I have always been told that I have nice legs, but I never thought to, you know, work it. I think the first time was when I was in my 20s and I was a waitress at Red Lobster. A group of men who worked for a pantyhose company came in and said I’d be a great model. We had to wear pantyhose at that time, so it felt like a big compliment. I don’t wear them now, but I love the girls who do.
I understand why women like to cover up in that way. I’ve got all these spots on my legs [from lying out], so now they’re just like old lady beach legs to me, but I love to tan. I feel good, and it gives me something to do at the beach.
What would I look like if I hadn’t done that my entire life? I don’t know. I like it, though. Every summer my family has a tanning contest with a little ceremony where we all vote, and whoever wins gets a sash. My sister Gretchen always wins; she’s gotten every sash. I could’ve won two years ago, but I didn’t go home in August, so I couldn’t compete. The North Carolina sun holds for a long time, and it’s this nice berry color, but sunbathing there is a lot of work since it’s so hot and humid.
I do like the shape of my legs. Actually, everyone in my family has strong legs. They’re sturdy. We could deliver mail or, like, work at UPS. My brother David’s calves are just gigantic. We all walk a lot and take the stairs and kind of work out without thinking about it.
VIDEO: Amy Sedaris Shares Her Best Beauty Tips
I don’t love going to the gym, but I’ve had the same trainer for a long time. We don’t do anything specific, just persistent training with a tiny bit of cardio. Before my new show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, I was trying to work out as much as possible, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to once we started filming. Now I’ve got to drag myself to the gym. I do like the feeling of overcoming it and getting strong.
In terms of maintenance I probably shave every other day. I like those cheap double-blade razors that come 20 in a pack. I’ve never experimented with different razors. I just like those, and soap. I cannot stand not having lotion on me. I like CeraVe unscented as well as the after-bath coconut one by Epicuren; it’s got an oily touch to it. In my family I’m known as having the best skin. Unfortunately, there’s no sash for that. When I go home, everybody wants to know my skin regimen. I end up turning the living room into a clinic and giving them fancy treatments. I don’t know what I’m doing, but they don’t do anything to their faces, so anything’s good to them.
I’m behind a counter on the show, so you can’t see my legs, but I got used to wearing high heels anyway. It was fun, and I carried myself differently. Sarah Jessica [Parker] makes great shoes, and I wore them a lot. They’re really comfortable and affordable. I like the way they fit on my feet because they’re a little wide since they’re also for people who live in Ohio. Whenever I did Letterman, I would take that check and buy an expensive pair of shoes—and I still wear all those. Most of them were Manolo Blahniks that Sarah Jessica turned me on to. I don’t know if I would spend that much now, but your legs do look 100 percent better when you have a bit of height.
In general, I don’t know if I’m good at being sexy unless it’s a character. My favorite ones to play have probably been Mimi Kanasis on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, who has that country club hairstyle and little wolf face, or Jerri Blank from Strangers with Candy. When I was on Sex and the City, I was in makeup forever, three times as long as when I played Jerri. I always tell Sarah Jessica, “You know, Jerri Blank had just as much style as Carrie Bradshaw.” She tends to agree.
It’s fun to be pretty for shows, but usually, when I look in the mirror, I want to make myself laugh. I need a hook, like fake teeth, a little mole—something other than me, which is boring! You visually want to laugh at everything. It’s just funnier.
—AS TOLD TO SARAH CRISTOBAL
At Home with Amy Sedaris premieres October 24 on truTV.
Fashion editor: Vicki Farrell. Hair: Charlie Taylor for Tracey Mattingly. Makeup: Nick Barose for Exclusive Artists Management. Manicure: Casey Herman for The Wall Group.