Actress Elodie Yung

We always like to seek the food, skincare and style advice of a beautiful French woman; actress Elodie Yung was no exception. How to be more French? Apparently, it all has to do with actually being effortless: imperfection is perfect. Yung also filled us in on how she trained for her action-packed show The Defenders (streaming tomorrow on Netflix!), got ready for her new movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard (also out tomorrow) and where to eat in Paris. Warning: you’re going to want to adopt her skincare routine and will seriously crave croissants upon reading this epic interview…

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

I’d start my day with a large café, a pain au chocolate and a croissant. Around 10:30, I’d have two eggs, bacon and hash browns. For lunch, I’d have a bò bún. Around four, I’d have some bread and cheese. For dinner, pasta and red wine

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I’m forced to pay more attention to what I eat now, as I have a lot of food intolerances! So, I had to stop having my ideal food day a few months ago; I now eat a lot of vegetables, cut out the sugar (no more pains au chocolat for me!), drink a lot of water, and I go to yoga or barre classes a few times a week. I also walk a lot; I’m used to it, as a Parisian!

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

In the morning, I try not to use any product: I just rinse my face with water, then spray it with rosewater and moisturize it with a moisturizing cream with SPF 20 (at the moment I’m using Avene, but I like to change often). At night, I wash my face with the Liz Earle cleanser; it’s all natural, and you can even clean your eyes with it, it won’t harm them! Then, I use the rose water again or Liz Earle Skin Tonic before applying the oil or just night cream

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How does American television differ from French television?

It feels to me that there is more content in America than in France. Between all the channels and the new platforms like Netflix, I can’t keep up with all the American series and films! When it comes down to the actual filming, although I enjoy both, the American way of shooting is more intense. In France, we know how to relax at lunch as there’s always a complementary bottle of red offered by production!

Do you prefer working in one over the other? Why?

I don’t. To me, it’s down to the quality of the project, whether it’s French or American, it doesn’t really matter. I’m passionate about acting, and if I have to learn a new language to do a movie, I’ll enjoy it just as much. 

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How did you prep for your role in The Defenders?

I trained a lot! Lauren Kim, who is my stunt double (she’s the best) trained me for it. I had to hit the gym to get stronger and avoid any accidents, learn the choreography, and I would do yoga to stretch and relax.

What’s the biggest discovery you’ve made in playing your role so far?

When I started this part in Daredevil, I approached Elektra almost as a sociopath. She is very manipulative and had no feelings, except for her feelings for Matthew. She is also conflicted: her nature pushes her to hurt people, whereas she wants to be a better person because the man she loves believes in her goodness. This time, in The Defenders, I imagined her as amnesiac. The fun was in deciding when she would recall moments of her past, to have her manipulative nature resurface without anyone noticing. So, I guess the answer is that I’ve been pretty lucky with Elektra, as each time she is very different, which allows me to discover a new side of her.

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How do you always start your day? What’s your go to breakfast?

In the morning, I have gluten-free oats that I cook in coconut milk with chia seeds, and I add blueberries to it. That’s my LA diet. The moment I’m in Paris, it’s café and croissant, pain au chocolat and chouquettes.

What’s your perfect smoothie comprised of? Perfect salad?

I don’t really like smoothies. The perfect salad is a simple tomato salad with garlic and olive oil.

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

Paris, biensur! Any brasserie that’s not on a main street is the best. All the Vietnamese restaurants in the 13e or in Belleville are so good. In Rome, go to Augusto! The veal is delicious. In NY, I like Ippudo for a good ramen. If you’re French and crave a real baguette, go to Cannelle on Long Island City!

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If we go to Paris, where should we eat and drink?

Go to Mamma Primi; it’s Italian, and the food is so fresh and delicious! For a drink, you’ll find plenty of great little troquets in Le Marais or in the 9e.

What’s one item every woman should own?

A pair of flat shoes.

Why are American women so obsessed with French women?! And (more importantly) how can we be more like them?

I honestly think that no one should try to be like somebody else. Embrace your true nature! I don’t think that eating more cheese will make you be more like a French woman.

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What’s the key to effortless French style? Is it really effortless?  

Yes: no effort, it is truly as simple as that.

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

Strong women are the new potato, and I hope that will last more than a fashion season.

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Caught the Francophile bug? Read our interviews with Aymeline ValadeAurelie Bidermann, and Rebecca Dayan.

*Elodie Yung photographed by Danielle Kosann in New York, New York. Elodie wears a hat by Maison Michel, jeans by Claudie Pierlot, t-shirt by Zara, and shoes by Jimmy Choo.