Cleopatra Coleman Discovered This $20 Moisturizer on Set and Never Looked Back

Cleopatra Coleman


Dana Boulos

Cleopatra Coleman is no stranger to the supernatural. The Australian native began her acting career at age 15, starring in a sci-fi drama called Silversun. Since then, the actor has lent her talent to a number of popular sci-fi projects, including In the Shadow of the Moon and The Last Man on Earth. But now, she has set her sights on expanding into a new genre. She has begun to venture into the realm of satire and horror with her more recent projects Infinity Pool and A Lot of Nothing—an intense (yet powerful) pair of films that are unlike anything she's ever done.

Hopping onto our Zoom call, I was greeted by an incredibly warm and laid-back demeanor that made me feel like I was meeting a close friend for coffee around the corner. To be honest, we actually could have met for coffee. A few minutes into our conversation, we realized that we live in the same neighborhood. There was also an incredible portrait of her grandmother hanging in the background of her screen (pictured below), and I was eager to chat with Coleman about her latest projects and, of course, all the beauty products she's using and loving at the moment. Read on for our full conversation. She shared everything from her favorite $20 moisturizer to the cult-loved SPF she absolutely swears by.

Cleopatra Coleman


Dana Boulos

How did you get your start in acting, and what inspired you to go down this particular path?

I've been acting most of my life. I started when I was 15 in Australia when I was cast on a sci-fi children's show and kept working from there. Before that, I thought I was going to be a ballerina, so I was already in the performance realm. But looking back, I was definitely the most theatrical of all the dancers, so it makes sense. I just also think films were really important in the household I grew up in, so I was exposed to all kinds of amazing filmmakers at an early age, and it just came together.

I feel like your work has spanned quite a few genres over the years, including comedy, science fiction, and drama. How was it working on a film like Infinity Pool that veers into the horror genre?

It is, and it's a little bit satirical too! Honestly, working on Infinity Pool was a creative dream for me because I was a fan of Brandon [Cronenberg's] work beforehand, and I do love that blend. I love how sci-fi can lend itself to comedy, horror, drama, or really anything. It's such an expansive genre because it can mean so many different things. Brandon is just such a visionary director and stylistically such an anarchist—it's kind of punk. It was just really cool to be a part of.

A Lot of Nothing is also more of an intense film. It tackles some really strong subjects like police brutality and facets of the modern Black experience. How was your experience working on a film like this? What would you like audiences to take away from it?

A Lot of Nothing is such a wild, thrilling ride! It's so important because it managed to actually be really funny at times too. It's a political satire, and I think satire is such an important genre—especially now. No one wants to be preached at, you know? But you want to reflect the times, and what better way than through that lens? It's also such an elegant film, and my character, she's spanning all the emotions, which, for me, is really creatively satisfying. I love getting to play someone kind of unhinged and getting to play with these really intense and important subjects in a really smart, sophisticated way. Even as a viewer or even just reading the script, I found that really refreshing. I would like people to take away from it that it's actually quite funny at times. It's not all serious. It also defies explanation. It's just a really thrilling ride, and it never slows down.

Cleopatra Coleman


Dana Boulos

Do you see yourself doing more satirical films in the future?

Certainly! I think, similar to sci-fi, it can lend itself to really anything and is a really important storytelling tool. It's definitely something I'm attracted to. It's something that I like to watch in all its forms, and variety has been always my thing as an actor, so I'll probably just do whatever speaks to me.

What would you say is your favorite genre of film or TV to do?

I don't have a favorite because everything has something for me in it, depending on what it is. If I had to pick something, maybe satire because, again, it lends itself to so many things, but I'm not afraid of a drama either. I'm not afraid of being earnest—I don't have to be cynical all the time. It's hard to say because I just like variety so much!

Moving on to my favorite topic, of course—beauty! What are some beauty products or staples that you've discovered while on set over the years?

I would say the number one thing that I've stuck with over the years that I got on set was Weleda Skin Food, which is not an expensive product at all. It's so good, and it feels so natural. It's just really low-key and just good for your skin, and it holds in all your serums, which is great when you're traveling or something.

What would you say your everyday makeup routine looks like when you're not working? Do you have any products that you absolutely have to wear on a daily basis?

I don't really wear makeup when I'm not working because I have to wear quite a lot of it sometimes for work depending on the character. I also grew up on the beach, so I'm always more comfortable when natural. But if there's one product I always use, it would be my EltaMD tinted SPF.

I love that sunscreen! It leaves such a nice tint and never any white cast. Can you walk me through your morning and evening skincare regimen?

Drinking a lot of water is always something I'm constantly attempting to do. It always starts off really great and then dwindles throughout the day, so I had to put reminders in my phone [laughs]. I start the day by just rinsing my face—I don't like to use soap. I don't want to get rid of all the lovely serums I put on at night. Then I'll start with some hyaluronic acid. I also have this really great calming spray by SkinCeuticals. Then I'll do my face oil by True Botanicals, and then I'll put on my SPF and some SPF lip gloss. Then I'll have my glass of water with lemon and apple cider vinegar through a reusable straw because otherwise, it messes up your teeth.

At night, I'll wash my face with a gentle cleanser, and then sometimes, I'll use retinol, but my skin has been really sensitive lately, so I've been taking a break from it. Then I use my spray again, and I have this night cream from Sweden that I really, really love. It's the only thing that my sensitive skin can handle at the moment. Then I'll run a bath with magnesium flakes, apple cider vinegar, and lavender oil.

Cleopatra Coleman


Dana Boulos

I'm a huge fan of baths too. Do you have a favorite cleanser that you like using?

It's by Musely. They prescribed me a cleanser that's super gentle. I would say that it's similar to Cetaphil or something like that. Before that, I was using IS Clinical's Cleansing Complex. Their gentle cleanser is really good too.

How do you like to stay grounded with a busy schedule? Do you have any beauty practices or rituals that you like to do during the day that help?

I like to meditate a lot. Because I grew up in nature, I don't really feel quite right unless I'm out walking among the trees daily. My dog really helps a lot. He keeps me very grounded. Also just not looking in the mirror, you know? Obviously … with my job—I don't agree with this—it can be a lot about what's on the outside and how you look. I just try to steer clear of that as much as I can, particularly in this day and age when everyone's so obsessed with themselves and how they appear. I'm more about inner beauty and how I feel. Focusing on that has been the best thing for me. Also, I work out a lot. That has really helped my sanity. If I don't, I don't feel right. I'm like addicted to it—I love it!

What kind of workouts do you like doing?

I have a trainer because I've learned if I don't have someone waiting for me, I might not show up [laughs]. I learned that a few years ago. Because I was a dancer, exercise was never a thing I had to focus on. It was just a byproduct of what I did. I had to really reframe it. I realized I can't really be trusted, and I was going to need someone to keep me accountable. We do all kinds of training. We use TRX bands and a lot of low-impact things. We don't use weights too much just to keep my joints healthy and also so I have a regiment that I can travel with. I have a rope, a mat, and a ball I can deflate and put in a suitcase.

Do you still like to dance?

I don't do classes, but I definitely danced in my living room this morning! [Laughs]

If you could only choose one beauty product to use for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Probably coconut oil because it's so versatile. It has antimicrobial effects, and you can use it on your hair, your skin, and even your teeth. You can also eat it!

Are there any new projects in the works that you can share a little bit about?

It's been a really busy couple of years, and now, I'm taking a little break. I just wrapped a series called [The Sterling Affairs], which is a miniseries for FX. It's about the Clippers organization and a big scandal that took place about 10 years ago, and I'm playing someone that's very central to the scandal named V. Stiviano. That's been incredible, and I can't wait for people to see that. Before that, I was on Zack Snyder's sci-fi epic Rebel Moon, which comes out December 22 on Netflix, and I'm really really excited for people to see that one. It was probably the biggest thing I've ever been a part of in terms of budget but also just in scale. It's a lot of characters. It's just such a big, epic story—a real sci-fi fantasy. Again, going back to sci-fi, it lends itself to all kinds of things, and Zack was really great to work with along with the other actors, and I'm excited for people to get to know my character.

Shop Cleopatra Coleman's Beauty Favorites