MY BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT? STAYING SANE
Sienna Miller was an ‘eccentric’ child and is an ‘irritatingly’ optimistic adult. But when you’ve been in the glare of the spotlight as long as she has, you’re bound to have one or two little quirks – like tapping the plane three times before getting on…
Born in New York City in 1981, actress Sienna Miller is the child of American banker-turned-art dealer Edwin and South African former model Josephine. She was raised in England and has an older sister, Savannah – with whom she launched the clothing label Twenty8Twelve – and two half brothers, Charles and Stephen. Sienna worked as a photographic model before finding worldwide fame in 2004 opposite Jude Law in the remake of Alfie. Her on-off relationship with Law during the years that followed was played out under intense press scrutiny, as were her subsequent romances with actors Rhys Ifans and Balthazar Getty. She has been in a relationship with the actor Tom Sturridge since 2011 and they have a one-year-old daughter, Marlowe.
What is your earliest memory?
It’s of my father’s shoe. It was a 1980s- style trainer with a big letter ‘N’ on the side and we were in the hallway of our house, I think. I distinctly remember the vantage point from which I was looking at it — obviously very low to the ground!
What sort of child were you?
I was extroverted and loud and friendly. I was apparently quite eccentric too, and there’s one story that has gone down in family folklore. I went to boarding school when I was eight years old, which is quite young, so you were allowed to take a pet with you as company. I took my pet rabbit, and another girl, Ali, had a rabbit too. Well, they got on and I wondered what would happen if I put them together, and they ended up mating. I bred, quite by accident, five bunnies, one of whom went on to be a prize-winning rabbit by complete coincidence.
Tell us a secret about yourself
I have to sleep on the left side of the bed — I just have to, and if I don’t it feels weird. I’m quite superstitious. When I get onto a plane, I have to kiss my hand three times and tap the plane three times. If I didn’t do that and the plane went down, I’d know it was my fault. My father actually grabbed my hand once and refused to let me do it to prove a point, and we went through the worst turbulence that either of us has ever experienced, and I looked at him and thought, ‘See, I knew this would happen!’
What has been your biggest achievement?
There are a few. I’ve been able to work and support myself since I was 18 years old. I got nominated for both a Golden Globe and a Bafta this year for The Girl, which was a huge achievement. I’ve managed to retain every friendship since I was 10 years old. And finally, I’ve remained sane. I feel like I’ve pretty much remained the same person throughout everything I’ve been through, and that’s an achievement I’m proud of.
And what has been your biggest disappointment?
I grew up in front of the world — my 20s were documented by the press — so I’m disappointed looking back at my naïvety. However, I think anyone who had a camera pointed at them as much as I did during their 20s would probably say and do the same things.
When did you last feel really happy?
Yesterday. I was in Italy and having lunch with a group of friends overlooking a beautiful Tuscan valley, and it was one of those moments where you feel completely at ease and surrounded by people you love. I’m often really happy, though, despite the exhaustion of having a young baby; my daughter, Marlowe, recently turned one. I’m irritatingly optimistic regardless of what’s going on in my life. I am resolutely a glass-half-full girl.
What do you dream about?
I had a really, really, really weird dream recently. I was in a field and I was running towards an enormous black-and-red jumper — it must have been at least 50ft wide. I then looked round and there were tonnes of other people running after this same jumper, all desperate to get hold of it. I couldn’t figure out why but then I remembered — in the dream
— that it was Dennis the Menace Day. As soon as I thought that, the dream cut, like in a film, to me on ballet pointe shoes, waterskiing on a lake. I woke up laughing my head off.
What are you best at and what would you like to be better at?
I’m best at making people feel comfortable. I would love to be better at concentrating and at languages. My attention span is pretty limited and I’d love to be able to focus more.
Is there somebody you would like to say sorry to... and, if so, why?
There is someone, but I’d like to say it to their face, and I haven’t had a chance yet.
What is your best character trait?
I can laugh at myself, which happens all the time. I have to; I don’t have a choice. I have the ability to not take myself too seriously, which I think has kept me quite steadfast through this world that I’m in.
…and your worst?
I can be very hard on myself and self-critical and insecure. I can also be quite hedonistic. Now I have a kid, sometimes I miss that — it’s one of the hard parts about parenting, but that’s the sacrifice that you make. And then you go into their bedroom at six o’clock in the morning and see this little face — and it’s worth it.
What is your biggest fear?
People I love dying. It’s not a tangible fear, but my greatest fear in life would be losing people that I love. That would be the depth of all misery.
What is the worst thing that anyone has ever said to you?
I have had some truly terrible things said to me by the paparazzi in the past — I can remember one particularly terrible thing one of them said to me, but if it’s immortalised in print then he wins, and I will not allow that.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’d be happy to be forgotten, to be honest — having a child has made me think of that. But if I have to be, then I suppose I’d want to be remembered as kind and a good friend. Sienna Miller is an ambassador for the new BMW i3 electric car; visit bmw.com