With a role in Disney+’s just-released She Hulk (she plays Nikki), Ginger Gonzaga is one of the latest members of the Marvel crew—and she couldn’t be more thrilled. “I think we will have a lot of new fans with this one because it is a comedy; I’m excited for people to see such a comedic series in the Marvel Universe. I love the comedic elements of it. I think it’s cool that we double-down on it and then we also have these really funny guest stars that have legal troubles on the show. It’s very funny.”
How did you prepare for the role?
I was lucky, you know? Especially when you work on a Marvel project…you hear about all the crazy athleticism that goes into it, but my character is a paralegal, so I didn’t have to do that. So much of my preparation was making sure that I got her look down; I always knew that I wanted to play her as a fun, fast, Bill Murray–type, and I really needed her to look a specific way. It was so important to me, that they let me style a lot of my look.
I got really involved in that and, with the costume designer, Ann Foley, we spent a lot of hours getting it right. I also got to design all my makeup looks and then they would execute them and my hair woman, René Warnes, who is amazing, created cool runway hair. I needed to make sure Nikki was in her body—because she works in an office—but she’s also fun and joyous and doesn’t follow any rules and I needed that to be expressed. I like showing her getting away with whatever she can and a lot of that is getting away with what she wears at work.
Any steps to the glam process you can share?
Yes, oh my goodness. For makeup, for the past, I think six or seven years, I’ve only used non-toxic products. I use them because I have an autoimmune issue, but also after reading about it, I would never not use anything but non-toxic makeup now. We use a lot of brands. PYT has a lot of these really cool glitter gels. I use a ton of these really sparkly glitter gels. Our poor cinematographer was like, ‘Ginger is sparkling again!’ There I was, reflecting left and right on things. I had no idea, but it was really funny.
There’s a brand called Beetroot that makes these great lip stains. It’s such a dark stain on your lip and everything is made out of beet and it really looks good on camera and it’s really hydrating. I also use a lot of ILIA. A lot of the non-toxic brands that had enough cool, artistic colors. We didn’t use it on-set, but I really liked Halsey’s new brand, about-face. They have a lot of clown colors; I love those really bright colors.
Then, for hair, I was always constantly looking at different hair and makeup looks from different runway shows that I really love. I really love Chanel; I really love Chanel 2015. I pulled a lot from a Marc Jacobs’ show where he used really, really big hair. I was constantly pulling any sort of runway hair and makeup look for inspiration. And, then for clothes, I was shopping all the time.
I’m not really great with jewelry—I love jewelry, but our costume designer, Ann, has an arsenal of jewelry. That’s where I really turned my brain off and I could just be like, ‘Ann, what am I wearing today?’ I’d walk in, and she would just have so much jewelry and make really cool choices. It was a really fun collaboration and I’m lucky that I even got to be involved in that, because it’s not normal and I am working with another artist, but she really let me do it. It was great.
Your Instagram profile says that you’re a mental health advocate. What does that mean for you?
During the pandemic, I felt like people either fell backwards or they fell forward. The pandemic was so triggering. You could either fall back into really bad habits or fall into good ones. For me, I thought that we had this gift of time. All of the sudden, I was given permission and time to be like, ‘You know what, I need to incorporate X, Y and Z into my life.’ That meant more sleep, journaling, or further putting into practice things that I already know are important to me.
For myself and a lot of my friends…I think we’re lucky in that we doubled down. We were able to spend more time on the good. I don’t think we’re all supposed to be moving this quickly. Technology is amazing—and I think technology is great for sharing mental health tips, right? There’s so many different Instagrams people can follow for trauma and stuff.
But, yes, it is weird that we have this fast life now, so I think it’s important to slow down. I’ve always seen these clips of people saying, ‘The fastest way you want to get to where you’re going is to be slow,’ and I’m finally understanding that statement.