“I was born in Massachusetts, but I grew up in Connecticut. My parents are both creative in their own way, and they encouraged creativity within me. My mom took me to see Annie when I was in kindergarten, and it was after that that I decided I wanted to be an actress. I did musical theater and summer theater camp. I was working in commercials and doing catalog modeling. I was into The Wizard of Oz. I was really into Tootsie. But I wasn't into any alternative types of movies. I didn't know what they were until high school, when my older friends showed me Jim Jarmusch's movies, and then things kind of shifted.
During my freshman year of high school I started going to the city on my own—I used to come in for the pot rallies at Washington Square. And then I would go vintage shopping, to Urban Outfitters, Canal Jeans—all those shops down Broadway and Canal, that was my route. I was into fashion straight out of the womb. I guess my mom encouraged it—she always had a trunk full of costumes and we would go thrifting, so I got used to sorting through racks. And my dad was into fashion. He took a lot of pride in the way that he dressed—he wore suspenders, and a trenchcoat, and a hat.
I started working in junior high school. My first gig was sweeping clay tennis courts, then I stocked shelves, then I bussed tables. I worked at Polo Ralph Lauren in the Stamford Town Center. I was in Manhattan buying cigarettes in some crazy outfit, and Andrea Linett, who was the fashion editor of Sassy, saw me. They were filming a promo for The Jane Show, when Jane Pratt, the editor of Sassy, had her own Sally Jessy Raphael-type show. She asked for my number so I could model for the magazine. There was a lot of back-and-forth, and then my mom asked them to give me an internship. So when I was a junior in high school, I interned in the fashion department. I did returns, I opened fan mail, letters to the editor. I loved it.
Big Love is what really changed things for me. Before I was living check to check, and after I could buy an apartment.
We shot Kids when I was 19. I remember having to film the scene where they told me I contracted HIV, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I really have to act.’ I was working at Liquid Sky, and then the movie came out, and it just got really awkward to be in the store. The opportunities I wanted weren’t necessarily coming my way after that, and I didn't really know how to manage that—I still kind of don't know. I was ambitious, but I was also ambivalent towards fame and all of that. I will say that it was interesting to navigate the whole 'it girl' thing.
With the money from Kids—I think we got paid $1,200—I went to London and Paris. I'd never been out of the country before. And I also bought this beautiful cape-like Commes des Garçon sweater. But doing Big Love is what really changed things for me. Before I was living check to check, and after I could buy an apartment.
My 30s were good, beauty-wise. When I did Party Monster, Kabuki did the makeup—that was fun. My hair is always changing, and there's been a lot of damage over the years. I had white hair, pink hair, blue hair, a bowl cut—all that kind of stuff. It was much more radically experimental when I was younger.
My mom made me very aware of my skin when I was young. She would say a lot of things that mothers are not supposed to say: stand up straight, suck in your stomach. She'd tell me to put blush on. So I was hyper aware about skincare at a younger age because of that. On an average day, I wake up and I have matcha and water. I'll do that, futz around, I might take progesterone for my bad PMS. I use NOW, and it comes in this thing where it pumps just the right amount. One pump and you rub it in your thin-skin areas.
We shot Kids when I was 19. I remember having to film the scene where they told me I contracted HIV, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, I really have to act.’
I don't cleanse my face with soap in the morning, but at night I do with the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil. Tatcha products are my favorite, and I like the scent. They also have the polishing rice that’s really good. If I’m not using Tatcha, I use Huile Voluptueuse Or Rouge from YSL Beauty. It's like a serum. I like the texture, so I'll use that and then a little eye cream in the morning. Then at night I use Augustinus Bader, or in the wintertime, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream—it’s insane. Another thing that’s great to do at night is Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Mask. It makes me more glowy. I often use that when I'm at film festivals.
I use pure tea tree oil for breakouts. I do not mask enough, but the Kiehl's Hibiscus mask is good, and these eye therapy patches from Talika are also good. They just tighten you up if you're puffy. Although, the best ones for puffiness are Low to Sculpt’s Quick Fix Eye Pads Activator Anti-Wrinkle Solution. I bought them online and they are insanely effective. And LotuSculpt by Tracie Martyn is genius.
In the morning I also try to put this on—NYDG. Dr. Colbert is my dermatologist, and I got it from him. I go to Colbert every six months to a year. I get all different kinds of treatments from him—Ulthera, Botox. I think Botox is good! It's just a preventative for my 11 lines, but also he's very conservative because I'm an actress. I attack [the 11s] too, with massage. Sometimes I catch myself doing that and it's really embarrassing. I was just talking to Dr. Colbert about PrP, and I might try that in the future. Once I tried some sort of peel thing, and it was insane. I can't remember exactly what the treatment was. All I know is that I came home with my face puffy, and it was like that for days.
I’ve worn fragrance every day, since I was very young. I actually collected perfume bottles in elementary school. You know how at the library they have that big glass shelf where people can show their collections? I showed my perfume collection. My mom would buy bottles of Shalimar, Chanel, Saint Laurent's Gauche, Arpege... I have a lot of beautiful bottles.
I'm actually trying to grow my hair out to its natural color, before I start to go more gray and all of that. I don’t know! I thought I'd give it a whirl.
With Régime de Fleurs, I created my own fragrance called Little Flower, and I wear it every day. For the ads, Inez and Vinoodh photographed me and the bottle. I love the bottle. The font is kind of like old Hollywood, and I like the pale blue—it's kind of French—and the cap is a pale pink pearl. The most difficult part about making the fragrance was articulating what I liked. I didn't have a perfumer’s vocabulary. It took us about a year to make, and I smelled over 50, 60 perfumes. Before Little Flower, I wore Rosy Caban, and before that I wore Rose by Commes de Garçon. I also like Nitesurf, but I don't have any left. For home fragrance I like Palo Santo and the Régime candles, the vessels are really nice too.
My day-to-day makeup is Great Lash Curved in Blackest Black. I've used it forever. And then I use Smith's Rosebud Salve. I made this lipstick with La Bouche Rouge—it’s my favorite red, and the texture is so nice and wears well. Before that I wore Lady Danger, which is a similar red, but the texture wasn't exactly right. The texture for La Bouche Rouge is so nice, and it wears so well. Sometimes I do a dark red, and for that I like Dior 01 [Editor's note: discontinued].
Typically, I don't really like having my hair and makeup done because I don't think it makes me look good. I wear makeup mostly for nighttime, but it really depends on whether I'm tan or not. If I'm tan I don't need any makeup, just the mascara. If I'm not tan it's a whole other regimen. Since my lashes are blonde, I look sickly without mascara. It can take me five minutes to do it, and sometimes I curl my lashes with the Shu Uemura. Then I use Tinted Chanel Beiges in Medium as kind of a bronzing base. In the wintertime I use Chanel's creamy stick in 30 Beige.
I don't wear highlighter because I don't know how to do it, but I love blush. I alternate between the ones I use. I like the MAC ones because the pigment is very strong. I've been using Blushbaby forever. And I always have my magnifying mirror and tweezers around for my brows. I use the clear gel from Great Lash sometimes because I like my eyebrows all crazy.
The Wet Brush is one of the greatest inventions of all time. I guess I have normal skin and a normal scalp, but I really like clean, fluffy hair. I try to wash it every other, or every third day, and I use Five Wits shampoo and conditioner—it’s my favorite. I'm obsessed with the smell and the texture. I got it from my friend Joey. He has a salon called Blackstones in the East Village, and that’s where I cut and color my hair. I'm actually trying to grow my hair out to its natural color, before I start to go more gray and all of that. I don’t know! I thought I'd give it a whirl.
FITNESS + BODY
For fitness I do Pilates at Flying Squirrel. It's my favorite form of exercise, other than walking. And when it comes to my body, I use an Aseop scrub—I'm obsessed with Geranium. Sometimes I use Dr. Bronners—I like rose and eucalyptus. For body hair, I use the Preserve razors, and for waxing I go to Ministry of Waxing. To moisturize, I like evening primrose from Weleda. I've been trying to buy as much as I can in glass and metal, so I started buying Susanne Kaufmann's stuff. It's so beautiful, but so expensive.”
—as told to ITG
Chloë Sevigny photographed by Tom Newton in New York on July 30, 2019.