Vanessa Morgan’s Spring Awakening

Vanessa Morgan’s Spring Awakening featured image
Photography: Kate Whyte | Stylist: Leila Bani | Styling Assistant: Thumn Al-Rawe | Hair: Taryn Day using Olaplex, Shu Uemura & Kevin Murphy | Makeup: Martina Gabrielle using MAC Cosmetics | Dress: Catherine Regehr | Vintage earrings & bracelet: Kingdom Jewelry

Her star rose to fame in Riverdale, where she played Toni Topaz for seven seasons, and Canadian actress Vanessa Morgan can currently be seen in the CW’s Wild Cards series. We recently caught up with the 32-year-old mom-of-one to talk beauty, co-parenting and everything in-between. 

Tell us about your projects this spring. I know Wild Cards is the big one on the docket. How is it like working on the show? Can you share some beauty moments from the show?

It was really a great time. I’m Canadian, so I love filming in Vancouver. I moved out here and bought a house when I started filming Riverdale, so it is nice to be home. 

When it comes to beauty secrets, my big one is that I do my own makeup on Wild Cards. I started doing my own makeup on Riverdale and I extended it onto Wild Cards. I love the natural makeup look, and I was glad that that’s the look they wanted for my character. I find doing my own makeup a very meditative experience. I love starting my day in the hair and makeup trailer.

You’re clearly very good at it. Can you share some products and brands you always use?

I prefer staying on the more natural side, and I do have some things that I don’t steer from. When it comes to blush, I always stick with 100% Pure ($40). It’s my staple. I really love their powder blush. I also like the Tower blush ($20) as well. I use their cream blush sometimes to change it up. Honest Beauty has a really good new pink blush ($20) as well. 

I also love Beautycounter’s foundation ($52); I love the whole line. I just started mixing in Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter ($49) with it. It’s great when I do more glam things, like the red carpet and press.

Then, my go-to concealer is NARS ($32). I love the NARS concealers. I don’t wear foundation most of the time. For example, in Wild Cards, I think I’ve worn foundation maybe a couple of times. My skin is pretty good, so I use the NARS concealer to cover up anything, then I combine that with Benefit’s under-eye concealer ($27). Then, I finish that off with some blush and some bronzer.

Also, Beautycounter has the most amazing lip glosses ($32)! I don’t know if you’ve heard of Nova Beauty, but Fashion Nova has a beauty line. It’s so random, but I was sent their lip liners, and it has become my all-time favorite lip liner. Their nude number two ($10) is the one I use every single day.

Vintage Christian Dior jacket from @mineandyoursco | Opal ring from @kingdomjewelry

That’s a great lineup. Are you a skin-care person? Since you have to wear makeup as part of your job, are there any really good cleansers you swear by?

Tata Harper is a great go-to for me—the whole line is great. Renée Rouleau is also great for cleansers. Those are my two favorite cleansers. I do experiment with other things, but I always go back to those two.

That’s funny. I have both of those in my shower right now, I think Renée’s cleansing balm is amazing.

Yes. I have that. It’s really good!

Dress from @catherineregehr | Gucci shoes from @mineandyoursco | Liselott Montesano necklace from @bobolivancouver | Opal ring from @kingdomjewelry

I’m not super familiar with where you live in Vancouver, and what’s available there, but are you a facial person or are you someone who gets regular massages?

I haven’t gotten a facial recently. But when I was on Riverdale, we would all go to the same place in Vancouver, and I would get a facial once a month. We were really lucky—Riverdale included that in the contract for us, just because of the amount we’re on camera and in makeup. 

I do love getting Laser Genesis. I think that’s my game-changer. I notice my skin stays clear after one session, and it does seem to really target blemishes and fine lines. Love that one. I also don’t like downtime; I get anxiety about lasers that give downtime. I know some people are fine with being red for three days, but I’m not. I always get a little paranoid. It’s like, “Is this going to last forever?” So, no downtime is big for me. I also love a good HydraFacial

Yes. They’re both excellent. I know you said it’s nice to be home in Canada. Do you feel a difference when you go between your home country and LA?

It is a different vibe. I love being in Vancouver because it’s home. I feel like wherever your house is where you feel the most relaxed. But I do feel the difference and I do still love LA; I would love to film a project in LA soon.

Whenever I’m there, it’s so nostalgic for me. I can remember how much I wanted to make it…filming the pilot seasons when I was 20-years-old and doing all that. There’s something about LA and the weather that you can’t beat. I go a lot and I get my little fix, and then I love coming back to Canada for my nature and the clean air and the ocean.

Dress from @catherineregehr | Vintage bracelet and earrings from @kingdomjewelry | Versace heels from @mineandyoursco

Yes. It’s beautiful there. What advice would you give to that 20-year-old starting out? I’m sure it was a lot, showing up there. What advice would you give that version of you?

I think I would say: “Don’t let the nose get you down. It’s all going to work out.” I really, truly feel like everything is always working out for me. I’m really proud that I always kept going; I always keep going. I think a lot of people get discouraged…I know a lot of people who gave up on acting because they couldn’t take the constant rejection. Unfortunately, that is what our industry is. There are a lot of projects I went out for where I really took it to heart and I think I would have just let all of that go, knowing that it’s all for a bigger reason. I was told “no” to a lot of roles, but then there were times I ended up getting something else that I liked even more. That’s my best advice to my younger self…just don’t take it personally.

That’s good advice for anyone. You have a huge social media following. You’ve been open in that space about “your peace.” What does that look like for you right now in the day-to-day?

I actually don’t share much of my personal life online. If there are some really special moments that I do want to share, then I will. I think that’s brought me a lot of peace. My life has been talked about…and there are a lot of things that I haven’t wanted publicized, so I really value privacy. I’m O.K. sharing things that I would want people to see, but I do keep the stuff that’s close to my heart just for me.

Valentino Dress from @bobolivancouver | Rings from @kingdomjewelry

That makes sense. I hope you don’t mind me asking you this, but how is co-parenting and just everything that you talked about post-divorce right now?

It’s one of those things where time heals all. Everything on my end seems to be healed…and I finally feel like I have a nice flow with it. It wasn’t easy, but I feel really, really lucky. I feel like I’m at a point where I can honestly say everyone involved has come to a peaceful place. 

That’s awesome. What else are you excited for as we almost get into spring and summer? 

I’m going to be starting my job, probably at the end of August. I’m waiting for the official green light on Season 2, but that’s what everyone is saying. I’m really excited for summer. I’m decorating my whole house right now; I’m ordering new furniture, getting all that done. I’m excited. I’m excited for getting new patio furniture and picnics and just soaking it all in in during my time off.

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