Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family

Q&A with Jesse Tyler Ferguson

The Emmy-nominated actor on kale salad, Shakespeare and the best-ever birthday serenade.

As the sarcastic and tightly-wound Mitchell Pritchett on "Modern Family", Jesse Tyler Ferguson deserves credit for improving the nations collective mental health on a weekly basis. His own physical health, however, is something he manages with a less-comedic, more-conventional blend of yoga, running, kale salads, and (occasionally) cupcakes. We caught up with the LA-based actor to find out more.   

Recent workout:
I ran on the treadmill. I usually can only go two, three miles max. Recently I have been watching "Homeland" on the iPad. It makes the time fly. I am now able to go four miles without even noticing. I also try and do some sort of ab workout each day.

Best insider tip he's gotten from a trainer or nutritionist:
Try not to eat complex carbs after 5 pm. I'm a major foodie so I have a hard time with rules around what I can eat. I at least have to allow myself a few cheat days. Also, if I can't eat right away after a hard work out, I should at least have a protein shake.

What we'd be surprised to find in his refrigerator:
I try not to eat a lot of dairy, so coconut ice cream is a perfect substitute. It's so good. I cook a lot so I try and keep the fridge stocked with everything I need to make a great dinner. Oh, and Ginger Beer....for Moscow Mules.

Ultimate healthy meal:
The spicy kale salad at Elf Cafe in Silverlake is amazing. I also love Cafe Gratitude on Larchmont. Everything there is unbelievable.

Ultimate decadent meal:
This answer changes weekly but the long staple is the Moroccan Chicken Couscous at Cafe Gitane in NYC.

Latest obsession:
Bow ties, Instagram and Mixology bars.

What he's totally over:
Facebook. I feel like all the social media is turning into a full time job.

Best gift he's ever received:
When I was in Boston with Eric Stonestreet on my birthday, he surprised me with the Boston Gay Men's chorus. They sang Happy Birthday and then launched into Katy Perry's Firework. It's on YouTube!

What totally relaxes him:
A massage of course. Or just laying in bed and reading. Or a really long shower. Or yoga. I'm easily relaxable.

Book on his bedside table:
Right now, the Steve Jobs biography and Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare. I'm fancy that way)!

Where he feels most at home:
Walking around the streets of New York. NYC is the first city I moved to after high school and it’s the place where I became the person I am today. I love the energy of the city, the culture, the seasons. There is nothing like it.

Best vacation he's ever taken:
Justin [my fiance] and I went to Italy during our first summer together. We went to Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Rome. Each city was more beautiful than the last. It will always be special because that was the first real vacation we took together. I can't wait to go back with him.

Biggest vice:
Sugar. Specifically cupcakes. Specifically white cake with vanilla icing. Specifically, from Magnolia Bakery. Oh and while you are there, pick me up some Nilla Wafer Banana Pudding.

Style icons:
Cary Grant always looked amazing. Currently, I think Ryan Reynolds is pretty top notch.

Three things on his bucket list:
I want to do a movie or a play with Meryl Streep. I also want to work with Woody Allen. Oh, and ride in a hot air balloon. Oh, and go to Brazil.

Number one reason for taking care of his body:
In terms of bathing? I suppose it would be to keep the flies away. I work out to feel like I have control over my life. It makes me feel grounded.

Message he'd send the world with one request (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less):
Be good to one another. That kid you are bullying may turn out to be a fantastic guy with a million twitter followers. Don't make him mad.

Photography by Dan Busta/Corbis Outline