Cyn­thia Erivo

The Stock­well-born, Nyc-based singer and ac­tress talks epic meal prep and train­ing as hard as a stunt­woman

Women's Health (UK) - - BEST BODY -


I’m in the gym (Dog­pound in Lower Man­hat­tan) five or six times a week. I hate sprints, but they do work. So I’ll blast Janelle Monáe’s Dir­ty­com­puter al­bum and be­gin my 30-minute run­ning ses­sion. I’ll do a five-minute warm-up, then 60 sec­onds on, 30 sec­onds off, 10 times, be­fore run­ning out the rest of the half hour. Then I’ll keep up the in­ten­sity with a skip­ping rope be­fore hitting the mat. My favourite new move is the di­ve­bomber press-up – 10 of those and I’m burn­ing.


Bad­time­satthe El­royale is my first lead role – and it’s full on. Ev­ery­thing you see in the movie is me. The per­son run­ning through the rain in her bare feet? That’s me. All the singing is done live on set and in the fight scene there’s no stunt dou­ble. I got very ex­cited when one of the badass stunt­women on set said, ‘This is pretty cool.’ Stunt­women are no-bull­shit, so I knew she wasn’t just say­ing it.


I fol­low a ve­gan/ veg­e­tar­ian diet – less be­cause of the ethics and more be­cause over the years I’ve learnt to lis­ten to my body and that’s what it needs. I work out fasted in the morn­ing, fol­lowed by some­thing like chia pud­ding with nuts and co­conut yo­ghurt. Then I’ll just make do with sparkling wa­ter un­til lunch, where I’ll eat a mash made from eas­ily di­gestible veg­eta­bles, like butternut squash, cau­li­flower and broc­coli, topped with ve­gan meat­balls. My favourite din­ner is a veg-packed Viet­namese pho.


Eat­ing healthily on set is hard, mainly be­cause of the snack ta­ble full of sweets, bis­cuits, crisps – not the best for sus­tain­ing my en­ergy lev­els over hours of film­ing. So now, be­fore shoot­ing starts, I’ll go out and shop for a month so I know that I have ev­ery­thing I need in my house. I’ll box up meals and snacks in Tup­per­ware and then I’m all set. I’ll only have those gummy bears if I re­ally want them.


Feli­cia Ben­ton (@thisthat­beauty) has helped me get my skin in bal­ance. Over a Face­time con­sul­ta­tion, she told me to stop over-wash­ing my face and use an oil cleanser. I thought it would make my skin oilier, but she ex­plained that my face seemed greasy in the af­ter­noons be­cause it wasn’t hy­drated enough. She in­tro­duced me to SK-II Fa­cial Treat­ment Essence (£74, Net-a-porter), which is my ul­ti­mate hy­dra­tor. I’m fi­nally in con­trol of my skin.


When I was first start­ing out, the only foun­da­tion I could find to match my skin tone was by MAC, but it was a bit too heavy for my skin. Now I go for Nars Sheer Glow Foun­da­tion (£33, John Lewis), which is re­ally lovely. And Ri­hanna’s Fenty Beauty col­lec­tion has some won­der­ful high­lighters that work with the tone of my skin. I love get­ting dressed up – and now find­ing the right make-up is ac­tu­ally fun.


Morn­ing med­i­ta­tion is es­sen­tial when ev­ery­thing feels su­per busy and I can’t seem to cen­tre my­self. I don’t use an app, and I don’t need to be in a cer­tain space to do it. For me, med­i­ta­tion means tak­ing the time not to speak, to just go into my­self and fo­cus on where I am right now. I can do it in the shower or when I’m in a cab on the way to work. Even when I’m run­ning.


In 2016, I ran the New York City Half Marathon in the morn­ing, be­fore do­ing a mat­inée and evening per­for­mance of The­col­or­pur­ple [the mu­si­cal based on the Alice Walker novel, for which Erivo won a Tony award]. At the time, it just made sense. I knew that if I fin­ished close to one hour and 47 min­utes, I’d be done by 9am – plenty of time, I fig­ured, to rest and get ready be­fore my 11am call time. By the end of the se­cond show, I felt ex­hausted but great – I’d got through it! My knees on the other hand...

Look out for Cyn­thia in au­tumn re­leases Bad Times At The El Royale (out 12 Oc­to­ber) and Wid­ows (out 9 Novem­ber)

Age: 31 Job: Ac­tress and singer-song­writer Fit­ness MO: Run­ning sprints Wind-down se­cret: Morn­ing med­i­ta­tion STATS

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