You may know Lauren Cohan as the even-keeled Maggie Greene on the wildly popular television series The Walking Dead, but don’t be fooled by the actress’s southern accent on the show. She is, in fact, part of the British invasion stealing the Hollywood spotlight. We sat down with the breakout star just before the Feb. 8 return of season 5 to talk what’s next for her character, genius fashion hacks, and more.
How did you get into acting?
It started as a hobby. I focused a lot on English and psychology, because I always thought that was what I would go into, and then when you become an actor you realize that’s what it is. I went on auditions still thinking it was something really enjoyable, but not necessarily something I can do for a profession. My family is super creative, but nobody is a professional entertainer. I sort of carved my way through it. This is a job that really has no rules. Not knowing something is just an opportunity to figure it out and kind of define it for yourself, and that’s always appealed to me. It just continues to be a challenge and curiosity to me, so I haven’t looked back.
Were you familiar with The Walking Dead comics before you auditioned for the show?
I have to admit, I had never read a comic book in my life, so I wasn’t familiar. That’s what was so funny to me—I thought I knew who liked to read comic books, and then I started picking them up and was like voracious with them. Now I understand why they are so popular.
What initially drew you to Maggie?
I think maybe the first paragraph in I already knew I had to play this character. There was something really freeing about it because when you generally connect with it so much you go, “Okay, this is either going to happen or there is something really weird with the universe.” It was one of those situations where it wasn’t painstaking, because usually an audition takes three or four rounds and you want to kill yourself waiting to find out. I sent the tape and tried to just forget about it, and then I heard really good feedback within a day or two, and I think within a week I knew I had the part. I had just moved back to England and then I was like, “Okay, now I’m going to live in Georgia.”
What can we expect from Maggie in the second part of season 5?
It’s definitely a tough road for her when we get back, because she lost her sister Beth. The group is bereft and it’s the first time Maggie really doesn’t want to go on and she doesn’t know if she sees the point. It’s definitely going to be the darkest that we’ve see the character, because we’ve sort of relied on her in the past to encourage and still find hope in every situation, but this is a tough time.
What do you like to do with your costars when you’re not filming?
Eat. Go home, take a shower, and go eat tacos and margaritas. That is consistently what we do. There’s a place up the street from my house and they know us. That’s what we love about our neighborhood.
How do you think you would fair in an actual zombie apocalypse?
I was thinking about this recently. When I was first on the show, or you go through times in life when you’re feeling laissez-faire about things…I don’t know, maybe the end is sort of inevitable, so you just somewhere and try to live out the last few days or weeks doing the thing you love. But then I thought, “Hell no, I would totally fight.” I am ambitious and crazy driven, so why would I not apply that in an apocalypse?
Credits: Oliver Peoples Haley Moss Green Sunglasses ($235); SEA New York Printed Overalls ($425); Sarah & Sebastian Trinity Earrings ($145) in Gold; Sarah & Sebastian Line Ink Ring ($380) in 9K Yellow Gold.
How would you describe your personal style?
Super simple. I definitely repeat wardrobes, like I have seven of the same ATM T-shirts and some signature jewelry I wear over and over. If I’m dressing up, I love to be edgy with a lot of simplicity. I like Calvin Klein and really clean and modern lines. In general, I feel like for anything you want to go and do, you should be able to wash your hair, throw on makeup, put on the outfit and go—I don’t like fussy.
What’s your most memorable fashion moment (good or bad)?
I really liked the Zimmermann dress that I wore at the end of last year. It was like a red, sort of cinched-at-the-waist dress, and it just felt so old Hollywood. It was for The Walking Dead season 5 premiere. That’s probably my favorite look to date.
What’s the best fashion tip you’ve ever received?
Wear the clothes, don’t let the clothes wear you.
Do you know any good fashion tricks?
Boots in the oven. You massage them in oil and put them in the oven on a really low heat and let them soften, and you put them on and let them mold to your feet. It’s really good.
What is your most prized fashion possession?
I have a little charm that my grandmother gave me, and I just put it on chains. I love it. Also, my Belstaff boots. They have an insane platform and really high heel, and you just feel like you could kick anyone’s ass.
What was the last thing you bought online?
A pair of jeans from Imogen + Willie. They mold to your body and fit perfectly. Also, their candle is the best gift.
Credits: Topshop Cut-Out Flower Shell Top ($84); Zimmermann Riot Suspend Midi Skirt ($895); Sarah & Sebastian Trinity Earrings ($145) in Gold; Sarah & Sebastian Line Ink Ring ($380) in 9K Yellow Gold.
Is there an actor or actress you are dying to work with?
If you weren’t an actress, what would you be doing?
Architecture or design. I just like creating something that wasn’t there.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
If I have a special someone. I’m a hopeless romantic and I’m also an obsessive gift buyer. I love collecting things over the year.
What’s your TV guilty pleasure?
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“Dream On” by Aerosmith.
What are you currently reading?
It’s called All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen. My favorite bookshop is BOOKMARC in the Marc Jacobs store. I want to read every single book in that place. It’s a great gift place too.
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