Lucy Hale is an Alfred Coffee superfan. As soon as she enters the Zoom, I can see the Los Angeles chain's brightly-colored cardboard sleeve peeking out from the corner of her frame. When I point it out to her, Hale's face lights up: "They'll write me little notes on my coffee cup. They know I'm a loyal customer, so they'll write 'Have a beautiful day!' or something."
With her sunny disposition, it's not hard to imagine the actress making friends everywhere she goes. In reality, though, Hale considers herself more a creature of comfort. "When I'm in L.A., it's not unusual for me to not see people or do something for a week," she says. On a typical day, you'll find her lounging in the sun on her front porch or curling up with her pups and a good book.
"I just feel lucky I have a place that's like a sanctuary," she says. It's a reasonable attitude coming from someone so accustomed to traveling for film and T.V. shoots. It's been a busy year in that respect: she lived in London for five months while shooting the AMC+ series Ragdoll, and just a couple of months ago, she spent six weeks in Cape Cod for a film.
Big Gold Brick—in theaters February 25—is more of a blast from the past as it's the last project Hale filmed before the pandemic. The movie follows the zany, darkly comical saga of 20-something writer Samuel Liston (Emory Cohen) after the enigmatic Floyd Deveraux (Andy Garcia) accidentally hits him with his car. In short order, Floyd hires Samuel to write his autobiography and moves him into his family's home. Samuel falls in love with Floyd's daughter, disgraced violin prodigy Lily (Hale). It's a wild, whimsical ride, but then again, that suits Hale perfectly. "I just love stories, obviously," she tells me at one point, not too long after rattling off an extensive list of favorite books. "I guess I chose the right career."
I see your dogs are next to you. What are their names?
This is Elvis, and this is Ethel. The gang's all here! I hope my dogs are quiet during this.
How long have you had Elvis and Ethel?
I got Elvis when he was a puppy. He was a gift, and I immediately connected with him. I love this creature more than anything in the world. He's almost six now. And then, along with a lot of other people, I got a pandemic puppy. I got Ethel a little over a year ago, also as a puppy, from a rescue. It took me a little longer to connect with her, but we are now super bonded as well.
I'm from Memphis originally, and my grandmother idolized Elvis Presley, and I love Elvis Presley as well, so that's where his name came from. And then Ethel is from I Love Lucy, so Lucy's sidekick was Ethel in the show. So Lucy, Elvis, and Ethel—my little fam.
Do they get along well?
[Laughs] Well, I originally got Ethel for Elvis because I thought I'd feel better about leaving the house when I traveled. I had this vision in my head of them being best friends. That's not exactly how it worked out. They're just now at the point where they're cuddling, and they'll play every once in a while. But for a solid year, Elvis was like, 'Okay, mom, when is she going home?' I think now he's just accepted the fact she's here to stay. It's been a slow warm-up, but it makes life interesting.
So what have you been up to lately?
I was living in London for five months in 2021. It was thrilling to be dropped into a city and not know anyone or have anything to do. I recently finished a film in Cape Cod, which is quiet in the winter because it's a tourist town. When I'm not working, my life is pretty much the same every day. I spend time with the dogs, go hiking, and drink copious amounts of coffee. I've been reading a lot. It's nice to be at home for a bit because I feel like I've been everywhere but at home for the last couple of years.
What have you been reading?
Taylor Jenkins-Reid wrote Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Those two books are in my top five favorite books of all time. I'm finishing up [her newest book] Malibu Rising right now. I love any book that's like extreme escapism, and I feel Jenkins-Reid engulfs you in this world. I read Daisy Jones in two sittings. She captures the world and the characters so brilliantly. I like Malibu Rising, too. I've also read self-help books like The Untethered Soul or The Four Agreements. I just got a book called "the body remembers"—what's it called?
The Body Keeps the Score?
Yes, and I can't wait to read it. But, I know I'll need to be emotionally in the right place to read it. I need to be mentally stimulated by the book, or I'm not finishing it. I'm also one of those people that'll go to a bookstore and buy 10 books. I have so many books I haven't read in my house, so I'm like a book collector. [Laughs]
That's awesome, though. It's like you have your own private library.
It's cool! I also love Colleen Hoover. I bought all seven of her books on Amazon. It Ends With Us is wonderful. I heard Verity is really good. A lot of her books revolve around strong women and trauma and love stories and love triangles. I'm on this app called Goodreads, where you can keep track of what you've read and read what other people recommend. My phone is definitely listening to me because my explore feed on Instagram is full of people who rate books.
What is your day-to-day life like when you're not working?
Since I got Ethel, she seems to think it's time to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, so that's what I do. I've tried to be diligent about potty training her because I was not that great with Elvis and had to suffer the consequences later on in his life. So, I've gotten Ethel on a system. I'm a morning person anyway. I typically hike in the morning and write in my gratitude journal. I used to make fun of those people that would write what they were grateful for in the morning, but it sets the tone of my day. I'll do a little skincare routine if I have time. No matter what I'm doing that day, I always wake up an hour earlier than I need to so I can have a slow start to the day. I can't start chaotic, or I know my day will progressively get more chaotic.
What does your skincare routine look like?
I could talk about skincare all day long. I used to be a person that would have a 30-step skincare routine, not knowing what any of the products did or what order I should put them in. Well, shocker, that didn't work for me. My skin was worse than ever because I have super sensitive, breakout-prone skin. Now, my routine is a little more simple. I cleanse lightly, tone, use a stem cell serum, and apply a hyaluronic moisturizer during the daytime. I started using Environ's Vita-Antioxidant AVST Moisturiser 1. And then I finish with sunscreen. If I have time, I'll throw on one of 111Skin's hydrogel masks, eye patches and just let it marinate while I'm drinking my coffee.
I've never thought of doing a sheet mask in the morning.
If I'm being extra in the morning, I'll use one. I love that moment when I've got my plush robe on and a sheet mask while sipping my coffee. At night, I'm all about the double cleanse. I'll tone and apply retinol every other night of the week—I'm at the age where I have to use retinol. Then, I'll apply my Skinceuticals vitamin C serum and Environ Vita-Enriched Colostrum Gel. After 20 minutes, I'll put on a cold fusion cream.
You said the most important thing for you when traveling or working is recalibrating to your surroundings. What do you do when you're working or on the road?
I immediately Google everything around where I'm staying. I'm like, Okay, that's the coffee shop I'll read at. That's the gym that I'll go work out at. I'm a pre-planner. It's a blessing and a curse. I'm always 10 steps ahead, but I also miss out on the present moment sometimes because I'm thinking about X, Y, and Z. I'm such a homebody, so it's also about bringing things that make me feel comfortable. If I can travel with my dogs, my dogs are coming with me. I bring my candles, skincare, bedsheets, scents, and crystals—all the things that make me feel a little more at home.
What candles are you packing in your suitcase with you?
My favorite scent is Le Labo Santal 26 ($80), so my whole house smells like Santal. I also bring Diptyque Baies ($70)—there's something about it that's nostalgic. I don't know if my grandmother had something that had some of that scent in it, but it just makes me feel like a little kid.
I don't know if you've ever been to House of Intuition—
Um, yes. Now you're talking my language.
I love their intention candles. I'm working my way through the "road opener" candle right now.
I love them, too. My friend just gave me the purple healing one. I was going to go to House of Intuition the other day—my intuition, I guess, was telling me I need a new rose quartz.
Is that your favorite crystal?
I love rose quartz or amethyst—I have a big amethyst right here. But the idea behind rose quartz is about self-love and self-acceptance, so I would say that's my favorite right now. My knowledge is minimal on crystals, but I have friends who know way more than me. I have a selenite, and it apparently cleanses your other crystals and keeps them charged.
I have never really figured out crystals. I've always been more into tarot and astrology.
Amazing. I'm into all of it, too, which is crazy because I grew up in a Christian home. I'm not religious by any means, but I am very spiritual. My spiritual journey has taken me off guard because I read books about reincarnation and have had my cards read. I love astrology and want to know more about it. I'm a Gemini, but I found out my moon is Scorpio, and my rising is Leo. We associate most with our sun sign, but when I found out that my moon was Scorpio, I was like, 'That's me!' I'm very emotional and intense.
Your moon sign is your inner self.
Yes, that's my inner self! I do relate to Gemini, too. Everyone thinks Geminis are two-faced and crazy. And yeah, we are, but I see Geminis more so as people who can see both sides of the coin.
I'm a Gemini moon, so I agree.
You get it! I feel like Geminis are misunderstood, so I'm sticking up for all the Geminis. And then I don't know enough about Leos, but the whole Scorpio thing resonated with me.
Leo loves to be the center of attention but is also really good at focusing their attention on other people. If that's your rising, that has to do with the impression you leave on people when you meet them.
No wonder I became an actress! [Laughs] It's so interesting. All the different combinations we can have make us who we are.