“I’m a writer for FOX's New Girl, and before that I was writing for HBO's The Newsroom, and E4’s Skins. I’m from a town in England called Reading, which is about 20 minutes outside of London, but I grew up watching American television. I started writing for Skins when I was 18, because Brian Elsley, who created it, was hiring young writers. He'd read something I had written, and asked me to join the team. Except for two people, our entire writing staff was under the age of 20. It was crazy. They just took a bunch of teenagers, put us in a room and said, ‘Go make a TV show.’ I still can’t believe it. But I think that’s why teenagers really loved it—it was written by their peers, so it felt different. If you watch something like 90210, and a girl takes a tablet of ecstasy, she will overdose and go to the hospital. On Skins, if a girl took ecstasy, she’d accidentally make out with her best mate, because, in most cases that’s what happens—no one dies.
After some time in London and New York, I moved to LA, where I ultimately got a job writing for season two of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I was so nervous for my first interview with them that I was physically shaking. I think I had a glass of red wine right before the meeting, which started at 11 in the morning. [Laughs] It was an incredible learning experience—very tough, very intense, and it left me primed to go into drama or comedy after. I feel so lucky to have been able to work on that, and now on New Girl because they’re both shows that I watched anyway. New Girl is Liz Meriwether’s first show, and she’s insanely smart with a very clear vision. She has been incredible to me, and everyone I work with is so talented. It's basically a dream team.
When I’m working and writing, I touch my face a lot, so it’s kind of pointless for me to wear makeup on my skin. I learned from my mom, who was a theatrical makeup artist, and my grandmother, who was a model, that if you wear bright lipstick, people won’t really notice the rest of your complexion. My two standbys are MAC Russian Red and Rebel. Russian Red is a real red with a little bit of blue in it. It’s a great 'confidence lipstick' that kind of pulls everything together. Rebel is a sexier dark plum. And my other favorite, I did some serious, fierce eBay bidding for: MAC Party Parrot, which is one of Iris Apfel’s lipsticks for MAC. I love her. She’s insane and so incredible. I seriously overpaid for that lipstick, but when I got it, I was like, ‘That’s it, we’re hitting a club tonight.’ [Laughs] It’s that kind of lipstick. For daytime, I also like blending Nars Yu Satin Lip Pencil with Nars Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, but at night, I prefer to wear Yu alone. I get bored with colors quickly, so rather than spending $20 on MAC lipstick every time—because that spirals—I buy a lot of $2 lipstick at CVS and Rite-Aid.
Right now, I’m wearing a bit of Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer under my eyes, and I also use it to cover blemishes, and then a tiny bit of Nars Pressed Powder in Heat to take out shine. I put that on with an E.L.F. Studio Complexion Brush so it’s very even, light, and less pore-clogging than it would be if I applied it with a sponge. I prefer Nars makeup because it looks light and if I fall asleep with it on, I won’t wake up with breakouts. I also like Nars Exhibit A Blush because it has an orange base, so it warms your whole face up. You have to be careful about how much you put on, otherwise you’ll look like a clown. It took me a few days to figure that out. When I’m on vacation, I like to use Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips, a rose- and almond-oil balm from the UK, on my cheeks as a highlighter. It sort of raises your cheekbones.
For my eyes, when I’m looking sleepy, or if I’m going out at night, I’ll put a little bit of eyeliner on the top, just to give definition. Mascara helps make my eyes look more open, but I can’t be bothered to wear it every day. I’m super lazy. I’ve considered getting eyelash extensions because pretty much everyone I know in LA has them, but I could never sit in a chair for an hour while someone poked me in the eye. In general, it’s quite nice to work in TV, because no one is looking at the writers at work; we can wear whatever we want in the writers’ room.
The better I am with cleansing and exfoliating my face, the less I have to cover up with makeup. It took me years to realize that. If you spend $60 on a good cleanser, you’ll save that much more on getting facials or dealing with blemishes. My skincare routine is super simple. I use Boots No.7 Foaming Cleanser, which I used growing up, and was able to find at Target! It’s really light, but it cleans everything off your face—makeup and all—without stripping moisture. During seasonal weather transitions, I am big on Shiseido White Lucent Toning Lotion to keep my skin-tone from looking patchy. Otherwise, I tone with Cowshed Chamomile Refreshing Toner. Then I moisturize with Cowshed Quinoa Moisturizer, because it’s lightweight but really feels hydrating. And once a week, I use Ren Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish and Ren Invisible Pores Detox Mask. The mask takes about ten minutes to dry, then I take it off with a dry cloth. It makes me a more radiant person. For my body, I just use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. It’s a drugstore classic that works year-round. It’s just so good. Even though it’s always warm in Los Angeles, air conditioning dries out your skin, so you still need a decent moisturizer.
When I need a pick-me-up, I spray Level Naturals Eucalyptus Lime Body Mist. I also keep one in my car for when I’m feeling clammy and gross. Bliss Tidy Towels are fantastic for your face when you’re not home, too. I started using them at Lollapalooza, because they were giving them out at our hotel. Now whenever I stay at a W Hotel, I just tip the housekeeper $10 and she gives me a bunch of the room samples.
I keep my hair hydrated with basically all of Moroccan Oil’s products. I like the original Moroccan Oil, and their Restorative Hair Masque is the best. My hairstylist, Brigitte Winslow at Salon Republic, is a hair genius. She taught me how to make my own tea tree oil spray with pure tea tree oiland water—20 percent oil, 80 percent water. If I work out first thing in the morning and have to go straight to the office, I’ll just spray the mixture into my roots, and I'm good to go. I’ve been doing it for about eight months, and it's made my scalp feel a lot healthier.
All of my jobs have been rewarding, but in terms of life and work, one of my favorite pieces of advice came from Aaron Sorkin. It’s the K.I.S.S. theory, which stands for “Keep it simple, stupid.” It’s something that would get uttered in the [Newsroom] writers’ room every so often. Working on a research-heavy show, you’d wind up with a table full of snippets and news articles, and you really have to pull back and ask yourself, ‘What is the story we’re trying to tell here?’ I try to apply this to other areas of my life, as well. It’s a practice of mindfulness. If you’re feeling super anxious or stressed out, just think about the next thing you have to achieve. Keep it simple. One thing at a time.”
—as told to ITG
Camilla Blackett photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles on October 13, 2013.