HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition era. It has become one of TV’s favorite shows with a star-studded cast and its unpredictable plot. A cast member since season two, Christiane Seidel (Sigrid Mueller) sat down with How to be a Redhead to share her experience on the show, her favorite ‘redhead friendly’ beauty products and her life as a natural redhead.
H2BAR: Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
CS: YES! I always wrote and created shows for whoever was around.
H2BAR: What was the craziest job you ever had before acting?
CS: I was a Sex & the City tour guide! But it was fun and a great experience. (laughs) Miranda represent!
H2BAR: While auditioning, did you ever find yourself being the only redhead?
CS: Yes, absolutely. But when I see another redhead, we instantly feel a bond.
H2BAR: We absolutely love you as Sigrid on HBO’s hit drama, Boardwalk Empire. Can you tell us a bit more about your character?
CS: Thank you so much! I LOVE playing Sigrid. She’s an incredible woman who came from nothing and is determined, to a fault, to make her American Dream a reality. Sigrid protects her family like a lioness – her family is everything to her. She’s feisty, extremely loyal and will obviously “kill for”. Sigrid expects her husband to be just as fearless and will love, push, and provoke him to do whatever needs to be done. I also love that she has a sense of humor too.
Take a look at a scene from Boardwalk Empire, starring Michael Shannon and Christiane Seidel:
H2BAR: How do you pull off a Norwegian accent? It must be so difficult!
CS: I love the accent. It’s so melodic. My mother is from Denmark and I’m fluent in Danish. Although the accents are very different, Norwegian and Danish are historically very close. So I guess there’s an immediate connection to the accent. I also work with a native Norwegian dialect coach (another redhead) and we’ve become close friends ever since.
H2BAR: Season four is officially done. What has been your favorite moment thus far while on the show?
CS: Definitely the episode where I kill the prohibition agent with a meat mallet! Ironically we’ve become good friends as well – so maybe I’m forgiven.
H2BAR: Is it challenging to play a character set in the Prohibition Era?
CS: I don’t think so. It is so amazing to delve into that era and relive it. Stepping into those incredibly meticulous sets is like time traveling.
H2BAR: On the show, we see your hair up, down in wavy curls or in a hat. What is your favorite look?
CS: I love my hair down in wavy curls. It feels free. There’s a tiger inside of Sigrid and the look seems appropriate for who she is.
H2BAR: Do you have any input on your hair and makeup while getting ready for the show?
CS: Our hair and makeup artists are incredibly talented and creative. In fact, both departments won Emmy awards for their work; so, I obviously don’t worry about those things. But every now and then, I try to negotiate my way into a little bit more mascara! Every redhead knows what I’m talking about.
H2BAR: Is there a certain routine for makeup and hair when getting into your character?
CS: Usually we start with the hair with tons of little hot curlers. As soon as they sit, it feels like I’ve nearly transformed into Sigrid. Then with the curlers, I sit in the makeup chair – which is probably the most relaxing seat on set. There’s something very soothing about having your makeup done, although falling asleep might be an issue. This is where I prepare for Sigrid mentally/emotionally and on occasion meet and chat with other actors from the show. Sometimes we rehearse on set with while I’m in curlers, too – and quite frankly, I don’t know how anyone can take me seriously. Afterwards, I’m back in the trailer to finish the hair, and the moment I’m in costume, I am Sigrid.
H2BAR: What is a ‘redhead friendly’ makeup product you cannot live without?
H2BAR: Fill In The Blank: I can not leave the house without _______.
CS: Mascara! SPF is so important too.
H2BAR: What is your favorite sunscreen to wear?
H2BAR: When not on set, how do you wear your hair?
CS: A quick ponytail or bun on top of my head. I’m too lazy to bother on most days.
H2BAR: If we may ask, who does your hair?! It’s gorgeous in every photo we see.
CS: Thank you! I’ll relay the message. I primarily work with Neil Gogoi, Valerie V. Star (another redhead) from Caravan Stylist Studio NY, or Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue when I am in New York City. When in Los Angeles, I go to Julianne Kaye (another ginger sister). They’re all such incredible artists and they do my make-up as well.
H2BAR: Favorite fashion color to rock with your red hair?
CS: Royal blue.
H2BAR: How do you do your eyebrows?
CS: I love eyebrow powder. My favorite brand is Anastasia Beverly Hills.
H2BAR: Do you have a beauty secret you’d like to share?
CS: One thing that keeps my hair and skin healthy while preventing me from getting sick is Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health. I add it to smoothies or else it can taste like seaweed dirt. I also swear by Erno Laszlo’s Active Phelityl Intensive Cream – also known for being on Marilyn Monroe’s night stand. A Boardwalk Empire makeup-artist advised me to use it to keep my under-eye area hydrated and lock in the moisturizer. I use it overnight on my entire face in the winter.
H2BAR: When not acting, what do you like to do for fun?
CS: Skiing! It’s the ultimate feeling of freedom to me. Obviously, I can’t ski all the time, so I make do with some of my favorite classes at Equinox like rowing in “Shockwave.” I also love testing vegan recipes.
H2BAR: We’ve read you are a hobby vegan. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
CS: The documentary Forks over Knifes really educated and changed my perspective on eating animal products. I’ve have not been able to eat dairy for the past 14 years and was never a big meat eater anyway, so I try to stick to a plant-based diet. I’m not extreme though and do enjoy a quality steak once in a while. But, I think a vegan desert done well is better than a traditional one. My favorite vegan recipe is a sweet potato lasagna from the Engine 2 Diet Cookbook. Even hardcore meat lovers will get hooked!
H2BAR: Do you use vegan beauty products?
H2BAR: What was it like growing up as a natural redhead?
CS: It definitely wasn’t easy. As a kid I felt quite ugly and didn’t want to stand out. I was teased and called all sorts of names. Once I was allowed to wear mascara a whole new world opened up for me. I finally had eyes!
H2BAR: Why do you love being a redhead?
CS: It’s unique and fun! And I’m a fire sign so it really fits my personality.
H2BAR: How do you Rock it like a Redhead?
CS: With some big, sexy waves and a vibrant red or even bright popping pink lipstick – boom!
H2BAR: What do you have planned for 2014?
CS: Heading to LA for business while escaping the NY winter in one swoop. And shooting the final season of Boardwalk Empire.
H2BAR: If you could give one piece of advice to redheads struggling with accepting their red hair, what would it be?
CS: I’ll relay what my hairstylist’s always tell me,”It’d be impossible to recreate your natural authentic red hair color for a non-redheaded person, and many people would kill to have your color.” It would have been very difficult to understand this when I was young, but our hair IS unique. All redheads, just like me, will look back and realize it was a very good thing to be born a natural redhead.
Photo Credit: Matt Sayles and Michael Williams