From the best friend in Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce to the mom in Euphoria and a long list of other notable roles before, in-between and after (she just appeared in the current season of The Flight Attendant, and it’s recently been announced she’ll star in Seth MacFarlane’s Ted series) Alanna Ubach is hardly an actress who is typecast—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“As a character actor, looks really aren’t your first priority when you are working, which is fortunate and unfortunate,” she laughs when asked to list some key beauty takeaways from her varied career. “I don’t really have to worry about all that, because I’m never a lead in any of the projects I’m in! I always play the best friend, the next-door neighbor, the mom…and, for those roles, when you’re in hair and makeup, they do everything they can to make you look like a character—without beauty in mind.”
But don’t discount the 46-year-old as not being interested in beauty: “When I’m not working, I do whatever I can to make sure my skin is nice and supple, so that they can put all of the prosthetics, and whatever else they have to do, on. When am working, my skin and my hair really take a toll. From the curling irons to whatever false eyelashes you’re wearing—and sometimes you’re wearing them for 14 hours—it all takes a bit of a beating. So I’m all about giving my skin and hair time to breathe and be themselves [laughs] when I’m off the clock.”
What does that lineup look like?
“Sleep is the most important thing for me. I’m going to be 47, and, if I am not well-rested, it shows on my skin, it shows in my performance and it shows in my overall well-being.
I’m also addicted to GliSODin brightening supplements. They’re amazing. I’m on a birth control pill, so my skin is very, very sensitive to the sun. I’m Latina, but I can’t go out in the sun because I don’t exactly tan beautifully and evenly; I get these white splotches because of the birth control pills. I’m always the weirdo wearing the giant hat with glasses if I do attempt to lay in the sun.
What I do in order to counterbalance all that is take these brightening supplements right before bedtime—there’s even some lemon balm oil in them, which makes me sleepy. I also like taking collagen supplements. For me, supplements make a big difference. There’s also an anti-aging, antioxidant complex by GliSODin that I like to take during the day, and then Lumiday has 5-HTP in it that really is good brain food and it really helps my mood. Granted, I’m in a lot of comedies, so I cannot afford to be in a bad mood. [laughs] But when we’re working the 14-hours days, 5-HTP and St John’s wort really do help.
I’m not exactly perimenopause, but my period has been rather irregular lately. With that comes the PMS without the actual menstruation, so there’s a lot of figuring out what days are what, but I can tell when it’s about to come. I start to get weepy and then I think, ‘Okay, something’s going on here.’ It’s so true that, when you’re younger, you take your body for granted. Now that I’m older and I have a four-year-old, you do anything you can to be in tiptop shape so that you could be as healthy and vibrant as possible for a toddler.”
Do you ever have time for self-care and relaxation?
“On the daily, it’s usually all about this little toddler of mine, who has whipped my husband and I into shape as far as structure is concerned. In the morning, we’ll be up early and it’s about getting my kid ready and out the door, driving him to school, and as soon as I come back, it’s the routine of answering emails, etc.
But I do like to have a set skin-care regimen during the day for my face and then a regimen at night. I’m really excited about this new product that I just discovered; I found it online and it’s called Solvaderm. They make this Stem Cell Serum and—oh my God—it gets rid of everything! I cannot sing its praises enough. Within minutes, you’re wrinkle-free. It’s great under makeup. I love it. I’ll put that on my face right under an SPF 50 during the day, and then at night what I like to do is spray my face with Avène Eau Thermale Spring Water.”
That’s a great one for sensitive skin.
“It is great! I will spray my face with that and let it dry on its own. My skin is very, very sensitive. I was on Accutane when I was a kid; I had terrible cystic acne and I was on two rounds of Accutane, so I tend to run very dry. That spray really does wonders. Even at my age, I’m still affected by the Accutane that I took in my 20s. It’s always something, but my skin has always been my worst enemy as a teenager throughout my 20s.
There’s also something that was on Shark Tank that I discovered called Proven. It is fantastic because all you have to do is go online and it personalizes your moisturizer. That stuff is fantastic. It is so good. I went through it in like three days. I’ve been too lazy to go and order some more, but Proven is fantastic. I have to get more.”
These are some great beauty secrets. What’s your secret to getting into a character’s mind for any role you’re playing?
“Everything is personalized. It’s the school that I came from. I came from the actor studio from the Strasberg Institute. We’re all groomed and conditioned to constantly personalize. Everything is an emotional memory, and everything is a sensory memory, and every person you’re talking to is someone you know, someone you once knew, someone you miss, someone who’s passed away, your family member, etc., but it’s always personalized. I think it really does make a difference in a performance. A lot of the time when I’m watching something, I’ll say, ‘Ah, yes, that kid is not good, I can tell.’ [laughs] I tried Meisner. I tried Stella Adler and both methods bored the shit out of me, but there was something about the method training that was animalistic and raw and soulful. It turned me on—it still does.”
What are you excited for next?
“Oh gosh. Seth MacFarlane has hired me to play the mother in his new show Ted. I’m really excited. It’s going to be on Peacock. Scott Grimes plays my husband, Max Burkholder plays my son. It’s a really amazing cast. I’m so excited. It’s basically a prequel to the movie, so it takes place in the ‘90s. This is Mark Walberg as a teenage boy going to school and growing up, coming of age with this teddy bear by his side. I am beyond excited. This is probably one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on and Seth MacFarlane is such a sweetheart. One of the nicest directors I’ve ever worked with, next to Sam Levinson from Euphoria.”
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