Before playing Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister, Denise Brown, on FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Jordana Brewster was better known for her role as strong-browed raven-haired beauty Mia Toretto in The Fast and the Furious series. Upon meeting up with her in SoHo at the Zyrtec Allergy Face Beauty Kit launch event (Brewster is a spokesperson for the line), I felt like I was catching up with an old friend. We chatted about our favorite dry shampoos, HGTV, and how the wrong song played at her wedding (her husband chose a Shania Twain tune instead of the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” without Brewster’s knowing, a choice he’ll probably never live down.) Sitting in front of the breathtaking actress was easy and comfortable, something I didn’t anticipate prior to meeting with one of the stars of my Tuesday-night guilty pleasure.
(My inner fan remained tame, thankfully.) Brewster radiates a relatable sense of humility that makes her even more charming in real life than I could have ever expected. Read on for our conversation on health, beauty, wellness, and the reason she wants to have a wedding beauty re-do.
On the hair and makeup for The People v. O.J. Simpson:
“The makeup trailer had inspiration pictures of all the real people, and they also had pictures from Cosmos in the ’90s and Vogues from the ’90s—the hair and makeup team was amazing, and the costume department—they were amazing as far as accuracy goes. I also sort of had to check my vanity at the door, in a way, because we were lifting up my hair and teasing it with hair spray, and we had to get this [pulls hair up into a big pouf], like, as square as possible, because poufing and bangs and crimping and perms were big back then.
[Denise Brown] looks so much like my mother’s sister, and I always felt sort of—not connected to her, but I always admired and respected her so much. Then when I was doing my research, the fact that she’s still championing against domestic violence and she’s still championing her sister’s cause—she has so much strength, so I feel very honored that I was able to play her.”
On her previous health regrets:
“In my 20s, I tried stupid things like the cabbage-soup diet—like fads. Now I know that fads really don’t work for me—maybe they work for some people. But that was silly.”
On her current diet:
“I follow Harley Pasternak. I’ve worked with him for the last, like, eight years or so, and he really works for me because he’s just very sensible. He talks about incorporating protein and the right fibers into your diet. Before Harley, I thought I couldn’t eat carbs, but he’s like, 'No, you just have to have whole grains and whole grains full of fiber, and that will leave you satiated.' So I just love his eating program because it’s very sustainable. Breakfast could be egg whites and avocado on Ezekiel bread, and I usually scramble in vegetables because it’s a super-easy way to get your vegetables.
Then lunch could be like, sweet potato with tuna mixed with yogurt, cucumbers, and tomato, because you have to get more veggies in every meal. A snack might be like a Good Bean bar, because it has a lot of fiber and protein. Then for dinner, I’m really loving turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash and Parmesan, because I love my cheese—and again, you put the veggies in the turkey meatballs as a great way of adding more and more veggies to the meal. That’s usually a typical healthy day.”
On how she maintains her glowing skin:
“I’m pretty diligent about washing all of my makeup off at night. I use grape-seed oil to wash my eye makeup off because I need something oily. I’m really regimented about using a really good moisturizer at night; in the morning, same thing. I love using oils on my face—like rose oil I think helps to moisturize, and in L.A., it’s usually really dry, so I love using oils. I’m lucky, where if I break out, it will last a long time and be really annoying, but I don’t have all-over breakouts.”
On her wedding beauty blunders:
“I was so low-maintenance that I did my own makeup. I had horrible tan lines, which so many people made fun of me for after that. And I think I did, like, tons of mascara, which is usually my go-to, and I think I did very light eye shadow, and I was super tan at the time; I think we’ll probably have a big bash at one point, and I’ll get to look the way I would have liked to look on my wedding day [laughs].”
On how she kicks back and unwinds:
“I practice Vedic meditation twice a day, which really helps me. Also just practicing being present, which is a struggle for me, and I think a struggle for most people when we all have our devices. I always feel like I have to be super efficient, but being present with my son, especially—I’ll usually put my iPhone away in another room, and then I’ll just be 100% with him, and that helps me wind down and transition between being at work and being with him. But I also love home projects—we’re building a house right now, and for some reason, it’s just something that I find really relaxing and fun [laughs].”
On her silky strands:
“When I’m working, I try not to do that much to it. So I’ll go four days without washing my hair. Sometimes I’ll go to a blow-dry bar, and they’ll be like, 'How many days has it been?' and I’ll be like, 'We don’t need to discuss that!' [laughs]. So it’s embarrassing sometimes with how many days I go without washing my hair. But thank god for dry shampoo! I love Jen Atkin’s Ouai Dry Shampoo ($24). It's so good."
On her fitness favorites:
“If I don’t get a run in, I’m usually in a bad mood. I love sweating it out; like, I love sweating. I would love to get into yoga—that’s something I really want to tackle, but I haven’t yet. I also work with someone named Lauren Roxburgh—she does foam rolling, and it’s really good as far as getting your fascia in shape, and it does a lot with your alignment and your posture, and that’s been really helpful too. I find that I’m more limber after a session with her.”
What are your fitness faves? Sound off below!