What You Never Knew About Keri Russell

What You Never Knew About Keri Russell

09/13/2021


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By Meg Walters/Sept. 13, 2021 12:07 pm EDT

Over the years, Keri Russell has quietly established herself as one of the greats of her generation. Her career began in her teens when she landed a spot on the “All New Mickey Mouse Club.” Then, in her early 20s, she burst onto the scene as the titular character in “Felicity,” the famous turn-of-the-millennium show about a young woman who sets out on her own for the first time. Since then, she’s appeared in numerous hits, including “Waitress,” “Running Wilde,” “Austenland,” “Dark Skies,” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” She also starred in the hit show “The Americans,” in which she played a Russian spy in America during the Cold War (via IMDb).

Russell has consistently churned out stellar performances, and the acting world has begun to take notice. In 2017, Russell received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s also nabbed several Emmy and Golden Globe Awards throughout her career. Curious to learn more about this incredible actress? Here are some of the things you never knew about Keri Russell.

Keri Russell will never regret that Felicity haircut

As many fans will recall, Keri Russell was at the center of one of the biggest TV controversies of the ’90s. In 1999, Russell cut her long, curly hair, and fans of the show “Felicity” were nothing short of distraught. Even her boyfriend at the time — her “Felicity” co-star, Scott Speedman — didn’t give her the best initial reaction.

The haircut had been the producers’ idea, and Russell was not prepared for the uproar from fans. As Russell explained to W Magazine, the haircut was a little “awkward” because of her tight curls. Some fans would even approach her on the street and tell her that she had looked better before her makeover. As Russell explained, she learned “the hard way” that Americans seem to prefer women with long hair. Even though the haircut resulted in a huge backlash, Russell never regretted it. As she put it, “I felt it was so the right move and I’m really glad they did it.”

This is why Keri Russell connected with her character in Waitress

One of Keri Russell’s most famous roles was Jenna in the 2007 film “Waitress,” which has since become a successful Broadway musical. In the film, Jenna was a small-town waitress who became unexpectedly pregnant and found her way out of a bad marriage. While Jenna’s circumstances couldn’t have been more different from Russell’s, the actress connected with the character in a surprising way.

As Russell explained to Female.com.au, she instantly recognized Jenna’s strong female friendships. “I totally relate to the things in your life not being so great but loving your girlfriends,” she said. “And that’s what gets you through.” She went on to explain that, like her character, she grew up without much money herself. For Russell, her circle of female friends became like family. It sounds like Russell had more in common with Jenna than we would have guessed.

She loved working on the All New Mickey Mouse Club so much she never wanted to go home

Keri Russell’s first professional acting job came when she landed a two-year stint on the “All New Mickey Mouse Club” on the Disney Channel at the young age of 15. For Russell, singing and dancing on the show with a group of other teens was a dream come true. In fact, she loved her new job so much, she never wanted it to end. As Russell told The Mercury, “I loved the whole experience.” When the show finished filming, Russell had to head back home to Los Angeles. Apparently, she used to “cry on the plane.” As she recalled, “I didn’t want to leave the other kids and go home.”

In another interview with Sam Jones on Off Camera with Sam Jones, she explained that she loved hanging out with her new group of friends on set. Plus, she got to watch a 12-year-old Christina Aguilera belting out Aretha Franklin on stage. Talk about a dream job!

Keri Russell fell in love with her co-star on The Americans

One of Keri Russell’s biggest roles to date has been playing Elizabeth in the FX spy show “The Americans.” Not only did the show bring Russell a major career boost, it also introduced her to her second husband, Matthew Rhys, who plays Russell’s spy partner and husband on the show.

As People reported, Russell split from her first husband, Shane Deary, shortly before she was seen on a date with her co-star. As Russell explained in an interview with Town & Country, the pair fell in love on set. “Obviously, there’s something sexy about the whole spy world,” she said. “It was a fun, sexy place to live in for years, especially being with someone I was so in love with.”

We can’t really think of a more romantic setting to fall in love! The couple are still together and have a son, Sam, who turned 5 in 2021.

Here's how Keri Russell and her partner balance work and raising kids

Keri Russell has two children from her first marriage and a third child from her relationship with Matthew Rhys. Being a mom of three and a full-time actress comes with its challenges. Luckily, Russell has a partner who is able to share the load.

As she explained to Newsday, she was able to do a Broadway play while Rhys took care of the children. After the play finished, they swapped places, and Rhys went to L.A. for a project of his own. “We have this rare thing where we get to take turns and allow the other person to do something … that hopefully turns out great,” she said. Of course, this type of schedule means that both actors have to pick and choose their projects carefully and give up a lot of time that could be spent together. “It can be hard,” she said, “but that’s our life — so far, so good.”

Keri Russell loved being unrecognizable in Star Wars

One of Keri Russell’s most exciting roles in recent years was in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Russell played Zorii Bliss, a cameo role in the film. Even fans of the actress may have missed her appearance in the movie because, as she explained to Town & Country, her character wore a mask in every single shot.

While many actors would avoid such a role, for Russell, it was actually a bonus. “It was very attractive, the idea of not being the lead,” she said. “The mask — I felt safe in it.” For Russell, hiding behind a mask meant she could feel powerful and brave. “You don’t have to be embarrassed by anything,” she said.

And even though Russell’s character never showed her face, she ended up being an extremely exciting role for Russell to play. “Zorii is the best version of every person I want to be,” she told Refinery29. No wonder Russell was so eager to take on this faceless role.

She hated learning about Regency-era etiquette for Austenland

As any Keri Russell fan who has seen “Austenland” probably knows, the movie focuses on a group of American Jane Austen fans who head out for a weekend of Austen cosplay. While the film wasn’t exactly set during the Regency era, the movie still features period settings and scenes.

In fact, the film’s director tried to be as true to the era as possible, even though the characters are only reenacting the time period. According to Russell, the training was a little too excessive for the project. “We took an eight-hours-too-long etiquette course, and I never have to hear about silverware to save my life again,” she said to Glamour. Apparently, Russell only really took in about a third of it — she found it so boring that she even snuck into the bathroom to eat candy. Clearly, Russell doesn’t mind taking a quick mental break when things get really, really dull!

Keri Russell's rural upbringing has become an important part of her life

Keri Russell may be a glamorous movie star nowadays, but, as a kid, she was more of a country girl. As she told Men’s Journal, “I grew up in Arizona and Colorado and very much feel at home in those big, wild spaces.” Her early experience of nature has given her a lifelong desire to get outside and escape city life. “We go upstate and we make [the kids] go on hikes,” she went on.

She and her partner, Matthew Rhys, even treat their Brooklyn apartment like a rural cabin in the woods. As she explained, they make their children gather wood for their fireplace.

Russell even got to showcase her love of nature on Bear Gryll’s show (via Men’s Journal). As she explained, she loved the experience, but even with her rural upbringing, she found it hard. “It felt so wild and rebellious,” she recalled. “I didn’t realize how hard it would be … it was tough.” Even though parts of the show were tricky, Russell explained that it was the perfect outdoor adventure — and, by the sounds of things, it won’t be her last.

After Felicity, Keri Russell took a year off acting

Keri Russell shot to fame in the show “Felicity.” When the series came to an end, the actress made a bold decision — instead of jumping straight into her next project, she decided to take a year off acting. As she told the New York Post in 2013, she moved to New York City, and, after years of working as a child, she focused on simply living. “I spent time acting like a kid,” she said. “I went dancing, read books.”

By the sounds of things, Russell’s time in New York was incredibly bohemian. “I rented an apartment in New York with nothing more than a mattress on the floor,” she told The Mercury. Even though Russell wasn’t living a particularly luxurious lifestyle, it was exactly what she needed at the time. After such an intense experience at such a young age, having a chance to experience real life was vital. As she put it, “It saved my life.”

Keri Russell's life changed when she landed the lead role in Felicity

If you were a teen or young adult in the late ’90s, chances are, you remember “Felicity.” The show was a massive success. For Keri Russell, who played the main character, Felicity, it was a life-changing job. Russell went from having the odd acting job to rehearsing and filming every single day for up to 15 hours. As one interviewer noted in The Washington Post, she was in almost every shot — and even between shots, she would have to spend her time memorizing and getting into character. For Russell, the new non-stop schedule was, as she put it, “tiring.”

Not only did her schedule change, Russell also had to contend with her newfound fame after the show debuted. As Russell explained to Off Camera with Sam Jones, the fame she experienced from the show was a difficult adjustment for her. “Because I was the main character, I was sort of in it on my own,” she said of the experience. Apparently, she even cried live on TV in an interview because of the pressure.

Keri Russell has a seriously healthy attitude to dieting

Unlike many celebrities, Keri Russell has never been obsessed with her body image. As one interviewer for Town & Country noted after she ordered a beer during lunch, few actresses would choose this beverage.

As Russell explained to Shape, she isn’t a fan of regimented diets — instead, she eats and drinks what she wants. As she put it, “I’ll still have the pasta Bolognese.” Usually, her diet is healthy — but she doesn’t restrict herself. “I mean, I eat a lot,” she said. “But I have smaller portions throughout the day.” And when she needs some extra energy, she doesn’t mind eating a few carbs or sweets. In fact, while filming “The Americans,” she apparently ate “so many doughnuts” to get her through the long days.

While Russell avoids strict diets, she does commit to one regimen — drinking hot water and lemon before and after sleep.

Keri Russell cried when she read the final scripts for The Americans

Keri Russell starred as Elizabeth on “The Americans” for six years — it’s no wonder that she developed a deep connection to her character and the show. In fact, as the actress explained in an interview with Showbiz Junkies, she became so connected to her character that she actually cried when she read the final scripts.

Russell was about halfway through filming the final season when she finally got a chance to finish reading the last few episodes. She decided to read them when she had a break in filming. “I went to this super fancy restaurant near where we were shooting and I sat at the bar of this swanky restaurant and ordered a giant glass of red wine and read eight, nine, and 10 in one sitting,” she recalled. “And I cried and I tried to hide my eyes from crying, like, ‘I’m not crying!'” We can hardly blame her for getting a little emotional!

This is how she spends her free time

Keri Russell is certainly a very, very busy woman. With three kids and a non-stop career, she rarely gets a moment to herself. However, when she does have a few hours of spare time, she definitely knows how to make the most of them.

As she explained to Parade, her favorite way to spend her time off is “with my girlfriends, adult beverages, and delicious food!” Sounds pretty perfect to us!

Russell went into a little more detail about her plans for her free time after “The Americans” in an interview with Variety, saying, “I want to have that moment of getting to show up to friends; dinners again.”

And, in yet another interview with the New York Post, Russell once again described her favorite way to spend her time off: dinners with her friends! As she described them, “Those coveted nights having beers, savoring delicious treats, and hearing hilarious dating-sex stories, bad-husband stories, embarrassing work stories. That’s what I live for.” One thing’s for sure — Russell certainly knows how to kick back and enjoy her free moments, even if they are few and far between.

This is Keri Russell's beauty routine

Keri Russell is one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. As she put it when asked about her beauty icon in an interview with Refinery29, “I’d say [I’m] some cross between Amelia Earhart, Katherine Hepburn, and Charlotte Rampling. A great mix of adventurous, handsome, smart, and sexy qualities.”

So, how does this stunning star achieve her effortless, smart-meets-sexy look? As she explained to Shape, “I have dry skin, so I use super-creamy Eve Lom Cleanser.” She also added that she’s a big fan of a good facial. Plus, she uses NuFace, a mechanical device that tones the face.

Her makeup artist, Tina Turnbow, also revealed some of the star’s beauty secrets for getting red-carpet ready. To prep the skin, Turnbow uses a face mist and a face oil as well as a lip ointment. “Keri and I have a taste for glowing skin,” Turnbow told People. After that, Turnbow uses a primer and a foundation, then focuses on the eyes. “I always use black on the inner rim of mine, so I started with that on her,” she said, before smudging the liner. With a routine and a makeup artist like this, no wonder Russell is always flawless!

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