Gorgeous zombie-slaying actress Lauren Cohan is Women’s Health December cover star. In the interview, she opened up about playing a zombie, her holiday traditions, and what keeps her grounded.
On if she anticipated the success of the Walking Dead:
I didn’t really have time to think about whether I thought it was going to be big, I was just so happy with the show and being on the show and the people that I work with. It’s funny you sort of come out of our little vacuum of filming and you realize how popular it is. It’s popularity makes since to be because it’s such a loving environment and I would hope that would perpetuate in the world, in life. But no, I never anticipated it being that big.
On how she likes filming and living in Georgia:
I love Georgia. It’s funny because I’m here more than I am anywhere else, so I don’t have a house anywhere else. It’s difficult being away from my friends and family, but Georgia has definitely become another home because I know have so many people that I know here. I like it. Everything that I like doing, which is antiquing, hiking and exercising and relaxing you can do that in Atlanta too. I am definitely a creature of change. I love new experiences. I love adapting to a new environment. It’s great for me to be in California for a big and when I tire of all the things that L.A. can be, which everybody does, then I can go to London and just see theatre and enjoy the rain and the fog. But that’s actually what I really like about Atlanta; it’s got something very English about it. It’s got such old architecture and there’s trees and the weather – especially today the weather just started getting foggy. You get to wake up in the morning and sit on the balcony, have a cup of coffee, and just feel. It’s got a richness to it. There’s nowhere else like England though.
On if she thought she’d play a zombie:
I never really thought that I’d end up doing supernatural genres. I’ve always gravitated to supernatural things and I enjoy it, but when I started acting I enjoyed comedy and that’s what I thought I’d end up doing – just action, screwball comedy is what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s fun to do something like Walking Dead and now I have all the time in the world to do all of the other things. This has been such a rare experiences and such a special experience. I mean I want to do everything. Literally I want to do musicals, play a jazz singer, I want to somehow emulate Kevin Kline and Tilda Swinton.
On the actor she admires most:
Tilda Swinton I’ve always just thought is so brave and so inspiring – trailblazing. She doesn’t follow any rules and it doesn’t seem that she adheres to anything in life but what her heart and soul tell her to do. I think that’s just always what I’d like to check in with every day — that that’s how I’m conducting myself and conducting my life.
On what people might be surprised to learn about her:
People are generally not surprised by reading and walking and I really like reading and walking! The things that make me the happiest are just standing around a piano. That’s one thing I like about Georgia, I feel like I’ve met a lot of people with really old-fashioned hobbies. I go to a gospel church here – I actually go to a lot of different churches here just to sin. It’s been such a great experience in the south. Basically anything that involves piano, singing, jazz, reading. I could be in 1800 and be really happy.
On filming The Walking Dead:
I feel like the show has given me fear! We have dealt with things every single day on this show that make the rest of life seem really, really calm and I think going through a processing that gives me a real appreciation for when things are normal. I’ve always been a fan of old fashioned things and something about the Walking Dead, even as we progress further and further into the show, it becomes a period drama because where it comes to clothes fashion and even weaponry, we have to have a cut off of 3 years ago. We’re shooting a period drama that’s locked in a very recent but specific time.
On her Christmas traditions:
I have a really colorful family, and I don’t go back to England every year but I’m going back this Christmas and my grandfather is coming from Spain. Christmas for us has always been very musical…and like everybody very food orientated. Christmas for us has always been a glass of champagne with our stocking and that’s the only drinking that I do on Christmas Day because I’m such a lightweight. My youngest brother since he was 14 has been an amazing chef so he always cooks us pig-in-a-blanket from scratch. My grandfather plays the piano so we just kind of spend Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day playing music, playing board games. Heads Up is our new obsession. It actually used to be the parlor game where everybody puts their names and put them in a hat. My granddad never gets these games, so if we play something like charades, he will say, ‘Rhymes with Ichael Ackson,’ and you’re like, ‘Michael Jackson?” that’s not how you play that. Half my family lives in America and half my family lives in Europe so each alternating year is nice to get that sacred time where you know you won’t get any work pressure. Just like everybody.
On how she stays grounded:
Georgia heat and zombies help that.
On how she stays fit:
I try to follow the 10,000 steps which is not difficult if I’m busy working, and Pilates, and ballet, and dancing. Anything that I have fun doing. For me staying healthy is so often just about me being happy and a workout that makes me happy. Staying invigorated trying new things. If it’s outdoors or it’s dancing, I’m set.
The December issue of Women’s Health magazine is on nationwide newsstands now. For more information, please go to WomensHealthMag.com.