Actress Nikki Reed

Nikki Reed is a jack of all trades. She’s an actress, screenwriter, model, singer-songwriter, designer and an activist (we can’t help but feel like underachievers in her presence). We first saw Nikki in the film Thirteen — a harrowing story she co-wrote and starred in (at the modest age of fifteen), based on her own experiences at that age. Currently, she plays badass heroine Betsy Ross on the FOX series Sleepy Hollow, and stars in the upcoming Jack Goes Home, which recently premiered at SXSW. As if her plate wasn’t full enough, Nikki writes a beauty and nutrition column on Elle.com, and recently collaborated with Freedom of Animals to create an eco-friendly bag line made from recycled plastic from oceans and landfills. (Our heads are spinning!) We chatted with her about face oils, cooking, and the best advice she’s ever received…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I like to eat clean, so an ideal food day for me means I am the one cooking. Ideally I would wake up, walk outside to some lush garden or greenhouse and pick my own vegetables. I am into simplicity when it comes to food. Even as a child I hated Ketchup with my fries, because the idea of adding anything extra just didn’t make sense. I wish I had my own mini farm so I didn’t ever have to leave the house to eat…

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I believe the most beautiful feature a woman can have is an educated mind. I love learning, and I still take college courses online just to acquire knowledge even if I’ll never have a piece of paper validating it. I also believe in taking care of the body, and I find strength to be quite beautiful. Beauty to me means feeling strong enough to climb a mountain.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines? 

I use a lot of oils, and I always wash my skin. I like to scrub daily, because it symbolizes the shedding of the day. I also don’t like to put anything on my skin that I couldn’t put in my mouth. The idea that using chemicals on the largest organ of the body (the skin) isn’t harmful is crazy to me. I try to use the most natural products I can get my hands on, even if it means a bottle of olive oil from the cabinet.

We love your bag collaboration with Freedom of Animals. How do you personally practice conscious consumerism in terms of fashion, food and beauty? 

I believe conscious consumerism is something we can all do. It doesn’t have to create a divide between people who live their life that way and people who don’t. I believe we can all do something to make a difference somewhere. Reusing and repurposing materials is the most immediate way we can all help the planet, which is exactly what we are doing with FOA. All of our bags are made from recycled materials, woven together to create an ethical and sustainable line. If everyone did a little less in some areas and a little more in others, we could create huge change.

Advice to women looking in the mirror, and getting dressed in the morning?

Fashion is a way to express yourself; it’s almost like writing a story about who you are on your body every time you walk out the door. I say do what feels good, and what feels like you. Look in the mirror and find one thing you love about yourself every day and focus on that.

Beauty mainstays that haven’t changed since your teen years…

I haven’t let anyone pluck or wax my eyebrows…

The workouts you’re obsessed with right now…

I love to mountain bike. I like the tranquility and I love how strong it makes me feel.

What’s always in your bag?

Some form of face oil. Usually Living Libations or HB organics.

What’s always in your refrigerator?

Cilantro and parsley! Its good for helping the body get rid of heavy metals, which we all accumulate over time.

The app you can’t live without…

I love my TED talks app and Sleep Machine

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

I love anywhere that has options for those of us who don’t eat meat or dairy. I am a sucker for places like Moon Juice or Cafe Gratitude, but of course nothing compares to pasta in Italy!

The best advice you’ve ever received…

From my Dad. I remember him telling me this as a teenager when I was having a tough time in school with a boy. He said “You don’t have to go around showing the truth to everyone, you just have to be patient. People figure things out on their own and your strength lies in your ability to wait for them to come to their own conclusions.” It’s been applicable in many areas and I replay it in my head any time something frustrating or unfair happens and I want to scream from the tops of mountains about it. I remember how powerful silence can be, and I remember the importance patience.

In the same vein as ‘what is the new black’ in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?

Ethical, sustainable fashion is definitely the new potato! It is the future and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Freedom Of Animals!

Watch this hilarious video now!

This is the prettiest lunch we’ve been to. Check out this interview with Orange is the New Black’s Laura Prepon

*Nikki Reed, photographed at Clocktower’s Billiard Room at the New York EDITION in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.