Steal that, plus her go-to meals and the one detox she actually swears by
One perfect cupcake. That was the reward Emma Roberts gave herself before her Shape cover shoot. "I was working out every day and eating really clean to get ready," the 26-year-old actress says. "Then, a couple of days before the shoot, I started craving a cupcake from Sprinkles. So I went there by myself and sat down and read my book and ate my cupcake. It was great. Later, everyone asked me, 'Why didn't you wait until after the shoot to eat it? 'Well, because I wanted a cupcake that day."
Going for what she wants is classic Emma. "With my diet, I do what feels good for me at the time," she says. "I try not to say that I won't eat something. Instead, I stay in tune with my body and my mind, and I think, What do I feel like eating?" The same philosophy guides her workouts. "I love Pilates. I feel very energized and centered when I walk out the door afterward," Emma says. "I tried to get into running, but it didn't work for me. Pilates is something you take your time at, and it makes me feel very clear." (Emma's on our list of celebrities who aren't afraid to break a sweat.)
The mental and physical energy she gets from this routine has helped Emma find clarity in the rest of her life. The former star of Scream Queens and American Horror Story has spent this year filming several movies, including Who We Are Now, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall. She also launched a digital book club called Belletrist with her good friend and fellow bookworm Karah Preiss. The two pick a new book to read each month, announce it to their hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and then celebrate it by interviewing the author. "The reaction has been amazing," Emma says. "I think it's because you become immersed in a book, and that's something people are craving these days. When you're on your phone and all the notifications are coming in, it starts to scatter your brain. With a book, you can really step away and take time for yourself."
Here's how Emma came up with a personal confidence—and happiness—plan that really works for her.
Photo: Peggy Sirota
Focus on the 3 A's.
"I work with a trainer, Andrea Orbeck, because I need to get my cardio. Our sessions are an hour, focusing mostly on arms, abs, and ass—the all-important three A's. (This 30-minute workout sculpts all three.) I also do yoga. I usually take classes with a friend. For Pilates, my favorite workout, I go to Body by Nonna, and I can see my shape transform within a couple of sessions. That's good because I'm that person who, after one class, lifts up her shirt and says, 'Where are my abs?' I want results!'
I started working out regularly when I was living in New Orleans shooting American Horror Story: Coven several years ago. I really fell in love with the food there. To counter all I was eating, I worked out more. It was a great balance: I'd have fried-chicken sliders at night and then go to my yoga class the next morning."
Bacon and doughnuts are never off-limits.
"I start my day with a juice when I'm filming. I like Moon Juice; my favorite is their Spirit Dust ($38;moonjuice.com)—that's a fun way to begin the morning. I also drink iced coffee even when it's freezing outside because hot coffee doesn't wake me up. If I have a day off, I'll have eggs and bacon and toast. I adore classic breakfast foods. For lunch, I'll do a chopped salad with avocado, chicken, and tomatoes. Dinner is a turkey burger, or salmon with teriyaki or ponzu sauce, and brown rice with broccoli. I need snacks, particularly when I'm working. Lately I've become obsessed with seaweed. (Try these smart ways to cook with seaweed.) And chips and guacamole make me so happy! I also love cupcakes, ice cream, and Sidecar Doughnuts. Sometimes I bring sweets for everyone at work as an excuse to eat them."
Photo: Peggy Sirota
Put your phone down already.
"I've learned to step away from electronics and be fully present. If I'm going out to eat with friends or my boyfriend, I leave my phone at home so that I'm not reaching for it. It gives my brain room to breathe, and it feels really good. On Sundays, I have breakfast with girlfriends and then we go to the flea market and walk around and talk and really spend time together. We're not there to Instagram or Snapchat it." (Related: Try This 7-Day Digital Detox to Spring Clean Your Tech Life)
You can't have too many beauty products.
"Because I wear so much makeup when I'm working, taking care of my skin is really important to me. I love the brand Osea—especially their Atmosphere Protection Cream ($48; oseamalibu.com) and their eye and lip balms ($60; oseamalibu.com). And I use the Joanna Vargas Vitamin C Face Wash ($40; joannavargas.com). I'm obsessed with vitamin C face products. I'm also really into essential oils right now—Lea Michele got me hooked on them. (The former Shape cover girl talks essential oils in her interview here.) If someone recommends something, I'll buy it no questions asked because I love beauty products."
Photo: Peggy Sirota
Schedule some Zen.
"Reading is my form of self-care and meditation. I set aside at least 20 minutes a day for it. Sometimes that turns into 30 minutes, an hour, two hours. There are so many books on my dining room table right now that I can't use it for eating. I go to the store and buy every book I want to read for the next few months and put them on the table. One of my all-time favorite books is Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion. It's a really beautiful collection of short stories. Another favorite is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It has a gothic romance vibe, yet it could be a story today."
Drown out all the noise.
"I believe we are all innately confident. But we lose touch with ourselves and let other people's opinions and thoughts get louder than our own. It's so important to stay true to ourselves and find that confidence we had as kids. Know that your opinion about yourself matters more than anybody else's. Keep turning up the volume on your own voice, and don't let other people's voices get louder."