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My Beauty Uniform: Monica Heisey

Interview with author Monica Heisey

Interview with author Monica Heisey

Novel Really good, really starting with the end of a marriage and a list. Maggie explains: “My marriage ended because I ate in bed. Or because he likes electronic music and tough movies about men in nature. Or because I didn’t.” Perhaps the real problem is that Maggie and Jon went “too much” after attending nine weddings in a year and decided to have “their own big party where everyone told us we were the best of them.” genius for falling in love and giving us $3,000.” But whatever the reason, Maggie suddenly found herself getting a divorce at the age of 29.

Monica HeiseyMaggie’s harrowing debut novel chronicles Maggie’s darkly humorous and detailed analysis set in our health-obsessed world. But it’s also a tribute to friendship and a reminder to appreciate the people who texted back when you freaked out in the middle of the night.

A Toronto-born writer and comedian, Monica has written for TV shows like Schitt . Creek And Working mothers. We chatted via Zoom one recent Saturday evening and she was as warm and funny as you’d expect. Here she shares her favorite sunscreen, what she learned from Nora Ephron, and the best thing to do after a bad day…

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

What inspired you to write? Really good, really?
I myself went through a divorce at a young age and I knew right away that I wanted to write about it. I realized that if I wanted to talk about my feelings honestly, the easiest way to do that was to create a fictional ship. I have read and watched a lot of sad stories about divorce and heartbreak and they made an impression on me. But I was also mesmerized by the level of experience being enhanced to the point of comically ridiculous. It’s usually funny in retrospect, but even in the moment, it’s so intense that there’s something funny about it right off the bat.

You write for TV shows, and when I think about TV show writers, I picture a giant conference table crammed with snacks. But writing a novel is quite lonely. What is it like to move between those two modes of work?
When you write TV with a team, people always give you feedback. Laughter is an automatic response, so you can present something and know, honestly and quickly, whether your idea is worth pursuing. While you’re writing a novel, it’s really just you…in your room…alone.

Writing a novel started out less enjoyable – and a lot more disturbing – but then that changed. When you’re at the creative stage for TV, where anything is possible and ideas flow easily within the group, that’s one thing. But when it comes to production, you have limits on your budget, schedule, actors, and even the amount of daylight left. It’s much more difficult. You may have had a great creative experience and then reality will come in and change it. But with a novel, you can do whatever you want. You can decide what the weather is like. That freedom was empowered when I overcame my complete fear of being alone on the page.

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

IN a recent DAZED interview, you say, ‘My working theory is that if you can write a good dinner party, you can write anything.’ I love it. You talked about Nora Ephron being a great inspiration. What have you learned from her work?
I was haunted by Nora Ephron’s eye for contradictions in people. She is non-judgmental and considers conflict a natural part of being human. If you’re trying to portray a character with any degree of fullness, I think it’s important to understand that no one has a completely coherent and coherent worldview. People say things they don’t mean; people take back what they do meaningful. I think every character should be a messy character, because everyone is a messy person.

Do you have a favorite screen breakup?
one of You have mail, where Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear realize that neither of them are interested in it anymore. You can see all the tension disappear, and suddenly they’re giggling and almost flirting with each other. This comfort returns to the relationship immediately because they named the dynamic…even though the motivation is ‘we can’t be together anymore’.

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

When you’re stressed or having a bad week, what do you find helpful?
I’m uncomfortable to say it, but, exercise. It really helps with mental health. I love a class spinning in the dark. And meeting a good friend for dinner, when you’re both off the phone, can help reduce stress. One thing I missed during the pandemic was going out with a friend and experiencing myself through their eyes. There is so much warmth and loving care to be with a friend and to feel what they are reflecting back. So I mean a delicious, well-lit dinner with loved ones or a dimly lit whirlpool class of your own.

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

I want to talk about the role of friendship in your book. Many true friendships outlast romantic relationships; and friendship is considered secondary. In your novel, it seems like a lot of deep love happens between friends.
I read a lot of novels about difficult or complicated women and I realized that they all had no friends. I find that confusing, because, realistically, for every complicated heroine, there will probably be four exhausted friends just out of frame. I wanted to put those people at the center of the story. It’s a novel about someone going through a personal crisis, and I don’t think most people go through those crises alone. So I want to honor the role of friendship groups. I also don’t want them to be like friends in a traditional romantic movie whose only concern is the main character’s love life. These people themselves lead full, busy professional and romantic lives and are taking time out of that life to be caring and supportive. They don’t just exist to say, ‘What did he do?!?’

When you were getting ready for a divorce, was there anything that stood out from the crowd that your friends did or said?
When I realized that my marriage was really, really over, I told my friend Evany, and she came to my house within an hour with a bag of groceries. She said, ‘We can talk about it or we can’t talk about it, but I’ll make you potatoes.’ She made this delicious dinner with mashed potatoes. It feels like everything in my life is falling apart, but these are crispy and perfect potatoes.

Let’s talk about the hair. Can you tell me about your bangs?
I’ve wanted bangs forever, but all the hair salons I met as a teenager wouldn’t let me do them. They insisted that bangs would not suit my round face. When I was studying abroad, my friend, Laurel, had short hair and I told her I liked it. She asked why I don’t have bangs if I like them so much. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not sure they’ll fit my face shape.’ She cut them for me that night. I’m 20 years old and I’ve had them ever since. I’ve been cutting them myself for a long time.

I cut my hair during the pandemic with kitchen scissors. I finally went for a professional haircut last month and the difference is dramatic.
When I started cutting my bangs professionally, my own crazy idea immediately dawned on me. I was like, God, I’ve underestimated my hairdressing skills and profession. I’m a fool and a fool!

How do you take care of your hair?
Around the time of the breakup, I started receiving ads on Instagram for Edo Beauty Salon in San Francisco – they shave with razors. I marked a million of them and showed my own hairdresser. I’ve always had wavy hair that’s hard to style. But when I’m in trouble, I know that I really have curly hair. Shag has been a revelation because you can maintain a beautiful shape without much effort.

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

What is your skin care routine?
As a ginger root, I’m obsessed with sunscreen. I have one Hello Sunday Invisible Sun Stick in each bag. I also like that snail. In the morning, after wash one’s faceI will wear it COSRX Snail Mucus Repair Essence.

What about at night?
I wash my face with Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water And after that Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. I also use A313 Retinol Scented Wax Before go to bed.

Everyone I know who uses A313 is absolutely devoted.
It changed my life – I don’t get pimples anymore! I also noticed a big difference in lighting. During the pandemic, I was curious about retinol but have sensitive skin. I read that this is a step up from the average retinol but not the same as prescription grade retinol. I was afraid of all the bleaching and flaking that can happen with prescription retinol, but A313 didn’t pose a problem for me. Now I recommend it to everyone I know.

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

Do you wear makeup?
As a shy person, I feel like I need to invest a fortune every day to get the facial contours. I do my eyebrows with eyebrow boy. My #1 best product of all time is Milky make-up cream. It’s easy to apply and gives you a very natural radiance. I use benetint on my lips and cheeks, and I swear Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk eyelinerlight brown that you blend into the lash line.

How about makeup for a special event?
I like an excuse to go crazy. I love bold lips. I love a graphic one-liner. Teens on TikTok are doing great things and I love stealing their ideas. purple make my favorite liquid eyeshadow in many colors.

Do you have a favorite pharmacy?
Claire, my friend, turned me on red eye drops. All I ever tried to do on my face was anti-redness. I have dry and red eyes, but a beautiful clear eye makes me feel awake, present, and human.

Monica heisey

The last thing I want to ask you is for readers who are going through a breakup. What advice would you give?
My main advice is don’t try to ignore that lousy part. It would be tempting to try to continue. I mean, that’s basically what the character Maggie is doing for the whole novel; she’s trying to skip the part where you feel bad. But you have to let it go and be gentle with yourself. And then – this part was hard for me – the second part doesn’t lose sight of the fact that one day you’ll feel fine again. Let yourself feel bad and know that everything will be okay. Hopefully, someone will come and make you potatoes.

Thank you very much, and congratulations, Monica!

Monica Heisey's beauty uniform

The cover of the British book is on the left and American book cover On the right. Which do you like more?

Postscript Many women share their beauty uniformsincluding famous chefs Samin Nosrat and grief specialist Nora McInerny.

(The opening photo of Harry Livingstonesecond and fifth photos of Rachel Sherlockthe rest is by Monica Heisey.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. We only recommend products that we really like. Thank you very much.

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