Want to know why Aussie girls look so amazing? Fringe star Anna Torv knows the secret: low-maintenance beauty
by Diane Clehane
You’ve gotta love a straight-shooting Aussie chick. Take the latest wonder from Down Under, Anna Torv. Newfound stardom in the U.S.–she plays FBI agent Olivia Dunham on the Fox sci-fi series Fringe–hasn’t turned the actress into the kind of Master Cleansing, rabbit-food-nibbling, body-obsessed waif that’s become all too common on the small screen. In fact, she says, “To be really honest, I don’t love the gym.”
But that’s OK, because the 30-year-old actress is getting quite a workout on her new show, “running about” the set with costar Joshua Jackson as they chase down clues to government conspiracies. “There’s a lot of manhandling of bad guys, which is great fun,” she says. “I love being physical, but I don’t have any desire to prove myself. My character uses her feminine wiles, too. I’m interested in keeping that side of it real.”
Like fellow Aussie Cate Blanchett, Torv gives off a grounded vibe. Raised by a single mother in the town of Matrabar, on Australia’s Gold Coast, she spent her teenage years surfing, camping, and riding horses–whatever kept her outdoors. “My friends and I would get up early and take our horses through the national forest,” she says. “My mom was very free. It was always ‘Out of the house!’ There was no watching television on weekends.”
Since then, Torv has racked up an impressive list of acting credits. After graduating from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2001, she did Shakespeare on tour with the Sydney Theatre Company, then appeared on several TV shows in her homeland. A relative newcomer to Hollywood, Torv–who is rumored to have beaten out more than 300 hopefuls for her Fringe role–isn’t about to buy into the pressure to be perfect. “I work in an industry where everyone is flawlessly beautiful, but I just want to be healthy,” she says. “I had a fantastic mother who taught me self-confidence. I feel good about who I am.”
Torv revealed to WH the rest of her feel-good formula–including a pain-free fitness regimen, tips for winding down after a stressful day, and a homemade recipe for glowing skin.
Practice the 10-yard stare. “When I’m stressed, I go for a walk–breathing deep and taking in the horizon. That’s what Australians call a 10-yard stare. I go fast and squeeze my butt muscles as I walk. And every now and then, when I’m feeling tired, I’ll go to my dressing room and do yoga stretches to get loose. Reading is another great way to de-stress; it takes me to another world. I’m salivating to start The Gathering, by Irish novelist Anne Enright.”
Use weekends wisely. “I’m a huge camper, and love hiking and mountain biking. Since my show is filmed in New York City, I’ve been able to go to the Hudson Valley, in upstate New York, on weekends. Recently, friends and I went to Mohonk Mountain House [in New Paltz] and walked around the lake and swam. Two days of that and you feel great. I wear Blundstones for hiking. They’re like a work boot with a bit of grip, so you can wear them all day. They’re quite groovy.”
Consider the alternative. “Homeopathic medicine works for me. I never get sick. I don’t believe in taking multivitamins. Instead, I’ll swallow a capsule of garlic oil, which is a blood purifier and an antioxidant, at night. I also take zinc, as well as vitamin C, every now and then. And if I’m about to do something really physical, I’ll take magnesium. I also refer to the book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup, again and again. I am an avid believer in the idea that menstrual cycles are a natural thing and that you shouldn’t run from them. I’ve never been on the Pill.”
Feed your face. “Bad skin is the bane of my existence. One trick that makes my skin look good: Every morning, I grind fresh flaxseed, then mix it with yogurt and blueberries–all of which are good for the skin–and eat that. I’m also a fan of Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s skin-care regimen. I followed it for a few months and my skin looked beautiful. It makes sense–using omega-3 oil and foods with healthy fats to make skin supple. When it comes to skin-care products, I use Alpha-H, an Australian line made with alpha-hydroxy acids [alpha-h.com]. I’m also an advocate of microdermabrasion. In an ideal world, I’d do it every two months.”
Shun the sun. “Like a lot of Australians of Irish or Scottish descent, the people in my family have fair complexions. I spend a lot of time in the sun, but I’ve never been burned, because my mom used to slap 30-plus sunscreen on me. Now I wear it every day. When we shoot outside for the show, I wear a hat. It’s vanity: If I’m in the sun for a long time, my freckles pop up. In the ’70s it was cool to have a tan. But thanks to women like Nicole Kidman, who never bought into the tanning thing, now pale skin looks elegant.”
Go easy on the glam. “On the show, I wear Clarins Tinted Moisturizer to cover my freckles. I mix that with a heavier foundation so I can alternate between lighter and heavier coverage. I also like Max Factor Pan-Stik, which I use as a concealer, dotting it along my T-zone. I don’t love to have my freckles popping out, but I don’t like to look like I’m wearing a mask, either. Another favorite is Tarte Cheekstain: It gives me a dewy look.”
Hit the snooze button. “If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. But it’s not just about working out or eating right–it’s about knowing when to rest. I’m into energy conservation. If I have an 18-hour day ahead, I won’t get up extra early. I conserve that energy so I’ll feel strong at the end of the day. Our [filming] timetable is all over the place: Sometimes I start at four in the afternoon and work until four in the morning, so I grab a nap whenever I can.”
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