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drop dead gorgeous

hanging out with the walking dead's emily kinney.

by: tina turnbow

photo and makeup by tina turnbow

April 11 2014

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It's rare when actress-singer Emily Kinney has a moment to breathe--let alone, relax--so when she took a minute from touring with her new EP Expired Love  to catch up with NYLON, we were stoked. We hung out with the The Walking Dead star and multi-hyphenate to chat about her music, her NARS obsession, and how zombies changed her life.

You've been full speed ahead with so many things! Your EP Expired Love just released, The Walking Dead activities, press and touring. How have you been dealing with the pace?
Mostly, it's all really great.  It's great to spend my time doing things I love.  I love acting and I love writing songs.  I'm trying to just be thankful and enjoy the work while I have it. Though at times all the travel can be strangely isolating, yet somehow I never feel I have quality time to myself.  I'm learning as I go.  I'm learning how to say no sometimes. I'm learning to structure in time for myself or friends so that I feel balanced. I'm trying to do my best with every opportunity and be really honest and have fun. Any bad attitudes or meanies don't last long around me anymore because I just don't have time for it.    

In what ways has your life changed since you started The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead has changed my life, at first little by little, and now I look back and realize the impact has been huge. I've never worked on a show for so long. I'm so emotionally attached. Many of the actors and crew and producers and writers have become like family. I've become a better actor because I'm working with amazing actors and directors, etc. and they are the best example. Having an audience is the best gift that you can give to an actor, or any artist. The Walking Dead has an audience of millions. It is extremely satisfying. Many actors, songwriters, etc. work away on things in their room or their apartment that may never be seen or received.  

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
My friends. Especially my musician friends, like the guys and gals that play with me in my band.  They work their asses off gigging and/or playing their own music.  They have the best attitudes. They are persistent and passionate and inspire me to not waste any of the opportunities that may come my way.  Going to shows was one of the first ways I began to really feel connected to NYC. My friend Conrad has always inspired me to work hard. My ex-boyfriend Mike really believed in me in a beautiful way that I hadn't had in my life before, and has stuck with me. Mariah Carey, The Carpenters, and John Lennon are probably the first singers I loved that made me want to write songs, and Leonardo DiCaprio in Growing Pains, and the movie My Girl, made me want to be an actor. 

Do you have a favorite style icon or two?
think Gwen Stefani is amazing. 

Are there any cosmetics or products you like to have with you at all times?
Lately I've been into red lipstick. So I love having a few Nars Velvet Matte pencils around, especially "Dragon Girl".

When you're making music, do you do it for yourself first, and then hope it will be enjoyable, possibly therapeutic for those who listen?
It's changed. At first it has always been more for myself, but the more I play shows and now I get so much feedback from social media, you can't help but think about your audience a bit. But I'm still trying to just be honest and say things that I want to say and have fun with it. Everyone is different and I can't guess what will resonate with everyone. So I guess I make songs first for myself, be true to what I think is cool, and then just hope someone relates and enjoys!    

For the most part, a day doesn't go by that doesn't include...?
Singing, I have a rule about singing every day.  

Listen to Emily Kinney's new music here. 

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