Rebecca Romijn, who is perhaps best known on screen as the shape-shifting mutant Mystique in the "X-Men" franchise, has transformed herself into a reality show host as well as a TVproducer of GSN’s "Skin Wars," the body-painting competition that proves beauty is not only skin-deep. ET caught up with Romijn over the weekend to talk about her take on Jennifer Lawrence’s interpretation of her beloved comic-book character, role models on magazine covers (she loves Sports Illustrated but don’t even get her started on Vogue) and her unlikely lifelong style inspiration: Prince.
ET: What are some surprises we can expect from season three of "Skin Wars," which premiered last week?
Rebecca Romijn: The show is about transformation and our producers are great at coming up with amazingly creative challenges. My two favorite this season? One is an underwater challenge. I didn’t even think that could be a thing. It required a lot of sealing of the paint, but it turned outso beautiful. My other favorite is a breast cancer survivor challenge. We brought in young breast cancer survivors and painted them as warriors. It was such a moving experience for everyone. A lot of these women have never looked at themselves in the mirror since having mastectomies. To be painted -- and I speak from experience -- is such a metamorphosis. When you see it for the first time, it takes your breath away. And watching these breast cancer survivors look at their reflections for the first time once they were painted as thesebeautiful warriors? There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
How long did you spend in the makeup chair to play the blue mutant Mystique in the "X-Men" movies?
The first time they did my makeup test for Mystique it was 12 hours. We eventually got it down to nine for the second movie ["X2: X-Men United"]. For the third one ["X-Men:The Last Stand"], we got it down to seven. But still, to be on set by 9 a.m.? My call time to get to work was midnight.
Your personal history of body painting extends to magazines in addition to movies, correct?
I was the first model ever painted for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.They always have a section of painted swimsuits [on models] and the first year they did it was the year that I was on the cover. That was not even my whole body -- the painting was a swimsuit with a shirt tied over it. And that was a 13-hour paint job.
Absolutely! Ashley Graham is one of the most beautiful women I have ever laid eyes on. She is incredibly healthy and I think it’s fantastic that SI is opening up our standards of beauty to include somebody that a lot more people in our country can relate to. Women don’t get sexier than Ashley Graham -- she is just as hot as can be.
As a former fashion model, what are your thoughts on the new generation of models such as Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who are more famous for their social media presence than their runway experience?
No one has proven yet that numbers of followers translates to revenue. So it is frustrating. I know a lot of people -- legitimate fashion people -- can’t stand it. Hate it that these, you know, social media stars are now the supermodels in fashion. They are not true supermodels. Andthe thing is, I have always looked to Vogue magazine to lead the way, not be a follower. I rely on Vogue to set the standard, not follow what everybody else is doing. So I have been disappointed that fashion magazines have been supporting this trend of social media stars to set our style standards. But it will change; fashion always does.
Your costar from the first three "X-Men" movies, Famke Janssen, has criticized the apparent “sexism” of the recent time-tripping films in which older versions of the same female character have not been brought back, unlike the older male characters.
I am glad that she said it and put it out there.
Do you agree that this is yet another example of sexism --and ageism -- in Hollywood?
I haven’t thought about it much because they signed us to these movies three at a time, so my contract was for the first three. It’s a contractual thing. I don’t have an opinion on whether or not there is some kind of double standard going with regard to bringing back the older men [Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen] but not the older women. I’d be happy to go back and reprise that role sometime but maybe they have moved on. Maybe they just want to keep going younger. People tweet at me all the time: “Would you ever go back and play Mystique again?” Um, do people realize that it’s not my choice? [Laughs] Have I been asked? No, I have not been asked.
How do you feel about Jennifer Lawrence’s interpretation of the character that you created?
Jennifer Lawrence is doing a fantastic job. I could not think of a cooler girl to share that role with. It’s not like I take issue with who has taken over the role of Mystique. She is a solid actress and she’s gotan Oscar, so she is doing something right.
I have no idea. The news is so new that it just blindsided all of us. He was in the rotation before Strahan was hired -- it was down to just a handful of people and he was definitely in the running then.