American Horror Story‘s Emma Roberts is featured in the December 2017 issue of SHAPE Magazine.
One perfect cupcake. That was the reward Emma Roberts gave herself before her Shape cover shoot. “I was working out every day and eating really clean to get ready,” the 26-year-old actress says. “Then, a couple of days before the shoot, I started craving a cupcake from Sprinkles. So I went there by myself and sat down and read my book and ate my cupcake. It was great. Later, everyone asked me, ‘Why didn’t you wait until after the shoot to eat it? ‘Well, because I wanted a cupcake that day.”
Going for what she wants is classic Emma. “With my diet, I do what feels good for me at the time,” she says. “I try not to say that I won’t eat something. Instead, I stay in tune with my body and my mind, and I think, What do I feel like eating?” The same philosophy guides her workouts. “I love Pilates. I feel very energized and centered when I walk out the door afterward,” Emma says. “I tried to get into running, but it didn’t work for me. Pilates is something you take your time at, and it makes me feel very clear.”
The mental and physical energy she gets from this routine has helped Emma find clarity in the rest of her life. The former star of Scream Queens and American Horror Story has spent this year filming several movies, including Who We Are Now, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall. She also launched a digital book club called Belletrist with her good friend and fellow bookworm Karah Preiss. The two pick a new book to read each month, announce it to their hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and then celebrate it by interviewing the author. “The reaction has been amazing,” Emma says. “I think it’s because you become immersed in a book, and that’s something people are craving these days. When you’re on your phone and all the notifications are coming in, it starts to scatter your brain. With a book, you can really step away and take time for yourself.”
Here’s how Emma came up with a personal confidence—and happiness—plan that really works for her.
“Reading is my form of self-care and meditation. I set aside at least 20 minutes a day for it. Sometimes that turns into 30 minutes, an hour, two hours. There are so many books on my dining room table right now that I can’t use it for eating. I go to the store and buy every book I want to read for the next few months and put them on the table. One of my all-time favorite books is Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion. It’s a really beautiful collection of short stories. Another favorite is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It has a gothic romance vibe, yet it could be a story today.”
American Horror Story recently wrapped season 7 on FX.
Photography: Peggy Sirota