Claire Danes: ‘It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you’

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Claire Danes covers the December issue of Allure, and as it turns out, the cover interview is pretty good. I’m okay with Claire these days – a few years ago, when I was a Homeland superfan, I was definitely more of a Claire fan-girl, but these days I don’t watch Homeland and so I’m sort of over her. Not in a mean way, just in a “oh, she’s still there” sort of way. One of the things about Claire is that she usually a boring interview. The rare times her interviews do make news, it’s because she’s made some kind of reference to how she ran off with Billy Crudup when he was with then-pregnant Mary Louise Parker. Unfortunately, Claire doesn’t reference that with Allure! Some highlights from the cover story:

Her now-infamous cry-face: “I’m very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I’m not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I’m playing a character. I have plenty of vanity in my life. I want to look pretty in the world. But I can be this bottomless pit. I know some of the most beautiful women on the planet — unequivocally, objectively friggin’ gorgeous — and they are rife with insecurity and self doubt, and you just think, ‘Well how can that be?’ I’m attractive enough. I can do the work I want to do. I’ve found a wonderful man who wants to make out with me. I’m good.”

Makeup rules: “It’s either eyes or lips. It’s like legs or boobs: You shouldn’t do both. That’s always the first question when you sit down to get ready for the night.”

Bodyshaming, body criticism: “It’s just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively. I’ve wrestled with this my whole life, as just a person in the world and as somebody who makes images. It’s OK to want to look and feel your best. It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you. And it’s also OK to not expect to be defined by that. It’s OK to be powerful in every way: to be big, to take up space. To breathe and thrive.”

Her younger self: “I didn’t have many opportunities to chill and waste time. I was working all the time, and I was getting a little cuckoo… I do feel like I’ve gotten younger as I’ve aged. It’s a very young mistake to assume that life is very serious. I get the joke now.”

She gives her son manicures: “I got swag from a pre-Emmy party, and it was a bunch of Essie nail polishes. Cyrus discovered them, so then I started trying to paint Cyrus’s nails… and it was really hard. They’re really small nails. But I suddenly had a new, deep respect for manicurists.”

She’s an obsessive plucker: “Pluck my eyebrows. I love plucking. I’m quite fastidious about that. I get very anxious when there’s a rogue hair.”

[From Allure & People Mag]

I too am an obsessive eyebrow plucker. The bushy eyebrow/Scouse brow trend drives me crazy. Even as I’m sitting here right now, thinking about eyebrows, I can feel my anxiety creep in that I’ve got some rogue hairs going AWOL from the brows. TIGHTEN UP! I also like what she says about body criticism and women feeling that they can’t or shouldn’t take up too much space. And I enjoy the “eyes or lips” thing. I’ve never really thought about it like that, although I don’t know as much about makeup as CB. When I used to wear makeup, I would choose eyes over lips just as a default.

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Photos courtesy of ALLURE.

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18 Responses to “Claire Danes: ‘It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I agree with the eyes or lips philosophy as long as you don’t take it to the extreme, such as a dark red lip and completely bare eyes. I think that looks contrived. But I agree that if you’re going heavy on one, you should lighten up the other. I tend to go light on both these days, but I like drama on other people.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. I’ve also always followed the same sort of philosophy with jewelry (when I actually wore it) — necklace or earrings but never both together.

      • SamiHami says:

        I remember reading about Gracie Allen (for the youngsters on the board, she was married to George Burns. If you don’t know who George Burns was, you really should look him up. He was fantastic.) She said that when she was getting ready to go out for the evening she would get herself all fixed up, then as she was leaving she would check her appearance in the mirror one last time…and always took off one piece of jewelry. That way, she reasoned, she won’t have overdone it.

    • Sixer says:

      Whereas, I am the girl whose mascara has solidified in the tube because it was only used once and who does not even possess a lipstick! Teehee.

      On a serious note, I like what she said: “I am attractive enough”. That is such a cool way of putting it. Much better than all that “we’re all beautiful on the inside” guff (even though we are).

    • perplexed says:

      I always choose lips, simply because I have no idea how to do my eyes. That can go very, very wrong….

      Lipstick is much harder to get wrong.

  2. Locke Lamora says:

    I thought that was an universally known “rule” – you choose eyes or lips?

  3. MelissaManifesto says:

    I am all about eyes or lips too, I don’t think it is a general rule now (it doesn’t have to be) given the extreme contouring and heavy makeup trends that I have seen on Youtube and Instagram. but I prefer neutral, light, barely there makeup because I have allergies and quite frankly my skin looks better. But I love lipstick, so I rarely do eyes, but when I do, lips are as bare as possible.

    I’m sort of meh on Claire Danes too, I haven’t watched Homeland except for the first episode couple of weeks ago, so I cannot understand what the fuss is about for some, but maybe one day I’ll check it out

  4. Esmom says:

    I like what she says here about body criticism, very grounded and healthy. I also get what she means about lightening up as you get older.

    Allure does a great job with its celeb subjects, imo, other than her lipstick being a bit too dark for my taste right now, this is the best I’ve seen her look in a long time.

  5. saywhatwhen says:

    Plucking! Would that eyebrow hair was my most worrisome problem as far as hair is concerned. Have to be shaving my beard at least twice per week or I will start to look like Leo Di Caprio.

    Happy to have permission to be vain and superficial in a while, thank you Ms. Claire…don’t know why must be given the side-eye by the other mothers for rocking perfume, my mini-skirt and a full mouth of lipstick on the school run.

  6. BendyWindy says:

    I was surprised to see her guest appearance in Master of None (Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show). She was really good, though, and the entire show is awesome.

    • Lou says:

      Yeah it was great, i was surprised to see her pop up. I thought it was an interesting role for her to take as it discussed cheating in a fair way. It gave both sides of the story instead of just immediately spewing hate and judgement. It’s a very smart show and Aziz is adorable

  7. Talie says:

    She and January Jones should play sisters.

  8. Naddie says:

    When she says it’s ok to work as being attractive, I realize how everything in life should be dosed. Being attractive is a demand for women since the stone age, still we’re always on the tightrope in order to not become too absorbed with that, as we already are.

  9. anna says:

    “It’s just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively.“
    totally agree! it makes me angry when men are so comfortable taking up enormous amounts of space whether in the train or in a conversation- and women always watch out not to be in somebodys way. not to speak too much, not to weigh too much- claire is right, it’s essentially the same thing.

  10. S says:

    I. Want. That. Lipstick.

  11. As I sit here and type with my face on I realize that I like to do eye and lip BUT WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE lip over eye any day. Honestly I keep some ruby woo mac lipstick in my car and purse and draw at work…. a red or dark lip looks polished even when your eyebrows are cray and you have no makeup on or a blemish….

    but honestly i do agree in some capacity I would never do a lip and then then a crazy dragalicious eye (although I always say that I’m a drag queen trapped in a petite woman’s body)…. just muted or simple eye and dramatic lip or dramatic eye and subtle lip…. so i guess the same

  12. 7-11's Hostage says:

    “I’m very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I’m not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I’m playing a character. I have plenty of vanity in my life. I want to look pretty in the world. But I can be this bottomless pit.”

    I, too, ugly-cry. Wow, it’s like we’re the same person! *eyeroll* Something else that’s *so* coincidental: I once told my ex-husband that he was a “bottomless pit of need.” It’s like this person has access to my history, or something.

    Ugh. I can’t stand any of these so-called re-enactments. Go. Away. For good.