Isabelle Cornish: Shooting, slaying, and staying healthy

While she’d appeared in a handful of shows previous, it was really her role as Vicki in Puberty Blues that threw Isabelle Cornish into the spotlight – making her as much a household name as sister Abbie. When the series wrapped, Isabelle did what many a young Australian actress does and packed her bags and headed to the US.

Trying her hand at cracking the international scene – it was after an “exhausting” schedule of endless auditions that Isabelle landed the coveted role of Crystal in Marvel’s Inhumans, a TV series launching in September. But acting isn’t the only talent this one brings to the table. A health and wellbeing advocate (that even saw her turning blogger last year), it was her photography skills that recently caught the eye of Revlon – tapping her to go behind the camera for its ColorStay #GoSlay campaign.

In Australia to promote the campaign, Husskie grabbed Isabelle in between hair and makeup duties to chat everything from 4am starts and learning 20 pages of lines to convincing chefs to make her “special” meals.

Can you tell me a bit about what you’ve been up to lately?
I’ve been out this whole year shooting Marvel’s Inhumans series in Hawaii. I went over to the States for pilot season and then landed the series, so that has seen me filming for four months. After that, I was just in New York two weeks ago shooting with Revlon on a campaign for their new ColorStay 24 Hour Foundation. We did a challenge in New York City where I had 24 hours to go around the city and take photographs of women who were slaying in their own way. It was a crazy, crazy shoot as you would expect in New York City – but it was amazing.

Have you done much shooting yourself previous to that?
I’ve always been into photography, I have six or seven film cameras of my own. When I travel, I usually take my film cameras with me and take photographs of everywhere I go. I just love the way film cameras can really capture an image. It’s how I actually fell in love with acting. I bought myself a video camera when I was 12 with all my savings and just started making movies in my bedroom, I was totally obsessed with it. I’d spend hours and hours everyday making movies and taking photographs – so that’s where it all started. From there, it’s just stayed with me the last few years.

When Revlon came to you with their project idea, where you excited by the concept?
I was really excited, especially coming off the back of a hectic shooting schedule. It was fun to do something that was really me, to have a camera in my hand. We really collaborated together, myself and Revlon, to make something that was very iconic to my image and also very cool for their audience.

What does a usual day look like for you?
On a shooting day, if I’m not starting super early I’ll get up and do a workout – just to get myself in the right headspace if I’ve got a 7am or 8am start. A lot of time when I’m shooting, my call times will be at 4am or 5am in the morning – so it’s just getting up, getting in the car and getting to work. A shooting day is pretty hectic. Usually we get ready and then wait to go on set or we wait to start shooting, there’s a lot of waiting around, and then there’s a lot of work too. They are often very long days.

When I get my days off, most of the time I like to just get up and wander down the street and get a coffee – just be outside as much as possible. I just like to be present in the day, because when you’re shooting there’s a lot you have to be thinking about constantly. On my days off it’s quite nice to make a little space in my mind and just try and relax so I don’t have to think about my lines or any of the stuff that goes through your mind on a shoot day. And then I usually catch up with some friends or do some yoga, cook lunch – I like to make my own food too, so that’s something I always do on my days off. I cook lunch or cook dinner.

Do you find time to get to the kitchen when you’re shooting?
When I’m shooting, I don’t get much time in the kitchen – so as soon as I do have a few days off, that becomes a really nice part of my day. I’m lucky that a lot of the shows that I work on have great chefs. The chefs on the series that I just did, I would talk to them in advance and tell them the kind of foods I’d like to eat and they would actually get special things for me. So they would buy me vegan protein shakes and make me a side of steamed vegetables and tofu every day. I would have a vegetable stir fry every morning with avocado – I was lucky that I was able to make good choices. As well as that, you learn how to make most things healthy. I travel all the time, but even if there’s only a few options – somehow I seem to make it quite healthy!

You do seem to have a strong health and wellbeing focus…
I’m totally into health and fitness – only because it transformed my life and it’s something that has really kept me grounded and excited in the last few years. I can take it anywhere with me, and that’s why I love it. No matter where I am in the world, I can keep active and it makes me feel good. My top health and fitness tips are to minimise stress in your life – so any way you can do that, whether that be spending time in nature or spending time outdoors, is super important; eating and drinking as well as possible; and then just moving your body.

What is your idea of “eating well”?
It changes a lot. For example, I’m not someone who can eat the same breakfast every single day, not any more. I like to change it up. When I was in Hawaii I was having a lot of smoothie bowls or smoothies for breakfast, I’m all plant-based. For breakfast here in Australia, I’ve been having warm oats with some fresh fruits and nuts, which I really love because it keeps me going all day. In hot climates, I’ll have a smoothie and some sprouted toast with some avocado or something like that.

Do you eat like this because you like being healthy or are you conscious that you have to be a certain weight as an actress?
It’s because I like it and my body craves that food. When you’ve been eating a certain way for a certain amount of time, you don’t actually crave those other foods – your body starts to want the foods that are healthy for you. Once you’ve eaten a certain way for a long time, you actually lose the cravings for the other food. It makes me feel better. And if I eat well then I have the energy to work out, if I don’t eat well then I can feel it in my body, in my mind and my sleep. I do it so I can feel energised and so that especially when I’m on set and have a big day and have 20 pages of lines to learn – if I don’t sleep well and eat well, it’s so much more difficult.

Last year you started health and wellbeing blog Life Iz. Are you still doing that?
It’s just on pause for a while because I got really busy and I needed to really focus on my acting.

Is it something you’re looking to go back to later on?
Definitely. Maybe not this year, but as soon as I have everything else in place. It was just a matter of prioritising. I want Life Iz to be a really amazing place for people, so I wanted to wait until I had 100 per cent of my attention to put into it.

While we know you’re not a huge makeup girl, can you talk us through your usual beauty routine?
If it’s my normal life on the daily – I’ll usually just cleanse and moisturise my face and then use the Revlon All-in-One Mascara and a spot concealer through the day if I have spots. If I go out or have an audition, I’ll use the ColorStay Foundation and blush, but I like to let my skin breathe throughout the day. I love a pink blush and a bit of contour – so they’re my favourite products.

Do you like to leave your hair natural?
I’m totally a natural hair gal. When it’s wet, I usually just chuck in some leave-in moisturiser, some mousse and a bit of sea salt spray – and then it just does its own thing. I’m usually up and out the door straight away, so the least time consuming things are the best for me.

What’s the plan for the rest of the year?
I’m about to go to San Diego for Comic-Con for Marvel’s Inhumans. I’ve got a few week’s break and then I’m flat out to the States to audition and do press for the show and working on a few other projects.

Five years from now, what do you want to be doing?
There’s not one particular thing, but I just want to be in a great place, helping other people, working on amazing shows, and just being happy.

All images by Lynda Churilla for Revlon.

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