Tucked away in a small corner of Aerie’s NYC showroom, wearing a loose, black, turtleneck sweater with a red patterned skirt, Beanie Feldstein professes her love for all things cozy.
“I think cozy might be my absolute favorite word, now that I'm thinking about it,” she tells InStyle as she plays with a small piece of paper in her lap. “If had to pick one, I think it would be cozy.”
With this information in mind, Feldstein’s newest gig makes a ton of sense. The Booksmart and Lady Bird actress was just announced as an ambassador for Aerie — a brand known for their cozy loungewear. (“I mean, have you touched anything that they make? It's the softest thing in the world.”)
Feldstein — who will also play Monica Lewinsky on the upcoming American Crime Story: Impeachment — stars in the brand’s latest unretouched #AerieREAL campaign with the likes of Lana Condor, Ali Stroker, and Hari Nef, among other changemakers. The brand has also launched the #AerieREAL Change Initiative alongside these ads, pledging to give $400,000 in grants to 20 different customers who are leading change in their communities.
While some might find it nerve-wracking to pose for pictures wearing underwear and loungewear, Feldstein admits it was actually the most comfortable she’s every felt on a photo shoot.
“The environment on that set and during that day was just delicious,” she gushes. “It was like in Booksmart, when Kaitlyn [Dever] and I shower each other with compliments, but in real life. It was just like, ‘No, you look amazing! No, you look amazing!’"
Another thing that helped was the fact that Feldstein has been a fan of Aerie for years — and the brand's previous #AerieREAL campaigns. “I love that they don't retouch,” she says. “I love that they're just a celebration of every type of human woman under the sun, and it's just a beautiful group of women to be a part of. It's just a really lovely, inclusive brand.”
Ahead, Feldstein tells us a bit more about why she decided to partner with Aerie, reveals her personal mantra, and, of course, gives us her coziest picks — including her go-to comfy outfit and the shows she loves to binge.
How does this campaign fit into your overall career goals?
"I always bring it back to Lady Bird, just because so early on in my working life I got be a part of something that mattered to me so much. I was like, 'This level of joy and fulfillment that I get from being a part of this story, and this group of people telling the story, is so meaningful.' And it sort of just set a precedent for the rest of my working life where I was just like, 'I just want to be part of things that actually really mean something to me, and that I think are really beautiful and good for the world.' When I read Booksmart, I felt that way. And when I got this email [asking to be in the campaign], I was like, 'It's a new sector for me. I've never done this type of thing.' This is a beautiful group of women who are being authentic, and honest, and un-retouched, and just putting it out there, and that's how I've always been. In my day to day life, I'm a very open, honest person."
#AerieREAL sends a message of confidence, but do you ever have times where you doubt yourself? And, if so, do you have a personal mantra?
"My mantra is: They either want the Bean or they don't want the Bean, and you just have to own who you are. I've been saying that since I was a junior or senior in high school — I think it was early my senior year. Maybe it was about college or something — I forget exactly how it came up. Of course, everyone has moments of doubt. I really like to work hard, so I'm a bit of a perfectionist. That sometimes leads to moments of like, 'Did I do enough? Am I good enough?' I just turn to the people I love. My friends and family are my North Star and they always make me feel better and hype me up the way that I need when I'm feeling down."
Since you’re all about being cozy, could you put together your coziest outfit?
"I've recently gotten super into Aerie’s new workout leggings and bike shorts. The way I got into them was wearing them in the campaign — that photo of me in the leopard bike shorts. I'm sad when they're dirty. I'm like, 'I need to do laundry because I need to get them back on.' I just love working out in them. They're fun. They're so comfortable. Those, with an Aerie sweater, and you're ready to go. I was wearing my Aerie sweatpants before I got dressed for the day. I'm still in Aerie’s sweater. No matter where you're going — whether you're working at the office, hanging out with friends — you just can feel cozy, which is the dream."
What book are you reading now?
"Ooh, yes. Last year I really made a goal to read more. I just finished Educated by Tara Westover. It's one of my favorite books I've ever read. It's her story of growing up without any formal schooling and finding her way to academia. As someone who's always really valued academics in my life and felt very changed by going to college and fulfilled, it was so meaningful to me. I cried through half of it. Even though I was lucky enough to be in formal schooling my whole life, I was really moved by it."
Do you drink coffee? If not, what’s your favorite hot beverage?
"I love coffee but it doesn't like me. It makes me feel really heartburn-y. It gives me heartburn. I love tea. When I was little and I used to sing a lot more when I was doing musicals, I was like,'Oh, it's time to have my tea.' I was like a little princess, eight years old, walking around with my throat coat tea, but I've always loved tea."
Is there a show that you're bingeing now?
"I just finished Cheer [on Netflix] and talk about feeling supported. Oh my God — you have to watch it. My two best friends bought me a Cameo video from Jerry [Harris] who's on Cheer, and it's... Literally, talk about hyping someone up! It is literally the most inspirational thing you'll ever watch. You have to watch the show. They literally paid for a Cameo video from him for me."
What’s a show that you find comforting to watch?
"Gilmore Girls. Always. My nephews and my dad just started watching it. I was staying with my parents in LA and I walked into the family room and they were watching Gilmore Girls and I actually had to turn away because I was like, ‘I can't look right at it or I'm going to start hysterically crying.’ And then I ran into Lauren Graham at the Golden Globes, and I was just in my heaven... I'm in love with her. I was like, ‘My nephews were watching your show as I left!’ And that's insane. But always Gilmore Girls. It always makes me feel cozy."