STORY BY Claire Connors PHOTOGRAPHS BY Jonas Jungblut PROPSTYLING BY Kathy Delgado BED STYLING BY Keve Smith MAKEUP STYLING BY Jenna Anton for Forward Artists HAIR STYLING BY Clay Hawkins for Starworks Artists
Bellamy Young is calling from Nashville, Tennessee. The actress is making a stop in Music City to do a guest spot on the CMT talk show Pickler & Ben, and help console America over the end of an era: the finale of the sexy political thriller, Scandal. “It’s so sad talking about the end,” admits Bellamy, who has been playing FLOTUS-turned POTUS Melody “Mellie” Grant for Scandal’s seven-season run. “But Kellie’s show will be fun to do. I loved American Idol, and Kellie and I are both from North Carolina, so it’ll be a hoot.”
Bellamy was raised in Asheville, an arty, historic city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She attended Yale, eventually majoring in theater, and moved to New York City to pursue stage acting. As her career took off, so did she, relocating to Los Angeles to try her hand at television. Smart move: Bellamy guest starred on over 30 TV shows before landing her juicy role on Scandal.
When it came to finding a house in L.A., she knew where she wanted to live. “I’m a mountain girl,” says Bellamy, 48. “I need green and lots of trees everywhere.” Which explains why today, the southern girl is living in the Hollywood Hills, part of the Santa Monica Mountains offering some homes views of the city of Los Angeles on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. “I can see Catalina Island when it’s clear,” she exclaims. “It’s gorgeous. For a country gal like me, it feels like home.”
For the last five years, Bellamy has been too busy to do much more than fill her Spanish-style abode with her family’s furniture, some of her grandma’s antiques, and mementos she’s lived with her whole life. After seeing her Scandal co-star, Kerry Washington, redecorate her office with such impeccable taste, she finally broke down and asked for help. “I was heading into a new chapter in my life,” says Bellamy. “It was time.” She consulted with interior designer Michael Erno from the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Beverly Hills store, and on a trip home over Christmas, she and her mother visited the North Carolina factory where her new furniture would be made.
It was love at first…sit. “You know how when you eat a home-cooked meal and you can just taste the love your grandmother put in the food? That’s what it’s like with Mitchell and Bob’s furniture,” says Bellamy. “Just sit in one of their chairs and you feel the love.”
Here, Bellamy dishes on her luxurious new home décor, her healthy vegan lifestyle, and what’s next for her after Scandal.
Q: What would you call the aesthetic of your newly decorated home?
A: Very “old” Hollywood. Glamour, glamour, glamour! When I moved in five years ago, I didn’t paint because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the place, so I kept it a very neutral palette, like an art gallery.
Q: That sounds so typical L.A. Kind of cold and not very comfortable.
A: Exactly. I wanted my home to be comfortable but I also wanted my home to make me giggle a little, too, you know? I didn’t want to feel like I was in too austere a space. I know that’s serenity for some people, but serenity for me is lots of saturated color and being able to fall into a sofa and immediately take a nap. A home that embraces me is serenity to me.
Q: Tell us about some of the pieces you chose.
A: I went with this beautiful peacock blue media sofa, which is like a chaise lounge, and the color is devastating. My bed has a super high back so I can be in bed and watch TV, or read a script. For the room I dress in and do my yoga, we went with this gorgeous metallic silver, rounded sofa and a huge silver River Stone coffee table. Pure glamour. The dining room table is this beautiful, round, glass-topped, brass-bottomed magnificent glory piece, and the dining room chairs that go with it seem so unassuming, but are this impossibly regal dark purple. You sit in them and you can literally take a nap, they’re so comfortable. The rugs are understated but also so glamorous.
Q: What was it like touring the factory in Taylorsville?
A: It was great! We met Mitch, Bob, and their crew, and got to walk through the whole factory. The people who work there get three meals a day from the edible garden that’s outside, which they can also play in. They have Lulu’s Child Enrichment Center, a daycare center named for their now-deceased puppy. It’s incredible. They have a beautiful commissary—the chef made us a gorgeous lunch. Everyone we met had smiles on their faces. It’s like Santa’s workshop!
Q: You have four rescue animals in your home now. Were you worried about the upkeep of your new pieces?
A: I work with a lot of animal charities. I foster animals when I can and place them in homes myself. Right now I’ve got three cats, Sadie, Max, and Button, and a dog named Bean. She’s a Chihuahua pug and what I call a rescue “fail” because I took her in to foster and ended up keeping her for myself! She’s such a lover. As for the furniture, Bob and Mitch realize that people live with animals so their designs are pet-friendly. The fabrics are durable—at some point, it’s going to get peed or thrown up on, right? I wanted everything to be pretty but I can’t be too precious about it either.
Q: You’ve been vegan since you were 18, which is unusual for a teenager. What inspired you to go meat-free?
A: I was in college and it was literally one of those aha moments. I order baked chicken and when I went to put it on my tray, it looked just like my mom’s little yippy dog when she rolled over to show her pink belly and wanted a tummy rub. In an instant, I was done. Of course I had no idea how to be vegan in college. It was a lot of peanut butter and matzo. I didn’t know what was healthy. It was a long road toward understanding how to fuel my body properly.
Q: Did you notice any difference in how you felt?
A: Right away my cystic acne went away and my energy level soared. I’m telling you, if I had a piece of cheese right now, I’d fall asleep while talking to you. I’m not built for meat and dairy at all.
Q: You look like you truly live the wellness lifestyle. What’s your yoga practice?
A: Primary Series Ashtanga. But I’ve been pretty bad about doing it the last few months because I’ve been shooting my new show. But I do manage to walk six miles a day, which is about 12,000 steps. Even if it’s just pacing around while answering emails, I make it a point to move every day.
Q: Speaking of moving on, were you nervous about Scandal ending, wondering about that next gig around the corner?
A: I think if any actor tells you they don’t wake up every morning afraid that they won’t have a job in an hour, they are lying. There is no security in that regard anymore, ever. That was always the case with Scandal, too. We knew we could have been gone at any time. [Series creator] Shonda Rimes said she always knew how the show was going to end, but we didn’t!
Q: How did you all keep from worrying about it?
A: We’re all theater actors so we were trained to enjoy every moment and never take a job for granted. The thing I was most worried about was losing my Scandal family. I love everyone so much, but we all stay in touch and that will never go away.
Q: Did you get any parting gifts from Kerry?
A: Oh, yeah! Kerry gave me a pair of Vionic sneakers and for my brand “new” home, she gave me a Tomorrow Sleep mattress. Heaven!
Q: Tell us about your new show.
A: It’s an ABC dramedy called False Profits. I play a woman named Laura. She was “most likely to marry” in high school, but then married the wrong guy. So now she’s living with her mom with her two kids, and she’s working at a TJ Maxx. She’s doing everything right but just can’t seem to get ahead. She meets Susanne, played by Vanessa Williams, who gets her involved in a marketing scheme. But will it save her or destroy her? That’s the question.