Rebecca Ferguson Defines Beauty As Balance 

Photographed by Danielle Kosann

Actress Rebecca Ferguson is, for us, a modern day Ingrid Bergman. We’ve noticed the resemblance since her debut in the last Mission Impossible, and have loved her ever since (we love Old Hollywood in the present day, obviously).

With her newest film – The Greatest Showman – exploding into theaters next week, and the newest Mission Impossible close behind it, we could think of no better time than to sit down with the Swedish beauty on all things lifestyle. Turns out, Ferguson thinks boredom kills, feels insecure outside of her routine and advises not to look in the mirror every day…

How do you practice beauty from the inside out? 

That’s a hard one. I think when I feel beautiful on the inside is when I feel comfortable with myself. Nothing for me has to do with the outer part of myself. I think it’s also individual. I know for me, I like structure. I like when I’m organized; I like when I am on top of things and I don’t feel behind. That makes me feel very relaxed and with that comes the possibility of treating myself to sleeping well or drinking lots of water. When everything is in balance, I feel good. I think that might resemble beauty.

What are your morning and nightly routines to help you keep that balance? Do you have any?

I try and actually sleep – I try and get seven hours of sleep. I drink a lot of water. I’ve never been a product person, but recently I’ve been getting more into it and into the routine of just treating yourself. It’s very rare that you just take a moment to pay attention to yourself. So now I’m trying to do the cleansing, the water, the toner, and the cream…

Normally, that’s so not me. I slather on coconut oil from Whole Foods, and then bish, bash, bosh – I’m done! But, I’m kind of liking it [the product routine]! I lock the bathroom door. It’s my time with myself. I’m calm; You just have to be comfortable with yourself for those ten minutes that you might give yourself. 

Were there any specific insecurities you had growing up that you had to overcome? 

I think insecurity comes so episodically and I think for me, it goes back to when I break my routine. I’m very much a routine person. It sounds like I’m not into spontaneity – I am – but I really like things in order. When I break my routine, I fall out of good habits. I start eating poorly; I stop drinking my water; I start sleeping less… So, it doesn’t have to do with, ‘I don’t like my ass, or my hips…’

What advice would you give to women getting dressed and looking in the mirror every morning? 

I sometimes just want to say don’t look at yourself in the mirror every morning (laughs). I don’t! I mean – it’s there, but you get to a point where you know your face. When you put cream on, you know where your face is; you don’t have to study yourself in absurdum. I like the idea of getting to a point where you just think to yourself ‘I’m good just the way I am.’ That takes time.

One reason I like my job is that I don’t really have time to dislike myself, and I don’t have time to love myself. I’m working, I move on. Boredom would be a killer – I’d have all the diseases and problems in the world! (laughs)

So, in this movie you play an opera singer. How did you prepare for the role? Was there anything specific you did to train?

Oh my gosh, yes. When I was offered this role, Michael Gracey, the director knocked on our door in London, beanie on his head, a TV under his arm and made this incredible presentation for seventy minutes. I was blown away. I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll act. I can sing – I’ve gone to music school…but she’s supposed to be the best singer in the goddamn world.’ That is not me. I wouldn’t be an actress then, I’d be Rebecca Ferguson the singer.  But he said, we can train you and you can sing, and then I think we got to the idea of a collaboration with Loren Allred, this incredible singer, who did my song.  When we shot the film, I sing in every take. I managed to do it, was proud of myself, didn’t sound horrible – I hope! –  but the tweak of Loren’s voice makes it magnificent.

I think something beautiful for me as well was to not feel like I needed to own and do everything. I am not the best thing in the world. I am an actress and I try to do as well as I can and for me to be able to praise Loren and give her the incredible applause and bow… she’s absolutely phenomenal. I want her to go everywhere. She probably is already everywhere. So, it’s a collaboration.

Did you always want to do a musical?

No! I couldn’t stand musicals. I saw Singin’ in the Rain and thought, ‘Yeah, we’re supposed to love it…’ I love Fred Astaire; I love Top Hat (though it’s not a musical) and I think Baz Luhrman does them well, but I’ve always found it quite annoying when the camera has to go into the anatomy of a person’s mouth and we have to see the tonsil thing…I just always think, you know, ‘back it up a bit!’ (Laughs) But it has tickled my senses. I loved being a part of this.

This is so different from a role like Mission Impossible – how do you prepare for a role like that? Is that a lot of physical exercise? 

Absolutely. For the last Mission, I think I did six hours a day, five days a week for two months before we started shooting, and it sounds ridiculous, but it is needed. It’s not about being in shape to look good, it’s actually being in shape to be able to maintain and not destroy your body with everything that’s happening. It’s basically injury prevention. And then you train for each individual fight that’s coming up, trying to always lay a couple of steps ahead. It’s hard and fun – and you know I love scheduling (laughs) and it was massive scheduling.

What’s your workout regimen like in your everyday life?

I’ve mixed a lot – I’ve done weights…I tried just running which is ridiculously boring to me…and now I’ve found pilates. Pilates on the reformer suits my body very well and what I like. I like the elongated muscles and the flexibility of the body – feeling that I’m not trapped in a shell.

If you could have a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? 

Alan Rickman – I need Alan Rickman there. Maybe Christopher Hitchens, but with him I’d be intimidated and quiet – or start drinking profusely. Mae West. Shakespeare, because my Mother raised me to quote him, so I could do all of his quotes as well. Hmm…you just want to be intellectual with these questions (laughs). I’d want someone a little evil to f*ck it up. Maybe the dictator Genghis Khan, because you’d actually want to see the discussion between Genghis Khan and Christopher Hitchens…and then Alan Rickman will play it out, Shakespeare’s just going to get semi-drunk in the corner. You just need someone to ruffle it up!

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