It’s a sunny afternoon in Beverly Hills and Lauren Graham is ready for a quick coffee refill.
“Can I please have an iced Americano, three shots of espresso with coconut milk if we’re ordering?” asks the fifty-five-year-old politely as she prepares for our photo shoot in record time. “But I’ll make do with whatever is easiest. I just need more caffeine!”
This is not Luke’s Diner – the infamous meeting place with the wildly popular gilmore girls where Graham played Lorelai Gilmore for seven seasons, followed by a Netflix revival — but it’s easy to see that the lines between work and real life aren’t entirely separate for the beloved actress. (She’s even reapplying her makeup artist’s lipstick, aptly named Mae, named after Mae Whitman, who played her daughter on NBC. Parenthood for six seasons before we got ready to fire the first shot.)
It will be released this November Have I already told you?a book of essays she describes as “full of stories about ‘life, love and the lessons she learned as an actress in Hollywood.'” She also currently stars opposite Josh Duhamel in Season 2 of the Disney+ series, Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, which TV director added to his already long resume.
“I don’t have any business skills, so if I don’t do all of this, I’d be stuck,” she says humbly, quickly moving on to the next idea (yes, that fast-talking, fast-thinking dialogue that characters are known for not too far from her normal speed). . “I think maybe I could teach… that was always something I thought about in college. I almost got tutoring as my backup plan.’
But she says that after an acting “plan” — a plan she’s had since high school — what she’s really enjoying doing these days is sharing what she’s learned. “Sharing is a lot of fun for me, that’s why I was interested in directing. It’s much more fun for me to give some tools away and watch them grow. I think it’s a natural progression. I’ve gotten to the point where I look at the next generations and I’m excited about them. I’m excited about it all.”
Congratulations on the book. What is the process like for you to sit down and write? Is it enjoyable or do you feel like you have homework?
It’s somewhere in between. I recently had a long flight where I didn’t take my laptop because I didn’t have anything due. It was probably the first time in five years that this had happened. I felt good, but a little like I forgot to do something. This whole “other career” thing has been great, but it means that sometimes I have the script ready, then sometimes the edits… it’s never just the writing process itself. So yeah, I’d say it can be pretty homework-y.
I try to trick it into having fun and then sometimes you just ride the wave – that’s the best way I can describe it. Sometimes an idea and a willingness to work on it come together, and that’s really nice. For me, it’s the same feeling I get between action and editing. It’s a mix of good concentration and wave catching.
They always say don’t force it.
It’s like anything – the more attention you pay to it, the more attention it pays to you. And the longer you’re out, the harder it gets. It literally feels like a conversation to me: If you stop talking to your characters, they will stop talking to you.
That’s a good way to put it. I’ve been following you since you were there Caroline in town and Seinfeld. I know you’ve had so many characters that a lot of people relate to. Is there a character you identify with the most?
It’s Lorelai, for sure! Gilmore Girls it was a really magical marriage of what I like as an actor. I’m drawn to things that are very verbal and have an almost theatrical quality. So I started as a kid…I was drawn to language and Shakespeare. My first play in high school was a play that had this snappy 1930s dialogue. I like to think that Lorelai’s perspective—in terms of being a very optimistic person—is similar to mine, so that’s her. It’s always the right one.
Are there any beautiful moments that stand out to you while playing Lorelai?
The character style is definitely back. One of my best friend’s daughters has a corduroy jacket with fleece on the inside. I know it’s not a pretty moment, but as far as retro goes, I think Lorelai’s early look is back in style!
There isn’t a product that I use all the time, but I can tell the time by how my hair looks at the show. Some years, you could say I needed to cut down on the time in the chair and I would just shrug it off. Some years the hair is much more elaborate. That has always been… “problem” is too strong a term, but it’s safe to say we’ve always tried to figure it out “hair”.
Gilmore Girls it started in 2000, which seems crazy. Do fans ever think you should freeze at that time?
I like to think that Lorelai’s perspective—in terms of being a very optimistic person—is similar to mine.
I think I worry about it more than others! The fans seem cool when I meet them, especially the kids. They are getting younger! I always like to say, “That was a long time ago.” It’s such a strange phenomenon to have something like this recorded. It will really freeze in no time. I’m just trying to appreciate it.
When you were young, you lived all over the world. Has it changed the way you think about things in terms of beauty?
My mother lived mostly in Japan. She was a missionary child. I always think that my mom and grandma have “rituals” – they did things as a product of living in Japan, especially when it comes to health and cleanliness. They had a house where no shoes were worn inside and people always went for good food and natural products.
I am definitely drawn to anything Japanese; I try to have a routine. I think that was the hardest thing when you move around a lot and have different jobs, different call times and different climates. The key is to just find something that works and stick with it.
Do you have any beauty products that you love or something that you do regularly for your health?
I really like to sweat—whether it’s a sauna or I have a sauna blanket that I use in New York. I like a good bath. I would say that when it comes to skin care, as I’ve gotten older, I’m always doing something. It’s like my version of exercise—everything is good, whether it’s a 20-minute walk or a four-mile run. I feel the same way about my skin. I try to put on a lot of makeup and keep it all moving. I do masks, I do peelings. I always try to “wake up” my skin a bit. I love Biologique Recherche’s P50, Weleda Skin Food, Julia Hewett’s Camellia Rose Elixir and I swear by Tatcha Silk Canvas when I’m working for under makeup.
Is there anything you do that might surprise people?
Every once in a while I do these ridiculous juice cleanses. They are so unhappy and so terrible; I don’t know why I do them. I go to the spa, which is full of juice. I find it gives me a bit of a reset – even if it’s jarring.
I know you probably get asked this all the time, but it will Gilmore Girls come again
I’m making plans to see Amy [Sherman-Palladino], the show’s creator, in the next few weeks. It’s always a fun prospect to think about and talk about. It was just talk before, but now that we’ve done it, we know it’s possible. I think I feel so much responsibility and so much love for the story that I just want to make sure the time is right.
What are you looking forward to at the end of the year?
I don’t know where I’ll be this year, but I find that these gatherings—whether right around Thanksgiving or Christmas—are really wonderful times to be close to friends and family. I like to cook and I like to make mashed potatoes. And I love autumn – as a treat Gilmore Girls member would.
Photo by John Russo in AKA Beverly Hills; Style: Karen Raphael; Styling Assistant: Rachelle Duperoux; Makeup: Julie Hewett; Hair: Owen Gould
Find a doctor
Find a new beauty “Best Beauty Doctor” In your neighborhood