Danielle Macdonald Is the Moment

Danielle Macdonald Is the Moment featured image
Photographer: Martin Rusch | Hair: Dita Durga | Makeup: Andre Sarmiento | Location: Fair Park Studios

Fans and critics can’t seem to get enough of Danielle Macdonald. The Australian-born actress is known for her breakout role as “Patti” in Fox Searchlight’s Patti Cake$, as well as her performance opposite Jennifer Aniston in Dumplin’, and can currently be seen in Season 2 of The Tourist on Netflix. While the accolades may keep coming for the 32-year-old—who goes by “Dani” in her “regular life” and has a bit of a part-time job finding the best vegan food in L.A. with friends—no one is more surprised than she is.

How does it feel to be getting so much great press around the second season of “The Tourist?” It has to feel good to be on a show that people are so excited to watch.

It’s exciting. It’s one of those things…but it is quite bizarre, too. 

We had the first season come out a couple of years ago and it did really well in the U.K. and in Australia. Then, we did a second season, and I never thought it was really going to be seen in the U.S. or even have U.S. distribution. 

It’s quite unexpected and cool that it found an audience here, especially since the first season is very Australian, and it has British writers. The colloquialisms are there, and they’re very Australian. It’s great when a show can can go to America and people can still understand it and find joy in it. 

You never really know if the cultural barrier will be open. But it’s amazing. Then, the same with the second season, it’s very Irish. It’s cool that it’s actually appealing to other countries. That’s always a really exciting thing. I feel like we’re becoming more global as a society. It’s nice to see more pieces of work from all over the world. 

I feel like as a collective society, we kind of wait for something new to stream on a Friday.

Yes, definitely. It’s always fun talking shows.

I watched “Poker Face” for the first time last week on a flight. That was a good one, too. Can you share any other upcoming projects?

I was filming another show while that was coming out, actually. It was crazy. Any day off I had, I was like, “Oh, let’s switch gears and go back to this show!” It’s funny, as your mind is literally in two different worlds.

I just finished a show called The Last Anniversary, which was really fun. I only finished a couple of weeks ago, so I just got back to town. We shot that in Australia and it’s Australian. I’ve never done anything that’s purely Australian. Even The Tourist  had British writers and it was originally commissioned by the BBC, so it was cool to do something that was fully Australian. It’s been my first time doing that. That was fun.

I also finished a movie called If I Had Legs, I’d Kick You last year as well. I’ve got those two things coming out at some point. I have no idea when, but that’s exciting. It’s was a busy last year, being in different places and getting to work around the world, which is always exciting. Traveling is fun, but now I’m excited to be home and binge-watch everything that I missed in the last year.

It always feels good to be on your own couch. With traveling so often, what do you do to stay centered?

It’s hard! One of the most exciting things about coming home is that I can’t wait for a routine that is my own! That’s such an exciting prospect, because you’re entirely on someone else’s schedule while you’re shooting, and you never really know what your schedule is until 12 hours before. That’s just how it works. You’re waiting for the call sheet the night before. It is kind of crazy, but you always have to be ready for the unexpected and understand you can’t really make many plans, because they will change. 

I try and keep as much of a routine as I can. I think, for me, it’s vital to do some form of exercise every day for my mental clarity. And that is the goal more than anything else, to be honest. Sometimes, when you’re working really long hours—early mornings till later in the evening—all you have time for is a shower after you learn your lines. And then you have to be up very early the next day.

At the very least, I need to go for a walk. A long walk. I can learn my lines while I’m walking; I can catch up with people on my phone while I’m walking. I feel like I can still get things done while I’m walking, but at least I’m out in nature and doing some form of physical exercise and something that is helping my head clarity. 

If I can do a class, that’s always fun to exert energy. My schedule doesn’t always allow for it, though. I also try to always keep a bedtime routine. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you’re coming in at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. after a night shoot, so the regular sleep schedule is not happening. I try to just keep some sort of ritual, wash my face, brush my teeth. 

I will occasionally also do facial massages. That sounds really ridiculous, but I love doing a DIY, five-minute long one. Nothing fancy; I think it’s just nice to have that daily routine in any way, shape or form. 

That sounds like a great routine. Are you into the L.A. wellness scene? 

My favorite thing about L.A. is that it’s pretty predictable with its weather, so you can get outside. I absolutely love nature; I try and do anything in nature that I can. 

Occasionally, I’ll do a full-body massage. I feel like I don’t treat myself to massages enough though. Every time I go, I’m so relaxed and so happy…I should do it more. There is also a place near me that does ice baths. You go sit in a sauna for a bit and then you do an ice bath. It’s mentally challenging, and I love it.

What else do I do? I’m vegan and I really like organic products. So, I guess that puts me in the wellness scene by default in some ways!

I’m also a lot better with my skin-care routine when I’m home. There’s a Credo really close to where I live and it’s a really good skin-care store. I go there a lot. I use the same products over and over. Routine is nice and L.A. is very good about routines; I also find it to be a very chill city.

Are there any brands that you keep going back to?

Yes, I use Saint Jane face oil ($125). I love Saint Jane. It’s one of the only products that my skin has never reacted to. I also use a lot of Evolve Organic. It’s another line that I have never reacted to. I use a lot of their products. I love their facial scrub ($32) and I like their oil ($30). I always use that for removing makeup along with their cleanser ($36). I also am a fan of their moisturizer ($47). I don’t use a moisturizer every day, though, because my skin just can’t handle it.

I also use a lot of a line called Mara. They have a retinol-oil ($120) that I use once a week as well. I’ve never reacted to that, either, which is huge! It’s the only retinol I found that isn’t too strong for my skin. Let’s just say I have very sensitive skin.

Same. I know you grew up in Australia. What was it like when you first landed on L.A. soil…what advice would you give to that girl getting off the plane?

I think the best thing was that I didn’t have expectations when I came out here—and I still stand by that thinking in a weird way. It’s a lot harder if you think it’s going to be easy or it’s just “going to happen,” because it’s not. 

I genuinely came out to L.A., and I was like, “I may not book a job for 10 years, and that’s O.K.” If you have that expectation, it ends up being not as brutal of an industry. You know it’s going to take time, and you know it’s going to be a lot of rejection, and it’s good to tell yourself that and to remind yourself that.

I don’t say that in a pessimistic way…I more try to look at in a realistic way like, “Hey, it’s all going to be O.K. I’m going to be able to deal with rejection.” If I had any other advice for myself, I guess it would just be: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself and don’t be shy. Don’t hide yourself and don’t be afraid to make friends.”

I think it took me a little while when I first got out here because I was only 18. I was young and I was still quite shy. I was scared to do a lot of things that were outside what I knew. That would be the one thing I’d do differently. It’s O.K. to be yourself and it’s O.K. to let people see you, which I have obviously now done. Those first few years were daunting, absolutely daunting. But you learn and you grow. Coming out to L.A. was almost like my wonderful college experience in a weird way. I’ve been on the full rollercoaster.

Photographer: Martin Rusch; Hair: Dita Durga; Makeup: Andre Sarmiento; Location: Fair Park Studios

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