“I got into acting because I was a theater nerd. My parents are English, so we would go to England every summer. While we were there my dad would take me to all these amazing plays in the West End. I just had such a love of experiencing that. But it wasn’t until junior high when I joined an acting class—the Judi O’Neill troupe. It was divine, an incredible experience. The troupe brought together all of these kids from the [San Francisco] Bay Area and those classes felt like therapy. Not long after I started taking acting classes, I moved to Los Angeles for the summer with a few of the other students. I was so excited, but I was also 14—I didn’t really know what I was going to do there. We worked on scenes for a showcase in front of agents and casting directors, which was something I didn’t fully understand. Then I had to go meet with like five different agents and pick one. I picked this woman with big hair who was smoking a cigarette in a big fancy office—she seemed very fabulous. After that, I immediately started auditioning like crazy. I got The Crush, and it was a really big deal for me—my first film.
The  came after The Crush. Those were fun and in a way had a sense of female empowerment. If you look at videos before that, it was like 'boobs and ass and objectification,' right? Whereas I was playing this badass in flannel and combat boots—kicking and flipping people off. After The Crush I did The Babysitter and Hideaway, and then I did a French film with James Gandolfini. I worked nonstop—it was crazy. So much so that I was tired when I started Clueless—just an overworked little person. Amy [Heckerling, the director of Clueless] had seen the Aerosmith videos and asked to meet with me. Clueless was fun—but at the same time it was just another job for me. What I was excited about was Amy Heckerling. I had seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High, so I knew she was a talented filmmaker. Cher was a really good part for me because she and I are so different. Amy probably told [the hairstyling team] ‘Make her blonder.’ But the clothes—Amy and Mona May, that was all them. At the time I had been wearing a green T-shirt and a pair of jeans to all of my auditions. I had no fashion sense. I did so many fittings with Mona, and I remember being like, ‘Why is this taking so much time? This is so boring!’ But now of course I understand.
Having the spotlight on me as a teenager didn’t feel good. I was a very young person when I got really famous and I hadn’t planned on that, so I didn’t react in a ‘Yay!’ way. I focused on things that were important to me—the Earth, and animals, and making change in the world. This one thing that you do three times a day—eating—is the most effective way to make change all across the board. The first time I realized that, I was eight years old and eating lamb, and my brother started making sheep noises. I had never considered that that was what I was eating—you know, we don’t think about it! That horrified me to my core. I decided to become vegetarian then, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I think I ate ice cream and eggs for a week, and that’s not really doing the job. [Laughs] And then I slowly, carefully, forgot—I just sort of blocked it out. That’s what I call my flirting years, because from eight to 21 I had the idea in the back of my head that [eating meat] didn’t feel right to me, but I didn’t have the conviction to stop. And then when I turned 21, I saw a video about factory farming, and it just horrified me. I was like, ‘How is this allowed? How is this possible? How are people not in the streets screaming?’ I immediately went vegan.
About a decade after that, I wrote my first cookbook, . Before then people would always ask me how I was able to stick with veganism. I felt like an activist—spending so much time talking with people about their health. Eventually I would end up emailing people directly, and it was a lot of work—too much work for me. I wished at the time I could just give them one book and say, ‘Here! It’s done!’ but I couldn’t. So when I was 30 years old I started writing the book. The Kind Diet had to have the most delicious food—I’m a food snob, so that was number one. And I wanted to make it easy for people, and make them understand that it’s not all or nothing—that three times a day you have the power to be an activist. When I was pregnant with my son, I was told that I needed to take prenatals. I looked at what was out there on the market and there was no perfect clean answer, so I co-created with Garden of Life. It’s the only [vitamin] line that is certified organic, non-GMO verified, all food-based—no fillers, no binders, nothing—and vegan. The packaging is all recycled paper and plastic—it’s very mindful, at every single step. You may as well throw every single beauty product away if you’re not going to eat clean. Fitness is important, but it’s not going to help you if you don’t eat well. Sometimes I get too busy to exercise, so I’m so grateful I have clean eating as my foundation to rely on. That being said, in my ideal world I would exercise every single day. I love circuit training and organized classes because I’m not good at working out on my own—I’m totally lazy. This woman, Maria Delgado, does a really nice dance class. But I also hike, and I take [my son] Bear on them, too. Not one day looks the same for me, so it’s very difficult to create a routine, but I try.
A beauty routine is not something where I really focus my energy—I’m actually terrible about taking care of my skin. It’s the food that saves me. I can wear no makeup, and be really, really tired, but if I’ve been eating clean then my skin is glowing, my eyes are white, and I feel great. Before my diet changed I used to have massive breakouts. I had cystic acne all over the place, and it was embarrassing. Once we had to re-shoot an entire scene because of my skin. Those issues don’t exist anymore—that’s the exciting thing. But, I still do use cleanser! Right now I’m using this bar of soap—the . It smells good, and I like that it bubbles a little. I try very hard to use only all-natural, ideally organic beauty products. To remove makeup, I’m trying out —it’s a new one that’s just a face cloth. I like that because you don’t have to use any product, you just wet the cloths with water. I’m also trying out now, and I use for night. There are nights and mornings when I don’t wash my face, but when I do, those are what I use. For toner I use rose mist or . I’m really into because, smell it. It’s divine. It’s all-natural—it’s like chocolate or coffee or something. I tend to like a serum—I don’t usually like creams. Serums just feel yummier on my skin. I’m really interested in how things smell and feel. I don’t want it to have a film, I don’t want it to feel sticky—and I think a lot of moisturizers feel sticky. I’m not obsessed with anti-aging, but I know that anti-aging comes from food. If you want to look young, eat greens. I know it’s frustrating, but it’s really the truth. Occasionally I’ll get a facial. I bounce in between , , and . Maybe once every other month I’ll use a mask. I like the ones that are all muddy and dark and get crusty— has this cacao mask that I really like.
Most days I don’t wear any makeup. If my makeup’s great after a photoshoot or whatever, then I will literally sleep in my makeup so that it looks good the next day. I know that’s terrible, but I don’t care. When I do wear makeup, I like it to look really natural. Like right now, this feels like way too much—it’s because we’re doing a photoshoot, but for real life it’s too much. I’m not a makeup artist at all, so I only know how to do one thing and that’s what I do. I like this in either brown or black. I try to draw it as close to the lash as possible and then smudge it with a little brush. Or I’ll use eyeliner from —I like them. The is really great—I like my lashes to look thick, and the brush is really important. The concealers I use are from and —the Ecco Bella one for under my eyes, and Zuzu for spots. I don’t use a foundation—I just blend the concealers in very gently. If I use powder I use my old powder that I make, but it’s not on the market anymore. For my cheeks, I wear at night and then during the daytime. I like for their eyeshadows, the one called Pretty Naked, and also for eyeshadow.
Once a month I remember to put moisturizer on my body. I just have , which is what I got when I was pregnant with my son [over seven years ago]—that shows you how old it is, and how I really don’t buy body moisturizer. As for deodorants, the crystal ones are the best ever. Another thing I like is , which keeps my nasal passages clean so I’m not as easily getting sick. And when it comes to my teeth, is good—it’s just a fancy name for mouthwash.
HAIR AND FRAGRANCE
Right now I’m on a show called American Woman and it’s set in 1975—so amazing, glamorous hair and makeup—very different than my usual look. When it’s up to me, I prefer my hair to look natural, so I don’t need much. is my favorite brand of shampoo and conditioner. I sleep on my hair while it’s still wet, and that gives it texture. And then I’ll get it highlighted once in a while with a girl named Michelle at in Beverly Hills. And as for fragrance, I really love . Those are my sexy scents, but they’re not clean. My natural scent is one I created for myself—it’s got geranium in it.”
—as told to ITG
Alicia Silverstone photographed by Tom Newton in Los Angeles on August 17, 2018.