I walked into a SoHo hotel suite and found Rowan Blanchard, clad in the same blue satin dress I had just been looking at online, FaceTiming a friend. “Hi!” she said to me sweetly before walking back to the bedroom to finish her call. “Staud fall 2018?” I asked, pointing at her dress. “I love it, but I can’t sit down. It wrinkles,” she answered quickly as she typed. The scene felt familiar, exactly like an interaction I’d have with anyone but a celebrity. But a celebrity Blanchard is, with a hit television show, movie roles, modeling gigs, a book, and now a skincare partnership with Bliss under her belt. Oh, and she was born in 2001. “About a year ago, we shot a campaign together, and it was a really special day,” Blanchard said of her interaction with the brand. “It felt like the correct connection for me to make. It celebrated being young. Bliss is something that I’ve had memories of from when I was really young. It’s affordable, accessible, and it just feels appropriate for me to partner with and represent.”
Age was the thread that strung most of her sentiments together—a self-awareness about how to best navigate a world and industry packed with adults decades older. A conversation with Blanchard feels thoughtful, a nod to her intelligence and well-spoken nature, but also joyful. Through each word runs a youthful undercurrent, this understanding that she’s allowed to mess up and start over or make jokes and have fun. For one, we did the interview on her bed—a massive, pillow-top cloud stationed in the middle of the room. She curled up in the fluffy white blankets, and I turned on my voice recorder and climbed in. “I feel like so many questions I get asked are about how you should just be confident through your teenage years, and I’m like, of course, your teenage years suck! You’re a teenager! I don’t know one person alive, nor do I trust one person alive, who says, ‘They were so easy.’ Even two or three years ago, I’d tell myself, ‘Relax. You’re not supposed to know the answer. It’s cool.’”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Blanchard credits the city for her wash-and-go mentality. She doesn’t wear makeup when she’s not working and likens her West Coast style to just a T-shirt. “There’s definitely a more laid-back vibe there,” Blanchard says of her hometown. “For New York, I’m packing my really good clothes. In L.A., it’s less expected to see someone walking down the street giving a full look. It’s all part of a grander performance in New York.” Similarly, the wellness industry has influenced a lot of her life, as both her parents are yoga instructors and she’s been eating a plant-based diet for years. “My favorite restaurant in L.A. is Crossroads. I’m vegan, but I eat sushi. I was full vegan for a while. I don’t cook fish. But I mean, sushi’s that girl. I can’t deny it anymore. Sushi is… damn. I love the Impossible Burger, too. I’ve never had red meat in my entire life, but I understand why people eat red meat if that’s what it tastes like. My parents stopped eating it before I was born, so I never tried it.”
Though we didn’t talk activism—Blanchard feels dysphoric about the activist label, taking to her Instagram to explain why it can be more reductive than progressive—I did bring up makeup in such a context. Beauty choices have so much to do with presentation. They act as a way to take back the gaze and allow yourself to give whatever you feel like to the world. It’s clear Blanchard interacts with her makeup and hair choices in that way. “I really adore the way Solange wears makeup,” she says. I nod in enthusiastic agreement. “I definitely feel like I’m always deciding what kind of performance, or what kind of drag, I want to be in. I have always looked at makeup like that—a costume. Maybe it’s because I’ve been acting. It’s something that can change your personality almost and intensify the way that you perform.” She continues, “I love Audrey Hepburn. There’s a reason why those looks withheld time. Marilyn, Audrey, Grace Kelly—all these women. I think there’s something so untouchable about their regalness.”
With a discussion about makeup always comes skincare, the real reason we posted up in that bed a few afternoons ago, and her age is a theme yet again. “When I started getting into beauty, I was already known. I was working. It definitely has an impact on me, but I feel like skincare gives me accessibility to confidence,” Blanchard says. “I’m trying to keep a consistent routine, and now that I have a bunch of Bliss products, it’s easy.” She uses Bliss Makeup Melt Jelly Cleanser ($12) when she has makeup on and follows up with The Drench & Quench Moisturizer ($20) and Eye Do All Things Eye Gel ($22). “I use the Mighty Marshmallow Mask ($15) a few times a week and I exfoliate a lot,” she told me. “I don’t like spending a lot of money on makeup. I would splurge on food.” “A girl after my own heart,” I thought as I shifted on the bed. She does love a drugstore mascara, though.
It seems Blanchard believes the sky is the limit. She’s curious and hopeful and isn’t afraid to serve her dreams up on a silver platter, big or small. “I want to dye my hair platinum blonde,” Blanchard exclaims. “I want to see what I look like with my eyebrows bleached. I want to do glitter eyebrows. I do nothing to my eyebrows,” she laughs. “I want to get into college. I want to make more movies.” She pauses to blush a little and dreamily shut her eyes before continuing, "And I want to direct after I’m ready.” Blanchard falls on the bed and covers her face with the blanket, giddy over the list she just recounted. She collects herself and "I’m still young, so I definitely don’t have adult, healthy coping mechanisms for some of the things I’m feeling. But the most helpful thing is when an adult doesn’t invalidate those things, you know, due to my age. It’s really intense when you’re a teenager. You're literally experiencing everything for the first time. So there’s no survival kit of how to get through something. Everything’s just there." And with that, we smiled at each other, and I turned off my phone. I couldn’t help but beam, excited for this human to catch her dreams between her fingertips and for the rest of us to get to share in the process.