Hype Chat: Cynthia Erivo Talks ‘Widows,’ Going From Broadway To The Big Screen & Not Hiding Behind Her Hair

HH: Can you share a little about your natural hair journey and how your hair plays a role in the way you express yourself as an artist?
CE: 
I feel like people now know me for the little mini blonde afro. It’s sort of the thing that stuck a long time ago. When I was younger, my hair was much longer than it is right now. I cut it when I left drama school, because I felt like I was spending a lot of time on it and spending a lot of time hiding behind it.

I wanted people to see my face. I wanted to give myself the opportunity to not hide behind my hair. So, I feel like this little afro I keep is a part of me and a part of the package of Cynthia, and the blonde is just an expression of how much fun I want to have.

HH: A lot of women are opting for “the big chop” these days. What was your experience like when you decided to go for it?
CE:
When I cut it, it was like rediscovering what my hair was. From the moment I decided I wanted to get my hair chopped, I think my hairdresser was more scared of cutting my hair than I was, because it was really long. She was like, “Are you sure you want to cut all this off?” I was very sure, and she still wouldn’t cut all of it off. She kept bangs in the front. So I went back two days later and said, “I need it gone. Cut it all off. I don’t need it. I’m good.” I guess I was ready to make a change and see something new. I kept going back and cutting it shorter and shorter. The first time I did it, I had a relaxer and it would lay flat, but then I just stopped relaxing it altogether and have kept it short for a while now.


HH: We love how you have so much fun with your brush cut by playing with color. How often do you get it colored?
CE: 
I think I get my hair colored maybe every six weeks if that; sometimes longer. When the roots come through, I don’t mind it not being completely blonde all the time. So some days it’s ombré, other days it’s platinum, then other days, when I cut it off completely, it’s almost like a [dark brown/black]. I’m so easygoing about the way I style my hair that whatever I’m feeling on that day tends to be what happens.

HH: What products do you use to keep your hair healthy between salon visits?
CE:
 I use Vernon Francois’ hair line. He has a leave-in conditioner that’s amazing! I use a lot of his products and SheaMoisture.

HH: What are some of your beauty and skin-care favorites?
CE: 
Felicia [Walker] introduced me to a lot of the products that I use now. My skin tends to be dehydrated; when I’m performing, I use makeup and cleaning it off strips the skin of its moisture. So I mainly use Drunk Elephant or Olay Daily Facial. It’s a soap wash that doesn’t strip your skin of anything, which means that I don’t end up taking off any hydration. I use Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair—the eye cream and the serum, at night.

In the morning, I use Fresh Rose. Anything with rose in it is really hydrating. I use a bunch of different things by Urban Skin Rx because it’s really good for our skin. SK-II is great too, for just a refresh and rehydration, and I use a number of different face masks when I need an extra boost.

HH: We hear you’re big into fitness. What are some of the health and wellness things you practice in your daily life to maintain balance and keep up with your busy schedule?
CE:
I go to the gym every other day or every day of the week except for Sunday, and I make sure I eat really well. That’s important to me, to make sure I’m filling my body with things that will actually take care of my body. I practice a vegetarian lifestyle, although there are times when I need more protein, so I will consume fish from time to time, but that’s very rarely.  I realized my body doesn’t really process meat well, so I just stay away.

I keep hydrated. That’s the main thing. Keep hydrated and keep happy. I meditate. I jump rope because it’s an easy thing to take with me. It means I don’t have an excuse. So if I don’t work out, it’s because I literally don’t want to work out, not because I can’t. If I can’t work out, I always know there’s a difference between can’t and won’t. There are days when I don’t want to, so I won’t.

HH: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
CE:
 I think everyone should be confident in the skin they’re in—and if there is anything that you can do to make that possible, do it. I’ve been learning that for a while, and I’ve got to a place where I feel like I’m confident in my body and in my skin and comfortable in it. That has taken some work, but once it happens, it’s kind of exhilarating. So, I wish that for everyone else.

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