Laid Bare

Straight talk from the star of Room.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar - SARAH LAING

of all the things you imag­ine you might talk about with one of the year’s most-buzzed-about young ac­tresses, the beauty of a clogged pore isn’t up there. But here we are, Brie Lar­son and I, in a ho­tel room on a gloomy day dur­ing the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (TIFF), get­ting ex­cited about break­outs.

“I ac­tu­ally get a weird rush out of it,” ex­plains 26-year-old Lar­son on how it felt to see her bare face on the big screen in the film Room, which pre­miered at TIFF. “I get ex­cited about see­ing my face with­out makeup, as big as that theatre screen is. I think it’s a beau­ti­ful thing. I could have done all the same prepa­ra­tion, but if I had done that per­for­mance wear­ing foundation, I don’t think any­body would have be­lieved a sec­ond of it.” The Cal­i­for­nia na­tive has a point: A char­ac­ter who’s meant to have been held by her kid­nap­per in a shed for years but some­how has just the right nat­u­ral flush would have made the Cana­dian film less in­die au­then­tic, more Life­time drama.

“That’s not what this movie is about, and it’s not what I’m about per­son­ally,” says Lar­son. “I’m way more in­ter­ested in ‘Let’s see our­selves!’ I’m more com­fort­able with­out makeup.” A quick raised eye­brow in­di­cates that, yes, she’s aware of the fact that we’re do­ing this in­ter­view with her in a full face of makeup, and, yes, she to­tally sees the irony. “I think this con­cept of per­fec­tion is slowly killing us,” she elab­o­rates. “I’m never go­ing to be; once you re­lease your­self from that con­fine, life is so much more fun!”

Lar­son wasn’t al­ways com­fort­able in her own skin—in fact, she says she used to be the girl who wouldn’t walk the dog with­out a full face of makeup. “Then one day I woke up and did the math,” she re­calls. “I was go­ing to lose years of my life get­ting ready for some­thing that was al­ready hap­pen­ing.”

It’s a real­iza­tion that has par­al­lels in her ca­reer: Af­ter films like 21 Jump Street and Don Jon, Lar­son has fi­nally hit her stride with Room. It’s an emo­tion­ally charged film that won crit­i­cal ac­claim at TIFF and gen­er­ated ma­jor awards talk for Lar­son’s per­for­mance. “I’m very in­ter­ested in the com­plex­i­ties in­side of us, so if I’d stuck to be­ing re­ally ob­sessed with clothes and makeup, maybe I wouldn’t have taken the time to look deeper be­cause I would be con­tour­ing for the rest of my life!”

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