Rebecca Romijn, who is perhaps best known on screen as the shape-shifting mutant Mystique in the “X-Men” franchise, has transformed herself into a reality depict host as well as a TVproducer of GSNs “Skin Wars, ” the body-painting competition that demonstrates beauty is not just skin-deep. ET caught up with Romijn over the weekend to talk about her take over Jennifer Lawrences interpreting of her beloved comic-book character, role models on magazine coverings( she loves Sports Illustrated but dont even get her started on Vogue) and her unlikely lifelong style inspiration: Prince.
ET: What are some amazes we can expect from season three of “Skin Wars, ” which premiered last week ?
Rebecca Romijn: The show is about transformation and our producers are great at coming up with amazingly creative challenges. My two favorite this season? One is an underwater challenge. I didnt even think that could be a thing. It required a lot of sealing of the paint, but it turned outso beautiful. My other favorite is a breast cancer survivor challenge. We brought in young breast cancer survivors and painted them as warriors. It was such a moving experience for everyone. A plenty of these women have never looked at themselves in the mirror since having mastectomies. To be painted — and I speak from experience — is such a metamorphosis. When you see it for the first time, it takes your breath away. And watching these breast cancer survivors look at their reflections for the first time once the latter are painted as thesebeautiful warriors? There wasnt a dry eye in the house.
How long did you spend in the makeup chair to play the blue mutant Mystique in the “X-Men” movies ?
The first time they did my makeup exam for Mystique it was 12 hours. We eventually got it down to nine for the second movie[ “X2: X-Men United” ]. For the third one[ “X-Men: The Last Stand” ], we got it down to seven. But still, to be on set by 9 a. m .? My call time to get to work was midnight.
Your personal history of body painting extends to publications in addition to movies, correct ?
I was the first model ever painted for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.They always have a section of painted swimsuits[ on models] and the first year they did it was the year that I was on the encompas. That was not even my whole body — the painting was a swimsuit with a shirt tied over it. And that was a 13 -hour paint job.
Absolutely! Ashley Graham is one of the most beautiful females I have ever laid eyes on. She is incredibly healthy and I think its fantastic that SI is opening up our standards of beauty to include somebody that a lot more people in our country can relate to. Women dont get sexier than Ashley Graham — she is just as hot as can be.
As a former fashion model, what are your thoughts on the new generation of models such as Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who are more famous for their social media presence than their runway experience ?
No one has proven yet that number of adherents translates to revenue. So it is frustrate. I know a lot of people — legitimate way people — cant stand it. Hate it that these, you know, social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion. They are not true supermodels. Andthe thing is, I have always appeared to Vogue magazine to lead the way , not be a follower. I rely on Vogue to define the standard , not follow what everybody else is doing. So I have been disappointed that way publications have been supporting this trend of social media stars to define our style criteria. But it will change; way always does.
Your costar from the first three “X-Men” movies, Famke Janssen, has criticized the apparent sexism of the recent time-tripping movies in which older versions of the same female character have not been brought back, unlike the older male characters .
I am glad that she said it and set it out there.
Do you agree that this is yet another example of sexism –and ageism — in Hollywood ?
I havent thought about it much because they signed us to these movies three at a time, so my contract was for the first three. Its a contractual thing. I dont have an sentiment on whether or not there is some kind of double criterion going with regard to bringing back the older humen[ Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen] but not the older females. Id be happy to go back and reprise that role sometime but perhaps they have moved on. Maybe they just want to keep going younger. People tweet at me all the time: Would you ever go back and play Mystique again? Um, do people realize that its not my option?[ Laughs] Have I been asked? No, I have not been asked.
How do you feel about Jennifer Lawrences interpretation of the character that you created ?
Jennifer Lawrence is doing a fantastic chore. I could not think of a cooler daughter to share that role with. Its not like I take issue with who has taken over the role of Mystique. She is a solid actress and shes gotan Oscar, so she is doing something right.
I have no idea. The news is so new that it only blindsided all of us. He was in the rotation before Strahan was hired — it was down to only a handful of populations and he was definitely in the running then.
I think hed be great. I love watching him and Kelly together. He and Kelly are awesome[ together ]. He was born and raised in NewYork City, which I think is really important for whoever fills that seat. Thats why people loved Regis Philbin so much — he was a native New Yorker. It issuch a New York show, even though its national. Jerry is a wholesome married man with children, and people can be attributed to that when they watch a morning program.
Would you two ever do a reality depict together ?
No, we would never.[ Laughs] Just doing “Skin Wars”– you know, hosting a reality competitor series was not something that I was trying out by any means. I am used to working in scripted[ television ]. But when this went my style, it seemed interesting. I love watching reality proves. I always get invested on my own sofa, so I believed: Well, if I have a front row seat to a reality competitor show with subject matter that I feel close to, I wonder if I will be just as invested? And I am. I feel for these painters and get very involved. I am only a host , not a judge, but of course Ive got my own opinions — which I cant always keep to myself. And its really fun. So that is the closest to a reality show I would ever get. Jerry and I would never putour private life out there like that.
I cant help but wonder how Jerry feels about makeup, since he has appeared on RuPauls Drag Race. Would he ever do drag ?
He has never done drag-drag, but he did something withAmerica Ferrera a few years ago. It was some sort of Broadway Cares charityevent night where a number of musicians were putting on acts to raise money. America and Jerry and two other guys — the three guys were her backup dancers, and they were all in drag. That is the closest Jerry has come to actually doing drag. But yeah, I think he is open to the idea of being painted.
Long before Jeffrey Tambor won awards for “Transparent, ” you played a transgender character on “Ugly Betty.”
I loved playing Alexis Meade. And I was so proud to play her. You asked me if Jerry would ever do drag. There was one episode whereAlexis got amnesia and had forgotten that she had undergone the gender change operation. So she couldnt stop played with her boobs. But she couldnt recollect how to garment herself or put on makeup or walk in high heels. I needed to know what a human who has never worn heels looked like trying to walk around the room. So I made Jerry wear my shoes for an hour. Oh, God. It was so funny! We are having an “Ugly Betty” reunion at the ATX Television Festival in Austin this June — the whole casting is indicating up for it. I am really excited tosee everyone.
Your resume includes singing as well as acting and modeling. In fact, you once performed a encompas of Princes Darling Nikki forthe 2005 album, “Electro Goth Tribute to Prince.” How are you coping withhis death ?
I am devastated and I havent stopped screaming. My very first concert was “Purple Rain” when I was 13. I have had the honor of seeing Prince perform at the least 20 days. I feel like everything I know — everything Ihave learned — about style, sex appeal, posture and generosity in performance comes from him. I cant even believe it. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it still. I think we all are. My daughters[ twins Dolly and Charlie] are already very familiar with Prince. My girls and I have been blasting Prince since we heard the news, which is what I think he would have wanted: for us all to have a party rather than to go into grief.
Finally, as the host of “Skin Wars, ” I need to know: what is your favorite skincare product ?
Oxygen Plasma from a company called KNUTEK. Its oxygen-infused and I set it on my face all the time. It is a miracle worker.
Skin Wars airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET merely on GSN.
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