Of all the celebrities I’ve profiled in my career, I’m positive that Alison Brie’s filmography is the one I’ve had to do the least due diligence researching. The actor is already a constant on my screens. Mad Men — coincidentally my favorite show of all time — is oft playing on an endless loop for background noise in my apartment, and I was personally offended when Netflix’s GLOW was canceled after three brief, wonderful seasons. I’ve also been relentlessly bombarded via my social feeds with targeted trailers for her newest film, Spin Me Round (in theaters August 19), which she co-wrote and stars in opposite Aubrey Plaza and Molly Shannon. You can understand, then, why I’m elated when the actor calls me up and she somehow sounds as pumped for our interview as I am.
“I love doing an interview like this because I’m so involved — always — in the hair, makeup, and wardrobe journeys of my characters. It’s one of my favorite parts of acting,” she gushes. Brie’s involvement behind the camera has only evolved in recent years — along with Spin Me Round, Brie’s co-written psychological thriller Horse Girl and the forthcoming film Somebody I Used to Know. Even when she’s not rocking period makeup or a teased-out hair-do herself, beauty is never far from the narrative.
“To me, hair and makeup is such a big part of showing the audience who a character is. It’s a visual medium,” she explains. “I’ve been really lucky to work on projects that are so character driven with really thoughtful artists working in these departments, to always make the hair and makeup process about the character’s emotional life and journey.” Here, I picked Brie’s brain for the stories behind the looks that have defined her career.
Annie Edison on Community
Brie didn’t exactly share the simple, somewhat preppy beauty ethos of tightly-wound college student Annie on the NBC comedy. “I was still figuring out my personal style, I definitely didn’t consider myself as straight-laced as Annie. I was also playing a [younger] character,” explains Brie, who was 26 when she began playing the 18-year-old. The character’s makeup and hair were also both firmly planted in 2009.
“It was all about a fresh face and bright eyes: a light — if not a white — lid with a hard line, clean lashes, and a lot of blush. That youthful glow,” Brie recounts. Annie’s hairstyle was even less performative.