Zazie Beetz on Sustainability, Skincare, and Defining Beauty on Her Own Terms

I walked into the Bowery Hotel, lush and draped in velvet, and was quickly whisked up to the suite where I'd be holding the interview. "Zazie wants to do it on the bed," her publicist told me. I was no stranger to bed interviews, if you can believe it, as Ronan Blanchard had requested the same thing of me last year. It puts everyone at ease. The double-doors to the bedroom open and Zazie Beetz met my gaze. The light struck her face in such a way that I swear I felt breathless. "She was radiating sunshine," was the way I described it later to my co-workers. I'd seen photos of her before this day, of course, but I'd say Beetz is one of the most stunning humans I've ever seen in real life. Natural, easy, comfortable, and undeniably beautiful. She felt casual and elegant at the same time. The air felt light and I took a seat on the bed.

Beetz was born in Berlin and moved to New York City when she was a kid, which feels like it explains her sensibility. Graceful and poised, but cool. She's best known for her role alongside Daniel Glover on Atlanta (she was even nominated for an Emmy) and Deadpool 2. But, today, the topic is skincare. Beetz partnered with natural skincare brand True Botanicals and identifies sustainability as one of the most vital concepts in today's society. Below, read more of her thoughtful words.

zazie beetz hair

On her partnership with True Botanicals...

"True Botanicals approached me first to just try some of their products, and I really enjoyed using them. My favorite is the Pure Radiance Oil ($110). I learned afterward of the brand's commitment to sustainability and ethical skincare ran really deep. It made me feel very connected to them in that way—as that's what matters to me in today's world. They're trying to promote a more sustainable lifestyle, even in consumerism. True Botanicals sources ingredients that won't harm the world or the consumer, and they make products that actually make you feel good. Also, beyond all of that, the products really, really work, and I would not be sitting here if they didn't.

On easy shifts she's made in the name of sustainability...

"I eat, for the most part, vegetarian. From time to time I'll eat fish, but that's mostly because I want to make sure I get all of my omega-3s. But, I avoid it and that means a lot to me. There's a big portion of it that is obviously about animal welfare and animal suffering, but I think the biggest pull for me is about what reducing animal product usage does for the environment. I also really try to reduce my plastic usage. We never use the plastic bags at grocery stores, we just throw it in a bag—I often go with an old hiking bag, fill it up, and then take it home. As a note, tote bags, for example, are cute and sustainable in a way, but you also have to use them 120 times before they are less wasteful than a plastic bag. We need to be aware of that too.

I go clothing shopping a lot less than I used to. I really try to avoid fast fashion, and that's hard, I enjoy playing with clothing. My motto when I was younger was "quantity over quality" because I liked to keep a rotation. Now, I'm more likely to go vintage and thrifting because I just want to play my part. Of course though, I'm still trying to figure it out, and you just have to leave room to live your life. It's all about everybody, collectively, trying to just sacrifice a little bit. We live in a society of excess in so many ways. In order to move forward, we have to take a step back in how we consume our earth, because we are going to eat ourselves alive otherwise. 

zazie beetz true botanicals
 True Botanicals

On her own definition of beauty...

"When I was younger, my definition of beauty was rather simple. I guess it was an extension of how my parents saw me, I suppose, which was positively. And I feel very grateful that I always had a supportive and loving environment as a child. But I suppose I see beauty now as an extension of what I am internally. Before, beauty used to feel more like a private experience. Now, being in the public eye, there are a lot more elements of outside validation. It's hard to tune that out, right?

However I interpret myself, or however somebody else is interpreting me, in the end, I know what makes me feel good. If that's taking a walk in the woods and hugging a tree, what my face looks like doesn't matter. Ultimately, that feeds me the most. Being in the public eye has made me need very earnestly to reflect on that more, to not feel like I need the validation. It can be easy to slip into that, it's what we're wired to do. [Validation] dumps dopamine (if you think about specifically likes on Instagram or something like that), and it's an addictive behavior, literally. Sometimes I delete [social media] off my phone for months because I can compare myself and feel down—not just in beauty, but in terms of character and personality. When there are a lot of voices chiming in, it can be harder to make the distinction between what they want and what you want.

On the makeup that feels most like her...

"I always want fresh skin, whether that means nothing on the skin or a very, very minimal amount. Right now I've been having a lot of fun with pop-y eyeshadows, I'll just put a splash of bright, glittery pink on my eyelids. Then, sometimes I'll do mascara and sometimes I won't, so I can leave everything bare. I always feel fun and punky when I do that. I've been using Urban Decay's Moonstruck palette and Fenty Beauty—they have these shadow sticks in pink and orange, as well as blue and lavender. I like those on my eyes. Right now, the mascara I've been using is M.A.C. Extended Play. 

zazie beetz
 True Botanicals

On her beauty icons...

Rhianna's aesthetic is unbelievable. She has an amazing sense of color, texture, and shape. She has this really unique sense of self that is so specific to her, and I just think her visual sense is fantastic. It's an extension of expression. I love that it's all imbued with so much fun and lightness. And I think that's what it should be—it's decoration on top of your solid foundation of who you are and what you know you are.

On the foods that make her body feel best...

"I make smoothies every day in my house. And I like cheese, speaking of animal products I can't give up. The smoothie I've been making recently is frozen bananas, blueberries, raspberries, chia seeds, flax, coconut water, and oat milk.

On what's next for her...

On my personal bucket list? I'd like to be a mother. I hope that doesn't sound like too much. On my career bucket list, I'd love to become a doula. 

Next up: Read Zoë Kravitz's thoughts on lipstick, finding balance, and her modern take on "having it all."

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