wellness theories

Sutton Foster on Staying Young, Journaling, and Wearing Platform Sandals on Set

Sutton Foster. Photo: 2017 Getty Images

On the hit show Younger, Sutton Foster plays a 40-something mom pretending to be a 20-something Brooklynite as she pursues a career in publishing and hangs out with Hilary Duff. But in real life, the famed Broadway star isn’t holding anything back — she’s about to turn 42 and feels as young as ever, she’ll happily tell you. During New York Fashion Week, the Cut caught up with Foster — whose latest role is as ambassador for Amopé’s GelActiv shoe insoles and inserts — to chat about journaling, moisturizing, and why she truly believes that age is just a number.

How I start my mornings: We have two dogs, so I make sure they’re taken care of — that they’ve gone outside and eaten. Then, my morning usually starts with coffee. What I like to do, it doesn’t always happen, but if I have to be somewhere in the morning, I like to wake up at least two hours from when I have to be somewhere so that I can have time at home, time for my coffee and breakfast and get cleaned up.

I journal, so I write in the morning, too. I journal three pages — three little pages, not giant pages — but I used to do it a long time ago, and I have journals from when I was 15 years old. I have phases where I don’t do it for a while, and then I realize, actually it’s really good for me to get stuff out because sometimes I just need to write something out. So I like to do that in the morning, and have a little bit of quiet time before the day begins.

Wellness, to me, is: a whole thing. I’ll be 42 this month, but before I turned 35 I really changed my outlook on wellness. It was less about vanity and more about longevity, and about proactive health and wanting to stay healthy so that I could have a longer life. My dad just had triple bypass last year, and that was also another reminder: Okay, I have heart disease and cancer in my family. Now I do everything in moderation.

I don’t deny myself anything — I do whatever I want in the moment — but I feel like moderation is the thing that can really sustain you for the rest of your life. If I want the piece of chocolate cake, I’m eating the chocolate cake. But I primarily try to fill my diet with all the things they tell you to — fruits and vegetables, and I try to limit processed foods and all those types of things. And then the other part of wellness is mindfulness and spiritual wellness, and incorporating something that is centering every day. That’s why journaling is so good for me. I take a bath almost every day; I light a candle.

How I sweat: I think of fitness as being about heart health and staying strong and agile. That actually makes me go to the gym. I used to hate it and you couldn’t drag me there, but now I can’t stand it if I don’t go, which seems weird. Now it’s become more routine, like brushing my teeth. I never thought I would get that way. I’m trying to integrate yoga more into my life, and I was recently introduced to tai chi. It’s hard because when you live in New York City, you don’t have enough time in the day, so usually mindfulness is the first thing to go, because you’re like, I need to get the best bang for my buck so I’m going to go take a spin class or work out with a trainer. But the mindful thing that’s slow and quiet — I’ve realized I need to make more time for that in my life.

On staying young: I talk a lot about how age is really just a number and a mentality. I can be like, oh, I’m 42, I’m so old. But so what? You can’t do what now that you couldn’t do when you were 15? Sure, I shouldn’t do a back handspring or something, but I feel like it’s all what you project and your mental state. I really do believe that youth comes from how you look at the world. I’ve always thought of myself as a young soul, or young for my age. I was a late bloomer, and I still feel like I’m 15. I look at the world with hopeful optimism — I’m a bit of a Pollyanna.

I find myself more and more going, No, I don’t want to do that. But why? Why don’t you try it? That’s what keeps you young — trying new things. Because that’s what youth is: everything being new. When you’re in your 20s, it’s your first apartment, your first job, your first love. There’s all these firsts, and when you get older, you’re like, I remember when, and you have all these stories. But what’s something new that I can learn now? That’s why I just started learning tai chi – it’s terrifying and new, but I’ve never done that before. I also drink a lot of water, and I try to sleep a lot, too.

My skin-care routine: One thing I think I’m really proud of is that I started taking care of my skin at a young age. Somebody when I was young was like: [in a husky voice] Use lotion, start when you’re young. So for as long as I could remember, I’ve never not put lotion on after a shower. I don’t know who told me that, and now I pass it on to teenagers I meet.

The things that I end up getting excited about are products. I love face creams, lotions and potions. I love a brand called Skyn Iceland. They really cater to sensitive skin. They have these eye patches that are really great, an awesome day cream and night cream, and a great daily lotion that’s cooling, so in the morning when you have to wake up early you put it on and you’re like, Woo! It’s kind of got this tingle to it. But every night when I go to bed, I make sure to wash my face, and I’m constantly trying new things. I’m trying really hard to age gracefully, and I get facials and stuff, but I haven’t done anything other than just try to take good care of my skin.

How I eat when I’m alone: I usually make good choices. I usually don’t fall apart when I’m alone. When my husband’s home and we eat together, we’ll order in — sushi — or we’ll go somewhere nearby. But when I eat alone, it’s a salad. Chop’t is one of my favorite salad places. I literally will base a day around where they are. I also love Juice Generation — I’ll have one of their smoothies for lunch. I like their Peanut Butter Split smoothie. Or, I’ll go to the Whole Foods salad bar.

On wearing heels on set: I don’t have great feet — I have pinched nerves in my toes from years of dancing, and if I had my druthers, I wouldn’t be wearing heels. I always would sacrifice fashion over comfort. That’s why I was excited to work with Amopé, because I thought, Finally, here’s an option that might make my life more bearable. I didn’t even know that was a possibility, especially for shoes like a strappy sandal — to be able to put an insole inside it, where it’s discreet and if you’re wearing it, no one will see it.

I’m excited to try them on set, because we didn’t have them last season. Otherwise I’m either always in my Uggs, or last season, in the summer, they bought us these Rocket Dog platform flip-flops, so there’s a photo of me wearing those while I’m doing a scene. You couldn’t see them on camera, but it was just so I’d be at the right height, because I couldn’t last in heels. I feel like these insoles will be a game changer because I could at least last long enough to not race into the Rocket Dogs.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Sutton Foster on Staying Young, Journaling, and Wellness