Portrait of a Lady: Krysten Ritter

Updated 09/08/17

Krysten Ritter was at a crossroads: change the direction of her career or keep steady on the same path. She chose the former, and it would all start with a haircut. “I felt like my hair was very glamorous and I didn’t want [my career] to be about that,” Ritter told us on set for our December editorial. “I wanted it to be about me and not my hair anymore.” Well the spotlight is definitely shining bright on Ritter these days—and deservedly so. The actress recently landed the title role in Marvel’s Netflix series Jessica Jones and is starring alongside Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in this month’s Big Eyes, directed by Tim Burton.

Nostalgic for the film’s ‘50s and ‘60s beauty and fashion, we asked Ritter to try on some of our favorite retro looks for the season.

Justin Coit

While Ritter is a seasoned actress, she isn’t afraid to admit when she’s starstruck. Getting to work with Tim Burton on Big Eyes—a biographical drama focused on American artist Margaret Keane—was a lifelong dream come true. “I have been kind of begging to work with him my whole career,” she told us. “You know when you are at church or something as a little girl and you are on your best behavior, I feel it was a little bit like that on set for me at first. I was very nervous to meet him, but he ended up being so lovely and encouraging.” Ritter was quick to gush about her costars, too, both of whom received Golden Globe nods for the film.

“I have been a huge fan of Amy Adams ever since Junebug,” Ritter says. “She is fantastic and all of her work is flawless, so getting to work with her is pretty exciting. And Christoph Waltz is an Academy Award winner, so not too shabby.”

Credits: Fendi Crystal 52mm Tipped Cat Eye Sunglasses ($459) in Translucent Blue; vintage cardigan from The Way We Wore; Giambattista Valli Floral-Print Matelassé Cotton Mini Dress ($1895); vintage bracelet from The Way We Wore; Dolce & Gabanna Miss Sicily Satchel ($1895) in Cipria.

Justin Coit

Playing the part of DeAnn—Keane’s tell-it-like-it-is best friend—was familiar for Ritter. She is sassy,” Ritter laughed. “She says what’s on her mind and calls it like she sees it. I’m like that as well.” The only major difference between the two may be their beauty routines. While Ritter can appreciate the hair, eyelashes, and cinched waists of the ‘50s and ‘60s, in real life she prefers a more low-key regimen, comparing herself to her former onscreen character Jane from Breaking Bad. “I wear head-to-toe black every day,” Ritter says.

“I don’t get gussied up, I’m all about time efficiency. You should be able to do your whole face in under three minutes.”

Credits: Michael Kors Cashmere & Cotton Crochet Dress ($1750).

(Makeup Notes: Stiles used Antonym's Ecocert Certified Natural Waterproof Eye Pencil ($18) to achieve Ritter's '60s-inspired eyes and Butter London's Lippy Tinted Balm ($20) in Apricot Sunray on the lips.)

Justin Coit

Don’t be fooled by Ritter’s low-maintenance attitude towards beauty. The actress is full of great tips (you should always curl your lashes before putting on mascara, and olive oil is the secret to conditioning heavy, curly hair). We even got the scoop on her incredible skincare routine. Keeping her skin hydrated and rested, especially after long hours on set, is key for Ritter. When asked about her favorite products, she called out everything from Proactiv for breakouts to Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer and her favorite, Chapstick.

“I can’t live without it,” she tells us of her funny addiction. “My dad was addicted and I would always be like, ‘Dad, can I use your Chapstick?’ He would say, ‘You’re first after me, which I always thought was funny."

Credits: Roksanda Tilson Dress ($2756) in Printed Waffle; vintage earrings from The Way We Wore; Valentino Rockstud Flap Clutch ($1695) in Pink.

(Makeup Notes: Stiles used Hourglass' Femme Nude Lip Stylo ($30) in #2 on Ritter's lips.)

Justin Coit

Like most of Hollywood, Ritter changed things up with a fresh haircut this year, specifically the long bob (a.k.a. the lob), a move she considers to be “ballsy,” but necessary for the work she wanted to be doing as an actress. “I would see a photo from a month ago and I had long, cascading hair, and I was like, What have I done?’” she laughed. “But let me tell you something, it dries so much faster, you use a third of the shampoo, and it’s fun. It’s liberating to cut off your hair. I think everyone should do it.

As an actress you’ve got to change it up sometimes. I love Kate Mara’s haircut. She looks so fucking cool.”

Credits: Alice + Olivia Legori Pearl Bead Open Knit Cardigan ($484); Jonathan Simkhai Crossover Top ($325); Tibi Sidewalk Floral Print Silk Crêpe de Chine Full Midi Skirt ($750) in Sapphire; vintage earrings and barettes from The Way We Wore; Jimmy Choo Aza Pumps ($575) in Silver.

Justin Coit

While on the topic of hair changes, we had to ask Ritter about her decision to grow out her bangs, one of her beauty trademarks. “When you have bangs, you kind of have a complete outfit. They are a great accessory,” Ritter says. “The first thing I missed about having bangs is I could get away with just throwing my hair up in a knot and that’s it. It took some getting used to.” We were surprised to learn that Ritter would often cut her own hair and bangs, revealing, “My trick is to pull them over to the side and cut the corner so that it opens up your face a little.”

Credits: Alice + Olivia Legori Pearl Bead Open Knit Cardigan ($484); vintage earrings and barettes from The Way We Wore.

(Makeup Notes: Stiles used Urban Decay's Naked Lip Gloss ($20) in Lovechild to achieve Ritter's fresh and peachy lids.)

Justin Coit

However, for Ritter there are some things you just don’t try to change, like her hair color, for one. The raven-haired beauty admitted to trying to go lighter, but after a few failed attempts at the salon, accepted her naturally black locks. Her eyebrows, one of her favorite features, are also off-limits (she credits their fullness to her discipline for not plucking). And don’t expect to see the actress at the tanning salon. “If you have fair skin, just rock it,” she says. “Take good care of it, stay out of the sun, and learn to love it.”

Credits: Michael Kors coat; T by Alexander Wang Engineered Stripe Dress ($215) in Seafoam/Black.

(Makeup Notes: Stiles used a combination of NARS' Lip Liner Pencil ($20) in Jungle Red and Roxanne Rizzo's HD Pure Lipstick ($14) in Red Velvet to achieve Ritter's bold lip)

Justin Coit

As we finish up our conversation, I can’t help but ask Ritter about what’s next. After she finishes up press for Big Eyes, which hits theaters Christmas Day, the actress is diving head first into her next major role, that of ass-kicking superheroine Jessica Jones. While Ritter remains mum on details, she did express her excitement for the film. “I still feel totally overwhelmed and amazed that it happened,” she told us. “It’s going to be awesome!”

Credits: Miu Miu 50mm Embellished Cat Eye Sunglasses ($465) in Black/Grey Gradient; Issa Suki Round Neck Sweater ($1195).

Photographer: Justin Coit
Stylist: Zoe Costello
Hair: Luke Chamberlain
Makeup: Fiona Stiles
Manicurist: Michelle Saunders

Photographer: Justin Coit
Stylist: Zoe Costello
Hair: Luke Chamberlain
Makeup: Fiona Stiles
Manicurist: Michelle Saunders

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