Ophelia Lovibond is having what you might call a whirlwind moment. The London-born Lovibond's been working in the industry since pre-teendom (she even once lied about her age to score a breakthrough sitcom role) but her latest turn as a feminist porn purveyor in HBO Max's Minx will be a role the 36-year-old actress will undoubtedly remember forever—even if the show and its assorted promotional obligations have taken over her already-jammed calendar in the meantime.
When I speak to Lovibond, she's actually near-breathless from another busy day, but slowing down doesn't seem to be in her DNA. Back home in North London (for the time being, anyway), Lovibond weaves her professional commitments in among time spent with friends, family, and her beloved wiener dog, the very aptly-named Frank. While the schedule is undoubtedly demanding, it's clear that Lovibond's feelings about her Minx character and the show itself make the frenzy well worth it.
Byrdie chats with the ever-lovely Lovibond for an inside look at the new show, the impact it's already having, her beauty routines, and the subtle (yet crucial) differences between British and American toast-topping spreads.
Congrats on the new show! How has your spring been amid all the chaos?
"It's just been so lovely, the responses that we've been having so far! People seem to be receiving it exactly the way we hoped they would. And it's very fun, having my friends who live in the States sending me pictures of themselves standing in front of enormous billboards is very satisfying."
You're back and forth a lot, but what do you miss the most about London when you're away?
"I miss Marmite, that's what I miss. Marmite on hot buttered toast with boiled eggs is my favorite breakfast. And no one sells Marmite in the States! Or at least I haven't been able to find it. I usually remembered to bring a jar with me for that very reason. I probably should have said friends and family but! [LAUGHS] It's such an important way to start the day. I'm very particular about it. So yeah, that's what it is. And of course, my dog my little sausage dog, Frank."
Minx is getting great reviews and one point everyone's making is how well it handles so many complex issues like feminity, female pleasure, race, power, and the intersection of them all. What drew you to this role and do you think you have a different perspective on those issues now post-filming?
"One of the main things that attracted me to the part was precisely what you just outlined: the crossover of all those different issues and areas of thought. But also, primarily, the writing, Ellen Rapoport's pilot script was totally unique. I've not read anything else like it or seen anything like it on screen, so that's always exciting and appealing. And the fact that it's set in the '70s.
"I like that [my character] Joyce is flawed and that she's willing to learn and listen to other people to evolve. She's not stuck in her ways about how things ought to be done (like she is initially). But meeting all of these people, she kind of takes on board their ideas. Because she's quite a flawed feminist, you know. She's got quite a limited view of what it is, as a white woman of privilege. Then she starts to encounter people from areas of life that she's not encountered before. That inevitably improves her understanding of what she's supposed to be fighting for. So, I suppose that's always a good thing to take away: to keep your eyes and ears open and always learn."
Absolutely, and I know that's a key reason the show is resonating with people. Do you have any favorite memories from set?
"Jake [Johnson, co-star] does these really weird characters that come out of absolutely nowhere. We'd all be sitting there in between scenes waiting to go back on set, and he'd suddenly start talking this deep, southern drawl—he sounded like he was about 100 years old. So whenever he'd whip out that character, we enjoyed that. [LAUGHS] I think anytime we do these big group scenes and a joke would land, that was just so satisfying. Seeing everyone work their acting magic was really satisfying."
When you're not traveling, and you get some time to yourself, what are you doing? What does an "Ophelia day" look like?
"If I can get to the coast and swim in the sea, then that's my ultimate, ultimate self-care thing to do—dive into the sea, for sure. And then, if I can't, if I want to treat myself, Abigail James is an amazing facialist here. I try to book in to see her; she's brilliant."
Speaking of which, can you tell me about your current skincare routine?
"It's pretty standard, really! You know, cleanse, tone, moisturize. It's not that exciting. I'm always trying various lotions and potions, though. So, I'm not married to one particular one. Anything that is suggested to me, I think, "Ooh!" I'm certainly a sucker for novelty. I do change it up all the time; I get bored with one thing and try something different. I love Liz Earle; I think she's always good. Oh, and iS Clinical Skincare, they're really good. I've been using them lately.
What are some things bringing you pure, unadulterated joy right now?
"I am loving the show Yellowjackets. It is so so good—the whole cast is. I love Christina Ricci; I'll watch anything she does. The younger cast as well, [they're] all brilliant. I've been loving watching that.
"I'm actually this listening to a lot of disco at the moment, probably because of the show. It's always what I put on as soon as I get up in the morning, Sister Sledge and people like that. It's great."
Is there one beauty tip, product, or practice that makes the biggest difference in your routine?
"It's so boring and basic, but just drinking loads of water. I forget to do it. I can sometimes get to the end of the day and realize I've only had cups of tea. But when I remember to drink copious amounts of water, instantly my skin and my eyes, everything looks clearer and brighter. It's such a simple thing to do, but it's free and really good for you. My skin always looks better on holiday because I usually go to hot places, so I drink a lot more water. I'm like, 'You need to remember to do this when you're back in rainy London!' I don't."
Do you have any beauty icons?
"Michelle Pfeiffer. I do think Halle Berry is up there, too. She always looks amazing."
What's the biggest takeaway you hope people get from Minx?
"The main thing I hope is that people find it funny. You know, it's a workplace comedy that's main aim is to make people laugh. I suppose the other aim would be that people respond to making people laugh while also making these points about feminism. I've already had such gorgeous messages from people kind of saying that. They recognize it's set in the '70s, but a lot of the things that Joyce is trying to bring attention to are still pertinent—and that's fired them up.
"I hope they laugh, and I hope they get all fired up. And, you know, maybe sate their desires as well."
And finally, if you could go back in time and tell 17-year-old Ophelia one thing, what would it be?
"The mullet is a bad idea."