Idina Menzel has always been a powerhouse thanks to her chill-inducing vocals and theatrical prowess. In her latest role as Vivian, Cinderella’s stepmother in Amazon Prime Video’s colorful, modern take on the classic fairy tale, she is no different.
The Tony Award winner credits Cinderella director and writer Kay Cannon with approaching Vivian through a more complex lens than how the typical evil stepmother role is portrayed. “She’s more grounded, less of the quintessential archetype, nemesis character,” Menzel tells Glamour. “Don’t get me wrong. She does some pretty awful things, but hopefully, the audience understands there’s been turmoil and hurt and pain in her life, which has informed why she acts the way she does.”
While Menzel is nothing like her alter-ego, she appreciates how this version of Cinderella embraces vulnerable and complicated women. It’s something Menzel is leaning more into herself, having turned 50 earlier this year and being less than enthusiastic about the preconceived notions of what that age means.
“I am ashamed to say it, but I was having a hard time with it,” she says of hitting the milestone. “I think it was subconsciously bothering me more than I led on, in regards to my relevance as a performer and actress. I’m feeling like the old lady sometimes, and that’s not who I am. I feel very young at heart.”
As much as women are told to own their power as they get older, it’s not always that easy to do in practice. Seven and a half years ago, Menzel—who was 42 at the time—said during an appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live that she was told she was too old to reprise her role in a possible film version of Wicked. A lot has changed in Hollywood since that time…but then again, a lot hasn’t.
“I’m very vibrant, and the music I sing is for lots of young people,” Menzel says. “So it’s silly for me to play into that. But I will be honest and say I have to combat a lot of my own neuroses.” She credits her 12-year-old son (with ex-husband Taye Diggs) with helping her change her mindset. “He says, ‘Mom, don’t look in the mirror and worry about how you look. You’re beautiful.’”
While Menzel is not afraid to admit to her son that sometimes she is self-conscious, she’s also aware how impressionable kids are. “My mom’s gorgeous,” she says. “When my sister and I were younger, kids used to say Farrah Fawcett was coming to school when she would pick us up because she looked so beautiful, with a great body and great skin. But privately, she’d always look in the mirror and say something negative about her body or face.”
She continues, “Even though she always told my sister and I that we were beautiful, thinking that was building our confidence, what we really were seeing was a beautiful woman diminishing her worth in some way. I’m learning as a parent that you really have to walk the walk and talk the talk because that’s what kids really see. They’re so insightful.”
It goes back to what we learned about fairy tales as kids—stories about love that we accepted as the norm, but are now realizing are a lot more complicated. Aging is no different. Menzel wants to look youthful, but not at the expense of erasing the lines she’s earned. “Being unique is what sets you apart in this world,” she says. “Be proud of who you are and what you look like.”
So for Glamour‘s latest Drop the Routine, Idina Menzel reveals what she’s relying on to protect her skin and help her feel confident as she embarks on the start of a new decade.
I use Cetaphil, which my dermatologist makes me use. It’s so easy and affordable. And I love Tatcha’s Camellia Cleansing Oil. It’s oily, but not greasy. It gets everything off, including your eye makeup. That one is a bit more fancy.
Cetaphil Foaming Facial Cleanser
Tatcha The Camellia Oil
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 is the kind of product that feels like you’re getting results similar to a peel, and it exfoliates.
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3
I love Tatcha’s moisturizers. The presentation is so pretty with the jar and the little spoon on top. I use the Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair and the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Night Concentrate, which I love. I normally travel a lot and I’m on planes, so my skin tends to get dry, which is why moisturizer is so important for me.
Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair
Tatcha Dewy Skin Night Concentrate
$110.00, Violet Grey
I’ve had skin cancers before, at a young age. I have a little scar near my hair line and my nose, so I wear Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion. It feels good. You can put makeup on top of it, and it doesn’t make your skin flake or leave a white residue.
Supergoop! PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50
My face mask
I love the way the SK-II mask feels, and you can use them when you’re on a plane.
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
My eye creams
I like Kate Somerville’s Age Arrest eye cream, which is great because I get oxygen facials from her. I also like Charlotte Tilbury’s new Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum because it makes my skin look five years younger! It feels soft and makes my skin look buoyant. It doesn’t settle into lines or creases.
Kate Somerville Age Arrest Eye Cream
Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum
My lip balms
I’ve had Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF15 forever. It’s so yummy. I love Fresh. And sometimes just your regular ChapStick or Aquaphor, which you can use on your baby’s butt or on your lips. It’s all-purpose and so good.
Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 15
ChapStick Moisturizing Lip Balm-Original SPF
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram @jessicaradloff14.
Originally Appeared on Glamour