Face To Face
By Debra Morgenstern Katz
Susan Haskell has one sure-fire prescription for beauty: Don't
be like Marty Saybrooke.
Susan has been playing Marty, the troubled young woman on One Life to Live, for more than a year. She says that living life the opposite way her character does is the first step toward a glowing radiant look. Explains Susan, "Don't drink, don't smoke, and don't take drugs!"
It's a prescription Susan follows herself, and she gives credit for her healthy life-style to her upbringing, which was also the opposite of Marty's.
"I have good parents," Susan points out. "They've always encouraged me. Marty didn't have an ounce of the support I had as a child. She didn't have love and discipline and stability. That's a major thing."
In the storyline, Marty was orphaned by her parents at five and was alternately raised by a mean aunt and at boarding schools.
Susan, by contrast, is close to her family: Her parents, who live in Toronto, where she was born and raised; her brother, who lives in California; and her younger sister. Education was heavily emphasized in the family, and Susan - whose original career goal had nothing to do with acting - distinguished herself scholastically: She graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in biopsychology.
"I always liked science and dissecting things," says Susan. "In eighth grade, we had to take apart a cow's eye and I was the only girl who would pick it up! I was always fascinated with how the human body worked. I thought it was interesting to find out how that little lump could see!"
When Susan was growing up, science was not her only interest: She also played piano and flute, studied ballet for eight years, and learned to speak fluent French. So how did this modern Renaissance woman end up on daytime TV playing an angst-ridden character who drinks, parties, and sets off phony fire alarms?
Ask her mother's hairdresser.
Back when Susan was in high school, her mother's hairdresser also worked with models and actresses, and one day he urged Susan, who's 5' 8-1/2", to give modeling a try. She did and soon was modeling and doing commercials. The determined young woman continued to do so throughout college and afterward, while attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Eight months after graduation, Susan won the role of Marty Saybrooke on OLTL.
After the only thing the actress and her character have in common is a fresh, unpretentious look. "I don't like a ton of make-up," says Susan. "And Marty's not the kind of person who'd spend hours in the morning looking in the mirror."
Neither would Susan. If she's just running errands around town, she wears no make-up at all except for a little lip gloss in the winter to keep her lips from getting too dry. When she's not working or auditioning, she never wears a make-up base. "I just don't like the feel of it," says Susan. "And I have to wear it all the time on the set."
Though she won't wear base even on Saturday nights, she will put on some make-up - but still only a bare minimum. "I'll throw on some black mascara - my eyelashes are pretty light - and a little brown eye shadow on my eyelids near the lashes," says blue-eyed Susan, "and I'll fill in my eyebrows with some brown eye shadow powder. I don't use pencils at all except for my lip liner; I use all powders."
She keeps her lipsticks in the earth tones, like soft burgundy browns and burnt oranges. "I never wear pinks or reds," says Susan. "And I don't like anything shiny or frosted. I use all matte make-up." Sometimes before applying eye shadow, she'll cover the whole lid with a light, neutral skin-tone color. Her blush is in the earth-tone family too, but she only wears it when getting dressed up.
Her natural look extends to skin care. She washes her fact with a glycerine-and-oatmeal scrub. "It looks like a raw oatmeal cookie!" exclaims Susan. She finishes the routine with moisturizer, and occasionally she'll go for a facial for a more professional cleaning.
To keep her long sandy brown hair healthy-looking, the actress trims it every two months and washes it each day she works. But she also does an unusual thing in the shower: She uses conditioner first and then shampoos it out so the conditioner doesn't weigh down her hair. After the shower, she puts a little gel on her hair to hold its natural waves.
More important than skin or hair treatments, however, Susan believes that beauty comes from the inside out. "I try to eat well, but I'm not a fanatic - I love pizza! But I eat a lot of salads, and a lot of fruit, cereals, grains and chicken. I eat red meat, too, but not a lot."
She tries to exercise three or four times a week - indoor aerobics when the weather is cold, running outdoors when it's warmer "To me, exercise is so important," she admits, "because I love to eat, and as long as I exercise I can eat whatever I want."
Susan's healthy, uncomplicated attitude towards life started back in the fresh air of Toronto, and she is reminded of it every time she returns to visit her parents. "Toronto is very clean," says Susan. "I like that. I go home, and I say, 'Oh, this air is quite nice!'"
If only Marty Saybrooke could breathe free and clear too!