The Mann-Apatows are The Family Next Door—the kind of neighbors you’d trust to hold your spare key, lend you flour when you’re out, and make you laugh so hard you wake up the rest of the block. Mann's laugh, in particular, is infectious, and serves as a thermometer for her emotions. During our phone conversation with eldest daughter Maude, despite not being in her physical presence, I bear witness to a range of Leslie Laughs: There's the slightly awkward giggle she does when she's said something heavy; the booming laugh when she (playfully) pokes fun at Maude; the polite, friendly laugh when there's a pause in conversation. Laughter is both an indicator of joy and a coping mechanism in their household, an emotional tug-of-war that's played out biographically on the big screen as well: Mann's husband, writer/producer/director Judd Apatow, has penned comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and This Is 40, both themed around a milestone age that ironically wasn’t all that funny for wife Leslie.
"40 was a wild, crazy time in terms of how I felt as a human being," Mann tells me before erupting into a belly laugh shrouded in dejection. "It was rough. It felt like my whole world turned upside down. And I don’t, you know, have time to go through all the details. But for women out there turning 40 and going through that, just know that it gets better. And it feels like, you go through a rough patch and then things just start to get better, and I’m on the upswing and I’m happy. So… there’s hope. Or maybe people are feeling fine with it, but, it is kind of a rough time."
It's family that serves as the primary bonding agent to rebuild Mann when things feel like they're falling apart. Though, as a mother of a 16-year-old (Iris) and 21-year-old (Maude), sometimes family time takes a bit of persuasion. "The only thing I really love to do is spend time with my kids and my husband," she says. "Right, Maude? [laughs]. I'm always trying to figure out how I can be with my kids, but my kids don’t want to be with me. Iris is 16 and she’s like, [puts on a deeper, punk-y voice] 'Why are you making me feel guilty? I want to be with my friends!' So I’m always desperate to spend time with my kids and my husband. My husband is the only one who wants to spend time with me." Quickly, in true mother-daughter fashion, Maude interjects from the background, exclaiming, "That’s so not true for me! I’m home all the time!" Mann back-peddles: "Maude wants to a little bit more, but Iris doesn’t want to at all."
Given that the entire family is in the limelight (Maude recently starred in HBO hit Euphoria and Iris has appeared in many of her father's movies—This is 40, Knocked Up, Funny People—alongside Maude and Leslie), the family's schedules don't always align. In these cases, Mann finds solace in accessible me-time.
"I have this app on my phone called Insight Timer and I meditate every day and I have a stress and anxiety-releasing meditation that’s 21 minutes. I slip my headphones in and I try to find the time during the day to do that. It usually starts out as a meditation and winds up being a nap. So It’s a nice little downtime thing.
If this past decade was hard on Mann, you wouldn't be able to tell from the outside. From what the camera captures, the actress glows both on and off screen, filled with the type of radiance you can't bottle, though Mann insists it's the plethora of jars, tubes, and powders in her beauty arsenal she has to thank for her enviable luminosity.
"Sometimes I feel like I overdo it. I really like to pack on lots of serums and thicker lotions, which, I don’t even know if that’s the best way to do it, but I feel like I look good that way, but I might look a little on the greasy side. But with body stuff, I feel like there’s never enough. I love when my skin feels moist and… oh, moist is a gross word." Mann lets out a booming laugh before putting on a deep, dopey voice, like Sloth from Goonies: "Moiiiist. I love moistureee." Maude, helping her mom out of a word-slump, offers, “Hydrated!” Approvingly, Mann continues: "I hate it when my skin starts to feel dry and crepe-y; I want it to feel hydrated. So I drink this collagen powder [Ed. note: It's from Beauty Scoop] and I drink lots of water and then I do the dry-brushing, and then I use the Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer, which is awesome for hydration—like really good. And then the Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer with the glow. And then my skin always looks super hydrated and glow-y with a little color if I want it."
Turning to Maude, the young actress takes a bit more of a laissez-faire approach to her regimen. "I have a pretty simple routine, but I'm always wanting to learn more. That’s the cool thing about working on Euphoria is getting to see different ways of applying makeup. I don’t know, but I’m pretty simple. I’ll put on a tinted moisturizer, eyeliner, and mascara and call it a day. Oh! And eyebrow gel. I love doing my eyebrows [with] the Anastasia clear brow gel."
Despite craving beauty simplicity, I couldn't help but wonder if Maude wished she'd gotten to play with the same eye-catching, vibe-y looks as her Euphoria co-stars. "Yeah, totally!" she insists. "But also, those took longer. Less time in hair and makeup! As the season went on, I got to have some more fun looks, but we’ll see where it goes next season."
As playfully encrusted and technicolor as the makeup is on the series (read: rhinestones, cloud-shaped eyeliner, and glitter to the Nth degree), Euphoria is set upon themes of abuse—both physical- and substance-related—the result of inner demons, familial disparities, and mental health issues captured in turbulently uncomfortable frames, some of which manifest themself in the confines of social media. The situations faced in Euphoria may err more on the side of fever dreams than a veritable look into the average high-schooler's musings, but the overarching theme of zero privacy is certainly a reality today's teens face, especially for someone who grew up in Hollywood like Maude. I ask her for her thoughts on the overshare culture of Instagram.
"I think it’s tricky because you can connect with people on Instagram and I can talk to people on [it] and become friends with people, and it’s such a strange thing, but I think for me at least, it’s important to take a break from it. It’s a lot. It’s sad to see how Instagram has affected younger generations for kids my sister's age, like 16. It’s a lot of pressure. So I think it’s important to take breaks. I guess I have a complicated—I love Instagram but I also hate Instagram."
As our time draws to an end, I decide to play a sort of Newlywed-style game with the two, asking them to answer each question for the other. As expected, laughter was abound.
BYRDIE: What is each other's biggest pet peeve?
MANN: Maude’s pet peeve is Iris stealing her clothes.
APATOW: Oh my God, I don’t know what yours is!
MANN: I have so many!
APATOW: I know! Your biggest pet peeve is when I don’t do the dishes.
BYRDIE: How much time does the other spend getting ready?
MANN: Maude takes 20 minutes.
APATOW: I don’t know, like 10 minutes and… an hour. Depending on the day.
BYRDIE: Ideal day-off activity?
MANN: Maude likes to sit on the couch and watch "90-Day Fiancé." For hours. Might be an entire day. A whole season.
APATOW: Probably doing the same but watching a true crime drama.
BYRDIE: Best trait?
MANN: Oh my god, Maude is full of them!
APATOW: Oh my god, stop! you’re making me so embarrassed!
MANN: She has the biggest heart and she’s the most glorious person ever. I mean it! She really is! Her best trait is that she’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I mean it!
APATOW: Now how do I follow that?!
MANN: I know how. It better be good.
APATOW: Yeah, I know! I don’t know, your sense of humor?
[Both erupt in laughter.]
APATOW: See it’s always going to be bad after that! Anything I say is going to be bad. But you’re the best mom!
MANN: [In a mocking tone] I like your sense of humor, I like the way you dress, I like your style…
APATOW: [Laughing] Shut up!!