Actress Morgan Saylor

We’ve been fans of Morgan Saylor since she made her debut as Brody’s daughter Dana on Homeland – and fell even more in love when we were seated next to her at a fashion week at Spotted Pig dinner a couple of years back .

She’s one of those girls about who, after you meet her, you say something like “Shit, that girl is cool” before going on your merry way (and aiming to be slightly cooler than you are for the rest of the week). Now, Saylor has again proved that she is a talent to be reckoned with. Her newest movie, White Girl, is a whirlwind film surrounding drugs, controversial sex and objectification: Saylor is the college student who plays both the victim and troubled instigator at the center of it all. We caught up with Saylor, sadly not over a Spotted Pig burger but the next best thing (miso soup at Lovely Day), to chat about the new film, truffle butter popcorn, and Hillary Clinton as the new potato…

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

Yum! I’d probably start off the day with something cozy at home…Maybe a frittata packed full of fresh veggies – perhaps spinach, tomatoes and peppers – topped with some slices of avocado, plus cold and black coffee. I’d have something fishy for lunch. As a pescetarian, I love a fresh catch. For dinner…a pasta dish. Something warm and made with love – maybe a puttanesca spaghetti sort of thing. And a glass or two of red wine.

How do you practice beauty from the inside out? 

I wear things I love. I get ready in the morning by thinking through how I’ll want to feel throughout the day. Armed with a look that feels right to vibe of the day, I feel confident and ready to roll.

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

Lots of water, both in the morning and at night. A quick shower in the morning really helps me wake up, so I always leave enough time to at least jump in for a few minutes. I don’t wear much makeup unless I’m working, but make sure to brush my brows with a bit of gel (or even hair spray). I spritz myself with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle on my way out the door. At night, I like a good facial scrub or mask. I’m still discovering my favorite brands, but have been using a lot of Fresh products lately, like their Sugar Face Polish. I feel so refreshed after. Before bed I apply a bit of Lancôme’s Youth Activating Eye Cream.

Your new movie White Girl is quite intense; how did you prepare for such a dramatic role? 

The director, Elizabeth Wood and I spent a lot of time together in the months leading up the shoot. It was a mix of rehearsal and discussion and just hanging out. It was really important though. During this time we were able to answer all of our questions for one another and just get on the same page. I spent a lot of time on my own working on the script and figuring out what went on inside Leah’s head.

Did it take an emotional toll? How so?

Of course. The shoot itself was exhausting – just twenty-two days that were very, very full. It also felt like a discovery in a lot of ways. It was my first large lead role in a film, and I was figuring out how to handle that, and keep myself sane and healthy at home, too. It took a few months to settle back into my own routine after the shoot…

What is your go-to lunch on set? 

Some big ole salad, maybe with beans or corn or chickpeas. Set lunch usually has a good selection of veggies. I toss all kind of things together and chow down. Nuts and fruits are my constant daytime snack to keep up energy.

The film is set in New York; what are your favorite NYC restaurants? What do you order at each? 

New York has the best food! I go to school in Chicago now, and spent a lot of the year there…I’m missing the food in NYC. My favorite spots include (but certainly are not limited to): Lovely Day, where I like the Green papaya salad, fried tofu, and Tom ga coconut milk soup. Gaia, which has a constantly changing menu, but can be relied on for insanely amazing meals. Friday is their ‘fish day’. I also love the pesto lasagna. Pok Pok in Redhook, I love their Cha Ca “La Vong,” a delicious catfish dish.

What some of your favorite cities to travel to? What won’t you travel without?

Paris and Florence for the food, art and leisure. Also, I do love Budapest and Berlin, I could get lost in both and be perfectly content. Last summer, I went to Japan. Holy heck, it’s magical over there.

I usually bring too many pairs of shoes. Not crazy excessive or fancy, but like Nike Blazers for walking around, running shoes, something oxford or loafer-y, and then a heel. Shoes just take up too much room in a suitcase!

We saw you are a nationally ranked rock climber – How important is diet and exercise in your daily life? 

I wish I climb the way I used to. I grew up competing and spent a lot of time training. It is no longer part of my days, I just don’t have the time to be good anymore! And it is kind of unsatisfying to climb when I’m not as strong as I once was. That being said, I think exercise is really important to staying healthy. I run a lot, and it feels good for my body, but also my brain.

What are some of your go to workouts?  

I love running. I also enjoy biking, especially in the city. I like a long ride, like out to the Rockaways. It’s more than two hours from the city, but delicious and so worth the length.

What would you last meal be? Who would it be with?

A fresh pasta dish with fish, I think. And good wine. With my brother Graham.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What is the worst? 

Be patient. I’d say that’s the best and worst.

You never liked X till you tried it at Y…

Popcorn…At Nitehawk cinema. That truffle butter popcorn! Yum!

Who do you think you were in a past life?

Roger Miller. 

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

Hillary [Clinton]. And rightfully so.

Check out our interviews with fellow Homeland actresses Nazanin Boniadi, and Sarita Choudhury

Morgan Saylor, photographed at Lovely Day in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann