'I got my start acting in New Mexico when I was very young. I was able to get my start acting there because of the tax incentive. It's also the reason why I'm filming Salem in Louisiana. It’s supposed to be based in Massachusetts, because of the Salem Witch Trials, but it’s cheaper to film six months out of the year in Louisiana. Films are rarely made in Los Angeles anymore.
I came to New York when I was 17 after I was cast in the movie Tiger Eyes, which wasbased on Judy Blume’s book. Since I was a minor and my parents weren’t able to afford living in New York with me while I filmed this movie, Judy actually volunteered to take me into her home, so I was living with her while filming. More recently, I did this little independent music video for the Silversun Pickups, and on the first day of filming, a piece of camera equipment fell on me and cut my face. I had no idea how bad it was because we just filmed a scene where I was running, so I was full of adrenaline. I seriously thought it was just a scratch. I remember saying, ‘Let’s just keep going.’ It was this huge cut on my cheek that required 27 stitches in total. It’s really interesting because a lot of people are like, ‘Oh my God, you’re an actress. Wouldn’t you worry about having a scar right on your face?’ Actually, not at all. I was calm as a panda bear. I love scars. I think it gives someone so much character and so much more spunk. Everyone was like, ‘You should put Retin-A on it,’ and I didn’t because I wanted to have it. I think it’s a huge part of me, so I don’t want to cover up something like this.
I love simple makeup. When I have my makeup done on set, they’ll go for a makeup-free look, but it will actually take 30 minutes of sitting in a chair. My mom was a very makeup-free person, so I think that's how I was, too, growing up—with the exception of a weird teenage phase where I outlined my entire eyes in black. It’s for that reason I stay far, far away from smoky eyes.
Every day I use this Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 facial sunscreen. It’s also my moisturizer. It has transparent zinc oxide. It’s amazing, and it smells really good. I had a late growth spurt, so I experienced acne recently, which was really scary for me because I’ve never really had skin problems before. When you’re a teenage actor, you’re basically fucked. Either they try to cover it up, you get on a prescription, or go on birth control. Because I got it later, I feel like I can manage it more. I use Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion as a spot treatment because it really does work for me.
When I wear foundation, I wear this one my aesthetician made. Her name is Korina, and she’s based in Santa Monica. It’s really hippy—she makes her own cleanser, foundation, and retinol products. There’s no label…I don’t even know her last name. [Laughs] Anyway, I like it because it doesn’t cover freckles. I think the only reason I like using foundation is because it tones down redness. When I want a little more coverage, I use Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Concealer in 325.
When it comes to makeup, I’m a Maybelline girl. I’ve been using their products since I was 14. I’m fortunate to have pretty rad natural lashes from my father, but I like to use Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Mascara, and then I like Maybelline Expertwear Twin Brow and Eye Pencils. It’s my go-to look—I do a red lippie from MAC and do my brows with the Expertwear.
I used to have this beautiful wavy, auburn-red hair down to my belly button. Two months before I started working on Salem, I told my team that I wanted to cut my hair. More specifically,I wanted to shave my head. I also wanted to be in a period piece, and with my character in Salem, it worked out because I got to kill two birds with one stone. When we were done with the pilot, I shaved my head. I looked like a badass with my patchy hair, my scar, and a leather jacket. I remember during the holidays, I was home and lying on my mother’s lap with my shaved head, and she bent down to kiss my head, just being a mother. She told me my scalp smelled just like it did when I was a baby, and it brought tears to her eyes because it was such a huge trigger. I’ve been cutting my hair now. It’s asymmetrical, which works! I lived in France for a period, and I met a man there who hadn’t washed his hair in two years. At a point when you just stop washing your hair, the oils sort of go away, and it’s totally beautiful.”
—as told to ITG
Elise Eberle photographed by Tom Newton. Read more of The Face here.