COURTENEY COX: She’s One of Us
STORY BY Rachel Zalis PHOTOGRAPHY BY James White
Over glasses of cabernet at the Malibu Inn, Courteney Cox and I chatted like girlfriends swapping beauty tips and revealing confessions about body image, insecurities, and red carpets regrets. During those girl time hours, what became immediately apparent was that, though she truly is one of those rare women who “has it all,” she is also just like one of us. She loves routines, can’t wait for the weekend, has friends over every Sunday for dinner, and feels most beautiful after an intense workout when her no-makeup skin is flushed. She is a woman who is envied for her career, beauty, and life, but her real, everyday appeal is that once you talk to her, she makes you feel like you’re friends.
Rachel Zalis: Was beauty something you were aware of growing up?
Courteney Cox: Beauty has always been a big part of my childhood, and my life. My mother is a very beautiful woman. She wasn’t a career woman; she’s a mother of four, and looks were really important to her. She’s always been into vitamins and creams and she’s never had any plastic surgery. She’s just aged beautifully and naturally.
RZ: What was her secret?
CC: She was just kind of obsessed with it, always trying new things. My dad was into looks as well, so I grew up with a family that cared about that a lot. You think that Hollywood is tough? Well [laughs], it was pretty tough in my own family.
RZ: How did that affect you?
CC: Because looks were so important to me as a kid, I’m very insecure about them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for everything that God gave me but, but I’m hyper aware of it. Sometimes I can see myself in a photo and say, “Oh, that’s great lighting. Everyone who put me together did a great job.” But it’s very hard for me to be comfortable with my appearance.
RZ: Do you ever feel beautiful?
CC: Well, I have this makeup mirror in my house that literally has 30 lights all the way up on the side and the top and around. You really can’t look bad in that mirror. [Laughs.] It just blows out any wrinkles and makes me glow. But I mostly feel the best after I’ve worked out, when I have no make- up on, and my skin is flushed.
RZ:There’s something about that natural, healthy look that men are drawn to.
CC: Yes, I think that guys like girls with less makeup.
RZ: That’s why I rarely wear red lips!
CC: I used to love to wear red lipstick. That, and I would fill in my eyebrows and nothing else. I don’t know if I can do that anymore, you know? Things change so much as you get older.
RZ: What else have you changed since getting older?
CC: I used to smoke cigarettes. I loved smoking! I quit when I was thirty-four, and can’t believe how hard that was.
RZ: How did you quit?
CC: I went to this guy in Boston, Yefim Shubentsov. He’s known as the “Mad Russian,” and he hypnotized me. I was like, “Really, that was it? Now I don’ want to smoke?” But there’s something about the power of our minds.
RZ: What is your biggest fear about aging?
CC: My biggest fear is that it catches up to you so quickly. It’s almost like you wake up and you’ve changed. You can be rocking along in your life, and then it just happens. I was just with my mom in the Bahamas and I got mad at her for not going swimming in the ocean. I forget that she’s 78 years old, and the waves will knock her over. It just seemed so sudden.
RZ: You’ve been very upfront about having Botox, unlike most other actresses. Is it important to be honest?
CC: I’m probably too honest. I can’t not tell the truth. I’d prefer to be able to keep some things secret in my life, but that’s just not who I am. You know what, I’m game for anything. I’m very open to trying to prolong the inevitable.
RZ: What else have you tried?
CC: I am a big laser believer. I really think they are the wave of the future. I just did Ulthera, which is supposed to produce collagen. And I’m about to do Fraxel, which will get rid of all these brown spots on my arms, chest, and face. I’m hoping this stuff works, because it sure would be great if that were all we had to do.
RZ: You have pretty flawless skin. What do you use?
CC: I have the most amazing facialist, Mila Moursi, and I can’t live without her products. I use her cleanser and all of her creams [oxygen, anti- wrinkle, and firming]. I just mix them all together and layer them on top of one of her serums [lifting or rejuvenating].
RZ: What makeup are you obsessed with?
CC: I’m obsessed with Edward Bess mascara, Laura Mercier under eye cover and tinted moisturizer, and sometimes I use Too FAced beauty balm. I also love Stila cream blush and Nars lipsticks. I’m big on fill- ing in brows, so I love Anastasia eyebrow pencils. They’re long and thin and so easy to draw with.
RZ: You’re also known for your incredible hair, and you are a spokesperson for Pantene. What’s your secret?
CC: I love Pantene, and I really use it. I’ve been pretty lucky because I have thick hair, but I didn’t realize that as you age and go grey, it gets thinner and starts breaking. When I’m working, I have to use a lot of styling tools—there’s always some- thing hot plugged in—so when I’m not working, I don’t even brush it. I just literally take a shower, use a conditioner, towel-dry it, and that’s it. I think that helps keep it thick and healthy.
RZ: You have an adorable 8-year old daughter, Coco. Is she also interested in beauty?
CC: Oh my God, she is really a girl’s girl. She’s so into makeup. She will literally get into the bath for about two hours, watch television, put on creams, and have her own spa day.
RZ: What beauty advice have you given her?
CC: I taught her that one of the most important things you can do is to wash your face. Your skin has to breathe. It’s so easy to take your makeup off if you have a hot towel caddy. I take a towel, put it in water, put five to ten drops of neroli oil on it, and then ring it out so it still has water in it. Then I roll it up and put it on the caddy to get warm. When I come home, I just use this with my cleanser.
RZ: I definitely need one of those! What else do you do on a daily basis that is important for beauty and anti-aging?
CC: I would say moisturizing and drinking water, and I don’t drink near enough. I’m on this kick where I’m going to try to drink sixty-four ounces a day. It’s so hard. I can get the first thirty-two down, no problem. That second bottle is tough, but when I do, I feel different.
RZ: Would you say sex is anti-aging?
CC: Yeah, I think sleep, drinking water, washing your skin, and sex. That would go in there, sure.
RZ: Diet also plays a big part in the process. What do you typically eat?
CC: Luckily, some of my favorite foods in the world are vegetables. I just love kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus. Anything green I crave. I also eat a lot of protein like steak, chicken, and some fish like tilapia. Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta and potatoes and every now and then I’ll eat sweet potato fries, but right now, I’m on a really no-carb thing. After Thanksgiving, it was pretty intense.
RZ: What is your workout routine?
CC: I do Pilates three times a week with an amazing teacher, Jessica McTighe. I’m also into walking, then running. I walk for a minute, then I run for a minute. I try to do that for 30 minutes, three times a week. For toning, I like to use those bands and walk across the floor sideways and then front. I also play tennis on Sundays. It’s just a bummer that you can’t bank workouts. When I’m off for two weeks, I’ll be really consistent and I’m like, “Wow, my body’s looking much better.” But then all of the sudden, I can’t work out for two weeks and go from scratch.
RZ: Do you feel like you’ve upped your workouts since being single again?
CC: [Laughs] No, but maybe I should.
RZ: You’re obviously a busy woman. What de-stresses you?
CC: Saturdays de-stress me a lot. I kind of have a routine that I love. In the morning, I hang out with Coco, and this chef comes and makes us the most amazing food. After that, I get a massage and my nails done. Sundays are great, too. I play tennis and then I always have people over. It’s been this way for about 15, 20 years. It’s just what I do. Sometimes it can be stressful, though, because I’ve either overinvited or I didn’t invite enough, or I have too much food, or I forgot who doesn’t like who. I’m kind of a people pleaser, and I want everyone to get along.
RZ: How much pressure do you feel being an actress and living in LA?
CC: It’s just living here. There are so many beautiful people and there’s so much pressure you put on yourself, but David’s always said to me, “You’ve got to accept we’re all going to age and just do it gracefully. And the sooner you accept, the easier your life is.”
RZ: What are some of your favorite red carpet moments?
CC: My favorite red carpet moment that I’ve ever had was when I was nominated for a Golden Globe. I was wearing a really tight and beautiful Victoria Beckham dress. Genevieve Kerr did my makeup and Chris McMillan did my hair. It literally was one of those days where Chris goes, “OK, I’m going to Jen’s house, I’ll be back.” He literally came and just put in two clips and that was it. Gorgeous. I was also Tracy Anderson Method-ed out. I remember it was raining, and David was really sweet. He was holding an umbrella for me. That was a good time.
RZ: How has your style evolved over the years?
CC: I say, wear whatever looks good. I don’t care what age. If my legs looked good enough to wear a mini skirt without leggings, I would be doing that, but they don’t. So I just dress in whatever makes me feel the most confident.
RZ: Any red carpet regrets?
CC: One time I went to an event and I had my hair and makeup done. My hair was too big, I was wear- ing red lips and I think I had too much eye makeup. I looked over and saw Lynda Carter, who was prob- ably much older than me and she had red lipstick on and the dark hair and I went, “Oh my God.” She looked about ten years younger than I did.
RZ: I always thought Lynda Carter was so gorgeous! Who are some of your beauty icons?
CC: I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep—her skin is amazing—and Sophia Loren. Sophia Loren is just so gorgeous and sexy and exotic. I wish I looked more like that, but I don’t have an exotic bone in my body. When I was younger, I had really long hair and I wanted to look like I was Indian. There’s some- thing about not being from here, almost like you have a European look.
RZ: One of mine is Helen Mirren. She is 67 and has more sex appeal in one eyelash than most young actresses today.
CC: She is so sexy. You know when people say you get better with age? That’s the perfect example. She’s just a bad-ass in every way. She could rival the most gorgeous thirty-year-old. She’s just so confident, and—let’s face it—it’s always about confidence.
RZ: On that note, Cougar Town is coming back on TBS. What can you tell us?
CC: I’m excited. I think the show is even better, and we seem to have more freedom and support. I also directed five out of the 15 episodes this season and I loved it. I’m a little OCD, so it couldn’t be a better job for me.
RZ: It seems like a lot of the most popular shows these days are starring women in their 40s and 50s. To what do you attribute that?
CC: I feel like no one really looks their age anymore. I started doing this when I was. . . How old was I on Friends? 29? So I just think that we got lucky in our careers lasting longer than they could. It doesn’t feel like resurgence as much as it does longevity.
RZ: Have you enjoyed your forties?
CC: I have, but I’m not going to be in my 40s for long. That’s the thing I forget about.
RZ: How do you feel about turning 50?
CC: Oh, that’s going to be brutal. I’m not that interested in that! That sounds different; feels different. I think the fact that there’s a certain age that we can’t have kids anymore is hard. My doctor told me today that he just delivered a baby and the woman was 48. That’s awesome, but it’s rare. It’s a miracle, you know?