Some women just really click with us Potatoheads; we like to think of them as our would-be best friends. You know, the kind of women we’d grab a curry with and hang out talking for hours…if they weren’t so busy starring in international blockbusters. Jessica Henwick is one of those women. The Game of Thrones actress is about to majorly break out, as the star of Netflix’s new Marvel series, Iron Fist. Read below for her full interview; we know you’ll love her as much as we do…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Food is my life! It’s one of the perks of the job. I get to travel so much, and the best part is finding hidden foodie spots. Give me a street cart over fancy dining any day.
I’d start with breakfast in Monterey Park, LA. It legitimately has the best Asian food in America, but hardly anyone on the west coast goes there! There’s a tiny restaurant called Banh Mi Che Cali, and I’m always craving their Vietnamese summer rolls and roast chicken. (On a normal day I don’t eat chicken for breakfast, but I’m taking you on a foodie journey right now so we’re playing by my rules…FYI the chicken must be eaten off the bone, with your hands. My rules.)
Lunch would be in Malaysia. I’d probably go with a good Roti Canai. It’s an Indian flatbread you use to scoop up curry and sambal. Real street food. You can spot the carts a mile away because you’ll see the chefs spinning these massive translucent dough plates above their heads.
Dinner would be in England, at my parents house. I grew up helping my Ma cook each night. It was such a bonding experience. She taught me everything I know about food. We both love seafood, so it would probably be that along with rice. The rice would be cooked in an old school rice cooker that spits out steam, and burns the hands of greedy young children (I have scars). Dessert would be tiramisu.
Honorable mentions go to crispy Brussel’s sprouts and medium rare steak.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
What you’re feeling on the inside will always show on the outside. So for me, it’s just about staying in a good place mentally, emotionally and physically. I take long breaks away from my laptop/phone and social media. It’s a great tool to connect with people, but you should always recognize it for what it truly is: a highlight reel, manufactured to perfection.
Do you follow a specific diet plan?
I only stick to a diet plan when I’m working on a role that is physically demanding. For Iron Fist, it was important that I bulk up immediately, because I had just lost weight to play a sixteen-year-old on a show in Iceland called Fortitude. So I started a very protein heavy diet: three protein shakes a day, six egg whites, very lean meat, greek yogurt…
Which workouts do you love? Which do you think are overrated?
I love competitive sports, and learning martial arts is probably one of my favorite physical activities. Lifting weights does make a big difference, so I’ll take that too, but I think gyms have such a silly amount of different weight machines these days. How many ways do you really need to work on your traps?
What are your morning and nightly beauty regimens?
I have no morning routine. I don’t wash my face with any product. So many people have told me to change, but I’m a big believer in listening to your body, and I don’t like covering my skin up. If something is wrong internally, our faces will show us, whether through acne or discoloration or dryness. I want to be able to see what my skin is telling me…(That sounded really hippy).
Saying that, because of the amount of makeup I have to wear for my job, I usually require a heavier night routine. I use Mario Badescu cleansing gel to remove makeup, and I love Body Shop’s clay mask for a deeper cleanse. I keep toner simple, just rose water or something else natural. To moisturize, I use Trilogy’s Organic Rosehip oil.
What’s a beauty mainstay that hasn’t changed since your teen years?
I always give my hair a cold rinse after I’m done washing, and I never wash out conditioner.
We can’t wait to see you in Iron Fist. Any fun stories you can share with us from the set?
I’m afraid of heights, and one scene involved me jumping off the roof of a building. Brett Chan, our stunt coordinator, told me I wasn’t allowed to do the stunt unless I practized it for three days. So I met up with the riggers (the guys in charge of the wires), and they very calmly instructed me step by step. After my first jump, I fell to my knees and burst into tears because it had been so awful. I had a real sense of fulfillment when I finally succeeded on the last day.
I thanked the riggers for keeping me calm and being so assured throughout – then found out that they used to be firefighters! So the tone of voice they had used on me was the same tone of voice they used when they were trying to get someone to jump out the window of a burning house. That put things into perspective.
What was the best of filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
Having young Asian girls come up to me, dressed as my character, telling me they hadn’t realized girls could be X-wing pilots until I showed up – nothing tops that.
What’s a show you personally binge on?
Black Mirror. Charlie Brooker is a dark, twisted genius. More recently, The Crown on Netflix. All hail Claire Foy.
Are there any foods or drinks you’ve cut out from your diet? Why?
I used to be addicted to fizzy drinks as a kid. I drank an unhealthy amount. When I hit my teens, I read up on the long-term damage that it can do and weaned myself off.
Are there any products you can’t live without?
I fly a lot, and it leaves my skin dry even when I’m guzzling water, so I always keep a chapstick close by. Shea butter smells delicious.
Which foods are best for clear skin? For healthy hair?
Honestly, it all comes back to H20. Guzzle it.
Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?
Traveling is one of my first loves. I spend a lot of time in Asia, Singapore and Malaysia mainly, but I’m desperate to go to Hong Kong and Japan. I walked all along the Cinque Terre path in Italy, and it remains one of my favorite trips I’ve taken. All the hikers thought I was crazy because I walked it in flip flops.
I can’t travel without an eye mask. The rare occasions I forget to bring one, I have to get a shirt sleeve or scarf and tie it around my head to cover my eyes.
What’s an issue you feel very passionately about right now and why?
Speaking up. I’m so inspired by the marches that have been happening all around the world and especially here in New York. I think there is nothing more disheartening than apathy, and with all the over-saturation of negative stories, it can grind you down into sitting back and believing that we have no power. But the marches show that we aren’t apathetic. We care. And we, as a community, have power to change the status quo.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?
My answer to this will change on any given day. Right now, I think I’ll go for a literary theme so I’ll say Shakespeare, Daniel Quinn, Jane Austen, Robin Hobb and my father Mark Henwick (he writes urban fantasy).
I would make it a potluck so everyone has to bring a dish. I would make oxtail stew with mashed sweet potato on the side. Shakespeare would probably bring bread and wine. Daniel Quinn would make a vegetarian dish, I feel. Ratatouille? Vegetable jungle curry? Jane Austen would bring soup – pea soup or something else that’s light. Robin Hobb would bring dessert: a sweet ginger cake with wild berries she handpicked. My dad would bring biltong (an African dried, cured meat) because he can only cook a handful of dishes, but none of them coordinate well with the other guests’ food.
In the same vein as the new black in fashion, what is the new potato right now?
Social media debates.