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.
“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.”
“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.’ ”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.’ ”