Model-turned-actress Jaime King no doubt has a plethora of stories at her fingertips. Dinners with Bruce Weber, holidays with Taylor Swift, and of course her transition from BC to AC (before child to after child); they’re all there for us to sift through on this particularly drab Monday morning. A modeling legend in the nineties, King has now made a name for herself in film and tv (she currently stars in the CW’s Hart of Dixie), making her possibly one of the most interesting tastemakers we’ve sat down with in a while. Besides making us want to fulfill our lifelong destinies of becoming platinum blondes, King took us through parenting, favorite food haunts, streaming television and why “beautiful” people can be quite ugly…
What would be your ideal food day?
My ideal food day would be getting up in the morning, being in San Francisco, getting Blue Bottle Coffee and an amazing croissant. They don’t have Blue Bottle here [in L.A.], and the places that have it don’t know how to make it, which is weird. I would transport myself back to L.A. and go to Sugarfish and have lunch. Probably everyone says that but it’s really delicious. Then I’d walk over to Bouchon and get the beignets for later, which I typically just eat two minutes later. Dinner would be at Chateau Marmont, eating either bolognese, the cheeseburger with truffle fries, or oysters with the butter lettuce salad.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
For me, beauty starts with who you are. It’s how you treat yourself and how you treat other people. Are you loving, empathetic, kind and passionate? Not to sound new age-y or out there but truly that’s where beauty comes from. It’s very interesting because if someone is very beautiful but they’re not loving, if they’re beautiful but they’re vacant, they’re uglier to me than someone who someone might say is kind of “average”. If someone isn’t model beautiful or standardly gorgeous, I’m typically more attracted to those people, because they don’t ride their looks throughout their life, and they tend to be a lot more interesting. So for me, beauty comes from within.
When it comes to taking care of yourself, it’s simple things. Wash your face at night! And you’d be shocked how many people don’t! Drink a lot of water. Get sleep; sleep is super important. I do sleep studies, and they say to always sleep in a really cold, dark room, and make sure that your electronics are away from you so you don’t feel pulled to them. I don’t wash my hair a lot – I wash it maybe once or twice a week. People think you need to wash it all of the time, but it’s just not the case. I’m very into simple, fundamental things.
So what are some of your morning and nightly beauty routines?
Morning is the same thing – wash my face, put on a lot of moisturizer, and as little makeup as possible. Only if I have to put on makeup will I put it on, because I feel like letting your skin breathe is really important. And I think that people always look way more beautiful without makeup. Plus, men think makeup is a lie! Men don’t like makeup very much. I remember one of my best friends was like, “I don’t know why women wear makeup. It’s just one big lie!” But that’s pretty dramatic, because women love makeup and it’s actually very fun. My daily routine is super easy. I spend so much time in hair and makeup, so I don’t want an arduous routine in the morning. If you create a routine that’s healthy, simple and easy, you’re more likely to execute it on a day-to-day basis. And that’s applicable to beauty, exercise, health, your friendships and relationships. If you make things as graceful as possible, you don’t feel judgmental of yourself because you couldn’t complete them. Just make things easy.
What would your advice be to your sixteen-year-old self?
You’re doing great. Affirmations.
What’s your number one piece of advice to new moms?
Be gentle with yourself. There is so much Mommy judging, and so many rules and regulations. “You have to breastfeed,” or “If you formula feed you’re bad.” “You have to do this, you have to do that…” There are so many labels now of what you should or shouldn’t do and I think that is really harmful to mothers. Birthing a child and caring for a child is already difficult in itself. It’s hard enough just being a person in this world, and then all of the sudden, you’re responsible for another person. Women think that what they’re going through on the inside isn’t supposed to exist anymore, but that’s just not true. We’re just women, doing the best that we can with what we know and what we have. I find that the most important thing for mothers is that they find other women that are very supportive of them. And it doesn’t have to be other mothers. Don’t judge yourself if you aren’t taking your kid to a baby class every day, and don’t judge yourself if you have a bunch of best friends who aren’t parents. Just find the people that love and support you so that you can support yourself and your child. And take everything day by day. It’s really hard to think that every day has to be exactly the same – like everything has to be regimented. There has to be structure and flexibility at the same time. And for God’s sake, don’t go on chats on the internet and compare your parenting skills to someone else. Our lives are all so different from each other, and all that matters is that you’re loving and caring for your child. That’s all that they care about, really.
What has been your most memorable trip and why?
I would say one of my best trips ever, recently, was 4th of July in Watch Hill with Taylor [Swift] at her house. All of our friends were there; it was just this wonderful group of people. My son was there. It was one of those experiences where you can really sleep. You can really relax. You really feel that you’re getting nourishment from the food that you’re eating. You really feel like you’re connecting with people on a very deep level. You’re having fun, you’re staying up late but you don’t feel hungover because you’re not partying. It was just a nurturing, joyful, happy environment with people that were happy to be there. It was like this kismet of the right alchemy of people. Some people had never met before, but there was a really great connection. There was just something magical about it. It’s interesting because there’s BC and AC (before child and after child) and that was my first big trip with him, AC. So I’m very fond of it.
What won’t you travel without?
My son. Literally if I go for two days I still bring my son.
What are your go-to snacks on set?
Sea salt and vinegar chips. I’m kind of a hoarder when it comes to them; I wait until they come out at Kraft Services and I take them all. I know that sounds really bad but people go through them really quickly and then I get pissed off because all I’m doing is waiting for the chips to come out and then they’re gone! So I have to hoard them at the beginning of the week. I also get Paleta, this delivery service that’s all farm-to-table. I cannot describe in words really how much I love this food and service. They have the most amazing cold-pressed juices, the best snacks, all organic and farm-to-table, but it’s really nourishing and delicious. It’s not like a 1200 calorie food program; it’s the opposite of that. Just really delicious food all of the time.
Do you have any pre and post shoot routines?
Yes! I like to do face masks. La Mer has this really amazing hydrating mask that I love to use, and La Prairie has a great moisturizing mask. I have very dry skin, so I like to do that as much as I can before shoots. And also a great exfoliation. After shoots, I just get the makeup off as quickly as I possibly can, because throughout the day you just get so much put on you. Then I just like to come home and binge on Netflix or something.
Was there a dinner in the early stages of your career that you really remember vividly? When you looked around and thought, ‘Wow’?
Yes. With Bruce Weber, at his home in the Adirondacks. He flew us there to shoot the Abercrombie & Fitch campaign and I’ll never forget this meal. It was on this long wooden table, and he had these huge family style bowls of pasta. It was the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life – and I’ve been to Italy many, many times and had amazing Italian food – but there was something about the ambiance and being in this amazing cabin, surrounded by all of these other little cabins, with this fantastic conversation happening. Huge bowls of pasta, huge loaves of bread, the most delicious wine and salads, and everybody eating together. It was the idea of this communal, family style experience that made the food taste so out of this world. I also remember the books after. I’m an avid reader; I’m obsessed with libraries. So then when I was done, I brought my glass of wine and a tea to the library and there were the most incredible art books. I think I found this biography about Warhol that I was really into. It just couldn’t have been more heavenly.
To me, dining and enjoying food isn’t just the way food tastes. Food can taste good or not depending on who you’re with and the experience you’re having. If you’re at a restaurant that you’ve been waiting to get into and you’re freezing your ass off because it’s too cold and there are no heat lamps, and the food takes forever, then by the time it comes you’re not even enjoying it because you’re not in the right place. It’s the same thing when you watch a film and you’re not in the mood to watch a moody Oscar film; you just want to watch Deuce Bigalow or something. It’s really all about the perspective. I think anybody that loves food and the experience of dining, understands that there’s an alchemy to all of this. That’s one of the reasons I love the Chateau Marmont. There’s something very homey for me there. You can be sitting next to five people that you know but you still feel like you’re completely alone. It’s very intimate and private, and the history there is very rich and scrumptious. It’s amazing how they’ve kept the consistency of that – and the food is amazing.
What are your favorite cities for food and where do you go in each?
I love Paris, I love Avenue George V. In New York, I love Gemma at the Bowery Hotel. It’s so delicious. Here, I love Mozza. If I could eat that pizza everyday…I pick it up to-go and I eat it in my car like a crackhead. San Francisco has amazing food. They have the best dim sum ever. It’s so good. I also love going to the embarcadero and eating oysters by the sea.
What was the best advice you received in the early stages of your career?
Take risks and be outside the box. I had an agent who was always thinking outside the box. For instance, I’d be doing a Calvin Klein campaign with Richard Avedon, and then all of the sudden he’d be like, “You need to shoot the campaign for Limited/Express.” When I grew up Limited/Express was the biggest deal but it was so not chic. I was like, “Are you out of your mind?” He said “No, I think we can make it cool.” And he would craft it in a way so that all of the sudden, I was shooting Limited/Express, and the next people shooting it were Giselle and Carmen Cass. Because he was thinking way outside the box.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Don’t say, “Oh this is cheesy,” or “This isn’t cool. This is beneath me.” Say, “Oh, how can I fit myself into this and elevate what it is?” And when it comes to our industry and acting, so much of the time you have to elevate material that you’re working with, and it becomes really great. It’s all about the collaboration and how you perceive things. It’s so funny, because my husband lately keeps saying, “Eat the cupcake.” Because he read this whole study about how you should always “eat the cupcake”. Meaning, you should just do it. Just do it, and see what it’s like. Don’t say no to things. I’m not saying go out and do everything, but be open to the possibility of having a relationship with everything around you, so that you can see if it will work for you. And I think that’s something that’s really important, because some of the best things that have come along have been from people taking risks. If you look at television right now, that’s exactly what you can say for TV. There is no creative independent filmmaking I don’t think that much anymore – maybe one percent. True independent filmmaking is actually happening on television.
In the same vein as ‘the new black’ in fashion, what is the new potato right now?
Streaming online content, like Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent. My agent put him in that; she’s another person that’s really amazing because she always thinks outside the box. People weren’t doing things for Amazon. Everyone knew that they wanted great content, but it didn’t really have a name, and there was nothing to really show for it. I think that’s really the new thing. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as the material is great because people watch on their iPad or stream it through Apple TV anyway. So whether you’re doing an online series for Amazon, or television, it’s all about great material and great content and how people can consume it. I think thats really exciting for artists out there – for actors, producers, writers, and directors. I think it’s just a really exciting time. It shows you that you’re not limited to making a film and hoping that it does well at the box office. You can make these very quiet amazing stories that people really connect with, and that change peoples lives. A story like Transparent is something people really need to hear and be aware of. It’s really powerful.