Gillian Jacobs is 30 minutes early. She is by herself. She’s relaxed and hilariously honest. This defies every cliché attached to being the star of the season’s most binge-worthy series, and simultaneously explains why Judd Apatow had her in mind for the lead female role in Love, which premiered on Netflix last night. The 10-episode show takes a realistic, unkempt look at relationships, which, in episode two, literally throws romantic comedies including Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally . . . out the window. According to Jacobs, Apatow called her about joining the series just after she had been cast on Girls. “It was a dream—one of those too-good-to-be-true [things].”
On the show, Jacobs plays Mickey, a loose cannon of a 32-year-old who is often without a wallet but never farther than arm’s reach from a pill bottle or pipe, and is self-described as “the queen of eating shit.” One would imagine that she never runs early. “I’ve been doing plays from the time I was little—being on time was late,” explains Jacobs of her own lifelong commitment to punctuality, a habit that has occasionally landed her on red carpets before they’ve even been rolled out. What she does share with her character is a personal ease that extends to her relationship with beauty. For dates, hikes, or dinner with friends, “I don’t wear makeup. I just want to get dressed and go out the door,” she confesses. Just weeks before the show’s premiere, Jacobs sat down to talk about, among other things, why keeping her natural hair color feels revolutionary and the best way to pass the time while sitting in Los Angeles traffic.
You grew up in theater and have had starring roles on Community, Girls, and now Love—you must have learned a lot about makeup backstage and on set by now.
I’m not very good at doing makeup by myself, so [when I did theater] I always talked myself into thinking that all of my characters were just mascara-and-blush type of girls. [laughs] I still don’t feel comfortable doing it. I honestly don’t ever wear makeup when I’m not working—not even mascara, only lip balm if my lips are chapped; that Rosebud [Salve] is some good stuff. Tilda Swinton makes me feel like it’s all right to go out without makeup on. She is the queen of not wearing any makeup and still looking incredible.
Do you have the same philosophy for your hair?
Yes. I’m on the lazy to low-maintenance end of the spectrum. My hair is wash-and-go, and my natural texture has a bit of wave to it. It’s pretty close to my natural texture on [Love]. This is also my natural hair color, which feels revolutionary. Something that happened to me when I went to [Los Angeles] is that I slowly got more and more blonde. And my hair started to resemble straw at a certain point. It was so dry, it was really bumming me out. And I realized, there’s no reason that I have to be this blonde. It’s just sort of, like, what you do in L.A. Now my hair is so much healthier.
What else has changed since you moved to Los Angeles?
There are a lot of vegetables I’d never eaten before I moved there, like Swiss chard, golden beets, or, it’s cliché at this point, but kale. My vocabulary of vegetables has greatly expanded. [In New York] I was eating dollar pizza, falafel, and a lot of samples at nice grocery stores and calling it a lunch. But when you get off the plane in L.A., they’re like, “Welcome. Let me take you to Beverly Hills Juice Club.” And you’re thinking, I’ve arrived in the land of green juice!
Do you make green juice at home now?
No, not at all. Once again: too lazy. But I will drink it if it is offered to me. At home it’s coffee. I’m still a New Yorker at heart.
Fitness is such a huge part of Los Angeles culture—do you find yourself working out more?
It’s hard [in L.A.]. You drive to go hike. And when you’re walking, all of the people driving in cars are staring at you! I’m trying to be better about hiking with my dog, Mick. He’s an old dog, but he’s surprisingly spry! I feel like I owe it to him to take him on some hikes. Otherwise, I’m a very sporadic SoulCycler. [I’ve never been athletic.] I actually hid the sign-up sheets for sports [when I was a kid] so my mom couldn’t sign me up. My dad got me a skiing lesson when I was little, and he came back after an hour and the instructor was like, “She refused to move.” It was too dangerous! I am the opposite [of a daredevil]. I am conscious of any physical risk, even high-impact things like running—I’ve been planning to be an old person since I was a child. It’s preventative. [laughs] Just be afraid of everything. Your joints will thank you later.
Are there benefits to driving?
One advantage of driving in L.A. [are eye masks]. I struggle with dark circles under my eyes, and especially when I’m shooting a lot, they can get kind of puffy. So Le Mieux’s little eye masks have really been helpful for me. They put them on me in the makeup trailer [at work], but I’ve fully driven to work with them on. No shame. Just put on a pair of big sunglasses and fool yourself into thinking that no one can see them.
What else do you do for skin care?
I had to be told that you can’t wash your face with soap. I didn’t grow up knowing I should use a face wash and I should moisturize. But I’ve been introduced to so many more products and steps in skin care by working with a lot of different makeup artists [on set]. I discovered a lot of things that I really love, [like] Dr. Lancer’s face scrub—it’s one of the best exfoliating scrubs I’ve ever used. I have a Le Mieux face wash, but if I’m wearing a lot of makeup, I rub Tatcha oil on my face to try to break it up, and then [it comes right off].
What do you use for fragrance?
Guess what, I’m not wearing anything.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
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