Empire’s Kaitlin Doubleday: 'It's Horrible to Think How Long I've Spent Wishing I Were Thinner'

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

André and Rhonda Lyon are a conniving couple on the blockbuster Fox show “Empire.” (Photo: ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX )

If scheming were a sport, Rhonda Lyon (played by actress Kaitlin Doubleday) would be at the top of her game. As the manipulative wife of André, one of the heirs to a record company fortune on the hit Fox show Empire, Rhonda uses her assets —namely, a drop-dead body — to her advantage, seducing her husband into doing exactly what she wants.

In honor of Empire’s season two debut on Sept. 23, Yahoo Health talked to the recently engaged actress about how she keeps her body fit, her energy high, and her skin glowing during long hours on the show’s Chicago set.

YAHOO HEALTH: How do you stay on track with your health and fitness when filming?

KAITLIN DOUBLEDAY: I try to work out five to six days a week, even if I have an early call time. I’m huge with mixing up my workouts because I think if you get bored, that’s just a recipe for disaster. I love yoga and take Vinyasa flow classes … that has added the most to my life physically and mentally. I also do Tabata interval training, the stairs at the gym, and spin. I try not to do [the same thing] more than once a week. I am disciplined — I get to the gym even if it’s just for a half hour. I plan ahead and organize my day around it.

What about snacking on set? How do you avoid going for the unhealthy snacks, especially if working long hours?

I eat a lot of fruits and veggies and snack on Skinny Pop, so I don’t crash like I would if I was eating sugary snacks. I am a huge coffee drinker, though; I live at Starbucks. I’ll get a Venti iced coffee and drink it on set. Other than that, I drink only water and eat as clean as I can.

Related: Jennifer Aniston’s Secret Wellness Weapons


“You have to accept what your best body is, not an imaginary body that other people have,” says Doubleday. (Photo: Russell Baer)

There’s still a lot of pressure to be thin in Hollywood. How do you cope?

I always think about this Q & A I read with Meryl Streep where she was asked what she would say to herself at 20 years old, and she said, “To not care about my body so much. You’ll have a fine career whether you’re fat or skinny.”

I just kind of feel like I am finally at a place where I cannot worry about it anymore. It’s horrible to think how long I’ve spent wishing I were thinner. It’s so hard, but it’s true that now I really do believe in my heart that I need to focus on what it takes to love myself no matter what I weigh. I am putting more focus on being an attractive human inside.

Another big realization is that when I weigh 115 at my thinnest — I still don’t look like Gisele. That’s just my body type. Everyone expects that if they lose the weight, they’ll look like a supermodel.

This is my body and this is where it feels healthy. I want to really come to the most enlightened place that I can before I have a kid. When you bring another [person] into this world, you have to be super aware of your own issues and how you talk to yourself.

Related: Emily Ratajkowski on Juicing, Her Body Insecurity, and Why You Shouldn’t Copy Her Fitness Plan

You’re a huge animal lover and advocate. How does that affect your eating habits and outlook?

I am. I haven’t eaten pork or beef in 10 years and just started cutting out chicken and turkey — I actually did that with a couple of castmates. This way of eating is more in line with my view on animals. [For example], I’ve started swapping salmon for chicken in salads. I haven’t totally figured it out, but I do encourage anyone to try it for a week or two because it’s not as hard as I thought. But I definitely miss it once in awhile…

What do you consider your biggest beauty secret?

During the week I take naps. Sleep is huge! Honestly, that’s the biggest beauty secret I have. I look better, feel better, and eat better if I’ve slept.

When I’m traveling, I get a window seat. I am literally the dork that travels with a king-sized pillow. Everyone makes fun of me! But, I curl up next to the window and sleep on long flights.

When we’re filming, I’ll listen to podcasts and read in my trailer to relax and fall asleep. It’s not always super easy for me, but I’ve worked out a system.


One of Doubleday’s biggest health priorities: sleep. (Photo: ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX)

Does your beauty regimen change with the weather between L.A. and Chicago?

I have crazy combination skin that’s oily in my T-zone and dry everywhere else. It gets worse working in Chicago in the winter, but my makeup artist has introduced me to some awesome lines and products. I use SKII Ultimate Revival cream and their Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil to remove the thick glue from the fake lashes I wear on the show. (We actually discovered that the latex in the glue was irritating my eyes, so we’ve switched to latex-free glue.) Also, Dermalogica does a nice mask that I use on my skin and Shiseido’s Benefiance NutriPerfect Day Cream is great — it’s almost like an oil. I have to put a lot of products on my face because I get dry patches they can’t cover up with makeup. This winter, I am going to try sleeping with a humidifier to see if that will help with my dry skin.

What about hair and makeup? Is it anything like Rhonda’s in-depth regimen?

I’m obsessed with mascara. I literally look like a different human being without it on. My lashes are blonde, so the shape of my eyes disappears. I love Shu Uemura eyelash curlers and Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash in black. I like an eyebrow filler that is super light; the pencil from Kevyn Aucoin is good. Lipstick and eye shadow aren’t really my thing. I’m more into things that enhance your natural beauty. But, I do love a fancy lip balm from La Mer or Fresh. And the Jao hand sanitizer is great. I wish it were also a perfume because it smells so wonderful.

I definitely feel like I look better tan, but I gave up tanning and use St. Tropez [self tanner] on my face. I’ve been wearing paraben-free sunscreen. I love the beach and got burnt a million times, but now don’t ever get sun even though I love it!

For hair, I’ve definitely have been spraying a lot of stuff in it when I get out of the shower. I Iove Oribe products, there’s a texturizer I never leave the house without. My hair gets a lot of heat on set, so I use leave-in treatments and heat-protectant sealers all from Oribe.

Read This Next: Carrie Underwood on Her Favorite Workout and the Healthy Food She’ll Never Eat