasticity. There’s an awesome tinted moisturizer by Stila that gives you just enough coverage—it warms you up and gives you a sheen and helps nourish your skin. The less you do, the better.
Do you ever do skin treatments?
If I’m home alone not doing anything, I watch Friends and I make my own masks. Manuka honey is really amazing for sensitive, acne-prone skin. I put it all over my face with cinnamon—that gives it a more pasty quality. You look like you just stuck your head in chocolate pudding. If I have something weird on my face, like Mario Badescu spot treatment, you either love me or you don’t. [laughs] If someone can love you with stuff on your face, then you’ve found [The One].
Who are your beauty icons?
I love [David] Bowie. I’ve always loved androgynous glam-rock looks. And I feel a weird kinship with Tilda Swinton—she’s tall and pale and hasn’t conformed. She’s like a female Bowie. She’s my inspiration—her and Annie Lennox and Patti Smith. I want to be rocking suits and shaving my head and dyeing [my hair] orange when I’m 50.