Actress Agnes Olech. (Photo: Roger Snider)
It’s always bittersweet when a great season of TV airs its finale, and so it was last Sunday, when HBO’s gritty and gripping crime drama True Detective wrapped up its second star-packed storyline. Among those wishing the season could linger on a bit longer is Polish actress Agnes Olech. Olech held her own alongside marquee draws like Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, and Rachel McAdams — imbuing her character, politician’s wife Veronica Chessani, with mystery and magnetism. We caught up Olech to talk about the makeup transformations she used to make her character look spent from partying, her newfound fame, and her beauty secret weapon that she uses for auditions.
Yahoo Beauty: Season 2 of True Detective just came to and end… What has been your experience as this season unfolded?
Agnes Olech: It’s been the biggest and best thing that has ever happened in my career. I’ll run into people at the grocery store and they’ll say, “Are you that girl from HBO?” I really love the show; I was obsessed with the first season. It’s one of those shows where you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second; every sentence and look has a meaning.
This is the kind of series and role that can seriously announce you to the world. Did you feel a lot of pressure to live up to all those inevitable expectations?
People are so devoted to the show that it throws me sometimes. Right now, as it’s ending, I just want to stay as appreciative as possible. Stories this good don’t come along very often. I love working in TV, and hope to continue to do so. I hope that this character has given casting agents and directors a new view of me. Give me those dirty, raw kind of roles… The more extreme, the better. Hopefully people now think: Agnes Olech can pull this off.
How key is it for you to have a support network?
It’s everything. My biggest support is from fiancé… We got engaged last week in Puerto Rico. He’s my rock and my partner in crime. I’m in such a crazy business with ups and downs, slow and crazy periods. I really need that one person who completely gets me.
From a beauty perspective, your character really went through some highs and lows which had to be expressed through makeup. How did you and your makeup artist approach those less glamorous moments?
My makeup artist, Kathleen Freeman, and I had so much fun. She just kept adding eyeliner and smudging it, then adding more. When we thought we might be done, we went with more makeup, and made her look even more messed up. She had to look like she’d been up all night drinking and partying and doing whatever. Despite the glamorous wardrobe and jewelry, we had to make her look like a hot mess. It was such a giggle fest. Kathleen would ask, “Should we do more?” And I kept saying, “Yeah, let’s go for more.” I’m not about subtlety.
On set and in real life, makeup and hair can really impact the personality.
It’s all about the costumes, hair, and makeup. If your makeup and hair people are really good, they’re going to put something on you to transform you. In my personal life, I have my everyday way of approaching skincare and beauty which is a great contrast to this character. So it’s fun to get really painted up every once in a while, look in the mirror, and go: “Wow, look at that.”
What is the approach that you personally take to skincare?
I think the most important part is taking care of your insides, eating well, exercising, and getting rest. No matter what product you use, it won’t be as effective as it would if your insides feel beautiful. I do a lot of juicing, with carrots and beets which give an awesome glow and natural tan. I think the water from pure, young coconuts is so good and hydrating. As for skincare, I’m simple. I keep the face clean, put on a good tinted moisturizer, and a little mascara. That’s it. Except on audition days, when I go all-out.
What is your secret weapon?
I love red lipstick. Everyone has their thing; some feel best with hair pulled back and blush on. For me, red lipstick pushes the button of va-va-voom. It energizes me. I have 20 to 30 shades.