Busy Phillips is someone everyone should want to hang out with. She’s eternally funny and admirably honest about her love of margaritas, and was (sorry) the best part of Dawson’s Creek. Lately, the actress has been making the awards-show rounds as the date of her best friend (and former Creek co-star) Michelle Williams. But now, she’s teaming up with Well Yes! soup, a new line from Campbell Soup Co., to lead its #WellYesMoment campaign. The Cut met up with Phillips in New York City to chat about her love of hot foods, her “47-step” skin-care routine, and the importance of making small changes.
How I start my mornings: I wake up pretty well now, in my old age (I’m kidding). I have two kids [Birdie, 8, and Cricket, 3], so I’m trained. I wake up at 6 a.m. and I make coffee. I’ve been doing Bulletproof Coffee lately, with the butter and the oil. I weirdly love it. I get a lot of energy, I feel very sharp, and I’m not hungry until lunch — it’s a lot of fat and calories, so it’s a meal supplement. It tastes like a full-fat latte, kind of.
How I sweat: I’m very into SoulCycle; I’ve been vocal about my SoulCycle love and addiction. I used to run, and I would find running to be enjoyable, but also very hard on my knees. So then I found SoulCycle and I just love it — I love the endorphin rush, I love the workout, I love how hard it is. But I switch it up; I like this thing called LEKfit in Los Angeles, too. It’s from Laura Kleban, who’s a trainer, and you do rebounding — so you’re jumping on a trampoline — and then you do more of a ballet barre-type workout to lengthen and strengthen your arms. I love her class, and she’s fantastic. She was my trainer years ago, but then she got married and had babies, and now she’s opened her own studio.
On preparing for awards shows: It is a lot of pressure, but it’s not the most pressure on me because I’m not nominated. I’m just a guest [of Williams]. But you do want to feel beautiful, so sometimes there’s been meal-delivery plans and more actual, active dieting. It’s like preparing for a sporting event, like a professional athlete would, just because the dresses are what the dresses are, and you want to look good in them. But I’m a big believer in skin care and facials.
My skin-care routine: I’ve always been really into skin care; I’ve always thought that was important. I don’t know where it comes from — maybe watching my mom put cold cream on her face when I was a kid. I go to my dermatologist in Los Angeles, but recently I’ve been using Biologique Recherche, which are these French products. There’s a toner that’s very famous, the P50. I’ve been using those products a lot, and getting facials from a woman in the Valley who uses those products in her facials.
How I eat when I’m alone: My ideal meal is chips and salsa, and a margarita. I grew up in Arizona, I grew up on chips and salsa. It’s in my blood.
Wellness, to me, is: doing the best you can for your body, your brain, and your soul, so to speak. No one’s perfect; we need to accept that. So it’s about not being so hard on yourself. I went through a period of time where I was really hard on myself and my body, wanting it to be different than it was, working so hard at it, and trying to deprive myself (not in a dangerous way — just being really strict). Ultimately, that’s not a thing that brings me mental health. I need a margarita, I need some guacamole in my life.
Specifically, in talking about the Well Yes! campaign, what really resonated with me about it is the idea of just making these small changes that make your life feel better and more awesome, and anyone can do it. You don’t have to have a special nutritionist or be on a plan. You can just make choices — and little choices do add up. You can achieve goals by making small choices; it just takes longer.
My best wellness hack: Well, I have like 47 steps to my skin-care routine, so I don’t feel like I take any shortcuts there. But sleep is not a hack; it’s essential for all wellness. Sleep and water. I just make it a priority.
How wellness has changed for me: I didn’t really have an understanding of it when I was in my late teens, early 20s. At some point, post–Dawson’s Creek, I was asked by a network to lose weight, which is gross, right? And then I became very hyperaware of things, and it became just about weight and not about wellness. I think those two things are separate, and they’re not the same. I started really thinking about wellness during my first pregnancy, and that has transitioned into the last eight years of my life, where I feel like I’ve been a lot better about keeping the wholeness of what wellness means.
How I’m teaching my kids about wellness: We take care of our bodies and we eat whole foods, so we eat things that are good for us and that we can pronounce, like the Well Yes! soup, with purposeful ingredients. We get outside, we exercise, and we play on the playground and run around. And they see my husband and me go to SoulCycle a lot and go to work out — wearing our workout clothes to drop Birdie off at the bus stop or drop Cricket off at preschool, because we’re going to work out after we drop them off. They know what that is, and when they ask why, we say because it’s very important to take care of your body, and it’s the only one you get, so we need to make sure that it feels very good.
My best wellness advice: When you’re tired, when you’re feeling depressed, you have a tendency to not make the best choices in terms of your own wellness. I mean health-wise, in terms of the food you put in your body and the things that you drink and all of that. If you can get into a place of mental clarity where you feel good and you’re not so hard on yourself, you’re going to end up making better decisions. I always make the worst food decisions when I’m tired. When I’m exhausted, I’m just like, where’s the jelly beans?
On why people in Los Angeles are so happy: People in L.A. are really active, we’re outside, we’re not depressed. We have sunshine, we have space, yards, pools, grass, and trees. That is a big part of wellness — being outdoors and not in a city. There was an article about it less than a year ago, about how it actually resets your brain. You need to be in at least two hours of nature a week in order for your brain to reset itself and operate on its most optimal level. I just remember reading it because I had done this intensive hiking weekend program, and I really came back and felt like a different person. I felt lighter in my brain, and then this article came out a month later and I was like, oh that is what I experienced — a reset in my brain.
This interview has been edited and condensed.