The Natural Beauty of Maggie Gyllenhaal

January 17th, 2012

Maggie Gyllenhaal is a delightful combination of Olive Oyl and Clara Bow. Her goofy good looks are a reminiscent of the sexy screwball comediennes from a much earlier era in Hollywood. Her unconventional beauty, non-conformist fashion sense and outspoken interest in a wide range of social and political issues really set her apart from the usual Hollywood star.

She began her career in her teens in some of her father’s productions and had built a solid resume of bold character roles before her breakthrough performance in the dark comic romance, Secretary, catapulted her to stardom. In a relatively short time she has made an impressive impact on the film world with her unique talent.

Born in the Lower East Side and raised in California, Maggie Gyllenhaal graduated from Columbia University with a B.A in literature and Eastern religions. Having an education has been invaluable to her onscreen and off. She feels “gratified about having finished college. I learned to articulate myself. It gave me confidence more than anything and also the ability to analyze text.”

Though she and her brother are the children of successful film insiders, she seems to be fairly unaffected by her Hollywood upbringing. Raised in a household that valued education, intellect and political awareness, Gyllenhaal is an outspoken commentator on the world around her. Most recently, she has spoken out on what she sees are attacks on women’s health care and Planned Parenthood. She credits her mother with instilling a sense of social responsibility in her and her brother.

As a mother of a daughter, with another child on the way, she hopes to instill these same values in her children. This sense of social responsibility has also informed her choice to live in a multicultural, multi-ethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn so her daughter can interact with and experience people of varying backgrounds. She enjoys the freedom from the Manhattan paparazzi to ride the subway and to take her daughter to school or to the park. She jokes that she isn’t worth “crossing the bridge for”.

For Gyllenhaal, “being a mother is so present in my mind and work. I just didn’t have a clue. There is no way to prepare for the challenges, the immense joys, the surprise, the disappointments and the shocks. Your heart just rips open. It’s amazing.”

Maggie admits that with her busy professional life, she often finds it easier and more pleasurable to run to cook dinner for her daughter than to run for fitness, but one of her tips for staying healthy is to be organized first and foremost.

She stresses that it is so important to take the time to stop and eat well. She loves lentils and prepares them, freezes them and takes them with her when she’s working.

This actress also suggests finding a workout that you love in order to stay fit. She practices an athletic form of yoga known as Ashtanga to keep her lanky curves toned. Her skincare routine as expected is brief. She oils her wet skin fresh from the bath and uses a natural cleanser and moisturizer of soothing healing calendula. A simple skin care regime for this natural beauty.

Lady Gyllenhaal admits that becoming an actress has informed her evolving fashion sense and that she only started to enjoy her femininity in her late 20s as her mother wasn’t into makeup or even “shaving her legs” and never taught her those things. The less-is-more skincare regimen appears to work beautifully for youthful looking Maggie.

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