IN HER SHOES

With a crop of new movies and a cov­etable col­lab, Kate Bos­worth re­veals why she’s ex­cited about get­ting older.

Elle (Canada) - - Celebrity - By Sarah Laing Photographs by Max Aba­dian

When you think of Kate Bos­worth, what comes to mind? Almost cer­tainly those eyes, one blue and one hazel, set in a face that’s a pho­tog­ra­pher’s dream. Then there’s her sig­na­ture Cal­i­for­nia style. She’s one of those en­vi­able fash­ion sa­vants who move ef­fort­lessly from Coachella to Cannes, gen­er­at­ing a mil­lion Pins along the way. And, of course, we can’t have one of th­ese “what we talk about when we talk about Kate Bos­worth” mo­ments with­out bring­ing up her ca­reer—in par­tic­u­lar, her defin­ing role in Blue Crush as well as her suc­cess in indies like Big Sur or her most re­cent role in Os­car con­tender Still Alice.

What you may not know about her is that she’s a whisky-drink­ing ro­man­tic who is pas­sion­ate about fe­male em­pow­er­ment, clothes and rock col­lect­ing. The 32-year-old is also a hands-on, get­ting-the- right- shade- of- gold- for- a- stu­dob­sessed shoe de­signer who just col­lab­o­rated with Matisse Footwear on a 10-piece col­lec­tion. In a con­ver­sa­tion over the phone (oc­ca­sion­ally in­ter­rupted by her new and naughty Blue Pi­cardy spaniel pup) a few days after our shoot, Bos­worth talks about how the de­signs were in­spired by key mo­ments in her life. So let’s take a metaphor­i­cal walk in her shoes and see what we can learn….

“THE HOYT” BOOT

On the sur­face, th­ese boots are a fairly straight­for­ward homage to Ed Ruscha’s fa­mous Hot Shot print. Bos­worth is an avid art col­lec­tor and counts this Los An­ge­les-based artist as one of her favourites. On another level, they also re­flect Bos­worth’s quirky sense of hu­mour.

“I al­ways laugh when peo­ple ask me about my high-school style,” she says. “I grew up in small-town New Eng­land, where the cloth­ing selections—Patag­o­nia, North Face and L.L. Bean—kind of baf­fled me. It was never about fash­ion. It was about bat­tling the harsh win­ter el­e­ments.” She cred­its her fa­ther, an ex­ec­u­tive at Ermenegildo Zegna, with in­still­ing an early love for qual­ity. “He would bring me on the train to Man­hat­tan,” she re­calls, “and he’d in­tro­duce me to dif­fer­ent tex­tiles and ex­plain why one ma­te­rial was more ex­pen­sive than another.”

Fast-for­ward a few decades and Bos­worth is now known for be­ing an ac­tress and a “hot shot” player in the fash­ion world. She has two Top­shop col­labs on her re­sumé, she launched Jewelmint, a jew­ellery web­site, in 2010 and last year she came out with Style Thief, a fash­ion-finder app. Oh, she’s also besties with de­signer Ja­son Wu and on a first-name ba­sis with Karl. One of her favourite mem­o­ries of the famed Chanel de­signer is the time he es­corted her to the Met Ball in 2008 in a van with a disco ball. “Karl in­tro­duced me to ev­ery­one and made me feel in­cluded,” re­mem­bers Bos­worth, who de­scribes the de­signer as “sen­si­tive, sweet and very funny.”

“The greats in this world don’t live to in­tim­i­date,” she con­tin­ues, ref­er­enc­ing Ju­lianne Moore, Sigour­ney Weaver and Alexan­der Wang. “They’re all in­cred­i­bly kind.” Bos­worth is con­scious of ex­tend­ing that same help­ing hand in her own life. She’s in­volved with the tween-em­pow­er­ment char­ity I Am That Girl and re­cently started men­tor­ing an up-and-com­ing jew­ellery de­signer. “Am­byr Childers is just start­ing out, and I know how daunt­ing that can be,” says Bos­worth, adding that she still feels like the new girl at school when she walks onto a film set. “I said to her, ‘I’m a fan, and if I can help you out, I will.’”

“THE DAWN” SAN­DAL

Of all the parts Bos­worth has played, she is prob­a­bly most known for her role as a teen surfer in 2002’s Blue Crush. “I’m proud of that movie,” she says, call­ing it the most im­por­tant mo­ment of her ca­reer. “So many women have told me that it em­pow­ered them.”

It also in­spired her. At the time, Bos­worth says, she was only be­ing of­fered what she calls “type­cast roles for a young blond girl.” In the film, she plays a fe­male surfer who chal­lenges stereo­types in a male-dom­i­nated sport. Now that she’s in her 30s, Bos­worth says, she’s rel­ish­ing the free­dom to choose emotionally de­mand­ing roles.

“Peo­ple talk about the tran­si­tion that hap­pens for child ac­tors,” says Bos­worth (who got her start at 14 in The Horse Whis­perer in 1998). “There’s another tran­si­tion that hap­pens just h

around 30. I’m most ex­cited about my ca­reer now be­cause I can take what I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced and trans­late that into th­ese roles.”

In fact, Bos­worth was happy to leave her 20s be­hind. “There’s only so much you know about your­self at that age and only so many roles you can play,” she says, de­scrib­ing the decade as “beau­ti­ful and pure” but also “scratchy.” “You get all the bat­tle wounds and scars, but there was a point where I started look­ing for more com­plex roles, and I had to wait to grow into that.”

In­stru­men­tal in this growth was Bos­worth’s hus­band, Michael Pol­ish, whom she met when he di­rected her in the Jack Ker­ouac biopic Big Sur. Pol­ish is 12 years her se­nior, which is some­thing Bos­worth loves. “We’re best friends, but he’s also my men­tor ar­tis­ti­cally and in life,” she re­flects. “He can say ‘I know this feel­ing; let me help guide you through this.’”

Bos­worth de­scribes her­self as a very driven per­son who takes things on “fully.” “Michael is al­ways say­ing to me ‘Pa­tience, dar­ling, pa­tience,’” she says with a laugh, adding that she has learned that not hav­ing it all can be a good thing. “It’s such a tall or­der and so much pres­sure. If ev­ery­thing is pol­ished on ev­ery cor­ner, you don’t have the jagged edges.” This new-found ap­pre­ci­a­tion for “messi­ness” is in­flu­enc­ing the roles she plays. Case in point: the up­com­ing su­per­nat­u­ral hor­ror flick Som­nia, in which Bos­worth plays a griev­ing mother who thinks she sees her dead son. “I thought this was un­usual be­hav­iour,” ex­plains Bos­worth. “But then I re­al­ized that that’s the power of love: It makes you do crazy, beau­ti­ful things.”

“THE SAN­DRA” SLIDE

When she was six, Bos­worth loved col­lect­ing rocks and tak­ing them in a shoe­box to a lo­cal mu­seum. She says that the heel on this slide is a nod to her happy child­hood. “You grow up, but there’s al­ways a core part that never goes away.” She pauses. “I was raised with a lot of love, and I was for­tu­nate be­cause I wasn’t looked at in a gen­der-spe­cific way. My fa­ther taught me to throw a foot­ball, and he also talked to me about film and art.”

Bos­worth also cred­its her mother and grand­par­ents for in­still­ing in her a solid sense of self. When asked if she de­fines her­self as a fem­i­nist, Bos­worth first com­pli­ments Emma Wat­son for the speech she gave on the sub­ject at the UN, where she in­vited men to part­ner with women. “I was so moved by her,” says Bos­worth. “I think the word ‘fem­i­nist’ should feel in­clu­sive and be about equal­ity rather than a tipped scale. She high­lighted that so bril­liantly.”

Bos­worth says she wants to nur­ture that point of view in her 17-year-old step­daugh­ter, Jasper. “Watch­ing her grow into a young woman, I’m re­liv­ing my own life. I’ve been struck by how that tran­si­tion is a beau­ti­ful jour­ney that can be chal­leng­ing at times,” she says. “Be­ing a step­mom is one of the most im­por­tant as­pects of my life.”

The other defin­ing re­la­tion­ship in Bos­worth’s life is her mar­riage. Her hus­band’s name comes up of­ten in con­ver­sa­tion; apart from be­ing a men­tor and an in­spi­ra­tion to her, he is also very clearly her Prince Charm­ing. “It was al­ways a pro­found con­nec­tion,” she ex­plains. “But get­ting mar­ried gave this a feel­ing of beau­ti­ful perma­nence.” She goes on to add that it’s in the lows of life—like her beloved grand­fa­ther’s ill­ness last year—that she most ap­pre­ci­ates her mar­riage vows. “Our re­la­tion­ship isn’t hard, but life is. It feels very deep to know that no mat­ter what gets thrown at you, this per­son is not go­ing any­where.”

Her favourite pho­to­graph of the cou­ple was taken at her Au­gust 2013 wed­ding in Pol­ish’s home state of Mon­tana. “The photo was ac­tu­ally an ac­ci­dent,” say Bos­worth. “We were about to toast each other with glasses of whisky, and then Michael looked at me and said, ‘Stop—I want to take a pic­ture of my wife.’ And it’s the pic­ture that re­ally rep­re­sents our new life.”

It’s a life that is filled with rich and var­ied ex­pe­ri­ences. Bos­worth says she isn’t con­tent to just be an ac­tress (although she does have a num­ber of films be­ing re­leased this year, in­clud­ing the thriller Bus 657 with Robert De Niro). In­stead, she wants to follow her bliss, whether that is de­sign­ing shoes, chas­ing her dream role or spend­ing time at her Mon­tana ranch writ­ing chil­dren’s books about her dogs (which she to­tally plans to do, by the way). What she’s not wor­ry­ing about? What we talk about when we talk about Kate Bos­worth. “I learned from a young age not to open that door,” she says firmly. “I have won­der­ful friends and fam­ily, and that’s what mat­ters.” n

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