Holland Roden sighs an apology. “I had the most boring college life.” Here we are on the garden patio of a quiet espresso shop, a stone’s throw from her alma mater, UCLA, but the 27-year-old actress has zero stories to tell from her undergraduate years. “It was such a sad existence. I was doing nursing school in the evening, I worked at a restaurant three nights a week, I was commuting every single day, and that was my life”. But Roden, who plays high school queen bee (and banshee) Lydia Martin on MTV’s Teen Wolf, has certainly made up for it since. If you can take your eyes off her shocking-red hair, hazel eyes, and otherworldly eye-lashes, the true takeaway from a conversation with her is, well, the conversation.
Wanna talk finance? The self-proclaimed Wall Street nerd just finished reading Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys. She’s a huge fan. How about music? She knows that Sweden and Iceland are having their moment right now, but France is where it’s at. (Next time you’re there, she suggests Le Sans Souci, this great little dive in the Ninth Arrondissement.) Interested in global affairs? Roden’s account of her recent trip to Africa will have you so engrossed that 45 minutes pass before you realize you haven’t even asked her about her Maxim shoot…
So how did the shoot go?
Well, I had malaria.
Yeah, I’d just gotten back from traveling to Ghana. I didn’t find out till afterward that I had it. They test for only the most common strain, and there’s, like, five different ones. But it’s fine! You just take the pills, and it goes away.
Being that you’re so well-traveled, what are your preferences in terms of the men of the world?
Oh, French. The whole fluidity-of-sexuality thing is sexy. Men being able to admit, “Oh, that’s an attractive guy.” Also, they’re great dressers, and it’s not considered metrosexual. It’s considered just dressing. That’s a really cool thing, I think, when you find guys that take pride in what they look like.
Do any unique acting challenges come up on a show about werewolves?
With the werewolf nails, the guys can’t unzip their pants to pee. It’s a big ordeal, so I always joke that—you know fluffers? There needs to be a person who comes in and helps them pee. I keep bringing it up. “Anyone need an assistant pee-er?”
After three years on Teen Wolf, you’ve had your fair share of makeout scenes. What’s been your biggest revelation?
Make sure they don’t have oral herpes. We have a couple of cast members who have cold sores, and when they have outbreaks, kissing scenes legally have to be rescheduled. I am not getting mouth herpes from Teen Wolf. You can take my dignity, but you’ll not take my lack of mouth herpes.
Is Teen Wolf fun enough to make up for your abysmal college experience?
We filmed our first season in Atlanta, and there was a lot of partying. And there were a lot of gay men who worked on our show, so I would go to this male strip club, Swinging Richards. The dancers wore only Speedos and sneakers, and let me give your readers a tip—Speedos and sneakers? No. never. Those do not ever, in any sort of capacity, go together.
Then what type of guy do you look for?
Everybody loves the hot nerd. It’s in vogue right now. I used to date older for a very long time, and now I’m dating a guy who’s much younger than me, but I always liked the professor thing.
That must be why you’re so into Michael Lewis!
I don’t think he’s that cute! I’m talking mid-30s. Not 50s!
So if you saw him at a bar…
No! he has kids. I’m a kid myself. I don’t need to raise another one.
If not Michael Lewis, do you have a celebrity crush?
I’m a huge Dane DeHaan fan. He’s like Basketball Diaries Leo. And then Joshua Jackson. He’s on my hall pass list.
Does your boyfriend know that?
Oh, yeah. His is Penélope Cruz. But we’re both outta luck. Joshua Jackson has Diane Kruger; Penélope Cruz has Javier Bardem. I think they’re kinda set.