In what may unofficially be one of the only positive things to happen as the new year hits the first mid-month mark, Cobra Kai is back on Netflix with the much-anticipated season 3. Coined with the very accurate descriptor of “comfort viewing,” the 30-years-later version of Karate Kid boasts Vanessa Rubio in the fan-favorite role of Carmen. Rubio recently chatted with us from her home base of LA to talk sound bowls, scrunchies and her go-to gluten-free makeup routine.
The release of the show is hitting at a time where we all need something positive. How does it feel being part of something that’s so iconic?
It’s been wonderful; a real blessing. What I want as an actor, what I’ve always wanted, is to bring story-telling to people—to bring stories that people care about, those stories where people can feel seen and be united. It’s been really lovely. Netflix has been a great place for Cobra Kai for sure.
You play a very well-received character and you’re part of a popular cast—any beauty secrets from the set?
I am very sensitive to makeup, especially because I have different allergies. I have to stick to a gluten-free makeup regimen. If I don’t, my face reacts to it and gets very puffy. We use a lot of Burt’s Bees and Physicians Formula on-set, and we’re continually looking for new things. I don’t know whether it’s because of my allergies or because of the character, but we tend to keep Carmen’s makeup pretty minimal and simple.
Do you have any beauty trends from the ’80s you wish would come back?
Oh, God, totally. I specifically remember that green lipstick that was supposed to match your mood. Do you remember that in the ’80s? I don’t know if in the ’80 or ’90s. It always mystified me! “What was that? How did it work? I would love to see big hair come back, too. Of course, with better treatment of the hair this time around. Teasing your hair was so hard on it. Maybe we could figure out a way to bring big hair back, but without damaging it. I have curly hair, so I’m really into watching YouTube videos for tips right now. I have to thank all the curly girls who are on there putting up some really helpful videos on how to wrap your hair at night, how to keep the moisture in, and all the different products to try.
You’re originally from New Jersey. Any “Jersey Girl” beauty you want to defend?
I don’t know if scrunchies are considered particularly “Jersey,” but they’re making a comeback and I’m a recent fan of them! I discovered that they’re really good for curly hair—especially at night when you’re sleeping, because it’s a softer hold on your hair. So, yes, I was off the scrunchies for a while, and then I was like, “What? Scrunchies are good for my hair?” I went out and bought a few. I’ll defend Jersey Girls with scrunchies.
You’ve spoken about going through ups and downs during this time. Is there anything that you are doing for wellness right now to keep the calm?
Oh, definitely. I meditate when I can, and I try not to get down on myself when I don’t do it in the mornings. I’ve bought some sound bowls—I’m not sure what you would officially call it but they help. Writing in the morning also helps ground me and so does taking walks. Just walk. For no reason, just take a walk.