version of amanda seyfried tucked into a booth at the Los Angeles restaurant Mother Wolf on Thursday evening—backed by the hum of Vanity Fair and Lancôme’s Future of Hollywood party—is miles away from the character she so convincingly inhabits in Hulu’s The Dropout. The series’s dramatization of the rise and fall of Theranos CEO elizabeth holmes presents the actor in hastily applied eyeliner with a crown of bleach-blonde flyaways, as she bluffs her way through investor meetings and lets off steam with frenetic dance interludes. By contrast, the woman polishing off a slice of thin-crust pizza is all warm candor and pristine glamour, glittering in an Elie Saab minidress and thin metal headband. There’s only one moment that offers a flicker of Holmes’s wide-eyed intensity. “I fucking sees it it,” Seyfried says, leaning in for emphasis. Her passion for crochet is real.
With two young children, a husband, and a menagerie of animals at her Catskills farm, Seyfried has eased into a bucolic phase of life. The gravitational pull there is strong enough that she famously almost turned down the role of Holmes, but it’s a boon for scammer enthusiasts that she had a quick change of heart. Still, the Oscar-nominated actress swings into Hollywood mode with unmannered ease. When she comes to the phone a few hours before Thursday’s party, Seyfried is fresh off an upcoming Vanity Fair shoot. “I was wearing this beautiful, beaded dress and I just ran and jumped in the pool,” she says of a spontaneous idea on an unseasonably warm LA day. This is how to let live on a reprieve from temperamental New York weather.
Named a Lancôme ambassador in 2019, Seyfried has become a muse for the house’s lipsticks, between the warm peach Mademoiselle Amanda (released this past December) and The Dropout‘s standard-issue uniform (L’Absolu Rouge Drama Ink in French Bisou). Is it strange to dip back into a shade she’s come to associate with a troubled tech entrepreneur? “I haven’t thought about it until now,” she admits. “I really like the blueish red that Elizabeth was wearing.” The point of differentiation is in how Seyfried wears it: sheered out like a stain—”really cool and dry and matte.” She pauses. “Great. Now I’m never going to wear it. I’m kidding! I will, always.”
Here, the actor reminisces about the green-juice era, gushes about a fellow actor’s Oscar-nominated performance (“I’m really rooting for her”), and gives a glimpse into her evening prep ahead of the Future of Hollywood party, where the eyeliner is, contrary to the Hulu billboards around town, drawn to crisp perfection.
Vanity Fair: Early-in The Dropout, an interviewer asks Elizabeth Holmes, “If you are what you eat, what are you?” Her answer from her is green juice. What would yours be these days?
Amanda Seyfried: O God. What do I eat the most? I mean, cheese is the thing that comes to mind immediately. I am cheese. I’ve eaten so much cheese already today. I can’t even tell you how much cheese I’ve just consumed—so much Manchego and haloumi.
What was your personal experience with the green-juice phenomenon? It is defined at a certain period of time.
I saw through it immediately because I was like, “That’s a lot of sugar.” It just didn’t make sense to me that you would be getting all the nutrients, and I’ve read a lot of stuff to back that up. Smoothies are something that I was doing for years on a daily basis. Even if I was on location, I’d have a Vitamix and I’d make smoothies myself. It was always celery and spinach and turmeric and a little bit of whatever I wanted, but it was never sugary. It’s really hard to find a green juice—which is, by the way, very refreshing and fun every once in a while—that’s not sugary, like more fruit than green. So I saw through that fad immediately and rebelled.
You’ve played women across the gamut of grooming, from the exceedingly glamorous Marion Davies, and then the more frayed Elizabeth Holmes. Where do you personally fall in terms of your baseline for a certain level of polish? I think so much of that is tethered to upbringing and what you were modeled as a kid.
For me, it’s exactly like that. My mom never wore makeup, and if she did, it was like old compacts that my grandmother had, or that she had bought at CVS or whatever pharmacy. I would only see her put them on when she was going to an event, which was maybe once every couple years. So it was just less is more. My mom is just so low-maintenance and it’s about her lifestyle and what her job was: she She worked at a hospital for her whole career. For me, it’s the same. I don’t wash my hair very often. My lifestyle, it’s very glamorous when I’m working—but when I’m not working, I live on a farm and that is our main residence. And so polished for me is really simple. Lips and eyes, usually, will be what I need, but I don’t like a lot of makeup. I’d rather not spend time getting ready if I can.