'This Is Us' Star Alexandra Breckenridge Gets Candid About Hollywood Beauty Standards

If you're a fan of This Is Us, you are feeling all the feels for Sophie (aka Alexandra Breckenridge IRL) right now. But, despite how rocky things are getting for her character on the show, Breckenridge is loving life off-camera—she's pregnant with her second child (due very soon) and has a loving husband and 1-year-old son at home, keeping her very busy. In the midst of filming, we caught up with the star to get the scoop on the products she relies on to look her best, her thoughts on Hollywood beauty standards and so much more.

NewBeauty: Do you ever feel pressure to look a certain way being an actress on one of TV’s biggest shows?
Alexandra Breckenridge:
 As an actress in general, I've always felt pressure to look thin particularly. I realize that women reading this may say, “But she is thin!” And I don’t disagree—I think I’m a great weight. I feel healthy, but the saying that the camera adds 10 pounds is unfortunately very true in my experience. I've also noticed I get hired more often when I’m a particular weight, which I don’t agree with, but I also don’t think my opinions are going to change the industry. Even if more full-figured women are hired over your traditionally thin actresses, it’s still a competitive profession and women will always want to look their best naturally.

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NB: You’ve posted about your skin changes during and after your pregnancies. How do you adjust your beauty routine to accommodate?
AB: Well, I have to be careful what I put on my skin while pregnant because it absorbs so much. Most of the things I'd normally use for hormonal breakouts are a no-go sadly, but Beautycounter makes some great products I felt good about using, and Palmer’s lotion is the best to prevent stretch marks from forming while your skin is stretching. It makes your skin so soft! Even if you don’t have stretch marks or you aren’t pregnant, I recommend using it.

Excited to be the new “belly” for Palmers New cocoa butter formula! #palmerscocoabutter

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NB: What is your can’t-live-without makeup staple?
 My Clé de Peau foundation! It’s the best!

NB: What products do you use to keep your hair so full and healthy-looking?
AB: I’m gonna have to say it’s from pregnancy! And maybe my prenatal vitamins. I will say I try not to wash my hair much and I've found it really helps. I love the line Living Proof. They have a great shampoo and conditioner that really helps with volume, as well as a great mousse I use. I also use Oribe dry shampoo, it’s a 10 leave-in conditioner on my ends, and Bumble and bumble Surf Spray all over.

Werkin on some new looks for "this is us"

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NB: Do you have a go-to workout regimen
AB: To be totally honest, I haven’t been working out during this pregnancy, mainly because chasing after my son keeps me in pretty good shape, and by the end of the day, I’m just too tired! Normally I love Pilates and light circuit training at the gym—I’m not a big fan of working out 'til I can’t stand anymore! It's just not for me.

NB: You spoke out on Instagram about another magazine posting an unrealistic image on the cover of its “love your body” issue. Why is this topic important to you? 
AB: I didn’t like the mixed message it was sending. It said love 'your body' with a stunning woman in a bathing suit with a beautiful body on the cover, and most woman don’t look like that. It’s not OK to send that kind of mixed message. I know that I've been affected by looking at magazines with images and taglines like that over the years. It's not giving woman self-esteem; it’s taking it away. A magazine that’s marketed toward women should be empowering.

NB: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
AB: Ice cream and wine…separately! I do love a good hotdog, even though I try not to eat a lot of meat. And macaroni and cheese.

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NB: What is one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
AB: I like making quilts when I have the time, which I don’t have much of these days! I also really love camping. It sounds bad, but I do prefer having a camper to sleep in as opposed to a tent…I just sleep better knowing there’s a hard shell around me. Especially if I’m in an area that has bears or coyotes.

NB: I'm sure everyone wants to know...will you continue to be a regular on This Is Us?
AB: Hopefully Kevin and Sophie work things out, but we will see! Being pregnant this year has kept me from working on other projects, but I’m sure I’ll be back at it after we finish filming this season.

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