When I signed on to Zoom, I was greeted by Danielle Macdonald's warm smile, glowing skin, and gorgeous curls. "For starters, your hair looks amazing," I said. "I was like, Come on, curls, just do something," the actress said with a laugh. I told her we'd have to get all the details on her haircare routine.
But, first, I wanted to hear all about her latest project: HBO Max's thriller series, The Tourist. The series follows a man who wakes up in the Australian Outback with no memory. Not quite the vacation vibes you thought you might be getting, right? The show is certainly a wild ride, and Macdonald's character Helen helps ground the story for viewers. Ahead, Macdonald fills us in on the series and how she is caring for herself, her skin, and her hair.
How are you doing? What are you doing to keep yourself uplifted during these times?
There is so much going on in the world right now. I'm paying attention to what is happening in the world, and I am informed. When I get overwhelmed, I try to take a step back and let myself live life and look after my crazy animals. It is a balance.
Tell me about your animals.
I have two dogs and three cats that I share with my roommates because that would be impossible if I were alone. We live in a crazy animal house. It's amazing. I love them. It's animal therapy.
Yeah, they're good for your spirit! I want to learn a little about your character on HBO Max's The Tourist. I saw the first few episodes, and it took a turn.
The Tourist is a wild ride. It will surprise you at every turn. It did for me, and I was filming it. It's very genre-bending, which is cool and something I haven't been able to explore fully. There aren't many things like it, which was fun as an actor.
Helen is a person you can trust. She's the only person you can trust in the series because you don't know everyone else yet. You don't know who they are or how they relate to this man [played by Jamie Dornan]. The only person you know relates to this man is Helen, and you get to see her home life. You know she is trustworthy and trying to find her way in the world.
She gives the audience the security to know there is some certainty in the series. There's a level of goodness, which was fun to play. It was unique because I've never played a character that felt so different from the entire story. Finding how she fit into the world was the most challenging part of learning Helen.
In the first episode, there was a scene where Helen spoke about her journey in accepting her body. I love that Helen talks about how we're supposed to be body positive, but that's easier said than done. What was it like being the vessel that shared this intimate moment?
When I read it, I spoke to the writers and was like, I don't know how you summed up these crazy thoughts in my head and a lot of other people's heads into one succinct paragraph.
I never really thought to say it like that, but that is what you feel. Like, some days you love yourself. Some days you have issues with yourself. That is the reality of life and what we go through. I was really happy that we got to bring that into the script. I feel the entire point of Helen's character is not how she looks. It is not based on her weight. She is a person living her life trying to be a police officer, and this crazy thing happens in her world, and this is a part of it. I loved getting to portray a character that felt incredibly well-rounded.
I saw you all were filming in the Outback. Tell us how you kept your curls hydrated.
I have very fine curls. I can't do too much. I had to dye my hair for a film early on in my career. I thought it was really fun. I'd never done that, but I didn't realize it would damage my hair. I was known for my long curly hair. It felt like my identity, and once I dyed it, my hair broke off. It was above my shoulders.
It was crazy trying to learn how to treat my hair in an industry where the reality is I do have to straighten it on set. I never did that in my life. Now, I use Maria Nila products. They're vegan and cruelty-free. I use the brand's shampoo and conditioner. Afterward, I always use their True Soft Argan Oil ($33). My hair is very happy when I use these products.
Are you a skincare or a makeup person?
A bit of both. I don't usually wear makeup day-to-day. For me, making an effort is using tinted moisturizer and mascara. That is currently what I have on right now.
You look great!
I never really wore makeup growing up. I wear makeup for work, so it's nice not to wear any when I'm home. I like hiking and being outdoors, so I'll put sunscreen on my face, and that's it. I have sensitive skin, so while I do care about skincare, there are very few products I use. At night, I use Saint Jane's Luxury Beauty Serum ($125). It's a game-changer. There has never been a moisturizer I can stick with. If I use one that works for me, it might work for three months, and then I start to react. I've been using that Saint Jane oil for over a year now, and I'm so happy about it. I am also vegan, so vegan and cruelty-free products are important to me.
Have you always been a vegan?
I've been vegan for over two years now. I'm a huge animal lover and conscious of what happens in the meat and dairy industry. That's what made me become vegan. I found it easy to transition.
For someone considering going vegan, do you have any advice?
It's easier than you think. People think you have to switch out so much, and you don't. It's just about finding replacements and trying anything with mushrooms. Mushrooms are the most versatile vegetable in the world. I love cooking with mushrooms.