During the bright, sparkly, sunny days of June there is an unwritten law that you must take at least one day off—a vacation from the everyday routine of daily life, even if you don’t go anywhere.
Today is not that day for 33-year-old Claire Holt, and all signs point to the fact that it may not be the season either.
When we speak, the mom-of-two is patiently dealing with a chatty toddler (“I thought I’d stick him in front of the iPad but, apparently, he’s not interested”); gearing up for the release of her big summer film project, Untitled Horror Movie (a not-so-standard side note: she had to light herself, record her own sound and do her own hair and makeup for shooting); excitedly awaiting the launch of a limited-edition collection with swimwear brand Andie (she helped design it); and just announced that she’s an investor in Fig. 1, a new direct-to-consumer skin-care line that puts “extra consideration on chemistry” (a legit claim, as the founders consist of a Harvard dermatologist and a cosmetic chemist).
Why a beauty line?
“It wasn’t something I ever planned to get into. I’ve always been obsessed with skin care, all the tricks to stay youthful [laughs], all the anti-aging tips and all those things. But I never had a plan to get involved with something like a skin-care line.
A friend connected me with one of the founders of the company. We had a Zoom and I was incredibly impressed with her. Their mission was just so aligned with how I care for my skin and what I care about. They sent me the products, I tried them and, immediately, I was obsessive. I was a stage-five clinger begging them to let me invest in the company. I just found the products so, so effective—like nothing I’ve ever used before.
You never really know when you’re having these conversations. People can wax poetic about their brands, and they can make you really excited about them, but until you try them yourself, you never really know. I found it to be so effective for my skin from the second I used it. It was something that I had to be involved in.”
It’s pretty legit that one of the founders is a cosmetic chemist and the other is a dermatologist.
“That was something that I was so excited about as well. She looks like she’s 12 years old, which is, of course, a testament to how she treats her skin. It’s just so effective. The thing that I love the most is it’s at an attainable price point. You can find these products that cost hundreds of dollars and they work—and they work really well—but that’s not accessible for the majority of people. I love that about Fig. 1.”
You’re from Australia. Is there anything beauty-wise that you think we’d be surprised to hear as Americans that was a big part of your routine growing up?
“One thing that I wish I did more of—and now it’s so much a part of my routine—is sunscreen. The sun is so strong in Australia and my parents were always hounding me about wearing it, and I was always, ‘Oh no. I don’t need that!’ Of course, you’re 15 years old and you don’t think you’re ever going to age, but it’s something that, when growing up in Australia was so, so important. Now, I really see the effects of it. I will not leave the house—I will not leave my bedroom in the morning—without wearing sunscreen.”
Care to share any favorites?
“It’s really been a mixture lately. I pile 15 different sunscreens on top of each other because, when I was pregnant, I had really bad melasma. And it gets so much worse in the sun. I figured more sunscreen is better, so I mix a regular sunscreen, a chemical sunscreen and a mineral sunscreen. I’m all about the mixing. I’m sure it’s probably terrible for my skin—I’m sure it clogs up all my pores and everything—but I just pile on a million different sunscreens on top of each other.”
You also have a swimwear line coming out—and confidence post-baby is a big message behind it.
“Yes! Again, it was one of those situations where I had a Zoom with the founder and a lot of the members of the company. I just really loved how they spoke about women, what they wanted to deliver, the kind of products they were building and how they wanted women to feel.
As someone who’s had two babies in two years, I’ve been through the wringer in terms of body image. I’ve seen my body drastically change twice now. I gained 40 pounds in my first pregnancy, 37 my second. That’s a lot of weight over the course of two years.
As miraculous as it is to see your body change and grow, it’s also a real adjustment once you’ve given birth. You have to learn to love this body that you’re in…you have to learn to embrace it. That’s something that I’ve really been working over the past two years. I never thought I would have the confidence to be able to design and then show the world my body in a swimsuit.
The company is really the perfect partner to me because they care so much about comfort and self-acceptance and just feeling good in the skin that you’re in.
At the start, I just kind of thought, ‘This will be really fun. I love this company. I’ve never done this before. It’s an exciting new venture for me.’ But it became so much more as I delved into it—as I got more into it, the more I loved it and the more excited I was. I’m so invested in this line. Again, I’m probably a little obsessive, hounding them with emails and trying to be involved in every single step of the way, but I’m really proud of it. I’m really excited for people to see it. I’m going to be modeling their collection so I’m going to be showing everyone my postpartum body and the wrinkly skin that’s there. I want to embrace it and show the world who I am after these two babies.”
You’ve hinted to it already, but how has it been this past year being at home and doing everything with two young children?
“It’s been tough. It’s the greatest thing that you’ll ever do in your entire life—it’s really the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. That’s not to say it’s easy. Giving birth during a pandemic was really tough. It was scary. None of us knew at the beginning how this virus was going to affect anyone. I didn’t know how it was going to affect me or my family or my unborn baby.
It was also an amazing time for me to bond with my family. My favorite thing about is I didn’t miss my son’s first steps, I didn’t miss my daughter crawling for the first time, I didn’t miss any first words. I was there for everything, and that was a really, really beautiful part of this journey. There were amazing moments, and there were scary moments, and there were hard moments, and going through postpartum as well in a pandemic, that was really tough.
It was amazing. My baby, Elle, my daughter, she was born in September, and it was a really special time for me. It was actually really interesting because I got to work on this film six months pregnant, in the middle of a pandemic, and I shot it from home. That’s the crazy part about this film that we made together.”
How was the process for that? I heard it was a “true quarantine–shot film” where you had not met the rest of the cast or crew before.
“Yes. None of the cast, well, I had known Luke, who was the writer, and also my fellow cast-mate, I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s been one of my oldest, dearest friends. We’re both Australians, although we met in LA. He called me one day, and I was not doing much aside from growing a baby and running around after my dog.
He said, ‘I have this idea. It’s really crazy. I won’t be offended if you think it’s terrible. You can say no, but will you read this script that I wrote? I really want to film it during the pandemic, and I think we have a shot.’ I was like, “Okay, for sure.” To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know he is a phenomenal writer, and Nick, the director is amazing, but I was very much, ‘How are we possibly going to be able to do this?
Then, I read it and immediately called Luke back and said, ‘I have to be involved. I’ll do whatever you want. This is so funny, and so cool, and really original, and it’ll either be great or a disaster, but I’m on board, and I’m ready to do it with you,’ and that’s how it started…”