Yes, when it comes to red carpets, Mara generally picks winners and doesn’t skimp on the glam. But not so in real life.
“I don’t dress like this on a regular basis. I’m in sweatpants. I wish I made that effort,” Mara clarifies to Yahoo Style.
When she’s at home with her fiancé, Jamie Bell, — Mara already has her wedding dress picked out — the actress keeps things super-casual. Enviably so.
“I’m typically in sweatpants. The amount of sweatpants I own is remarkable. I own more sweatpants than I do regular jeans. I probably have about 15 pairs,” she says. “They’re all pretty much black or gray. They’re not designer sweats.”
Mara is all about maintaining comfort in her day-to-day life and agrees that there’s something truly magical about the drawstring. For her, there’s a bottom for every occasion.
“I’ll change my sweatpants to put on different sweatpants. You have the kind you work out in, the kind you lounge around in, and the kind you sleep in, so I change them throughout the day,” she says. “When I work out, I do Pilates or ballet, so I’m in leggings. Most of my friends are just lazing around in their sweats. But when you go out to dinner, you make an effort.”
There’s a no-frills authenticity to Mara, a quality she brings to playing Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey in her new film. Leavey is assigned to a K-9 unit, where she winds up training, and connecting with, a problem dog.
Given that she was already in solid shape, Mara didn’t have to undergo any kind of massive physical transformation to play the Marine, meaning there was no bulking up. “The harder training was everything else you had to learn as a Marine: how to handle your weapon, how to march,” she says.
The canine in the film also had a major learning curve. “All the training I had with the dog — the dog we had hired had never done anything like this before. It was his first movie. I had no idea what I was doing, either. It bonded us quicker,” says Mara, an animal lover who says her own dogs will be part of her wedding.
Not every part of filming was seamless. Mara initially cut her hair to play Megan, a decision she came to regret. “They then decided they wanted me with long hair. So I had extensions, the kind that stay in for months. It’s the most painful, uncomfortable, horrible thing. If I never had to do it again, I’d be very happy,” she says.
On the flip side, she spent minimal time getting gussied up for the role.
“To be fair, I’ve played a few characters who don’t do much hair and makeup, which is so nice. You don’t have to spend that extra time in the makeup trailer. It’s always refreshing,” says Mara. “And to keep it as real and honest as possible is important, and they definitely did that with this movie.”
Keeping it real hasn’t been an issue for Mara, whose ambitious reporter Zoe Barnes was thrown under a Metro by Frank Underwood in Season 2 of House of Cards — a moment that resurfaced on the fifth season of the show, now streaming. Mara, who began acting in school plays as a kid, is the granddaughter of New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney.
Next up for Mara is the release of Chappaquiddick, which looks into the 1969 car crash that killed Robert Kennedy’s smart, outgoing campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne — who died in a vehicle driven by Ted Kennedy. He drove his car off a bridge, and didn’t report the accident for 10 hours. Mara plays Kopechne, and hasn’t yet seen the film.
“I like how they handled it in the script. They treated her with a lot of respect and showed her as the brilliant mind that she was — that’s how it was relayed to me,” she says.
A post shared by @ellenpage on May 16, 2017 at 12:16pm PDT
Work aside, Mara’s next major production is her wedding. She’s not precious about her personal life but is leery of revealing too much because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Of course, that hasn’t stopped a certain tabloid from linking her, of all people, to her first cousin, John Mara, something that Kate finds highly amusing but doesn’t bother correcting officially.
“You just have to try. There are certain things that you’re OK with sharing — little things. Other things are off limits. If you want to keep things private, you can’t broadcast them to the world constantly,” she says.
One thing that she’s happy to note, however, is that her faux Instagram feud with actress Ellen Page is just that. The two have been good friends for years, but on social media, Page laments that Mara ignores her — and Page recently thanked Mara for finally following her.
So, to address the massive elephant in the room, is Page invited to Mara’s wedding?
“Ellen Page has already RSVP’d. She’s one of my best friends. But how awkward would that be if she wasn’t invited and you put that in the story?”
Read more from Yahoo Beauty + Style: