Our love for Keri Russell goes way back to Felicity, but these days we’re even more smitten with the actress thanks to her role as undercover KGB spy Elizabeth Jennings in the FX period drama The Americans. The intelligent blend of intrigue, relationship drama, and, of course, ’80s spy disguises, is completely riveting, and it’s only getting better as this season’s provocative and compelling story lines have shown.
Between filming and press events for the show, Russell took time to chat with us and share some behind-the-scenes dish. From John Denver wigs and “kitten language” to the skin-saving products she relies on and her love of Taylor Swift, read on to get the scoop. Be warned: You’re going to love her even more than you already do — something we didn’t even think was possible.
Are we in for some cool disguise surprises during this new season of The Americans?
“Yes, more disguises are to come in the third season. More bad, asexual John Denver wigs on me and more Clark for Matthew Rhys. We do a punk couple this season — I particularly like that. We’ve named them Sid and Nancy. It’s always fun and bizarre and humiliating and helpful in the scenes.”
In your real life, is there a super spy power you would like to have?
“Being in more than one place at a time. Because, a lot of times I’d like to be at drinks with my girlfriends rather than shooting in Staten Island at 2 a.m. in an ice storm.”
Filming in the NYC cold, plus tons of makeup applications, must be hard on your skin. What products have been essential for you?
“You name it! I’ll try it! Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, La Mer, emu oil, ANY oil, Astara moisturizing cream, Dr. Hauschka Rose Cream — pile it on!”
If you could bring only 5 products with you on a trip, what would they be?
Well, that depends on the trip! But, I’d say Dr. Hauschka Rose Cream, Chanel undereye concealer, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, and Aesop deodorant — I love the smell! And, a lipstick. Depends on my mood, but Dragon Girl by NARS is a classic.”
Lately you’ve been smoothing out your natural curls with keratin treatments. How are you liking that?
“The ‘fro is always there — it never really leaves. It’s just a quick shower away. Yes, I get the keratin now; it’s just easier. I like the option of having it a bit wavier rather than kinky curly. But, come summertime beach and pool weather, the ‘fro is usually in full, wild effect.”
Do you have beauty or fitness philosophies you try to live by?
“I have about 35 things I WISH I did, like wash my face at night and not drink caffeine and sleep eight hours every night. But, realistically, those things do not happen. Mostly the thing I squeeze into my day in times of stress or not, is a dance around my room to fun music. I instantly feel better. These days, Taylor Swift.”
Do you have a beauty or style icon who inspires you?
“I’d say some cross between Amelia Earhart, Katherine Hepburn, and Charlotte Rampling. A great mix of adventurous, handsome, smart, and sexy qualities.”
Is there any advice you would give your younger self?
What are you obsessing over right now?
“My 3-year-old daughter’s crazy language. Mostly English, but really her own made-up language and words and expressions. The other day after a nightmare she said, ‘the monsters are behind my eyes. Every time I close them, I can’t get the monsters away.’ Although, today it was strictly kitten language — a whole snowy day of communication in meows.”