It's a cold January day in Los Angeles. I can feel winter-weather veterans rolling their eyes through the screen, but listen: When anything lower than 70 degrees is an anomaly, the high 50s feel positively frigid. Despite growing up in Oregon's perennially overcast Willamette Valley, actress Jasmin Savoy Brown is all bundled up in sweats and a blanket nest when we connect over Zoom. Maybe when you've been in L.A. as long as she has—ten years—your blood gives up and goes native.
I've caught Brown in an unusual moment of (relative) calm. Her Showtime series, Yellowjackets (she plays young Taissa), is a megahit, and her performance in the new Scream installment is racking up accolades. She also co-hosts The Homo Schedule, a new Netflix podcast featuring interviews with kick-ass queer creatives, alongside her Yellowjackets costar (and on-screen love interest) Liv Hewson. But unprecedented times come for us all, and a recent Covid exposure has Brown quarantined at home at the time of our chat.
For someone as on-the-go as Brown, the forced isolation is a mixed blessing. Though it's less than ideal to be stuck at home during the biggest moment of her career thus far, she acknowledges she could stand to slow down. To her credit, the self-professed workaholic has been doing just that. During our recent chat, Brown opens up about learning to rest, her self-care habits, and her journey with acne.
How's it going? Have we spoken before? You look so familiar.
I don't think so, but we both live in L.A. We may have seen each other at a gay thing.
Yeah, true. [Laughs] I'm going to go with that.
Speaking of which, congratulations on Yellowjackets being the gay hit of 2022!
Thank you! It's cool being gay. I'm going to keep doing it. [Laughs] It's going well so far. 12 out of 10.
Between the hit show and the blockbuster film, how are you doing right now?
I'm good! It's funny, because of course there will be people who say, Where did you come from? Overnight success! I've lived in L.A. for 10 years, and anyone who commits to something knows it takes a long time to happen overnight. I'm hoping to get out of this quarantine quickly, so I can celebrate with my friends and enjoy the moment. But yeah, it's cool seeing my [followers] go up on social media. All my friends are texting me theories about Yellowjackets and stuff like, "I hate horror, but I'm going to go see [Scream] just for you!" It's really sweet.
I know it's not by choice, but how have you been spending your alone time?
The timing is bad, but a forced quarantine is an excuse to slow down. Last night, I started reading Mara Wilson's book [Where Am I Now?]. She's such a good writer. My mom and I recently started reading the book The Artist's Way. I also take naps and FaceTime with my friends.
I'm sure your life has changed in the past few years. What does your daily life look like these days?
I'm trying to have more of a daily routine. That's one of my goals for this chapter of my life. I don't have something I do every day, but I'll tell you what I do regularly. Per The Artist's Way, you're supposed to do morning pages, where you stream-of-consciousness write for three pages. It helps get the morning trash out of your brain. I wake up every day with so much anxiety. Like, my first thought is, I'm in a rush. I'm behind. What do I need to do? So I try to journal that out of my brain.
I like to hike, do yoga, or dance. If I only have 10 minutes, I'll turn on Robyn and Katy Perry and shake the anxiety out of my body. I have to do something to move every day. In the morning, I drink a lot of water. I learned that from my second-grade teacher. I don't know why that stuck with me, but she said, "Every morning, I drink 32 ounces of water before my coffee." Also, Oregon has the best-tasting water. People who say water doesn't have a taste have only ever had bad water, and I will forever stand by that.
I'm from New York, so I disagree with you on the first point, but I agree with you on the second point.
Okay, fair, but have you had Oregon water? The next time I go, I'm going to fill a bottle, and I'm going to find you at some gay event.
I would love that. Is there anything else you do daily?
Great, I'll carry it in my backpack. What else do I do? I try to play my guitar or do my vocal exercises to keep my musicality growing each day. I play with my cat. She has no eyelids and high blood pressure, so she requires a lot of different medications and attention. She constantly needs surgery. But she's the love of my life, and we play together.
I try to spend a lot of time with my friends, whether on FaceTime or in person. Truly, though, I am so busy all the time, and that's my own doing. I also have a podcast, and I'm about to release a new music video. I've historically been addicted to working, and I'm in the season of life now where I'm trying to soften the busy work. I am reading a book called Whole Again by Jackson MacKenzie, and he talks about how workaholism is a trauma response. To heal, you have to stop taking on more projects.
And that's different than just taking on another acting job. For me, sometimes projects consist of writing essays for fun. For a couple of years. I've been slowly writing an essay about dating as a woman of color. So I had a day off, and I was like, Oh my god, I need to finish this essay, and then I was like, What are you doing? No one asked you to write this essay.
Take a nap!
Like, if you want to write about that cool experience, journal about it for ten minutes and then go to sleep. Or, get drinks with a friend. I truly try to fill every moment with accomplishing something rather than telling myself, "No, you deserve to rest." I think a lot of us are having these realizations, and I'm proud of us. I'm going to write an essay about it. [Laughs]
Besides movement and naps, what are some other things you do to take care of yourself?
Meditation. My relationship with meditation is very on-again, off-again, but I always go back to her. She's that ex I'll never leave. I downloaded the app Breathe, but sometimes even a guided meditation is too much for me. Turning on white noise for five minutes and breathing is very helpful. Sleep is very helpful. Sometimes that's hard for me to come by, but even if I can take a nap here and there, that's great. Currently, to talk about skincare—
Yes! Let's talk about skincare.
My skincare journey has been so long. I had endometriosis, and I tried everything under the sun. I did this insanely expensive surgery and removed some cysts from my ovaries, which didn't help. I went on birth control; that didn't help. I also tried every possible skincare routine—none of it worked. Then, I started seeing a friend of mine who's a natural healer. She healed me, but that still didn't make my acne go away. I had awful acne from 18 until a year ago when I cut out everything.
Last summer, I got on Accutane, and it's changing my life. Because of that, my skincare routine is just CeraVe products. I'm washing my face, putting on moisturizer, and applying sunscreen because you're supposed to keep your routine minimal while you're on Accutane. The side effects are a bummer, but I would do it for the rest of my life. My skin finally clearing up is completely changing my relationship with my body. Having acne sucks, and I've had it for so long. Just because you have acne doesn't mean you're not beautiful, but I would get so annoyed when people told me that.
Like, "Yeah, I know that, but that doesn't make it feel any less awful."
It feels like shit, and then people try to make you feel better, and you don't believe them. I get it now that I'm on the other side. I don't see someone with acne and think any less of them, but it's a struggle when you're the one with it. People told me I lost roles because of my acne, which pissed me off. So, yeah, currently, my skincare routine is very minimal, but I am here for Accutane. [Laughs]