With her doe-like eyes, wide smile and tailored style, Emmy Rossum is practically famous for looking flawless. But everyone has bad hair days—and she’s no exception. As proof, she hands over her phone. “Look,” she encourages. “I promise, it’s out of control.” She’s right. On the screen is a paparazzi shot of the actress, makeup-free and sporting a head of unruly ringlets—a far cry from the glossy blowout she’s rocking on this Los Angeles day. “That’s my natural hair,” she says. “You have to be an acrobat to blow out that baby.” Sure, the star of Showtime’s Shameless is gorgeous, even with frizzy hair, but she’s also honest about the hard work she puts into staying that way. Ask how she prepares for nude scenes, and she hikes up her dress to demonstrate a saddlebag-busting move. In 5-inch Jimmy Choos.
It’s that up-for-anything attitude, along with major talent, that’s made Rossum one of today’s most multifaceted stars. The 27-year-old actress has played everything from a golden-throated ingénue (in The Phantom of the Opera) to a gun-toting scientist (in Dragonball: Evolution) and even recorded two solo albums. Then, of course, there’s her critically acclaimed role as Shameless’ Fiona Gallagher, the de facto leader of a dysfunctional Chicago clan. “Fiona’s so fun to play,” Rossum says. “I keep finding new pockets of her. She’s so complicated, fascinating and delicious.” The same can be said of Rossum herself. Here, she opens up about her gluten-free diet, her killer personal style, and why you should never, ever tell her what she can’t do. Watch the behind-the-scenes video of Emmy at the Natural Health cover shoot!
Natural Health: Your skin is glowing!
Emmy Rossum: Thanks! With a show like Shameless, you can’t hide behind a lot of makeup, so I take very good care of my skin.
NH: What’s your daily routine?
ER: As soon as I wake up, I wash my face with a Clarisonic and the Restorsea Reviving Cleanser. Then if I’m feeling dry, I add a drop of oil to Restorsea’s day cream. The Beauty Counter makes one, or sometimes I even use high-quality olive oil—that’s super hydrating.
NH: A healthy diet must help. You’re gluten-free?
ER: I will be for life. I’ve always had an allergy to gluten. When I was a baby I wouldn’t eat, and my mom opened my mouth and I had all these canker sores. Nobody could figure out what it was until I was, like, 12 or 13. I cut out gluten at that point and have hardly had any canker sores since. I also have less bloating and fatigue.
NH: Any tips for a gluten-free newbie?
ER: Take all of the gluten out of your house so you’re not tempted, and encourage everyone living there to go gluten-free too. A website called tasteguru.com will send a sampling of g-free stuff you can try.
NH: So what does your diet typically include?
ER: For breakfast, I’ll eat avocado on gluten-free toast that I order from New York City. It’s called Moxy Pullman—it’s made from millet, oat and fax—and it’s a hearty, five-grain-y tasting bread. It really feels like you’re eating something substantial. For lunch, I’ll have half a sandwich with chicken, avocado, tomato and lettuce, and a salad with olive oil and lemon. For dinner, I’ll eat roast chicken with asparagus and some brown rice. Generally, my diet is pretty clean.
NH: Do you ever cheat?
ER: Today, I ate French fries! I try not to deprive myself, because when I do I’ll eat a bunch of food really quickly in the corner of the kitchen and hope nobody notices. Because that means it doesn’t count, right? [Laughs] Once I was at a photo shoot and the photographer was like, “Are you gonna eat that piece of cake?” I said, “Watch me.” I don’t deal well with people who put restrictions on me. I get very rebellious. I’m from New York City. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do!
NH: With your schedule, how do you stay so fit?
ER: I like Physique 57 because it’s ballet-based and it promotes working the muscle and then stretching it immediately after so you don’t build bulk. It’s really changed my body. It’s made my waist a lot smaller—like, inches. I was in New Orleans for a couple weeks shooting a movie; that city is the epitome of everything greasy and fried. I took my Physique ball and the DVD with me and just did it in my room, and I was fine.
NH: Do you take a break when you’re not filming?
ER: No, because I have a better personality when I’m working out. I’m nicer. I’m less stressed out. It’s almost like my church in a way. I can go and connect with myself and my body. It’s the one hour a day I give myself, and I think of it as something I’m doing to maintain health in the long run.