She is an award-winning actress, mum of two, the face of skincare giant Olay and recently conquered the West End with a triumphant run in Death and the Maiden.
But Thandie Newton took some time out to chat to HELLO!’s beauty editor Nadine Baggott, sharing some of her beauty secrets that keep her looking so young as she prepares to turn 40 later this year.
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You have two young daughters and a very busy career – where do you get your energy from?
I get up early to take my daughters to school and then I come home for a sleep! Death and the Maiden was tiring, but I loved working in front of a live audience very night. Acting on stage is every actor’s dream. At the start of the play I wasn’t feeling great. I had no energy, I was tired, I wasn’t eating well and I was putting on weight. Then I started following the juicing recipes in Elizabeth Peyton-Hones’s book Eat Yourself Young and I honestly feel fantastic. Now, I juice everything I can get my hands on.
Are you low or high maintenance when it comes to skincare?
Generally, I am low maintenance, but during the run of the play I had to wear a lot of eye make-up, which meant using a great cleaner. I apply Neal’s Yard Rose Beauty Balm, work it in, then remove it with a flannel rinsed with warm water. It dissolves everything. After that I just need a few dabs of Olay moisturiser. I have combination skin, so I apply it just the dry areas. My mum used Olay when I was called Oil Of Ulay and she has beautiful skin, so now I use it.
Any other skincare tips you’d like to share?
In the morning I never cleanse. I just splash my face with water and pat it dry. I honestly think that the human body is a clever thing and that the natural oils my skin produces are best for it. Then I apply a dab of rouge and I’m off. When I am a mum on the school run I don’t wear make-up at all.
What’s your best beauty discovery?
Turmeric. Olay does a great tinted moisturiser that I had a little turmeric to – making it more yellow depending on my skin tone and the season. That’s a great trick for all women who find that foundations are too ashy or too pink for their skins. And it’s anti-inflammatory. It’s my secret weapon.
How would you sum up your attitude to looking good?
For me, less is more. All I really want is to accentuate my good points and have a healthy glow.
Would you ever consider plastic surgery?
I’ll be 40 this year, but honestly would not consider surgery; all my beauty icons are women with expressive faces. Isabelle Huppert ages so beautifully and gracefully, as have Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. I am struck by their expressive beauty.
Who is your beauty inspiration?
My mother; she is from Zimbabwe and so beautiful. There is a kind of beauty that I love: Maria Callos and Frida Kahlo had it. I am drawn to individuals When I went to Mexico and the Congo, the beauty of the women was astounding. I just wanted to give every woman a red lipstick – not to change them, but to celebrate them.
Has your colour worked against you in acting?
Actually, it worked in my favour as there were so few young black British actresses. I went straight into film – and look at how many slaves I played! But I have worked constantly and things are more positive now. I used to get angry, but Oprah Winfrey said to me: “Everything has a process; some things take time.” Now I am cast in a colour-blind way, which is ideally how we should all be judged. I see myself as utterly fortunate.
You trained as a dancer – how do you stay in shape now?
I do a lot of jivamukti yoga; it keeps me supple, strong and focused. But when I need to really shape up for a role, I see a trainer called Liston Wingate-Denys. He will bring out some tube or piece of equipment and I’ll think: “What on earth are we going to do with that?” Next day, a muscle I didn’t know I had will be aching.