A natural beauty with gumption, actress Dawn Olivieri of Showtime’s House of Lies seems made for the part of well-heeled consulting industry top dog, Monica Talbot. With her ruthless Art of War-office-persona and her mysterious femme fatale charm, Talbot taps into an attractive Type A charisma that speaks to Olivieri. “She’s a cathartically wild character for me to play. Crass, feminine, rich…free,” shares the actress during her interview with FILLER. “Free is what it is, what I love playing — balancing on top the proverbial fence.”
Before being cast opposite Hollywood heavy hitters Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell in the role of Talbot, ex-wife to Cheadle’s Marty Kaan (and rather scary professional rival), Olivieri was making a name for herself through dynamic reoccurring roles including a 16-episode arc on the last season of the popular Heros series and memorable guest appearances on shows including True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and How I Met Your Mother, which together solidified her status as a bona fide screen siren. (She’s got the Maxim spread to prove it.)
Below, we chat to Olivieri about playing the resident high-flying bad girl on House of Lies, and the beauty secrets behind her Hollywood heartbreaker look.
How would you describe your character Monica Talbot from House of Lies? She’s certainly not timid!
What you see is not always what your get…
I bet she’s fun to play?
She’s strong and stands unabashed in her truth. Her perspective is fun to play out and entertaining to watch, I’d imagine.
Do you ever find yourself thinking, “what would Monica do,” when faced with a real life dilemma? She’s a clever woman who knows how to get what she wants.
There’s a reason I’m the one playing her.
The show features a wonderful cast; what’s it like acting opposite Don Cheadle? Have you developed a sort of shorthand with him?
Don is slick, and I’m pretty sure he sees my slick. It’s playful.
Any new plot developments this season involving your character that excite you?
Yeah, I have some run-ins with the “pod” towards the end of this season. It’s a great storyline.
What about plot developments you’re rooting for?
I would love Marty to get ruthlessly powerful and take me for his dark queen…for a bit…
Your character on House of Lies has impeccable style. As a former model, do you find you pay special attention to beauty and fashion in your own life?
I’m all over the place when it comes to fashion. I like to listen to space. When I’m in the desert, I have a certain way of dressing, traveling has its own costume, red carpets….etc. I’m really into jumpers lately…jean overalls, silk is always in fashion.
What’s your daily beauty routine include, especially when busy on set, but still in need of looking camera ready?
Hmm…I’m deep into the Tata Harper line at the moment. 100% natural, organic, & nontoxic. The Sk-II mask is a great one as well. I give myself facial massages when I’m putting it on. Makes a difference.
Any similarities between your fashion and beauty sense and that of Monica’s?
Monica is a bit quaffed, where I have more of a vagabond flair. We both sport a sharp wit and stilettos here and there.
In your opinion, what’s the one beauty product every woman should invest in?
Self love…but if you already have that, do the best to alkalinize your body. And if your doing that already, then one of those tubs of La Mer will do the job.
What’s an easy way to transition from your usual daytime beauty look to the perfect evening look?
I’m the girl that has to wash her face and start from scratch. I don’t like wearing makeup all day. If i can, I like to wash and have it fresh. If I can’t pull that, I just use a damp egg sponge, wake up the foundation, add a dark eyeliner and smudge it out — done
What’s your go-to red carpet beauty look?
Eyelashes, cat eyes and curls.
Who is your beauty idol and what about her beauty looks inspires your own look?
I don’t have a beauty idol, I just try to listen to my own beat. When I come up with ideas, then I scower the internet for pictures to show to my glam team for translation purposes. I tend to love older actresses with wrinkles. It just seems more honest.
What beauty items can we find in your purse on an average day?
What’s one thing we will never see you do beauty-wise?
Obsesses over how I look. Our projection changes constantly based on how we feel about ourselves inside. I’ve got a closer eye on those mechanics. You can make yourself more beautiful with just your thoughts.
Do you follow beauty trends. Any trends you’re into this spring?
What trend? Ha…I’m a frontiers woman, I’ll send word when I feel like following another’s beat.