“I’m in love with life because every day is a new opportunity to learn, grow, and create.” – Brooke Lyons
“I almost majored in History, but I came to this realization that, personally, I absorb information best when it’s embedded in fiction,” Brooke Lyons tells INLOVE Magazine. “Through story, you can change minds, change lives even. And studying literature gave me that – an exploration of the anatomy of story, and the ability to discuss it ad infinitum with wonderfully challenging and creative minds. I suppose acting is a heightened version of that. It’s the ability to walk into the story and actually physically inhabit it, which I find endlessly appealing.”
Sari: You’re originally from the East Coast. You relocated to New Jersey from Los Angeles for your role in “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.” Did it feel like coming home in a sense?
Brooke Lyons: It does. I grew up in southern Connecticut, about an hour north of Manhattan, and it’s always been a dream of mine to come back and work here. On my days off from filming, I’ve seen my family more often than I have in years and reconnected with school friends I haven’t seen in ages. It’s really been a treat.
Sari: “Lincoln Rhyme” premieres on NBC on January 10. Tell me all about your role in the show. What do you love most about playing this character?
BL: Kate is the brilliant forensic scientist on Lincoln Rhyme’s elite task force. Her mind moves at the speed of light, and she’s the only one who can go toe-to-toe with Lincoln in the forensic world. Something I love about Kate is how undeniable she is. In other words, she’s never trying to prove herself – to herself or anyone else. Rather, she’s completely and unabashedly invested in solving the puzzle. In fact, getting to the bottom of these high-profile criminal cases is something of a compulsion for her, and I’ve loved diving into her backstory to discover what, exactly, drives such a compulsion.
Sari: I know you enjoy portraying complex, intelligent women, and you’re an advocate for fully rounded female characters in media. Tell me how your new role embodies that. How will your character exhibit those traits as the show goes on?
BL: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve auditioned for a character who’s “effortlessly beautiful and laughs at her boyfriend’s stupid jokes,” or “completely unaware of her deep inner strength,” or “intelligent but snarky as they come.” As if all women look like supermodels, find men endlessly amusing, have somehow gotten through life with zero awareness of their own power, and only present as smart in the context of being a bitch. I don’t know any real women like this.
The first time I read the character description for Kate, I think it just said, “brilliant forensic scientist.” That’s it. Nothing about her appearance or desirability, nothing about how her brilliance is perceived by others. Just an undeniably smart woman who is very good at her job, and an invitation for an actor to create this person’s rich inner life based not on external trappings but on internal motivations. Why is she a forensic scientist? What kind of mind is drawn to pursuing serial killers, and why? What kind of toll does this work take on her? Everything else – her relationship dynamics, her physical appearance – stems organically from there.
In the pilot, Kate agrees to join Lincoln’s task force on the condition that he respects her “ground rules.” She’s matured since the last time they worked together, and now she’s stepped fully into her self-worth. As the series progresses, we’ll see how she settles into this position of power while also learning to work synergistically with the other members of the task force – all of whom are very different people – in high-pressure situations.
Sari: I understand that you’re also into different healing aspects, too. Things such as beauty, self-care, acupuncture, meditation, cupping, infrared sauna, moon rituals, crystals, and you’re certified in Reiki. Why do you think those practices are so important? How have they changed your life?
BL: This business of being human involves transcendent joy and exquisite pain. It’s a glorious journey, and no one gets through unscathed. It’s been my personal experience that in times of pain or difficulty, these modalities facilitate my healing. I’m a big fan of exploring your inner life and discovering what works for you – nobody can tell you that but yourself. These just happen to be the things that work for me.
Sari: You were also a serious ballet dancer growing up. I hear you incorporate dance in your choices for physical activity. What is it about dance that you love so much?
BL: I started in ballet class when I was two, so movement feels like my first language. I think when a physical discipline becomes such a central part of your life, it’s impossible not to walk through the world with heightened awareness of where your body is in space. When I read a script, I feel its rhythms before breaking it down intellectually. And when I meet a character, I ask where she’s coming from physically. Does she feel airy, like she’s floating? Or earthy and anchored into her core? Does she lead with her head? Her heart? How quickly or slowly is she moving, and why? What I love about this is its universality. It transcends language, geography, era. Simply observing the way somebody moves can tell you everything about them.
Sari: Tell me how becoming a mom has changed your life. I know you’re deeply committed to supporting children through organizations like Baby2Baby. You’re also an advocate of Women’s Health & Reproductive Rights.
BL: Becoming a mother has changed everything. I have profound respect and appreciation for my body, I feel a kind of love I didn’t know was possible, and my child is my number one priority; everything else is secondary. What a relief! It’s as if there’s suddenly a laser focus on this nurturing this miraculous being, and anything that doesn’t serve this child’s highest good is – poof! – dismissed. Anything extraneous or toxic I might have engaged in the past simply doesn’t make the cut anymore. It’s been the most liberating and clarifying transition of my life. It’s also deepened my need for and commitment to community. Hillary said it best: “There’s no such thing as other people’s children.” It most certainly takes a village; creating that village with and for parents I know and those I don’t know is something I feel deeply passionate about.
Sari: I hear you also love to do book clubs with your industry friends. Who might we expect to see at one of those meetings? And what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
BL: My friends Beth Behrs and Kat Dennings started an amazing literary society called Grape Expectations [get it?], in which we enjoyed excellent books, excellent wine, and excellent company. They got me reading all of the Elena Ferrante novels, among other things. Admittedly it’s difficult to keep book clubs going because so many of us either travel for months at a time or, if we’re in L.A., work around the clock while we’re in production. But I always try to gather with my favorite lady friends when I’m on hiatus! These days I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction going at all times. At the moment, it’s A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler, which is about Alva Vanderbilt and The Gilded Age, and The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who’s revolutionized the way I think about how we interact with one another.
You can stay up-to-date with Brooke on Instagram @brookielyons. “Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector” premieres Friday, January 10, at 8/7c on NBC.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Hudson Taylor
STYLING: Molly Dickson
HAIR: Rena Calhoun
MAKEUP: Melissa Hernandez
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