'I just finished shooting a movie that I wrote, too, called Alex of Venice, which will be at the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s about this woman whose husband just left her, her life is falling apart, and I play the crazy sister from New York that comes to help take care of her child. I also have a clothing line called Simone. But fashion is…it’s not that it’s easy, but it doesn’t challenge my brain like acting and writing. It sounds horrible, and everybody’s like, ‘You’re the most reluctant fashion designer we’ve ever met,’ but you have to really want to do it, because having a label is a lot of work. Also, how many seasons do they do now? Five? Let's be honest, it’s not like I’m doing John Galliano, I’m not recreating a silhouette—I’m just making leather jackets and varsity jackets. And I do love doing it. We’ll do a lot of special orders—I just made Rihanna a vest and a jacket. That’s fun for me. But I did a whole collection for five years, and between that, acting, and writing it was just a nightmare. I don’t even know how I handled it. But in the movie my character is a failing fashion designer, so it’s kind of funny. [Laughs] It took me five years to write the script. I mean, we wrote the script in a year, and from there it was just re-writing, and then there were edits after we filmed. There was a crazy sex scene and that all got cut. All my dieting down the drain! At least I have it for my reel.
For everyday makeup, I’ll wear tinted moisturizer and some mascara. I’m always doing my makeup in the car, which is horrible because I’m driving and smoking and doing 45 other things. And I'm not even a smoker! [Laughs] It’s very me, it’s probably not something you want to do. I’ll either use The Illuminated Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 from Laura Mercier in Natural Radiance—that’s for my car—or sometimes Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. It’s the best; you’ll never go back. I use it with these sponges I get online—they’re better than Beauty Blenders—and they're $5. My mascara is Clinique, which actually I learned from Into The Gloss—from Liv Tyler! The Naturally Glossy Mascara—she said it looks the most natural on camera. Mascara is really hard on camera; you have to be careful because you can easily look like a Beverly Hills housewife with too much mascara, and especially with extensions. Clinique lip colors are also great on camera, because they never build up. You know how lipstick gets all weird if you reapply? This Clinique Chubby Stick in Whole Lotta Honey you can just keep putting on your lips, literally all day long. And the Chubby Stick for Eyes in Curvaceous Coal just looks like a smoky shadow. I love the way they feel—and aren’t the names hysterical? I actually had a meeting yesterday, and I had to go to an audition after, and Laura Mercier Secret Finish just totally refreshed my makeup—magic, I’ll take it. For high-def cameras, I learned that you never want to wear shimmer. For your face, yes, but on your body, no. Biologique Recherche Serum Matriciel toning serum for the body gives you a little sheen, but not shimmer. So it’s perfect, I always have it on my legs.
LA is the worst for my skin; it's always better in New York, always. Humidity is better for skin in general. Every time I go to New York, I’m dewy, and here it’s dry—it's a desert. But Biologique Recherche is everything. It’s changed my life. I started doing the VIP Oxygen Masks, and I’m telling you, it’s the best. Do it while you’re on the toilet; it takes five minutes. I do the whole routine, actually, but you have to really know how to use their products. You clean with this Lait VIP O2, then you do this Lotion MC 110 No. 2. You have to soak a gauze pad—it sounds like so much work, but once you start doing it, you’ll see it’s worth it. Amorepacific Time Response Eye Renewal Creme is my go-to eye cream. Opening that is a trick—it’s so much money, and there’s only so much in there. They’re like, ‘Here you go! Scoop it out!’ I use my long nail. I usually never use those spoons that come inside, except for with this Kanebo Sensai Silk Soothing Cream. I don’t know, I like it. And my friend who does facials swears Madonna uses the Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Daily Serum on her hands, and she gave it to me so I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do that, then.’ I love all their body products, too.
When I go to New York or Europe, I’m reminded of what normal people look like. Then I come back to LA, and everybody looks crazy. People tend to go overboard with the filler. I think it makes you look older—I don’t know if you’re 50 or 30. I understand as you get older you want to get Botox or something, but you have to be careful as an actor, because if you get too much you can’t make an expression. You have to make sure your doctor does very little. My mom and sister came to visit me, and they saw a friend of mine who’s gone really overboard. They were like, ‘Oh my god she looks insane,’ I was like, ‘Really? What’s happening to me? I’m becoming crazy!’ I haven’t had anything done, but the more you're around it, you start to think that that stuff looks good! You need your mom and sister to tell you these things. But I’ve also seen some of my friends do just a little, and it looks great. I don’t really agree with burning and peels, either. Your skin is a living organism, and you should treat it as such. Those things put your skin into trauma mode, and then you’re more sensitive to the sun and have that waxy, fake look. I aways try to wear SPF 60 on my face— La Roche-Posay, or the SkinCeuticals Sheer Defense, which is less clogging. I never go in the sun, this color [on my body] is all fake. [Laughs] I do spray tans, because I feel like your body looks better with some color, but I’m also kind of a workout freak. I did Tracy Anderson before Gwenyth. It completely changed my body; I cannot tell you how great the Method is. It completely leaned out my legs, hips, and butt. And let me tell you, I’ve been working out since I was 12 years old. I’m pretty healthy and know what I’m doing, but I also work hard at it.
Not to keep ragging on LA, but the water here is tough for your hair. I did one of those water test with the drops, and LA water is five percent acid. I’m not crazy—LA water will turn your hair green, so I have a special filter on my shower. And I really like this Rene Furterer Okara Mild Silver Shampoo. I hate orangey-blonde hair, and this shampoo is purple, so it counteracts that. And I’m all about the Klorane Dry Shampoo— my hairstylist used it and my blow-dry lasted so much longer. Serge Normant Meta Revive is good dry shampoo, too. It literally just lifts your hair, I’m not kidding. It’s Bardot hair in a bottle. It honestly is one of those things that actually does what it says, which is rare—and smells good, too. My hairbrush, which I love, is by this lady, Sheila Stotts, who started out doing extensions—very LA. But it’s not just for extensions, everybody I know uses it. Seriously, every single one of my girlfriends uses it because it’s metal, so it doesn’t screw up your hair when it’s wet. George Papanikolas at Andy Lecompte does my color. I love him. I get balayage, because I like it to look root-y. He does it in, like, 45 minutes—he does 30 people a day. Insane. They’re going to open up a salon in Dubai. These women fly them there to do their hair—one of the clients got him a Rolex, and another stylist got Celine shoes as a gift. These people have so much money! I guess I need to go there and make them jackets. [Laughs]'
—As told to ITG
Katie Nehra photographed by Emily Weiss in West Hollywood, CA on February 1, 2014.