Perrey Reeves: I love being part of a community
Perrey Reeves shows off her vintage looking engagement ring that she admits has flaws in the large diamond, but that's what makes it special and unique to her. Wearing skinny jeans, and a loose tee, the co-star of HBO's Entourage and its summer feature film, looks years younger than her 44. She credits a vegetarian diet, Ayurvedic medicine and a devotion to yoga for a healthy, youthful appearance.
"I have to say I'm far more comfortable with myself now than I was when I was younger," says the actress who stars as Melissa Gold, Ari Gold's supportive, yet strong-willed wife in Entourage.
An East Coast native who lived with her physician father and entire family in France and Italy growing up, she reflects on her life today.
"I'm now in the world of Hollywood and looking at myself as a product is a weird thing. You have to build your life with interests, friends and activities that support another aspect of you or I don't know how one can survive. It's the simple things in life, like going for a walk with my dog, watching a movie with my fiancé, doing my morning meditation and yoga - I feel good then and I'm ready to conquer whatever needs to be conquered that day.
Complimenting that simple lifestyle is her yoga retreat, Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica that she helped build - literally - from the ground. The 100 percent solar-powered tropical modern luxury retreat boasts a full array of wellness services with organic vegetarian and vegan food where guests connect with Mother Nature and relax. The houses are very Zen and high up in tree levels. And the food is amazing.
"Being a vegetarian has never been an effort for me," she says. "It's always been a natural path. I started a meditation practice in 1992, in 1993 I began going to an Ayurvedic physician and in 94, I started practicing yoga, not realising that all of these were inter related. They all came to me from different directions and they have really been a major influence on my life."
Q: You studied in France and Italy, along with Ivy League colleges. What did living in Europe instil in you that is important to you today?
REEVES: First of all I think it's great to interact with people from different cultures. We were lucky enough to travel a lot growing up. One thing living in France did for us as a family, we got to get rid of a lot of stuff. We had lived in a house with lots of bedrooms; in France, we had a small apartment. It's amazing to say, OK, you can have one suitcase and that's that. And off we went. I grew up in a family where food and diet and preventative medicine were at the forefront of how we thought. In Europe, almost everything you buy there is fresh. It's slightly different there now but you don't go to the grocery store and get a week's worth of food. You go out and get your bread and cheese for the evening.
Q: Your family shunned TV in favour of reading and exploring literature. Why did they do this?
REEVES: I have no idea but I will say it was frustrating and hard on us growing up because culturally, I think, a lot of the way people communicated, they're doing common things and television is one of them. Watching too much television can be dulling but I certainly watch it myself.
Q: You're involved with the International Fund for Animal Welfare so was becoming a vegetarian for moral or health reasons?
REEVES: Growing up in such a health oriented family environment, my sister and I decided to be vegetarians when we were really young. My brothers would eat meat every now and then but I was never drawn to meat eating. The moral aspect might be part of that. I do wear leather shoes so I don't want to tell you I'm perfect when it comes to animal products.
Q: Any foods you've completely omitted from your diet for food sensitivities or allergies?
REEVES: I haven't. I'm not a big bread eater. I don't have a problem with gluten; it's a protein. We have gone gluten free at the Sanctuary at Two Rivers because a lot of people do have sensitivities.
We've managed to do an incredible menu there; you'd never know it was vegan. I eat raw dairy. The process of pasteurizing is not so healthy. But pretty much a balanced diet. I'm not a big sugar eater; when I do eat it, I enjoy it, but I don't feel great. I like to say that sugar is like a recreational drug; use it accordingly. It's fun but not something you want to do every day.
Q: Meditate and yoga in the morning?
REEVES: Yes and yes. I always find if I do things in the morning then I have the rest of the day free. It's hard to get to 4 o'clock and then think I'll do meditation and yoga. I love the mornings anyway and I feel if I get up early enough I can enjoy my tea, enjoy the dog, sit outside. We have a nice outside area of the house and that goes for Costa Rica as well. It's just a nice way to start the day.
Q: This your first marriage?
REEVES: Yes. I've been in long partnerships with other people but this is the first very traditional - I guess it is cause we're walking down an aisle in somebody's backyard. But we're keeping it very casual and fun with lots of retro music, dancing and good food.
Q: How have you incorporated eco-friendly practices into your home and also your retreat?
REEVES: The retreat in Costa Rica is 100 percent solar. We pull our water from a waterfall that's a spring and goes through six different filtration systems. All the building materials were built on property; we did everything we could to be as green as possible. We don't use generators. We had to when we were building but nothing was done with big tools. Everything was hand done. It was amazing. The houses are very Zen and high up in at tree level. Very special place. Beautiful woods.
Q: You sound the antithesis of Melissa Gold - who seems into designer clothing, rather uptight and harping on her husband.
REEVES: So true.
Q: Is there any part of the real you in Mrs. Ari Gold?
REEVES: I had known Jeremy (Piven/Ari) - we had worked together on another film. We were good friends then. I have a strong personality and I think Melissa has a strong personality too. I think we're both very loyal; I don't like to tell people what to do so that would never be a relationship I could be in so Melissa and I differ there. She's such a complicated force of nature. My fiancé is a ball of energy and fun but I certainly don't have to guide him down any road. I think you always bring something of yourself to the character. It was such a fun role to be able to dress up in those clothes, wear that jewellery and live her kind of life. Whenever I would be shopping I'd think oh, Melissa would love that outfit. I would never wear it though. So it was like having a split personality. And eight years is a long time to do something. Women loved the role; sometimes men struggled with it. Every now and again, I'll have a guy say to me, oh you were such a bitch and I think to myself what a one dimensional view of that character. I felt like everything she did was out of love for her husband; she was helping guide him. She loved him so much that she wanted to help him not self-destruct. So women found that to be amazing. There was a scene when we're in temple so I'm telling Ari not to use the phone - I wasn't being a brat saying that; I was trying to respect a desire to have a spiritual life. I probably wouldn't personally marry someone who wanted to take phone calls in temple. They were such fun scenes.
Q: Melissa Gold seems to be an empowered woman. What empowers you in your personal life?
REEVES: Having friends and being in a community is a lovely thing. One of the reasons I built the sanctuary was that I wanted to have a space where people can come for a healthy vacation. A single travelling woman can come and find a common interest with others and join a group. I've been lucky enough to have been able to live my life this way and I wanted to share that.
Q: Melissa seems a very confident woman. When did you first feel comfortable in your own skin?
REEVES: I look at culture now and think being a young woman, there are many things that are more progressive with embracing body types. But then with social media, there's holding yourself up against these impossible images. If you hashtag yoga on Instagram you'd think it was just for beautiful models who were acrobatics. That's not what yoga is for me and I think it could be intimidating for some. I have to say I'm far more comfortable with myself now. I'm in the world of Hollywood and you're looking at yourself as a product and that is a weird thing. You have to build your life, have interests, friends, and activities that support another aspect of you or I don't know how you survive - it would be very hard.
Q: Can you give us a hint as to what is Melissa up to in the movie?
REEVES: We just shot a Cadillac campaign for a tie-in with the movie and it's what happens when Ari and Melissa arrive in Italy. The last episode ended when we flew off to Italy - so you're going to get a little flavour of what Ari did in Italy.
Q: Sunrise or sunset person?
REEVES: I have to say Aaron, my fiancé and I have a huge obsession with beautiful sunsets. But then again, I love it when I happen to be up when the sun is rising.
Q: How would you describe yourself in three words?
REEVES: Happy, vibrant, and thankful.