Best known for playing tortured teen Marissa Cooper in The OC, Mischa Barton, 25, has partied hard. We caught up with the tricky madam over a healthy green tea to talk about her new clean-living regime, body image and that Fearne Cotton show.
Storm in a teacup, anyone?
Where Carluccio's, Market Place, London
Hey Mischa! You're looking fantastic right now. Are you on a detox?
I have been, but in England I eat what I like. I love bangers and mash! But in LA, I've been eating healthily and exercising.
It looks like it's paying off. Are you enjoying your green tea?
It's yummy! I'm a big tea fan.
You've got a new range of handbags out. Do you prefer that to acting?
I like designing, but I'm always an actress first and foremost.
And you've made a film with Martin Sheen, Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain. When can we expect that out?
[Looks vacant] I'm not totally sure. That was filmed a while ago, like in 2009.
OK... [Battling to stay upbeat] What else have you got in the pipeline?
I have a lot of offers, but I'm not actively looking to work. I've hit a place where I've had enough of the media attention.
Time out must be nice! What about The OC cast - are you still in touch?
[A bit sharply] No. Now and then I run into Adam [Brody] or Rachel [Bilson].
Moving on¿ We heard you were sharing a flat with Jaime Winstone.
No. I've stayed with Jamie in London, but I used to hang out with people in the public eye a lot more than I do now. I have normal friends now - stockbrokers and lawyers - they have regular jobs.
Sounds like a sensible lot. So are your partying days and your trouble with alcohol behind you now?
[Sighs] It's funny, I never had any problems with alcohol or drugs.
I know why people may have thought that I did and things were hard for me, but I was young. The media shifted into a negative place with Britney Spears and the: "Is she OK? Is she not OK?" thing.
Does body scrutiny get you down?
Yes, it does. It's distracting. I think it's negative for girls in general.
[Detecting a definite chill in the air.] Let's talk about blokes. Are you seeing anybody at the moment?
[Glowering now] I never talk about that.
Come on, Mischa! Lighten up. You've dated a couple of English guys (Luke Pritchard from The Kooks and model Jamie Dornan) in the past. Do you tend to go for Brits?
I like all things English. My family is English. I was born here and I lived here until I was five or six. So my sense of humour is very English. I'm very self-deprecating.
If you say so. Can we mention Fearne Cotton? You didn't seem to hit it off on her show.
[Rolls eyes.] I don't have anything nice to say about her.
You've definitely got the stiff upper lip bit right, Mish. Ouch.
Mischa's handbag designs are available at Mischabartonhandbags.com.
Food eaten by Mischa Four salad leaves
Green teas sipped 2
Times Mischa said: "Shall we pretend we're having fun?" Once (yes, really)