The new Dior Ambassador reveals the full scope of her approach to beauty.
Although we're Zooming from our respective New York City apartments on one of the coldest days this year has seen, Rachel Zegler emits warmth through the screen. The new Dior ambassador is radiant and brimming with enthusiasm as we chat about everything from the fashion and beauty muses who inspire her looks to how her Snow White co-star Andrew Burnap helped her pare back her skin-care routine.
It's clear that Zegler's flair for playful self-expression extends far beyond her acting career. The Hunger Games and West Side Story star finds great joy in switching up her looks, approaching every appearance as an opportunity to bring her Pinterest boards to life. (She's a big Pinterest girlie — "I was there for the WeHeartIt" era, she says.)
But Zegler insists that it takes a village. She's incredibly grateful for the amazing team of stylists and artists she works with to help execute her visions and elevate her self-express to dream-worthy levels.
Ahead, learn more about Zegler's thoughtful approach to beauty straight from her Dior-rouged lips.
Who are your greatest beauty influences, both personal and famous?
It's going to sound really silly — it's the city of New York. Manhattan is such an influence for me. There are so many amazing people from different walks of life walking around in so many different ensembles of clothing and beauty moments. You see people with smudged lipstick on purpose in New York, and I love that. It's an amazing place to live. I've lived here for a really good portion of my life, so it's one of those things that I've always felt drawn to as this personal beauty muse.
Famous-wise... Audrey Hepburn is always on the Pinterest board. My stylist Sarah Slutsky Tooley and I have a Pinterest board for every event that we have going on. On the one for West Side Story, in particular, there was a lot of Audrey Hepburn. We were really going for that Old Hollywood glamour because it's a movie that originally came out in 1961. Audrey Hepburn was somebody who I feel very personally connected to, because she didn't find herself very beautiful. She was told by a lot of people that she wasn't when she was growing up. I feel so empathetic to her. She's really number one on my list.
How would you describe your overall approach to beauty?
A lot of times, it's the cleanest I can make it and the easiest to do. I've been very fortunate to work with amazing makeup artists who do my makeup for different events and galas and carpets and press tours. But when I'm just going out with my girls, it's just what I can do in my bathroom mirror at 9:30 p.m.? What is going to feel the best on my skin? What is going to be the most comfortable for me? Plus, I touch my face a lot — I am horrible at being aware of my makeup, so I'll rub my eye and realize I have mascara on. So it's really all about what's going to stay.
That's really why I like working with Dior, because I work long days. When we do these campaigns, those are long days, and we're wearing their makeup for as long as we're shooting, and it never feels like reapplication is necessary. We obviously do it because it's a commercial. But the artists come up to touch me up, and I'm like, "Actually, I feel like I'm fine," and that's why I really like working with them.
Do you generally reach for a foundation or a skin tint?
I don't think I've ever used a skin tint; I'm a foundation girly through and through. I use a full coverage foundation, Dior Forever Foundation, in 2.5N. That's what I'm wearing right now. I don't use too much of it. The thing I like about foundations is that you're able to build coverage, which is something that you can do with Dior. And there are 38 shades, which is really nice. I can vary between a bunch of different shades throughout the year depending on where I'm working and if I've been in the sun. All of those fun things that come with being Latina — I'll go from being a shade 2 to a 3.5 sometimes, so it's really wonderful for that.
When it comes to eyes, are you a fan of bold eyeshadow or bold eyeliner?
If you were to ask me a couple of years ago when I was in high school, I would have said, "I wear liner all the time," or if you asked me in middle school, I was wearing purple eyeshadow. I was that girl. I feel like now I take an angular eyebrow brush with a really dark brown and just do the little outer corners of my waterline and then I do a really close waterline mascara, usually with the Diorshow Overcurl. It just makes me look like I have eyeballs in the morning, which is nice. It also depends on what I'm doing with the rest of my face because I'm not going to be doing a crazy lip with a crazy eye. I think people can pull it off, but I'm not one of those people.
Are you an everyday lipstick person, or do you save it for special occasions?
Lipstick, usually for me, is a special occasion thing, but I always try to put some color on, whether it be a tinted balm or a tinted oil, to keep it fresh and not completely muted in the lip area.
Which of the new Rouge Dior lipsticks is your favorite?
When I'm going out, I really love a nude lip. So shade 100 is nice in both finishes, satin and velvet. The formulas are more contemporary than your classic nude lipsticks; I feel they're rich. Plus, from what I've seen, this shade looks good on everybody's skin tone, which is really nice. The wonderful thing about being a Dior ambassador is that they've got so much diversity in their ambassadorship, so I was seeing the way it looked on Yara Shahidi and then seeing the way it looked on Anya Taylor-Joy and Dilraba Dilmura and the way it looked on me, and it all looked really wonderful.
What is your favorite way to wear your hair, and how do you achieve the look?
I'm a sucker for the Old Hollywood curl. The best way we've achieved it so far was with my hairstylist Clayton Hawkins, out in L.A. in collaboration with Allan Avendano, who did my makeup for the Academy Gala in December of 2023. I just really loved this. We had a very strong part and very soft curls, and it was just the perfect Old Hollywood hair that I wanted. I just think it's the most glamorous look, it's very Katherine Hepburn.
After you have these long days, whether you're on red carpets or you're on set, what does your skin-care routine look like?
After I cleanse to take off my makeup, I use my Dior Prestige serum. Then, I use a vitamin C serum, which is very important for me to keep everything in check. I use a hyaluronic acid, moisturizer, and the Dior under-eye cream as well. I try not to do too much. I remember when I was working on Snow White, I was on FaceTime with my co-star, Andrew Burnap, whose mom is a dermatologist, and he was like, "If you want my opinion, as my mom would say, 'You're doing too much,'" So, then, I made it smaller. Honestly, it works really well for me. Even when I'm around the time of the month when our skin decides to hate us, it still sees me through, which is nice.
What are some of your other wellness rituals?
I journal every day for about 10 minutes. I have a really cool introspective journal. The first chapter, which is for the first three months of the year, is about self-reflection, so that's really fun, especially starting that in the new year. It's really nice to start fresh with some self-awareness. I do a stretching routine every morning just to keep myself open, and that makes me feel really grounded. It also helps as a singer because when you're warming up the body, you're warming up your voice as well. I do Pilates, and I also do a bedtime yoga routine at the end of the day. I just love doing that; it's the best part of my day, and it really helps me sleep so much better.
What is the best piece of beauty advice you've been given?
Oh, my goodness. It's not so much advice that I've been handed, but I will say it's just staying true to you. Beauty is such a form of self-expression, so as long as you look the way that you intend to look and that you want to look, nobody can tell you anything. There are going to be critics everywhere who have something to say about what you look like, what you wear, what your face is doing, and truly, it's just... If you feel beautiful, it's because you are. Even when you don't, you still are. Truly, fuck the rest.
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