Lynda Carter may be best known for her role as the titular character in the '70s TV series Wonder Woman, but she is also a staunch supporter of women’s reproductive rights, a gay rights activist, and an award-winning singer. For these reasons and others, Carter is being given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 41st Annual Gracie Awards Gala on Tuesday night. In advance of the ceremony, the Renaissance woman shared her thoughts on being a sex symbol, her beauty secrets, and, of course, who she is voting for.
Let's jump right in. You live in Washington DC, are you a Hillary Clinton fan? Women are so under-represented in Washington, and we need someone who can hit the ground running and is an accomplished person. I’m really sick of the smear campaign that’s been going on for a long time. People are just parroting what they’re read over and over. It’s like the climate change deniers. You say it often enough, and people will start to believe it. People say, “Oh, it’s her character.” Oh, come on. Go fact check. I’m in her corner on her side and part of her cheering section. It’s a serious business and we need serious people.
I think young people getting all riled up with Bernie [Sanders] is really good. Their voices need to be heard. They grew up with our generation not listening and screwing up the environment. I’ve been a tree hugger for a long time and always been put down for it. It’s what they’re all screaming about now: Stop the wars, let’s pay attention, we need to save the planet. I’m so happy all these young people are getting fired up. I do think that we still objectify women, though. I think Beyonce’s been pretty cool about being outspoken. [She shows that women] can be fun and sexy and everything else, and still say to our man, “Hey if you can’t play by the rules, buddy, OUT.”
In "Wonder Woman," you played a strong, independent woman. But you were done up like a sex bomb. Was it tricky to reconcile that? Hmmmm. I’ve had actually the opposite response from most women. Wonder Woman was totally not a predatory female. It’s not in her wheelhouse at all. And, I never played Wonder Woman; I always played [her alter-ego] Diana Prince. I always played her and that’s just what she wore. It’s basically a one-piece bathing suit. But that was a great question, and one I rarely get asked.
Tell us about your "Long Legged Woman" tour. Do you do original songs or covers? I never had any hit records, but I do a lot of covers and I do original music as well. This year, I wrote five original songs for the video game of the year. And I was nominated for Best Original Music for a video game. The song was called ["Good Neighbor," from the videogame] Fallout 4, and it won Game of the Year at the BAFTAs. But I’ve been writing for most of my career.
Does being a part of a video game come with an entirely different audience? Oh, completely. As a matter of fact, it is so generational. When I performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, one reviewer said they’re such snobs when it comes to video games. They don’t understand how complex video games are now, and it really brings a lot of work to actors and musicians and artists. They cost sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars to make, and they generate millions of dollars. I can’t even play these things… but my connection to the video games brings in a whole new appreciation for the music that I wrote. People are like, “Really? You wrote the music for Fallout 4?” I’m like, “Oh my god! I’m relevant again!”
Are you ready for the beauty questions? What’s your first beauty memory? It would be my mother. She was so ahead of her time. She said, “Do not go out in the sun. If you do, you’ll end up like a prune or an old leather purse.” At the time, there was no sun protection, so she’d wear hats and put cream on her face. And she used to give herself a facial with egg whites. She had no wrinkles on her face, and her hands were always soft.
Did you follow her example? I’ve stayed out of the sun. And I harp the same with my daughter. I have used Purpose soap for years and years, and [did not wear] a lot of makeup. I would always use Coppertone For Faces Only on my hands when I drive and sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreeeeen! I row on the Potomac River, so I also wear athletic wear that has built-in sunscreen, like Coolie. There are several that have really good protection, and some hiking gear that have it as well.
What beauty products are always in your purse? Cle de Peau lip balm and pressed powder. My favorite lipstick is Chanel Long Wearing Lipstick #7501. I have practically every shade they make, from the dark red to whatever they come out with. It stays on all day long. And I also like Dior Gloss and Lipstick Queen in Medieval.
What’s your morning routine? I use Cle de Peau products for my skin. I use cleanser with a Clarisonic. I don’t really wear makeup very often unless I’m going out, then I use the Nars Tinted Moisturizer. It’s really good, because it gives a tiny bit of coverage and evens out skin tone, so you’re doing two things in one. Sometimes I’ll put a little bit of Cle de Peau shiny highlighter on my cheekbones.
What was your worst beauty blunder? The worst one of all I’ve never told publicly. It’s the most horrifying thing you will ever hear. About ten years ago, I was doing a big show in Atlantic City, so I went to my hairdresser to get my hair colored. She opens the salon for me, and no one else is there. She does my hair, then I start to blow it dry. I pick up this big silver comb--which looks like a normal comb—and I start combing the top of my hair and suddenly all my hair is on the comb. It was a cutter comb! And it was just LAYING out there. I reverse Mohawked the top of my hair! I had to use hairpieces until it grew back. Isn’t that the worst thing you ever heard? Can you imagine?
It’s like out of a movie! What is your pet beauty peeve? False eyelashes. I hate wearing those drip eyelashes, the worst. You just can’t wait to get them off your eyes. But I do like the individual semi-permanent ones you can get. Those are really great, if you have someone good. But if you don’t, they can look ridiculous.
Do you have a favorite fragrance? Strange Invisible. It just follows you, it becomes who you are.
Which one? I have a few of them. They all smell different and they all become me. I use the cream, I use all of it. [Creator] Alex [Balahoutis]is the best.
Is there a beauty professional you can’t live without? Oh yeah. I can’t live without the guy who cuts my hair. Nevin Radovic at Ian McCabe Studio. And Barbara Hill, a colorist at Zohra salon in Bethesda, Maryland. I follow her wherever she goes.
Is there a discontinued product or shade that you mourn? Nope. I’m ready to move on.
Is there a beauty trend you don’t get? Unnaturally colored hair, like purple and red. What about you?
Thank you for asking! I interviewed the dermatologist Patricia Wexler last week and we were talking about permanent makeup. She doesn’t like the look and neither do I. Eyebrows, in particular! Permanent eyebrows never look good. They look like the old movie stars that used to shave their brows then paint them on.
You know what I really hate? French manicures. I HATE FRENCH MANICURES. And I hate the square fake nails. Who has square nails anyway? Oops, I hope you don’t have square nails.
Oh, don’t worry. You should see my nails now. They’re a mess. I don't even wear nail polish.
I wear it on my toes because my feet are gross. But on my hands, no. But those square nails. They’re the worst thing ever.
What are you currently obsessed with? This AMC show called Night Manager. I stayed up until 3 in the morning watching three in a row. I couldn’t stand it. It’s just so good. You watch is and you’re just going, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my GOD.”