My Morning Routine

⇾ Arian Moayed, Actor & Director

My Morning Routine

⇾ Arian Moayed, Actor & Director

Wake up like this multi-hyphenate creative: with laughs and caffeine

Actor and Director Arian Moayed

You probably know Arian Moayed as the quick-witted thorn in the side of the Roy family on Succession. But the Iranian born American actor is also an award-winning writer and director. In 2002, he co-founded Waterwell, a civic-minded theater and education company, where he does everything from teach young people and fundraise to produce shows—he's currently editing season two of The Accidental Wolf (which he also wrote and directed), streaming on Topic. Moayed is busier than he's ever been, but still makes time for Dad duty as well. Put all that together and it's clear, this is not a bad guy ... he just plays one really well on TV. To that end, he confirmed that he and the Succession cast are currently filming season three of the hit HBO show now, in between “working on another film that I can't really talk too much about yet because I signed 43,321 NDAs.” Here's how Arian starts his day and prepares for all his roles.

The Series

Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.

Arian Moayed illustration

My Routine

I almost always
wake up at 7:30 am.

Unless I'm shooting on something like Succession, which basically means I'm getting up at four in the morning.

Quite honestly,
I’m not a huge sleeper.

I average about five to six hours a night and I try to get a 10-30 minute nap in during the day. So more directly ... I'm a night owl and I rarely care about last night's sleep.

No snoozing.

I have a Sonos system throughout my house that's our alarm clock(s). This morning it was a Talib Kweli mix. My daughters woke up to Iranian pop superstar Googoosh.

Right now, my nightstand has four books.

Two of which are decorative collections of Iranian poets including Hafez, Ferdowsi and Moulana (Rumi). I have a signed and bound copy of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo that Robin Williams gave me as a closing night gift. And the last book is actually my “Things to Accomplish” journal, which I've had since 2002 and has all of my accomplishments and desires for the year. I also have a light that I have to replace, an iPhone charger and, for some odd reason, a children's white glove.

Meditation is really helpful
in the morning.

I used to prep every morning with 10 minutes of meditation but alas, no more. I really need to get back into that.

I get up and go directly
to the kitchen.

I turn on our Persian samovar. I also start up the coffee because both are needed to accomplish life. I wrangle my two daughters to start their school day, either on Zoom or in-person. This will take three to 19 attempts while I make them breakfast and prepare their lunches for school. I just try to get them out the door or onto their Zoom classes.

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Then, there’s a little me time.

I brush my teeth, jump in the shower and get ready for the day. I usually do all of that while listening to The Daily podcast.

I do both coffee and tea.

For coffee, I like a darker, smokier bean. For tea, I only have one brand, which is Persian Zarrin loose tea leaves.

I’m a big fan of simple and fresh breakfasts.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, hard boiled egg, toast, butter, one lemon wedge and some jam. I think a fresh tomato and fresh vegetable alongside a tea and some bread is all that is needed, personally. I don't do heavy breakfasts unless I'm eating out with friends.

Fitness, unfortunately, isn’t a big part of my morning.

While we were in Lake Placid during Season 2 of Succession, Matthew MacFadyen (aka Tom Wambsgans) asked me, “Do you exercise?” Without hesitation I made a disgusting face and responded, “Noooooo. Ew.” We both laughed. “So what do you do?” Matthew asked. “Eat healthy,” I said, or something boring like that ... I should have said, “Pray I don't get too fat.”

I need a game plan for the day.

Google. Fucking. Calendar. I live by that thing. Also, I have an amazing assistant that sends me a text of my daily meetings, calls, writing, memorizing and fundraising that needs to happen.

My mornings are a little different on shoot days.

When we're filming, I try to be as relaxed as possible. As an actor, there are a lot of moving parts, lots of people to communicate with, and often tricky lines of text. I like to keep all of that as relaxed and easy going as possible and that starts in the morning. Both Stewy, and the character I play in Shonda Rhimes' Inventing Anna, are incredibly groomed men. They spend a ton of time on their appearances, kinda like myself. I take long showers, I run lines in my head, I think about all of the scenarios that might play themselves out. All while listening to music.

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My approach to grooming is “all or nothing.”

Pre-pandemic, I wore a suit nearly every day. I have way too many dry cleaning bills as I like my clothing to be sharp, comfortable and clean. If I needed to, God-forbid, take another Zoom meeting, I would maintain a level of style with Mr. Roger sweaters and playful suspenders. It all needs to feel natural, simple and clean.

Shaving may be my only expertise in life.

Stewy's beard is a long endeavor and my face hates when I shave. On the day of shooting, I trim with an electric clipper—five guard. I place two types of shaving creams on my face at the same time. I stroke down first and then reapply shaving creams and go up afterwards.

If I have to shave two days in a row, I add in a hot wet hand cloth over my face and repeat the steps above. Then I use my beard scissors and get the longer strands out of my life. Lots of looking in the mirror to make sure it's symmetrical and clean. I don't have an electric trimmer because it doesn't get as deep a cut as I'd like.

Arian Moayed's favorite grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

Argan Oil & Shea Butter conditioner,
$18.99 by Andalou Naturals

⋆ “I don’t use shampoo. Only conditioner.”

Probiotic cleansing milk face wash,
$14.99 / $9.69 by Andalou Naturals

⋆ “It’s actually my wife’s. Keep that between us.”

Blade Runner energizing shave cream,
$22 by Origins

Pure shave aloe gel,
$6 by Gillette

Tea tree oil and neem toothpaste,
$6.99 by Desert Essence

Zarrin loose tea,
$16.99 by Persian Tea

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,
$10 by Rajiv Joseph

The Daily podcast,
by The New York Times

Odor control deodorant,
$5.99 by Harry's

Arian Moayed's favorite grooming products

Argan Oil &
Shea Butter
conditioner,
$18.99 by
Andalou Naturals

Probiotic
cleansing milk
face wash,
$14.99 / $9.69 by
Andalou Naturals

Pure shave
aloe gel,
$6 by Gillette

Blade Runner
energizing
shave cream,
$22 by Origins

Tea tree oil
and neem toothpaste,
$6.99 by Desert Essence

The Daily
podcast, by
The New York Times

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,
$10 by Rajiv Joseph

Zarrin
loose tea,
$16.99 by
Persian Tea

Odor control
deodorant,
$5.99 by
Harry's

“I don’t use shampoo. Only conditioner.”

“It’s actually my wife’s.
Keep that between us.”

Clockwise, from top left

Argan Oil & Shea Butter conditioner,
$18.99 by Andalou Naturals

Probiotic cleansing milk face wash,
$14.99 / $9.69 by Andalou Naturals

Blade Runner energizing shave cream,
$22 by Origins

Pure shave aloe gel,
$6 by Gillette

Tea tree oil and neem toothpaste,
$6.99 by Desert Essence

The Daily podcast,
by The New York Times

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, $10 by Rajiv Joseph

Zarrin loose tea,
$16.99 by Persian Tea

Odor control deodorant,
$5.99 by Harry's

Shaving may be my only expertise in life.

Stewy's beard is a long endeavor and my face hates when I shave. On the day of shooting, I trim with an electric clipper—five guard. I place two types of shaving creams on my face at the same time. I stroke down first and then reapply shaving creams and go up afterwards.

If I have to shave two days in a row, I add in a hot wet hand cloth over my face and repeat the steps above. Then I use my beard scissors and get the longer strands out of my life. Lots of looking in the mirror to make sure it's symmetrical and clean. I don't have an electric trimmer because it doesn't get as deep a cut as I'd like.

How I dress all depends on
what I’m doing that day.

In the morning, I open my closet and think about who I'm meeting or seeing for the day. And it all stems from confidence, self-love and elegance. If I have a meeting with a director/writer/creative, I really like to have my outfit feel like I'm open to suggestions and ideas. I think that's crucial in making art with a collaborator.

When meeting with donors or grant makers, I really like to show off my business attire, which means I usually wear a suit I like from bottom to top. Very Stewy of me. I believe shoes should be about both comfort and a spark of fun. Very similar to Nathan Lane's sock choice in Birdcage.

Never leave
home without ...

Never leave home without ...

I never ever ever ever ever leave without my special pen. It is embroidered and it’s the most important thing I “own.” I got it at my go-to men’s store, Fine and Dandy, in Midtown Manhattan.

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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