Malin Akerman always looks gorgeous, but she is positively radiant in the new Showtime show Billions, which follows the high-power world of Wall Street in New York City. It’s also an ode to the New York social scene, which Akerman is no doubt Queen Bee of in this series. Akerman’s cropped blonde hair is really working for us…and all of Hollywood for that matter. We were happy (and irked) to discover that not only is she a talented actress but also a genuinely well-rounded (not to mention awesome) woman. The actress loves food, does the occasional Cross Fit session, dabbles in yoga and is obsessed with Africa. Even better though, she calls herself a ‘kill-them-with-kindness’ kind of girl, rather than the ball breaker she plays on the show…
What would be your ideal food day?
My ideal food day would start with breakfast at Little Dom’s; the blueberry and ricotta pancakes are the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life. I would start my day with that, maybe a little mimosa to go with it. For lunch I would come to Casa Mono and just have a little bit of everything, and then for dinner…It’s a toss-up because I have two favorites here in New York. One is Maison Premiere, which has the best oysters and King crab legs, and I also love Santina. It’s ridiculous. So it would be one or the other – or I might have to do both. Go get some oysters first at Maison Premiere and then go to Santina for the main course.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
I’m pretty good at making sure I get a lot of nutrients and a lot of water – eating right basically, because you are what you eat. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy all of the decadent things in life, just not on a regular basis. It’s about two things for me. One is what you eat – eating nutritious foods and eating often so I don’t starve myself, my metabolism keeps on an even keel, and I have energy. The other thing is attitude. I think your attitude does a lot; having a positive attitude gives you a brilliance and beauty inside and out. You see happy people and you just want to be around them because there is this light in them. I think that if you find happiness and self-love and all that kind of beautiful stuff, you’ll be beautiful because you’ll feel beautiful.
What do you usually eat when you’re trying to be healthy?
In the mornings, it’s usually eggs with veggies, or an omelet. It’s a lot of greens. I try to be aware and eat about 70% vegetables. You can make the most amazing vegetables – roasted root vegetables in the oven, or broccoli and cauliflower gratin. And then having fresh and beautiful grass-fed beef, or any kind of fish. We’re a big fish family at home. I try to do a big salad a day with everything in it, like quinoa and lentils. A friend of mine who is a Chinese doctor said that when you are eating cold things you have to make sure you are drinking something warm – like warm tea – with it, because it helps with digestion. So I try and do that when I’m eating salads and things like that. I also love lentil soup.
What are some of your morning and nightly beauty routines?
Morning is usually not much – other than brushing my teeth and rushing because I have a toddler (laughs) so there’s not much time for a morning routine. If I can get a shower in, I’m lucky.
Because I wear a lot of makeup on set, it is really important to take all that caked on stuff off at night. I’ve gotten really into Josie Maran. Her products are amazing – really natural. I have an argan oil face wash I love – it takes off all the grime. I use spa water that is not quite a toner but I use it as one; it takes all the residue off. I also have this cream that I love called Embryolisse, which I’m very happy you can get anywhere now. It’s scent and fragrance free; I don’t do well with fragrances so this is a great one. I use it on a regular basis. Someone gave me La Mer cream, which once in a while I’ll put on. It’s quite thick but is nice to do kind of like a mask. I also like Dermalogica. They have a face scrub that is made out of rice. It’s like a powder scrub and it’s a really gentle exfoliator that I like to use once in a while. I don’t like the harsh exfoliates, and this one almost feels like it turns into clay. It’s beautiful. That’s basically it, there’s not much to it.
What do you do with your hair for good texture?
I like Kevin Murphy shampoo and conditioner. I love the L’Oreal sulfite-free stuff, when you don’t want to spend a million dollars. When I have to put mouse in I use Wella mouse, Bumble and Bumble Texturizing Spray and Living Proof, which is like a smoothing cream. All of that is before I blow dry my hair, then I blow dry and use an Oribe Texturizing Spray that gives some texture. That’s the hair process.
What has been your biggest discovery in playing Lara on Billions?
She strikes such an amazing balance between a family woman and a cutthroat-don’t-mess-with ball breaker who is one of the boys. The fact that she can navigate between both worlds – and she scares people, in an icy cold way – I love that about her. She’s a strong woman.
Do you think there are similarities between the two of you?
I’m not a ball breaker like she is. I’m more of a ‘kill them with kindness’ kind of girl, but my motto is ‘Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.’ I’m not a pushover. I’m definitely a very happy person; I feel very lucky. Both of us come from humble beginnings and now we are in new realms and new worlds that we have to try to navigate. For me it’s Hollywood, and for her it’s Wall Street, the financial world, being a billionaire, and dealing with all the people she gets to meet. I think that’s where we really become chameleons. We’re able to shift and acclimate and accommodate in any situation. It has been a big learning experience in my life to learn how navigate, and the drive is there for both of us.
Have you discovered anything about Wall Street that you didn’t know before?
Not so much, because my character really isn’t that involved in Wall Street. I’m definitely learning a little bit about how it works, because I’m curious about it. My character is more of the anchor at home – the puppeteer behind it all – so I haven’t really had an opportunity to get into it at all.
Do you have any advice that you would give your younger self?
You know, I don’t think I would give myself any advice. I think that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today had I gotten any other advice than what I’ve gotten. I would just let it be. Now, I can give my son advice! (Laughs) Don’t go outside, don’t have a girlfriend…no I’m joking. Mainly, I would tell him to pursue happiness, in all honesty, whatever that means for him. The one thing I think that happens here in America a lot is that people push to go straight from high school to university, and I’m a big fan of exploring the world. So I’d kind of make it a pre-requisite for him to take a year off between high school and college and travel the world. I think as a teenager, it’s very eye-opening, because you don’t know what’s out there. You see different kinds of jobs you didn’t even know existed, and what if that’s what you want to do and you get inspired? You meet amazing people. It’s the school of life.
Where do you love to travel?
I love Europe but my heart and soul bleeds for Africa. It is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I’ve said it a million times; I think Africa is where I want to end up one day. There’s something about the people there…you walk on that red soil and it’s just the salt of the earth. There’s something about it that just brings you back to your roots, and you feel true freedom there (and I know, the political system is so messed up), but there’s something about the people that just makes you feel so free to be whoever you want to be. It’s an acceptance, it’s a community feeling, it’s a togetherness; it’s like a tribal feeling where you are all taking care of each other and I love it. It is my favorite place in the world.
What won’t you travel without?
Sadly, I would have to say my phone. You can get anything else wherever you go, but especially since I’m a Mom I need to be able to have communication. I’m a creature of comfort so maybe a great pair of jeans and a pair of comfortable shoes. I have this one pair of Fiorentini & Baker boots that I’ve had for eight years and I would never give them up. I travel with them everywhere and they haven’t fallen apart yet. They’re like slippers.
Are there any workouts that you really love?
When I do get the chance to do it…(laughs) I’m definitely a fan of Cross Fit. I like it because it’s always different. I get bored really easily with workouts. So I like that push and I like that it’s quick; you’re in, you’re out, you push yourself to the max and that’s it. Now I’ve also gotten into yoga, because it strikes a nice balance – Stretch it out, breath it in, ground yourself. It has really been wonderful. I like action, but I’m trying to learn how to slow down a little bit.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in LA?
I love Bestia downtown; it’s amazing. I really like Republique. I really like good old Café Stella in Silver Lake; I love the atmosphere. You can really hang out there for a night. The Little Door is really special. I’m really vining downtown; I love Amá. It’s tapas style and really delicious.
What do you think your character’s favorite New York restaurant would be?
I think it would probably be some hole-in-the-wall Italian joint that’s very nostalgic and that nobody knows about. It’s just a neighborhood spot – I think that’s her jam. I think she can appreciate the lovely spots and I don’t think she minds them at all, but I think if you are really going to ask her what she loves it’s going to be the ‘Old Joe’s’ down the street.
*Malin Akerman, photographed at Casa Mono on New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.