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?
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?
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?
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?
 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?
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?
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?
 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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