Serinda Swan on the Success of ‘Reacher’ and Her Best Beauty Tips

As the female lead in the second season of Amazon’s hit show Reacher, which was just announced to have passed 1 billion minutes viewed in Season 2’s debut week, Serinda Swan is having a moment. In addition to her acting, Swan also gives a lot of time to her company Blueprint, an education platform she co-founded that encourages students to actively engage in mental and emotional wellness. And, as she shared with us recently, her own wellness and self-care routine—both on and off the road—is also a top priority.

How are you feeling with all this popularity? I know your IMDb star meter hit the top spot. That’s huge.

I woke up on Christmas morning from a text from my co-star being like, “Congratulations. That’s pretty cool.” I was like, “Yes, Christmas is pretty cool.” They were like, “No, IMDb!” And I was was like, “What?” She told me to check my star meter. I looked and I was shocked.

In some ways, it really doesn’t matter. The thing is…if you allow someone to rate you, then you have to actually believe in its value at your core. If you’re number one, it’s incredible, but if you’re a number 500,000, then that would destroy you.

I try not to look at those types of things, but on the other hand, when I first started out, I remember it 600,000 or something was my number. I remember I got up to something like 100,000 and I was so excited. I was thrilled! I felt like I had made it then.

To have little me see that, and then to have it keep happening…it’s cool. We stayed in the top 10 for five weeks. It’s a testament to the show and its power and to Nick Sandor’s writing and Lee Child’s world that he built within Reacher. I think it’s a really fun show and Dixon really popped off from that show. I know a lot of people really love her and I really love her. She’s such a badass and a take-no-shit girl. It is amazing to play her.

But, yes, I’m literally leaving Access Hollywood right now, where I saw AC Slater [Mario Lopez] from when I was a kid. Like what? It’s hilarious. There’s things in my world where I literally stop and say, “This happens now?” It’s been a really exciting for me; I think as an actor who is an artist and someone who loves her job and loves going to work every day, that part its already great…but you’re not always given the opportunity to have a successful outcome with a popular projects. It’s lovely to have an outcome that is so fun and exciting.

That’s awesome. Congratulations. I really love your glam Instagram shots—you always do a nice post of your hair and makeup and some behind the scenes. What are some products you really love, either on-set or off?

It’s such a funny thing when you’re on set! I can tell you about my favorite product to take blood off! But I get that it’s not really the day-to-day viewer that’s asking: “Oh. that would be really helpful if I knew the secret to taking blood off.” But I can talk a lot about that topic!

It’s shaving cream, actually. There is dye in the blood that they use and one of the only things that takes it out is men’s foaming shaving cream, but I digress. I tend to have some allergies. My makeup artist, Alex, had to work with me and my sensitivities. Ilia’s Super Serum Foundation ($48) is really great for my skin, plus, it has an SPF. I think it’s 30 or 40 in it, so it was a one-stop shop for me.

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I also really fell in love with Ko Gen Do’s Moisture Foundation ($74). It’s so dry in Toronto, where we film. It keeps that no-makeup look, which work well for the sho because my character can be in the middle of fighting for her life. I’m not going to stop and be like, “Oh, let’s put on some foundation.” I found that really natural worked best.

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I also use Ilia’s Limitless Mascara ($28). That’s my favorite. I have really long lashes and sometimes they can look fake. I love that mascara because it always keeps it looking really natural—I like natural and not clumpy.

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We use a lot of Victoria Beckham bronzers on Reacher. I find they work really well for camera…but getting anything off is usually an issue for me because of my allergies. One of the things that I found that works—it is my favorite thing now—is Burt’s Bees Micellar Makeup Remover Cloths ($7). You can buy it half the time at the Hudson at the airport. For some reason, it’s the one thing that my skin doesn’t react to. I can use it in the car on the way back from set. I can use it on the car on the way back from boxing. I keep a pack in my car, I keep a pack with me, wherever I need to do that when I’m traveling.

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When I’m home, I do like a setup. I really love Angela Caglia’s new serum ($395) that she has. I went to Violet Grey, and they did a great test with me where she gave me five different products to use to see what I would react to. The serum is the first thing in five years that I’ve been able to use that my skin doesn’t react to and I like visibly see a change.

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I have a friend who’s been using that a ton and says it’s the best serum.

Ever. It’s insane. Every night, I take off my makeup and I put on the serum. I’m actually currently looking for a good under-eye serum. That’s the problem; I am one of the girls who gets hairspray near my face and I break out. But that serum has been amazing. I put that on and then I have this magic cream that this woman from Vancouver makes for problematic skin. I use that and then I stick on my LED mask with the yellow setting for 15 minutes. I sit there, and I learn my lines. Then I take it off and I go to sleep.

Valerie Burke

Those are some great products. I know that you’re a big proponent of mental wellness, emotional wellness, all of it. What does that look like for you in your own personal life when you’re trying to leave work at work ?

It’s so hard. The past month alone, I’ve been traveling to like seven different states. I wasn’t home for three weeks. I didn’t sleep in the same bed twice. I’m a Cancer. I was born in July and home is so important to me. I find that if I can’t have enough time to create a home—and that can be at a hotel room—it’s not good.

But I try to do little things like bringing my favorite candle or my favorite cashmere blanket…putting out my toiletries wherever I am just to set up.

One of my favorite things is to unpack. When I travel that much and I can’t unpack—I know it sounds so bizarre—but I feel unsettled. I want to walk into my bathroom and not dig through a little bag to get to my serum or my toothbrush. I want to walk in and have comfortability. It is such a strange, silly thing, but we all have routines that make us comfortable or that feel good to us. I noticed if I travel too much, I can get a little off-center. When I get home in my house, I usually go straight to the farmer’s market, get all my favorite foods and cuddle up. I live in a little cottage on the side of a hill, and I love listening to music and having coffee. I also have a bunch of squirrels that have become my friends. It’s basically like Snow White up here! My squirrels come and I feed them. I just take some alone time and I decompress from whatever externally was affecting my internal compass.

With Fashion Week, I noticed that teenage me suddenly got triggered. I was thinking: “Am I a cool kid? I got to hang out with all the cool kids. Are they going to know that I’m not cool? I wasn’t cool in high school.” It was so interesting to watch that side of me. Instead of laughing at it or being ashamed by it, I came home and I thought about it and I was like, “Oh, I could see how that could be triggering.” You decompress and you talk to your friends about it. I feel like a little bit of alone time is usually what I need to center myself after I’ve been out in the world a little too much.

You’re super busy right now, but what are you looking forward to as we get into the official spring months?

There’s lots that’s really exciting. But I think it’s the unknown. Part of my brain wants to give you an answer that will be all the things that I’m prepared for that I think would be great, but I’ve never been in this place before. I’ve never had this exposure or this success. It looks different for me in different times.

I think one of the things that makes me feel the most safe is that I know this and I know that and I’m planning for this. One of the scariest things for me is I don’t know. If I don’t know something, I can get thrown off…what I’ve really been working on recently is I don’t know and the unknown are the same thing, but framed differently.

The unknown is filled with so many possibilities and so many things I could never even imagine for myself in the best ways possible. I think it’s a lot of, “Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens in the spring.” There’s a lot of really great projects that my team is talking to me right now about. Projects that I dreamed about being in since I was a kid.

I also have a company called Blueprint that is mental health. It is a software company for mental health for youth, and that is launching right now and in the spring, in many different school districts. To be able to start offering mental health support for our youth is extremely important to me, and it’s been a labor of love.

I started my first company in 2016, and Blueprint started in 2020. It’s been three years of working every day to be able to support kids in a way that I wish I had that mental support. It definitely would’ve made the therapy bills a lot cheaper in my 30s! Those are really exciting as I think what I do know is Blueprint, and I know where that’s going, but I think with my career right now, I think there’s a big shift in what’s to come because of Reacher and because of the previous work I’ve done.

Photography: Valerie Burke; Styling: Sofia Popkova; Makeup + Hair: Marlena Von Kazmier; Styling Asst: Anastasia Buriak, Oksana Masalyko; Pink Corset Bodysuit: Charles & Ron; Jeans: Triarchy

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