The Staying Power of Actress Elizabeth Mitchell
By Vaughn Stewart
Elizabeth Mitchell is an icon in the world of acting. This lovely woman, with a personality to match, has been acting for forty-seven years according to her IMDb profile. She has appeared in Lost, Law and Order, ER, CSI, V and Spin City to name just a few, and is currently starring in Netflix’s Outer Banks. Cool America Magazine had the honor to speak to her between her busy schedule.
Photography: Blake Ballard of Good Talent Management blakeballard.com @blakeballardphoto
Actress: Elizabeth Mitchell @Elizabeth.mitchell.official Makeup Artist: Kaitlyn Urbina
Hair Stylist: Samantha Gunn @gunnglamour
Wardrobe Stylist: Melissa Young @styledbymelissaj
Retouching: Anna Rovkina @rovkina_retouching
Hi, Elizabeth. How did you get involved in acting?
I started acting when I was really young. I was always obsessed with theater. My mom took me to our local theater — the Dallas Theater Center. And, the way that I see it, I rarely left. I was a little theater pest. I pestered all the actors. I ran wild in the halls and secret passages. It was a gift. I went to a performing arts high school and have a BFA in Acting, and I also studied in New York and London. I am a lover of the work.
You are a very busy actress. What do you think your secret is to such an amazing career?
Oh goodness. What a fun question. I suppose the secret to any sort of success is loving what you do. I genuinely love the work. I didn’t start off by thinking that a career would come of it, I just knew that I loved it, and that I had to do it. I think we work hard at the things that we truly care about.
If you had to give an aspiring actor/actress one word of advice, what would it be?
Love it. Love the work. Study hard. Let go of your ego. Watch as much theater and good film and television as you possibly can. Dream big. Imagine where you want to go and what that looks like to you. Dig into what that feels like. Sometimes I’ll do an exercise with friends where you picture yourself waking up in the morning. What do you see? What’s in front of you? What does the day hold for you? That kind of visualization seems to be an effective tool for me.
Tell us about Outer Banks and your character Limbrey?
‘Limbrey,’ to me, is an entitled, toxic, mess of a woman. She has a tremendous amount of money. But she doesn’t seem to have anyone who she loves and who loves her. She’s lacking a lot of the things that make up a good human. I always have hopes for her that she will regain some sort of humanity, but at this point, there’s not much there…
You’re such a veteran, what was it that attracted you to the show?
I suppose that I found it really scary. Here is a woman who is not attractive, not enticing, and vaguely charismatic, but in a menacing way. And she has a different skill set than my own. I found the thought of playing her to be absolutely terrifying. Which let me know that I had to do it.
“The secret to any sort of success is loving what you do.”
Tell our readers where they can watch the show?
You can watch OUTER BANKS on Netflix! And honestly, the show is so good. All of the actors are so true and wonderful to watch. The storytelling is just extraordinary. It’s like watching a blockbuster summer movie. Beautifully shot, joyful, romantic, and full of action.
Are you involved in other projects right now?
I am! I am doing the show FIRST KILL, also for Netflix. I play ‘Margot.’ She’s great fun. She’s stylish, extravagant, romantic, a mom, as well as a passionate wife. Also, a 500-year-old vampire. I’m also in WITCH HUNT, a film coming out in October that I’m incredibly excited about, and also produced.
I love asking actors this question? Of all the work you’ve done, what character did you most Identify with?
Oh, my goodness. Probably ‘Carol’ in the SANTA CLAUSE movies. I loved her hope and acceptance that there’s magic in the world. There was also a great deal of me in ‘Juliet’ from LOST. I found her watchfulness and curiosity to be traits that we share.
Which one did you least identify with?
Almost definitely ‘Limbrey.’ It was very hard to find my way into the mindset of someone who sees the world in that way.
What character kept you up at night?
I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing the whole acting thing. Very few of them follow me home.
Is there something you feel you still need to add to your extremely impressive resume?
I haven’t done theater since my son was born. I’ve always wanted to do LADY M. That would be a dream.
Name 3 people that you haven’t worked with that you’re dying to get on the set with?
Emma Thompson. Meryl Streep. Juliet Stevenson. I’d be happy to play a plant. Or a dog. Or a bird. Or simply a fly on the wall. Anything to get to be in the room with those amazing women.
2020 changed the world with Covid. How did you personally handle it?
I was very lucky. I have a house on about 10-acres. I had my son with me and my partner of many years. We had plenty of supplies and we had the luxury of being able to stay put and stay safe. I remodeled a studio. I learned a few new skills. And I also bought quite a lot of construction equipment…As an introvert, I didn’t find it to be challenging, personally. But my heart hurt for what was happening to our society, country, and world.
“I wake up filled with a lot of hope.”
Do you have a new perspective of life in general now?
I’m not sure that I do. I like to think that I’m pretty good at cherishing the world as we see it. I think I’m more likely to want to go out now, which I never did before. I want to go to the theater, I want to go out to dinner, I want to do all of those things and hug people. So… maybe I have changed a bit.
Do you feel America has a lot of work to do as a country? And if so, what really needs to change A.S.A.P.?
I absolutely believe we are a work in progress. But I believe it always was intended to be. We’re striving to become a more perfect union. I love my country. I want us to be able to come together and be as strong, loving and hopeful as I know we can be.
What do you like to do alone in your spare time?
When I’m not working? I listen to audio books. I do a lot of construction around my house. I’ll make the odd bit of furniture. Drink coffee. Walk around the property with my dog, Percy. I garden. I pick fruits and vegetables and cook… occasionally delicious things. I read. I work out every day. I watch a lot of movies and TV. I try to coax the guys into playing board games with me. Sometimes I’m successful. I put on a lot of face serums…
What’s something you like to do with friends and family?
I love when we all have dinners together. Outside or inside. I absolutely love long dinner talks around the table, outside, with a fire going. Card games, board games, dominoes, and puzzles. Nothing beats a close friend walk-and-talk. You find out the most amazing things.
How do you stay so beautiful?
What a lovely question. I suppose I have a lot of love around me. Also, I’m surrounded by such beauty. In my environment, the people I’ve chosen as my close friends, and the brave souls who have chosen me. My community is such a gift to me. I wake up filled with a lot of hope. As far as surface things…I work out for at least an hour every day. Some weights. Some stationary biking. And some dancing. I usually have at least seven lotions and potions on my face. I’m also VERY dedicated to sunscreen. When I was 10, my beloved Grandma Bette showed me the difference between her skin that saw the sun and her skin that did not. I have been a sunscreen advocate ever since. There’s probably a bottle or tube of the stuff in every room of my house.
We are a fashion/celebrity magazine. What’s your fashion style?
I would probably say streamlined bohemian. I love great pieces. I love old jeans, fitted t-shirts, and old hippie dresses with history. One of my favorite dresses was worn by both my grandmother and my mother, and it brings me a lot of joy. Although I am still a fan of a more structured dress, I find that I rarely choose to wear them. It needs to be comfortable. And I need to feel happy and flowy in it. I need to feel like I can move with freedom, with a “Gazelle in Galoshes” attempt at grace. During Covid I embraced the jumpsuit wholeheartedly. I think I probably do have my own style because I’m always gravitating towards the same things. But I do still love to follow fashion and see if something sparks my interest. My character on FIRST KILL, ‘Margot,’ was deeply into fashion. And it was a real joy to see how it can transform the way you see yourself.
On the red carpet?
I’m not sure that I ever fully figured out the red carpet. *Laughs* Posing feels so disingenuous. However, posing really is the only thing that looks good. I guess I could say my red carpet style is a work in progress.
Any favorite designers?
Oh my, yes. Doen, Armani, Elle Saab, Barbour, Women’s Best for workout clothes, Spell and the Gypsy Collective. I’m highly obsessed with Proenza Schouler.
We are called Cool America. What do you find cool about America?
I love this country. It can be very cool. The hope and the optimism. The beauty from one end to the other. The diversity of America is very cool and the country itself. One of my favorite things to do is to rent an Airbnb somewhere I’ve never been and just explore. I love the food. The serendipitous experiences that I have just driving through the country are cool. It’s cool when we strive for freedom. And it’s very cool when we try to become even better tomorrow than we are today.
What do you find cool about yourself?
My complete lack of coolness. That’s probably what I find to be fairly cool. Let’s see…I suppose what I find cool is that I am really, really happy to be here. I find this life to be so precious and extraordinary, so, I suppose what’s cool about me is that I find all of this to be a gift.