If anyone knows that caring about skin care and social justice aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s Amber Heard. The actor and activist makes as many headlines for the L’Oréal Paris ads she stars in as she does for her work with civil rights organizations.

Her interests overlap with the brand’s Women of Worth awards, which gives 10 women $10,000 in recognition of their work to bring about change in the world. “The Women of Worth program is very special to me because it highlights women who don’t otherwise enjoy the privilege of a platform,” Heard tells Glamour. “They’re the women who are working tirelessly on the ground, in their own communities, to make not their life better, but the lives of others better. I can’t think of anything more important.”

Ahead of L’Oréal’s event last week, we caught up with Heard to talk about activism, change in Hollywood, and what’s on her list for her drugstore run. Read on for her answers to our Big Beauty Questions, and click here to read more about L’Oréal Paris’s Women of Worth nominees.

What’s one beauty rule you swear by?

Don’t have any rules. Beauty rules in general are B.S. They’re meant to be thrown out and challenged. Rules are there to make you feel safe, and makeup isn’t about you being normal or regular or accepted. It’s about being you, in whatever way that means.

What city or country gives you the greatest beauty inspiration?

I am going to be very, very basic, but Paris. Paris is so stunning. I always get so inspired when I go to Paris. I feel like you can’t go wrong with whatever accessory, or a bold lip in the daytime. You can’t go wrong with anything, as long as you’re doing something. I love that.

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Fill in the blank: I love my hair…

I love my hair blond. I have the most fun when my hair is blond. It’s great to try other things—and I have to for my job, which is part of the fun. But when I’m blond, I feel like it’s me and not the character I’m doing.

Would you rather get a facial or a massage?

Facial. Skin care is important to me, and I think if you take good care of your skin, everything else kind of follows after that.

What’s your go-to perfume and why?

I don’t have a go-to perfume. I like to mix oils because I feel your sense of smell and what you’re drawn to is a reflection of your body chemistry. It should be fluid and changeable, kind of like your lip shade or your hair color. I like mixing and matching.

What’s your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?

I steal a moment to myself every day when I carve out time to read. I have to be reading in order to feel like I’m still living for me. It’s a purely selfish act, and it keeps me in a good headspace to deal with life. When I’m being extra indulgent, I like to have time to do a crossword puzzle in the morning. I only get that time when I’m on set, but it’s still something I cherish when I’m given the opportunity.

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What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

I just read She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey [the reporters who broke the explosive report about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations], and it was insanely good. Spectacular. It’s detail-oriented, specific, biting, and smart. And it really champions the truth and highlights the crucial role journalism can play in our world, especially when it’s done correctly and not encumbered by the systems in place to protect those who are abusing positions of power. When [those systems] are challenged or circumnavigated and truth can come out, what a difference it makes.

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Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill is also equally good—a page-turner like no other. Frankly, I’m a little sad that I finished them. But I just started Sally Rooney’s book Conversation With Friends, and it’s such a good read. I think we need more women to speak from our generation and through our perspectives. Not by politicians, but by activists and thought leaders. I want to see more of our presence in the fiction world and in creative spaces too.

You’re stranded on a desert island. What are the three products you want with you?

Sunblock, sunblock, and sunblock. I mean, look at my skin. I’m going to bring sunblock and reading material. That’s it. Abandon the constraints of a bathing suit; I just need something for my brain and for my skin.

What’s your go-to getting-ready music?

It changes a lot, but these days I’m into “dad music,” as they call it. So the old classics. I listen to them loud volume, no shame.

You’ve got $20 and free roam of a drugstore. What do you buy?

I’d definitely buy some lipstick. I love a red L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche. There’s a reason they say lipstick is recession-proof. It’s one product that can dramatically change how you look and how you express yourself. And then for the rest: sunblock, an eye mask, and I don’t know how much more my $20 will get me, but maybe bath salts?

If you could change one thing about beauty perceptions, what would it be?

That idea that feminine beauty is mutually exclusive to empowerment is a falsehood—and one that is just meant to keep women down and controllable. We are most powerful when we’re ourselves. And we’re most powerful when we feel like the outside of ourselves represents what we have on the inside, in whatever form that may take. We’re empowered when we’re “allowed” to dress and behave the way we feel fit, whether that’s through glitter eye makeup or red lipstick or purple hair. The notion that you somehow have to choose between beauty, or beauty products, and empowerment is absurd, pedantic, and frankly wrong.

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Last thing: Who are the women inspiring you the most right now?

There are so, so many. Chanel Miller is a force of nature. I read her book, Know My Name, and highly recommend it. It’s heartbreaking in the most profound way. Another person who never ceases to amaze me is Amanda Nguyen and her [civil rights] organization Rise. I’m constantly impressed by Mary Anne Franks and Holly Jacobs, and the work they do in the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. I’m lucky to be working with them on passing legislation that would make it a federal crime to distribute [nonconsenual] pornography. I mentioned Jodi and Megan earlier, the pair of investigative journalists who broke the Weinstein story, despite all odds and obstacles. I love what they’re standing for.

I’m also impressed by the women I meet on the ground, doing the work. Whether it’s Elsa Collins and what she’s doing with her start-up, This Is About Humanity, at the border to address the immigration crisis, or whether it’s the tireless folks at RAINN, or the everyday activists whose names you might not recognize, but they’re the ones in the refugee camps and crisis centers making a difference. As I continue to surround myself more with activists and philanthropists, people who are the doers in this world, I’m continually amazed. Our world is so ripe with heroes, and so many of them are ones you’ve never heard of. I continue to be humbled by my small place in this army of female voices that are really committed to changing the world.

Lindsay Schallon is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @lindsayschallon. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Topicsbeauty questionsamber heardactivisml’oreal paris

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