New York is rife with ultra-hip moms, those toned women clad in trendy workout gear, their hair pulled back into faux-casual top-knots during school drop-off. It’s #wokeuplikethis, only not.
Then, there’s Keri Russell, mom of three, who shleps her eldest kids River and Willa to their respective institutions every morning.
“Mostly, especially when I’m working, style is putting on whatever of Matthew’s shirts is on the floor and showing up at Willa’s pre-school to deliver her,” Russell tells Yahoo Style. “I barely pull it together. Every once in a while, you’ll see paparazzi and know there’s a famous person in the area. Why is this the one day I didn’t bring sunglasses?”
The Matthew in question is Matthew Rhys, Russell’s husband on her acclaimed FX series The Americans, and her partner in real life; the two have son Sam together. The fifth season of their show, with Rhys and Russell playing Russian spies masquerading as American suburbanites, airs Tuesdays. Season six will be the show’s last.
“There’s a slight giddiness, like the end of the school. It’s not over until it’s over. We have another late night this Friday. But it’s going to be really good,” says Russell. “Everyone is ready. There’s a contained intimacy this season. It’s a slow burn of a season. It’s teeing up for a really good last season.”
For Russell, the role has been as rich as a filet mignon, allowing her to play loving and tender, apprehensive and icy.
“For me it’s a pretty amazing part. To maintain this amazing feminist character and have a full evolution, having this arranged marriage and coming to love someone in a partnership and fight for it,” says Russell. “It’s a fun part for a girl and they’re rare. I read stuff all the time. And it’s hard to compete with.”
Now, daughter Paige is entering the family business, despite the wariness of her dad Philip Jennings (Rhys) and the endorsement of mom Elizabeth (Russell). “In her mind, she’s a good mom. She believes in what she’s doing. She’s proud of what she does. It’s about believing in something bigger than what you are,” says Russell.
In person Russell is the antithesis of perpetually guarded, paranoid Elizabeth, who trusts no one and constantly scans the area for enemies, perceived or otherwise. Russell is a hugger and a sharer, and makes fun of herself. Her beauty routine, for example, is one for the ages.
“I like concealer for the giant bags under my eyes. I like mascara,” says Russell, who does a keratin treatment every six months for her “really curly hair.”
She’s casual about her off-duty looks. “I don’t have any boobs and I don’t work out enough anymore to say I have a good butt. Shoulders are what I do. I tend to like shoulders,” she says. “I love women’s bodies and I love women in general. I love that cool girls in New York wear cool clothes.”
But when Russell has to turn it up, she does – in a big way. She was sultry in a plunging leopard-print gown by J. Mendel at the Golden Globes, and a dramatic in a Stephane Rolland dress she wore to the White House state dinner in 2016.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little bit more into fashion,” says Russell, who works with stylist Frank Fleming. “I’m into classic, handsome clothes, clothes that look good on men. I like tailored and masculine.”
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