How Emily Kinney Stays Gorgeous During The Zombie Apocalypse

Between the emotionally devastating plot lines and the physical energy involved in running from (pretend) zombies — not to mention the mortal peril one faces while looking at flowers — working as an actress on The Walking Dead is a pretty serious gig. Emily Kinney, though, makes it look easy. So, how does the actress manage to balance her day job, personal life, and her much-lauded music career? Better yet, how does she do it while looking so good?
Not ones to settle for wondering, we asked makeup artist Tina Turnbow to pick the actress slash songstress’ brain about everything from her beauty routine (on and off set) to her feelings about the new season of The Walking Dead. Ahead, Kinney’s refreshingly candid answers to Turnbow’s questions, and gorgeous portraits that the makeup artist took while they chatted.
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Photo: Courtesy Of Tina Turnbow.
How is filming the new season of The Walking Dead going, personally and professionally?
"This season has been really tough on me physically and emotionally. It was super satisfying, and really fueled me creatively, but I would say, on a personal level, it has taken something from me. Luckily, I have writing and music, and they seem to fill me up. If I take time for myself, that helps, too. I feel strangely connected to so many people because of this show, but also somehow very isolated. I wonder if the isolation is a little bit because of what my character, Beth, has been going through this season."

What’s your relationship like with the rest of the cast?
"There’s always lots of jokes and love on set, which is great. We definitely hang out in Atlanta, we go have dinners and see music. At conventions, it's fun talking with fans and seeing them dress up. It always gives me a more lighthearted perspective on the show."

On the show, Beth and Daryl have a special relationship. Are you and Norman Reedus good friends in real life?
"Yeah, I love Norman. He is extremely loyal and a great friend. He’s a beautiful artist; he’s always so wrapped up in whatever moment he is in. He’s so creative and such an inspiration to me."
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Photo: Courtesy Of Tina Turnbow.
It looks like you get a good workout on set! Do you do anything else, fitness-wise?
"I do get a workout on the show, not just from running from zombies, but just being ready to perform all day burns a lot of calories. I wouldn't say it’s necessarily healthy, but I almost immediately lose a couple of pounds when I'm filming, even with craft services around. I also get up early every day and have a little 20-minute routine of stretches and yoga and lunges and abs that I do no matter what. I like feeling strong. Also, it wakes me up in the morning."

What do you use to protect your skin when you’re in the heat and sun on set in Georgia?
"I use a sunscreen with zinc. It’s really thick — I don’t get a sunburn or tan if I use that stuff. The tan you see on the show is fake."
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Photo: Courtesy Of Tina Turnbow.
Have you learned about any beauty products from doing the show?
"Peppermint bath oil keeps the bugs away — and it smells so yummy and it wakes me up. I use peppermint now all the time when I take showers in the morning. We don't use foundation, but a tinted moisturizer by Stila, and I’ve carried that with me into my life. Foundation is too heavy and it makes me break out! There's also this really great undereye concealer by MAC that I've stolen from set, and I use it all the time now."

What is your real-life beauty must-have?
"I love black nail polish. I think it looks cool chipped. [There's] nothing more rock-and-roll."

Is there a certain fragrance you like to wear?
"I love Jurlique's Rose Body Oil for a more subtle scent after the gym or doing something casual. I like Marc Jacobs Daisy for dress-up, and See by Chloé when I'm feeling fun."
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Photo: Courtesy Of Tina Turnbow.
How do you feel about your newly blonder hair?
"I definitely love it lighter and bolder. I’m going to keep it like this as long as possible! On set they put a bunch of dry shampoo and dirt in it to tone down color."

What's your go-to style when you're playing a concert?
"I want to feel dressed up and a little rock 'n' roll and cool because, after all, I'm standing in front of a bunch of people, and maybe they paid some money to hear and see me, so I want to make an effort. But, my music is very personal and I don't want to feel disconnected from the audience, so for that reason I'm also very aware when what I'm wearing will make me feel unapproachable."

You wrap season 5 of The Walking Dead soon. Do you have any special plans or a vacation in the works?
"I would love to go on a vacation, but no place fancy. I kind of want one week in NYC, a stay-cation with no appointments, to see all the shows I've been missing and to see all my friends. And then I want one week in some isolated place with a good view, where I can go on walks, drink coffee, and just write and sleep and be by myself. Like, completely by myself. I like things about social media, and I'm obsessed with Instagram, but I could really use a whole week off to hear my thoughts."
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