The Walking Dead star Lauren Cohan is featured in the December 2016 issue of Health Magazine.
The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohan may star in one of the goriest shows on television, but in real life, she can’t stomach the sight of her own blood.“Giving blood, or being near a needle, is the absolute worst,” she says, wrapping her hands around a mug of half-decaf coffee in a restaurant near Central Park in New York City. “At one recent physical, I thought, ‘I’ll just look so I know what’s happening, and it won’t be bad’—and I fainted. The fake stuff? No problem. Just don’t enter my skin.”
The fake stuff, of course, has been ubiquitous on The Walking Dead—the gritty AMC hit series about a zombie apocalypse—since the show’s debut in 2010. Lauren plays Maggie, a farmer’s daughter turned zombie butt kicker, a role that’s as emotional as it is physical. With the series now in its seventh season, we sat down with Lauren, 34, to talk about keeping in shape for the role, crying during workouts and, of course, killing zombies.
Your show is filmed in Georgia, so what’s the best part of working outside of the Hollywood bubble?
“We’re an hour south of the city [Atlanta]. I’ve learned the power of deep connection—the people, the material, and the story. The most fun part is that it’s family. I am so close with everyone, and we’ve had the same core group of people together for so many years. And now we have a generation of Walking Dead babies. We have game nights, we cook together, we eat together.”
Maggie has evolved so much over the years—and the role has gotten more physical. Is there anything you’ve been able to do physically that surprised you?
“From a physical level, it’s extremely challenging. Some scenes are much more difficult than others. Sometimes I didn’t think I’d be able to run as much as I have on the show. There’s so much running and action. But I love the physical element because it’s a good release for a lot of the emotional tension.”
Have you gotten any good words of wisdom lately?
“Somebody said to me the other day, “If this moment isn’t the best moment of your life, you’re doing something wrong.” And I think about that all the time. Because me not liking where I’m at is such a waste of energy. And being able to be there for others is only coming from self-acceptance. You have to do what makes you feel good, but for me it has to come from that spiritual side first.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
Photo Credit: James White for Health Magazine