Myha’la Herrold on Smile Confidence and How to Be a Slick Queen

Myha’la Herrold on Smile Confidence and How to Be a Slick Queen featured image
By Tyler Rizzato

At just 28, actress Myha’la Herrold has already appeared in a handful of millennial favorites like Bodies Bodies Bodies, Black Mirror and Modern Love. We caught up with her recently as she gears up for the highly anticipated third season of Industry, of which she’s the star, to air. In between takes, she’s teamed up with Colgate for their My Smile is My Superpower campaign, so we talked teeth, confidence, slicked-back buns and more.

Have you always been confident in your smile?

“I certainly am now for sure. I think the only time I ever felt insecure about my smile was when I was like five years old, and my grandma was like, ‘Smile!’ And I would smile real big and try to show all my teeth and let her know how happy I was and she was like, ‘No like a natural smile—just a pleasant, closed mouth smile,’ and I was like, ‘But when you smile, isn’t it like the bigger the smile the happier you are?’ And I was a very happy kid. So, I was always really eager and excited to smile big because I wanted people to know that I was happy.

As I got older, my teeth developed, and I was told that I have these two little teeth called peg laterals—they’re like little small teeth. They’re not my baby teeth they’re my adult teeth, they’re just small. Throughout my life, a handful of doctors have given me their card unwelcomed and been like, ‘When you’re ready to fix your face.’ I was like, ‘There’s nothing wrong with my teeth.’ I never really felt like I should get them fixed.

Then, when I got a little bit older and started to go into the industry, I thought, ‘Oh, is it making me look too young? Should I get them capped?’ But then I [realized] the reason people like me in the first place is because I look like me. I don’t want to look like someone else. I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror and not recognize who that is. So there was a momentary lapse of ‘Oh, it would be better for my career or whatever if I had my teeth fixed.’ Then, I decided the thing that got me here in the first place was what I look like. So for the most part, I have always been very confident and very pleased to share my smile with people.”

Where do you feel your confidence in general stems from?

“I’m really confident in my ability to connect with people. I really try to listen to people. I really try to share joy with them and make them feel seen or heard or, in my work, represented. When that’s successful, I feel really confident, like I’ve done a good service to someone else.

Sometimes I get confidence out of my aesthetics. It’s not every day that I’m like, ‘Oh, I woke up like this today. I look and feel amazing.’ But on those days when I don’t feel so confident, I do a lot of aggressive, positive self-talk. I’m like, ‘You got this. You’re amazing. Your feelings are temporary, and you’re going to be back on top tomorrow, and you’re going to feel amazing. You’ve just got to push through.”

I know you studied theatre at Carnegie Mellon. As an ex-theatre girlie, I’d love to know what your dream theatre role would be.

“I always wanted to play Mimi in Rent. That’s a big one for me.”

You have the slicked-back hair down so well. It’s like there is never anything out of place. Do you have any products you like using or any tips to share? 

“You can thank my stylist Cody for that—she’s amazing. On a day to day I really only wear like two things in my hair. I use an Olaplex moisturizer ($30) and a serum ($30) that has a light hold and a sort of glossy finish.

I would say if you’re going for super slick, do whatever products you want and then wrap it up, either with a scarf or I wear a do-rag or, for all my Black girlies out there, there’s like wrapping paper that you wrap to slick hair down so that while it dries it doesn’t rise away from the head. So I would say, if you’re going for as slick as possible, wrap it up, wait for it to dry a little bit, and then poof, slick queen.”

Your mom is a hairdresser. What was it like growing up in that space?

“I feel like I was really spoiled because I got my hair done well and for free my whole life. But it was great. If you’ve ever seen the movie Beauty Shop‚ it’s exactly like that. You have a built-in second family in the salon. I was in there constantly, after school every day. When I was really young, I would mix potions with all of the products and stuff, which was, I’m sure, not economically nice of me to do as a child, but I would do stuff like that, or I would sweep around the chairs, and the stylists would give me a quarter.

I kind of felt like I had parents and family in everyone all around, and I met a whole bunch of people and more friends because my mom had all kinds of clients and their children would come in, so there were lots of folks around and a lot of creativity. It definitely felt like a very female0heavy space. So that was nice to have creative women role models to grow up with.”

You’re based in New York, and you’re also working a lot. How do you ground yourself against the chaos of the city and the industry?

“Um, I don’t leave my apartment—kidding! I am very regimented and almost militant in my whole wellness routine. Like clockwork, I do my skin care twice a day, every day. I drink a lot of water. I like to create the space so it feels quite luxurious in the bathroom showering. I’ve got eucalyptus in the shower, and I have all kinds of beautiful-smelling products or products with no fragrance that are good for my sensitive skin. I’m also a very aggressive person about my dental hygiene. I floss every day and I brush twice a day—if not more than that. I like to be fresh and clean and to feed my microbiome all the right things.”

Speaking of dental hygiene, how did this collaboration with Colgate come about?

“I am actually so crazy about dental health and care. I particularly love this campaign about encouraging people to embrace and take care of their natural smiles. It’s been a part of my journey, embracing my natural smile, and I’m really keen on keeping all my teeth in my mouth as long as I possibly can. I’ve got pretty weak enamel, and I’m pretty prone to cavities, so I’m all about letting people know that oral care is really important. And how lovely would it be for you to share so much uniqueness in your smile with all your natural teeth?”

Right, and smiles are starting to look the same.

“I feel like people want to be accepted, and they want to be liked, and they want to fit in, and that’s awesome. I feel like the thing that people gravitate to the most in me, is the things that make me different and unique. The things that make me special are the things that people are drawn to. So many people are like, ‘I love your little teeth. Those are great. They make you special,’ and they enjoy my smile that way. So I was actually so stoked to partner with Colgate on this because I really identify with it, and I think it’s a really strong message.”

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