"I’m French, but my accent’s kind of gone. For a long time, I worked on eliminating it, and it’s the weirdest thing. In the beginning, when I started acting, my agent was always like, 'You’ve got to make sure you have the most neutral accent possible,’ and I said, 'Ok, ok, ok,' and I worked really hard, and now they’re saying, 'Can you play up your French accent?' because people want something exotic, and I’m like, 'You guys must be kidding me!' I don’t even know how to do it anymore.
I grew up in a small village in the south of France, close to Nice, and I moved to Paris to study art and fashion design when I was 18; I was modeling at the same time. I also started assisting a stylist, Gabrielle Greiss, who became the head designer at Sonia Rykiel. So, I was modeling, taking classes at night, and then working at Sonia Rykiel most days. Then, at some point, I was like, what is the only thing that would make me really happy? That’s why I decided to really throw myself into acting. In the beginning I never wanted to admit to it—the fact that I wanted to be an actress—because it feels a little bit like an ego trip. It’s like, 'Look at me, I have something to say, people should listen to me.' On the other hand, you also feel like, every girl who’s a little pretty says 'Oh yeah, I want to be an actress.' I was afraid of judgement and I was afraid of failing. But that's not the way you should think of life. For me, acting is just exploring these different facets of life. It’s nice to be someone else for a little bit, or really lean into one part of yourself—a part that you’re ashamed of, or uncomfortable with. To be able to dive into those little things that, in life, you have to hide or tone down because you have to live in society or whatever... In acting, you can really explore that fully. It's great.
I’d say I’m French in my approach to beauty: I’m easy-going. Of course, I love to dress up. Who doesn’t? But a year ago, I got really scared of all the toxic things that are in beauty products. I mean, I smoke, I drink, I’m not a vegan, I eat like a French person, so pretty healthy, but with ice cream and candy. [Laughs] But I feel like beauty is the one thing I can control. I became obsessed with reading all these blogs and websites, and I got rid of all the stuff I was using, and changed everything. And I actually realized you don’t need to use that much. Now I have a cleanser from Eminence, the Coconut Milk Cleanser. I feel like I want to eat it every time I wash with it. It smells so good. And I use mainly oils, so I have a million different ones: apricot oil, almond oil, coconut oil, grape seed, sesame, vitamin E, and Goe oil—I love it for the body. That, and Rose-Marie Swift's Raw Coconut Cream. I found all this good stuff at a shop on 10th street called Live Live. They have all these completely natural products, like Simply Divine Botanicals, which has this eye cream, Pack Your Bags They're Leaving! It’s like a gel more than a cream, and it lessens under-eye bags. I also just got a new Swedish Dream Sea Salt Soap—it has big chunks of sea salt and it's awesome for exfoliating.
On my face, I like oils as a moisturizer. I mix them: I put a little bit of apricot, which is good for wrinkles, with some almond or grape seed….Or vitamin E oil, which is really thick, is great for the winter. I also use Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Illuminating Base. It’s a whitener. I have it mainly for the winter because my skin is good when it’s tan, but in the winter, it becomes kind of yellow, so I’ll put on a little of this. It makes it look nicer.
For makeup, all I use on my eyes is RMS Cream Eye Shadow in Magnetic. And then Un Cover-Up in 22. You can’t find organic mascara or eye pencils, so I just use CoverGirl LashBlast Volume and a Givenchy pencil. My lipstick is from this brand Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics—it's all vegan and it's all pure pigment and they have the best Lip Tar. It stays on so well. They have nice nail polishes, too.
Hair: I don’t really use that much stuff. And I wash my hair way more often than I’d like to—in the city, it gets really greasy. I do it every three or four days, which I know is too much. I read this whole no-shampoo thing in W magazine a while ago, and I was like, 'I want to try it!' but I just can't."
—as told to ITG
Dayan appears in Celeste and Jesse Forever, starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, out today in New York and Los Angeles. She was photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on July 31st, 2012.