Jodie Comer’s Long and Winding Road to Self-Confidence

In her humble way, the actress opens up about the virtues of finding comfort in your own skin.

Photograph by Alasdair McLellan, Styled by Edward Enninful

The pandemic has proved the ultimate test of our comfort zones. And for Jodie Comer, it has been something of a gift, giving the Emmy Award-winning star moments of respite that she's used to focus on healthy habits and gratitude. Who can blame her for carving out some dedicated moments of self-care and reflection? She's barely had a moment to catch her breath after a slew of A-list projects. After wrapping up season three playing the stylish yet maniacal Villanelle on Killing Eve, the 28-year-old Liverpudlian segued to director Ridley Scotts’s The Last Duel opposite Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver. It must've gone well—she’ll once again be under the direction of Scott to play Empress Joséphine opposite Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte in Kitbag.

As if those projects weren’t enough, Comer is also the brand ambassador for Noble Panacea, the revolutionary skincare line famous for their molecular vessel formulations that come in their signature single-dose packaging. Catching up with Comer by phone from her home in England, we journeyed down the wellness path, explored skincare topics and health and wellness—and inevitably, delved into those things that matter far beyond what’s on the surface: gratitude, growing, and leveling up when it comes to assessing one’s self-worth.

Commitment to skincare has become a must for many women during the pandemic. Are you staying diligent when it comes to your skincare routine these days?

I actually think I am more diligent these days in terms of skincare. Honestly, the thought of doing a a full face of makeup terrifies me and I found that with the lockdown and being at home more, there are days when I can make a real habit of actually “doing” things. I used to put on my activewear even though I was never intending to exercise, but now I actually do it. Even with simple things—such as making sure I’m taking care of my skin, whether it’s cleansing or doing a face massage—these are the kind of things I have actually managed to hone in on. Also, now I have a partnership with Noble Panacea it’s made it more worthwhile. The beautiful thing about their products is that they’re super simple, there’s a minimal four-step routine—or I can pick and choose.

What’s your morning and evening skincare routine like?

In the morning, I always like to use a toner—either a rose toner or some sort of mist moisturizer—and I cleanse and tone. I use the Radiance Resilience Moisturizer which works incredibly on me. It has a really nice, almost perfect consistency; a little goes a long way and I like the smart individual packaging. My friend asked me, “Don’t you miss sticking your finger in a pot of cream?” and I was like, “Not really, no.” I love that it’s compact and kind of laid out for me. My favorite product of the whole line is the Overnight Recharge Cream because I feel that once I wake up and see what it’s done overnight, it gets your morning off to a nice head start. My skin is hydrated, and I would say it’s my initial go-to.

Do you take any supplements to help with your skin?

I like to take Skinade supplements when I am shooting; I don’t really take them when I’m not shooting. But they actually taste good.

In the course of your career, you’ve had access to some of the most talented makeup artists from all over the world. Is there an invaluable beauty trick they’ve taught you that you love?

I actually have two, from two separate makeup artists. The first one is Alex Babsky—I love a cat eye look, but whenever I attempt to do it, I always end up with a sort of Amy Winehouse eyeliner look. I always seem to make it bigger and bigger, and I can’t quite pull it off the way I intended. So, Alex taught me that you should always start the application from the center of your eyes, whereas I always started from the outer corner of the eye. He said basically, look directly in the mirror and start from the center, draw it out and then connect it and that’s been a game changer for me. Also, another makeup trick I learned was from makeup artist Hung Vanngo. He uses his fingers for makeup application a lot, and I like how it sets into your skin. It creates a dewy, fresh look for any liquid makeup application.

Is there a beauty product you can’t live without?

I just usually go no-makeup, but I have to have eyebrow gel—it’s a thing with me. A good eyebrow gel makes a world of difference; I really like the MAC Eyebrow Gel.

Although it’s for good reason, I am sure the recent confinement mandates in the UK can be quite maddening. How do you normally deal with stress during a pandemic? Do you exercise or meditate?

I think it’s all of those things. Exercise always makes me feel ten times better, once I commit to it. I also think during this time I’ve rekindled my love for reading. When I’m working, I find it quite difficult to get into reading material that isn’t a script that I’m working on. I’m reading a book at the moment called Luster by Raven Leilani. It’s quite scandalous and saucy, which I’m all for at the moment.

What has the pandemic taught you?

The pandemic has taught me how much I took for granted before. You know, even the small things. I’ve always thought I practiced gratitude, but now it’s the little everyday things that we often took for granted. We always thought certain things would be there, but we are more conscious now—I think I have become more aware of these things. Another thing it’s taught me: baking a cake every weekend is the best. I like to make a cake each weekend, then have a slice of that cake every day of the following weeknights. I think the biggest lesson the pandemic taught me is just realizing all the wonderful kinds of things we have to experience with friends and family, and when that was taken away, I was like “Wow, okay.” It just made me aware.

You’ve gotten to portray such a wide array of personas. When the cameras are not rolling and you’re living out of character, do you feel pressure to live up to the standards of beauty that society imposes upon women?

Of course! I think we all do. As I get older, I see it less, in a sense when I am not working or when I’m not wearing makeup. I don’t feel that kind of pressure. I am very basic in that sense; I’m usually in a T-shirt, jeans, and trainers. Comfort is key for me. Villanelle has a line in one of the series where she says, “Comfortable is what you make people with a terminal illness.” So, I think she would probably roll her eyes at my daily effort to be presentable. But for events and the sort, it can be terrifying and nerve-wracking. The most wonderful thing about those public moments is the process: being with people you admire, getting ready, and celebrating. And then, of course, there will be people who judge you and decide whether they like the dress or not and what your hair looks like. You just have to separate yourself from that and it’s easier said than done, but I’m trying to practice remembering my own experience from things as opposed to what someone else’s opinion is: “How did I feel? What do I remember from that moment?” It’s so easy for that to get tarnished. It’s definitely something I’m practicing, and I imagine [laughs] it’s probably a life lesson.

That’s so inspiring for women reading this. Many people go through their lives and often it takes them so long to make this kind of realization.

I even do it now—I look back at images from my 20s and I remember how it made me feel at times, whether it was my weight or whatever. I look back at the images of the girl I was then, and thinking, “Oh my God, what was she thinking!” So many of us look back on our lives and think of the time we wasted doing that. But it’s a continual process.