Theo Germaine
Photo: Lisa Predko

If you don’t recognize Germaine as the love interest of Chicago’s Abby McEnany on Showtime’s acclaimed Work in Progress, you may have seen the nonbinary Hyde Park actor as a campaign manager on the Netflix comedy The Politician. And if you’re a theatergoer, you surely know them from roles at Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Here’s how the 27-year-old stays well, despite long hours on set and frequent trips to New York for filming.

Flight school

“When I was a young kid, I wanted to run away with the circus. There weren’t many opportunities to learn in my small town of Murphysboro. So I did power tumbling and taught myself stilt walking. In college in Champaign, I used my one day off of school and work to drive up to Chicago to take trapeze and silks classes at Aloft Circus Arts. I considered dropping out of college to train full time, but I stayed and studied acting. In plays, I would do the physical stuff — if they needed somebody to climb or to flip, I was the go-to.”

Woke fitness

“I still go to Aloft. With aerial circus, you get a body awareness that’s unique. It’s my favorite form of fitness, an art, and I feel passionate about trying to make it even more inclusive. People, especially women, say, ‘Oh, I don’t have the upper body strength.’ I’m like, ‘Let’s talk about how sexism has informed your perception of strength.’ ”

Training routine

“While filming the second season of The Politician, I’ve been going to Circus Warehouse in New York, both group classes and private lessons. I also lift weights — big-muscle exercises like squats and dead lifts, and auxiliary exercises to train smaller muscles. I don’t really care what I look like; I just like being strong. I also love biking and Rollerblading, and I started taking ballet last year. I’m like a large dog in a small apartment — if I’m not active, I start to lose my mind.”

Food philosophy

“I think diet culture is really toxic, harmful, fatphobic, and ableist. I don’t think about food as good or bad. Instead, I eat intuitively. I make sure I’m eating enough vegetables and getting enough protein to support how much physical activity I’m doing. I eat Greek yogurt, kimchi, and other things with probiotics because I have intestinal sensitivities. And I try to eat frequently so my blood sugar stays level. Sometimes I’ll eat fruit, but sometimes I just want a bag of Cheetos.”

DIY dermatology

“Drinking a lot of water keeps my skin healthy. I also take a combination of vitamin C, zinc, lysine, and magnesium that’s good for collagen production, and a biotin supplement for hair and nails. If my face is feeling super gross, like if I had to wear makeup on set, I’ll wash with micellar water, then exfoliate gently before using a toner, an essence, a serum, then an eye cream and moisturizer.”

Self–pep talk

“I’ve had issues with impostor syndrome. I’m a weird kid from a small town who’s having a lot of amazing opportunities. There are a lot of people who would not want to see somebody like me on TV and probably some people who don’t believe that somebody like me is a valid human. But then I remember that’s people having wrong, outdated ideas. Usually what I do now is say to myself: ‘Let’s look at the bigger picture. You’re doing great. You’re doing your best.’ ”