With a sto­ried ca­reer and an Academy Award for I, Tonya, AL­LI­SON JAN­NEY doesn’t need a cos­tume to get into char­ac­ter. Just a swim­suit

InStyle (USA) - - Directory - by LAURA BROWN pho­tographed by ALEXAN­DER NEU­MANN styled by AN­DREAS KOKKINO

Al­li­son Jan­ney high-kicks ag­ing and body-im­age in­se­cu­ri­ties to the curb

LAURA BROWN: Let’s get right to it: Your legs kill me! Are both your par­ents tall? AL­LI­SON JAN­NEY: “Jerv” Jan­ney—jervis Jan­ney—is tall. He’s 6 foot 1 or 2. My mom was tall; some peo­ple shrink when they get older, I’m told. She was around 5 foot 9. But she was a dancer, and she was known for her legs. She used to be an ac­tress and got a re­view that was specif­i­cally fo­cused on her beau­ti­ful legs. It was amaz­ing. LB: So you got their height. How tall are you? AJ: Six feet. I got my fa­ther’s legs but some of my mother’s shape. I def­i­nitely think my legs are bet­ter-look­ing than my fa­ther’s. [ laughs] LB: If you had a man’s legs, that could be a chal­lenge, but you would have good calf def­i­ni­tion. A bit hairy, though. AJ: I didn’t get my mother’s hair. God, my mother had beau­ti­ful, thick hair. I have a head full of hair ex­ten­sions. Years of blow-dry­ing and col­or­ing and dye­ing, it’s just fluff. So I choose to help fill out my [ hair]. I’m not afraid to ad­mit that. LB: Put a lit­tle in­fra­struc­ture in there and call it a day. AJ: I have a wig fetish. Even be­fore I was known as an ac­tress in New York, when I started do­ing theater there, I would go to the gro­cery store with dif­fer­ent wigs on for fun. I loved it. I’m try­ing to re­mem­ber all the char­ac­ters I used to play. Mostly ac­cents, Long Is­land or Brook­lyn or French. I loved buy­ing hair, ex­per­i­ment­ing with it. It was some­thing to amuse my­self with when I wasn’t get­ting work as an ac­tress [ laughs]. Now it helps you in the trailer in the morn­ing—wigs cut prepa­ra­tion time. Bon­nie Plun­kett [ her Emmy Award–win­ning char­ac­ter] in mom has a full-on wig. LB: Can you re­mem­ber the first beauty look you tried that ei­ther worked—or re­ally didn’t? AJ: A perm. That was tragic. My hair was al­ready nat­u­rally curly. But ev­ery­one was do­ing it, so I was like, “I need more curl.” I had to have been 16, 17. I also dyed my hair plat­inum blond for a movie with Stan­ley Tucci [ Big Night], and all my hair fell out. It was over bleached—it would rip—so I just cut it off. LB: What do you do when all your hair falls out? AJ: You wear a lot of hats and scarves. I’m al­most ready to do it again, get rid of all the ex­ten­sions and just cut my hair short and see if I can rock a Jean Se­berg look. LB: Who were your first beauty idols whenyou were younger? AJ: Lau­ren Hut­ton was my ul­ti­mate. I thought she was the most beau­ti­ful woman I’d ever seen. LB: Were you a cut-things-out-of-mag­a­zines-and-stick-them-on-the-wall girl? AJ: A huge mag­a­zine girl. I was a fash­ion­ista when I was grow­ing up in Day­ton, Ohio. I would go to the Rike’s de­part­ment store and covet Ralph Lau­ren pants. LB: What was the first pro­fes­sional photo shoot you did? AJ: I think it was for the new York Times when I was mak­ing my Broad­way début in present Laugh­ter, in ’98. They pho­tographed me at the Al­go­nquin Ho­tel wear­ing my own clothes. I was 37, 38 [she’s now 58]. It was a pretty late start. I had been in New York for a while but didn’t get a big break un­til then. LB: Amen. I al­ways think it’s best to get the break older. With The West Wing, how did you me­tab­o­lize be­ing so vis­i­ble? AJ: First of all, you’re work­ing 18 hours a day, so you don’t know what’s hap­pen­ing. The first time I came to New York [while do­ing the show], I was in the sub­way, and I was like, “Oh my god, all of a sud­den peo­ple are look­ing at me. God, I’m not gonna be able to take the sub­way any­more.” I came to my stop, I reached down to pick up my stuff, and re­al­ized my whole blouse was open. That was one of those funny mo­ments, like, “Oh, I guess I’m not that fa­mous.” LB: How much did you think about walk­ing down the street? AJ: I was more self-con­scious know­ing there could be some­one who rec­og­nized me, so I felt like I al­ways had to be on my best be­hav­ior. Not that I wasn’t nice, but some­times I just get mad and I want to tell some­one to fuck off, and I can’t. LB: Did you feel more pres­sure to be “Hol­ly­wood hot”? AJ: No. Peo­ple would come up to me, es­pe­cially dur­ing West Wing, and go, “My god, you’re so much bet­ter-look­ing in per­son.” I was like, “Thank you, ques­tion mark?” LB: What is your beauty rou­tine now? You work out quite a bit, right? AJ: Most re­cently, on lo­ca­tion, I didn’t work out one bit. I’ve got a gym in my garage and a Pi­lates trainer who comes on the week­ends, and that feels good. LB: How is your fit­ness now com­pared with when you were younger? AJ: It wasn’t a work­out so­ci­ety back then. Peo­ple went to the gym, but it wasn’t un­til I got to New York in the ’80s that the gym craze started. I did Jane Fonda’s [work­out]. But my fa­vorite way to work out is just to dance—go to a dance club and just sweat buck­ets. LB: When you were be­com­ing known, what did you feel se­cure, and in­se­cure, about? AJ: I felt in­se­cure that I would be fired, that I wouldn’t be good enough. I pre­ferred to au­di­tion be­cause I’d rather have them know they wanted me than have to go on the set and not de­liver. And I’m a lit­tle in­se­cure about my height. I know cer­tain men are threat­ened by it, or un­com­fort­able. To be in heels at an awards show—when I’m 6 foot 3 or 4—is quite a com­mit­ment to be­ing seen. You can’t hide when you’re my height. And I con­sider my­self shy. So I’ve had to deal with peo­ple as­sum­ing that I

“My fa­vorite way to work­out is just to dance—go to a dance club and just sweat buck­ets.”

feel pow­er­ful, which usu­ally is not the case. Now, hav­ing won Em­mys and an Os­car, I feel a dif­fer­ent kind of con­fi­dence when I walk onto a set. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need—that’s been a great re­sult of get­ting rec­og­nized. The bad part is, no one likes to look at them­selves in the mir­ror ev­ery day in flu­o­res­cent lights. LB: How do you not be­come ob­sessed with it? AJ: It’s hard. My big­gest inse­cu­rity is my jowls. I’m gonna do one of those thread lifts. I re­mem­ber telling my­self when i was younger, look­ing in the mir­ror and see­ing some im­per­fec­tion or wrin­kle, even in my 20s, “Just re­mem­ber this, Al­li­son. You’re look­ing at your face now and find­ing fault with it. Just stop. Be­cause you will al­ways find fault.” LB: Do you re­mem­ber your first sig­nif­i­cant wrin­kle? When you went, “Oh, shit. That’s a wrin­kle”? AJ: Oh, it was ter­ri­fy­ing. There are a lot of things I’m notic­ing as I get older. I’m try­ing to grow old grace­fully and em­brace it, but I also want to fight it and do lit­tle things here and there to help. Es­pe­cially when you’re still sin­gle. I’m not to­tally out of the game, but I’m one foot in, one foot out. I think this guy, who­ever he is, is go­ing to have to find me be­cause I’m not go­ing to find him. LB: Pro­fes­sional suc­cess—harder or eas­ier with men? AJ: I think harder. I think you be­come more in­tim­i­dat­ing. I al­ways said it takes a man who has a good re­la­tion­ship with the world, some­one who doesn’t feel threat­ened. LB: So you won all these awards. You just got nom­i­nated for an­other Emmy [for­mom]. Has there been a pal­pa­ble dif­fer­ence in roles? AJ: In some ways, yes; in some ways, no. As much as I’d love to be No. 1 on a call sheet, that hasn’t hap­pened yet. But I’m ex­cited. I’m work­ing with Hugh Jack­man in this movie Bad Ed­u­ca­tion. Hugh and I are the leads, and to­gether we em­bez­zle $11 mil­lion. LB: I al­ways think if aliens looked at Hol­ly­wood red-car­pet events, they’d be like, “What are they do­ing?” Who does the best red-car­pet pos­ing, in your opin­ion? AJ: Well, my gal [Sarah] Paul­son. She knows her shit on the car­pet. Paul­son, I think you’re beau­ti­ful, I do. Ob­vi­ously be­y­oncé is freakin’ gor­geous. Pené­lope Cruz. Char­l­ize [Theron]. Ri­hanna. LB: What do you think makes some­body beau­ti­ful? AJ: There are cer­tainly women who know how to dress and style them­selves. I could do more of that be­cause I re­ally spend most of my time in sweat­pants and want to be com­fort­able. But I also think not be­ing com­fort­able in your body makes it hard to be sexy. No mat­ter what your shape or size, if you’re com­fort­able in it, it’s so sexy and so ob­vi­ous to peo­ple. And do­ing things to help that along is valu­able. Like, I re­mem­ber do­ing this S Fac­tor pole- danc­ing class, and it did so much for me. It’s like wear­ing lacy un­der­wear. No one sees it, but you know you have it on. [ kicks a leg high] LB: Look how bendy you are! You’re pretty flex­i­ble, aren’t you? AJ: I could be a Rock­ette. n

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