THAT GIRL

Jen­nifer Anis­ton sits down with pal Molly Mc­n­ear­ney to talk tabloid ru­mors, In­sta-stalk­ing, and her fan­tasy Friends re­boot

InStyle (USA) - - Directory - by MOLLY MC­N­EAR­NEY pho­tographed by BEN HASSETT styled by JU­LIA VON BOEHM

II met Jen (don’t roll your eyes at me—that’s what we call her) in my kitchen about six years ago when my hus­band, Jimmy [Kim­mel], and I in­vited our friend Justin [Th­er­oux] over for pizza with his new girl­friend. At first I was a bit starstruck that Rachel Green was stand­ing near my bananas. She was wear­ing black jeans, a black tank top, and wedge san­dals, and she smelled like va­ca­tion. But my nerves faded as soon as she hugged me, pulled a lime off our tree for her vodka rocks, and dis­sect­edthe Bach­e­lor. I was ex­pect­ing pre­ten­sion (that’s on me). I got au­then­tic­ity and real con­nec­tion. She was im­me­di­ately warm, like an old friend. She’s mag­netic like that. At 49, she knows who she is. That means no bound­aries, no bullshit, and a lot of laugh­ing.

MOLLYMCNEARNEY: I want to start this in­ter­view off light. When are you get­ting back to­gether with Brad? Did Justin ever wear your jeans? And when are the twins due? JEN­NIFER ANIS­TON: [ laughs] You’re the only per­son who could start an in­ter­view like that and ac­tu­ally send me into hys­ter­ics and not hives. MM: Well, I ad­mire your abil­ity to re­main poised and bal­anced even while oth­ers des­per­ately try to tell your story for you. How do you do it? JA: There are def­i­nitely mo­ments of not be­ing bal­anced and poised, but I do that all in my own per­sonal space. For the most part I can sit back and laugh at the ridicu­lous head- lines be­cause they have got­ten more and more ab­surd. I guess they’re feed­ing into some sort of need the pub­lic has, but I fo­cus on my work, my friends, my an­i­mals, and how we can make the world a bet­ter place. That other stuff is junk food that needs to go back in its drawer. MM: What is the big­gest mis­con­cep­tion about you? JA: Oh, boy, there are so many. Let’s see. I’ll just Google my­self and find out. [starts typ­ing] Oh, look, I’m hav­ing a $100,000 re­venge makeover! MM: I didn’t want to say any­thing, but you re­ally need one. But wow, the tabloids are re­lent­less. JA: It’s pretty crazy. The mis­con­cep­tions are “Jen can’t keep a man,” and “Jen re­fuses to have a baby be­cause she’s self­ish and com­mit­ted to her ca­reer.” Or that I’m sad and heart­bro­ken. First, with all due re­spect, I’m not heart­bro­ken. And sec­ond, those are reck­less as­sump­tions. No one knows what’s go­ing on be­hind closed doors. No one con­sid­ers how sen­si­tive that might be for my part­ner and me. They don’t know what I’ve been through med­i­cally or emo­tion­ally. There is a pres­sure on women to be moth­ers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed dam­aged goods. Maybe my pur­pose on this planet isn’t to pro­cre­ate. Maybe I have other things I’m sup­posed to do. MM: Yes! For starters you have this new movie com­ing up, Dumplin’. You play an ex–pageant queen, and you do it beau­ti­fully. Did you ever want to be in a beauty pageant when you were younger? JA: That’s hys­ter­i­cal. No. Do you know what I looked like as a kid? The truth is, that’s all chang­ing now. That’s what this movie is all about. It’s about redefin­ing beauty and how we as a so­ci­ety in­ter­pret what beauty is. I love that the Miss Amer­ica pageant is go­ing to get rid of the swim­suit com­pe­ti­tion al­to­gether. MM: Me too. I’m sure my daugh­ter will be shocked when I tell her that was ac­tu­ally a quan­tifi­able form of judg­ing women in my life­time. JA: Def­i­nitely! You know, a swim­suit body is a body in a swim­suit, no mat­ter what that body is. It’s time to just stop think­ing beauty is in the shape of a size 4 and the right butt size and the right waist size and the right mea­sure­ments. It’s just old. We’ve done it. We’ve been there. Let’s move on. MM: What was it like ex­plor­ing the pageant world to pre­pare for Dumplin’? JA: I had so much fun. There are women de­vot­ing their lives to train­ing young girls for pageants, and it’s the real deal. I loved those women and re­ally en­joyed get­ting into their minds. My char­ac­ter is an ex–pageant queen who is fun but bro­ken. It’s a beau­ti­ful mother-daugh­ter story. And, of course, there’s the amaz­ing mu­si­cal el­e­ment: Dumplin’ is an homage to Dolly Par­ton, who wrote a

For the most part I can sit back and laugh at the ridicu­lous head­lines be­cause they have got­ten more and more ab­surd.”

few orig­i­nal songs for this film. MM: Dolly is in­cred­i­ble. JA: She’s magic. I re­mem­ber the first thing she said to me when she walked into my house. I said, “I don’t know how you do ev­ery­thing you’re still do­ing.” She said, “Well, I dreamed my­self into a cor­ner, and now I gotta live up to it.” MM: Ev­ery­thing she says is a bumper sticker. JA: When Dolly and I watched the movie to­gether, we were in a theater full of peo­ple who didn’t know we were sit­ting in the back. Dur­ing one of the fun­nier parts, she’s sti­fling her laugh and whis­pers to me, “They can’t hear my laugh. They’ll know my laugh.” A cou­ple of min­utes later I look over and she’s cry­ing, and she says, “But they don’t know my tears.” MM: I re­ally wish there were an au­dio but­ton on this page that read­ers could push right now to hear the im­pres­sion you just did of Dolly Par­ton. It was flaw­less. JA: [in Par­ton’s voice] Aw, thank you, dar­lin’. MM: What would your tal­ent be if you were a pageant girl? JA: My tal­ents are not ba­ton twirling or Hula-hoop­ing or tap danc­ing or ven­tril­o­quism or yo­del­ing. I would be elim­i­nated right away. Out. No tal­ent. MM: How about you get up on stage and make a mar­garita? You’re re­ally good at that. Tell us how. JA: Oh, lord, it’s barely a recipe. It’s ba­si­cally sil­ver tequila with lime juice shaken and over rocks. And some peo­ple like a lit­tle Coin­treau, some don’t. It’s a cleaner mar­garita. No sugar, no mixes, no agave. I don’t like sweet drinks. MM: I like mine with a Twiz­zler as a straw. Dumplin’ is writ­ten, pro­duced, and di­rected pri­mar­ily by women. The leads are all women. The tim­ing is per­fect for such a film. JA: Yes, lots of great women in front of and be­hind the cam­era. All ex­traor­di­nar­ily qual­i­fied. This wasn’t be­cause it was manda­tory; it wasn’t be­cause of a move­ment. They’re a part of this movie be­cause they are ex­cep­tion­ally ta­lented. Rachel Mor­ri­son was our DP on­cake and the first woman nom­i­nated for best cin­e­matog­ra­phy [for­mud­bound] at the Os­cars. She’s a badass. We need to find more women like her and give them the op­por­tu­ni­ties. It’s like min­ing for gold. We shouldn’t be shov­ing fe­male di­rec­tors and pro­duc­ers down each other’s throats be­cause we have to. Then we’re mak­ing those de­ci­sions from a place of fear. MM: Have you ever been sex­u­ally ha­rassed in the work­place? JA: I’ve def­i­nitely had some sloppy moves made on me by other ac­tors, and I han­dled it by walk­ing away. I’ve never had any­one in a po­si­tion of power make me feel un­com­fort­able and lever­age that over me. In my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve been treated worse ver­bally and en­er­get­i­cally by some women in this in­dus­try. MM: Have you ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ism in your ca­reer? JA: I’ve def­i­nitely had my fair share of sex­ism in the me­dia. Women are picked apart and pit­ted against one an­other based on looks and cloth­ing and su­per­fi­cial stuff. When a cou­ple breaks up in Hol­ly­wood, it’s the woman who is scorned. The woman is left sad and alone. She’s the fail­ure. F that. When was the last time you read about a di­vorced, child­less man re­ferred to as a spin­ster? MM: Never hap­pens. Do you have hope for change as a re­sult of Time’s Up and #Metoo? JA: Yes, and it’s long overdue. But we also need to be bet­ter at lis­ten­ing to one an­other. That in­cludes men. They need to be part of this con­ver­sa­tion. When ev­ery­one is mad and ag­gres­sive, peo­ple be­come too afraid to speak and there is no con­ver­sa­tion. Same goes for pol­i­tics. We need to in­clude each other, to hear each other out. We can’t stoop to the anger. Michelle Obama said it best: “When they go low, we go high.” We should all be liv­ing by that if we want real progress. MM: I worry so­cial me­dia may be slow­ing that progress with its ex­pec­ta­tion that ev­ery­one look good all the time. Are you ac­tive on so­cial me­dia, or do you just turn all that off? JA: I don’t have Twit­ter, Face­book, or In­sta­gram ac­counts. I will to­tally ad­mit that I can dip into In­sta­gram and sort of be a se­cret voyeur. MM: You’re a creeper! JA: I’m a creeper. There are times when I’ll look through and think, “Oh my god, what a time suck!” I’ve been with peo­ple who spend maybe an hour fig­ur­ing out this one post, and you’re like, “That just took up an hour of your life, and it’s gone in 60 sec­onds.” It feels like we are los­ing con­nec­tion. I think we’re los­ing con­ver­sa­tion. It’s hard enough be­ing a teenager and feel­ing like you fit in. Now we’re ac­tively cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment and a plat­form for you to tell some­one, “I like you” or “I don’t like you.” That seems like an un­healthy for­mula for al­ready-in­se­cure ado­les­cents. We’re pour­ing fuel on a fire. MM: I couldn’t imag­ine deal­ing with that pres­sure when I was a teenager. JA: Our friends have 10- and

If we give it some time, Lisa, Courteney, and I could re­boot The

Golden Girls and spend our last years to­gether on wicker fur­ni­ture.”

11-year- olds on In­sta­gram. They’re start­ing way younger than when I even gave a crap about what I looked like or what makeup I wore or what guy I liked. I think iphones and Snapchat and all this stuff is just fu­el­ing nar­cis­sism. Peo­ple are us­ing fil­ters and all sorts of tools to mask who they re­ally are.

MM: How was your con­fi­dence as a kid? JA: I was one of those kids who got sort of bul­lied, and I don’t know why.

MM: No one’s go­ing to be­lieve that. JA: Ha! But they will be­lieve I’m preg­nant three times a year. I was one of the kids who the oth­ers would de­cide to make fun of. It was an odd pe­riod of time dur­ing­fifth, sixth, sev­en­th­grades. Iwasa lit­tleon the chubby side, soi­was just that kid. Child­hood is such a vul­ner­a­ble time, and I’m sure a part of me be­lieved all that they teased me about. Thank­fully, I didn’t have a phone or so­cial me­dia to look at and think, “Oh, I’m not this, I’m not that.” I just wanted to have fun and play cap­ture the flag. MM: Did you ever imag­ine your­self as an ac­tor? JA: I didn’t see my­self as any­thing. I was just try­ing to get through the day. [ laughs] In sixth grade I would write skits and act them out with a cou­ple of friends, and we thought we were hi­lar­i­ous. Or we would go to Cen­tral Park, and when the cherry blos­soms were in bloom we would act out scenes from The Wiz­ard of Oz. We went to the Ru­dolf Steiner School, which is one of those arts-and-craftsy schools. It wasn’t bigon aca­demics, but I can whit­tle you a lion out of a piece of ma­hogany like no­body’s busi­ness.

MM: I’ve seen that lion. Now for some silly ques­tions. Have you ever punched some­one?

JA: OK, let’sbe­hon­est. I’ve­hadamo­men­twhen I’ve to­tally wanted to do it, yes, but it’s in your fan­tasy, it’s in your head. I wouldn’t ac­tu­ally go through with it.

MM: No, you’re too zen for that. What is a fear you wish you could over­come? JA: Fear of fly­ing. It started in my 20s. It was a weird, scary flight. Af­ter­ward I be­gan notic­ing the sto­ries on the news about plane crashes, and I be­came all-con­sumed with the idea of dy­ing on an air­plane. It was so out of con­trol in my brain. So, yeah, that’s some­thing I’d like to get rid of. It’s so ir­ra­tional.

MM: What hobby would you like to mas­ter? JA: Sculpt­ing. Twelve years ago I had a beau­ti­ful art stu­dio, and that was my dream then. I still want to take the time to have those mo­ments for my­self. I had a wheel, and I had a bunch of clay.

MM: Let’s get you back on the wheel. If your house were on fire, dogs are out, you are out, all the peo­ple you love are out, what is the one thing you grab? JA: This ac­tu­ally hap­pened. When we had to be evac­u­ated in De­cem­ber for the wild­fires, I took my dogs, I grabbed un­der­wear, my tooth­brush, and a change of clothes. Just get my dogs and me out of here. They’re my kids!

MM: You’re a good dog per­son. You just light up when you’re around them. JA: I do. They make me happy. But so do your kids.

MM: You are so good with my chil­dren. When I did not have chil­dren, I liked peo­ple’s kids, but they were fun for, like, 10 min­utes. But you are so gen­uinely in­vested in your friends’ chil­dren that the kids end up buy­ing you Mother’s Day presents. You also have a home that kids want to go to. You have re­ally mas­tered host­ing fam­i­lies at your house. JA: I love those ras­cals. Also, they’re good kids. I have to say, we’re lucky. There’s not one kid in the group where you think, “That lit­tle brat.”

MM: What’s your ex­er­cise of choice? JA: Last year I dis­cov­ered box­ing, and I love it. I have this trainer named Leyon, who I be­lieve hung the moon. It’s the long­est work­out I’ve ac­tu­ally stayed with con­sis­tently other than yoga. There’s some­thing about the men­tal as­pect of box­ing—the drills, your brain has to work, you’re not just sit­ting on a bike. It’s amaz­ing.

MM: I knew you wanted to punch some­one! JA: Box­ing is a great way to get ag­gres­sion out. You get a men­tal re­lease of all this crap you’re tak­ing into your ears and eyes ev­ery day and have lit­tle fan­tasy mo­ments imag­in­ing who you’re punch­ing. I’m just grate­ful it’s not ac­tu­ally the per­son, even though there’s one per­son. You know what I mean. It’s all good.

MM: What about Friends? Will Friends ever come back? JA: Be­fore that show ended, peo­ple were ask­ing if we were com­ing back. Courteney [Cox] and Lisa [Kudrow] and I talk about it. I fan­ta­size about it. It re­ally was the great­est job I ever had. I don’t know what it would look like to­day, but you never know. So many shows are be­ing suc­cess­fully re­booted. I know Matt Le­blanc doesn’t want to be asked that ques­tion any­more. But maybe we could talk him into it. If we give it some time, Lisa, Courteney, and I could re­boot The Golden Girls and spend our last years to­gether on wicker fur­ni­ture.

MM: I feel like if you choose to, you will have the long­est ca­reer you want. Do you think you’re go­ing to do this for­ever? JA: I’ve never been some­one who knows how to an­swer “Where do you see your­self in five years?” I do know that lately I’ve had mo­ments. The world we’re in is so chal­leng­ing right now, the scru­tiny, the way peo­ple in­ter­act. There’s just bad be­hav­ior around us a lot. There have been­mo­ments when I would just love to get out of Dodge and move to Switzer­land—or some­where—and start anew. Just have this shit be­hind me. Does it re­ally mat­ter? Are we re­ally do­ing any­thing? What is my life’s pur­pose? Ev­ery seven years I try to sum up what I am doin­gand­what I want tomakemy fo­cus. I’mtry­ing to make bet­ter choices. I went through a pe­riod of say­ing yes to projects that I shouldn’t have, but I felt like, “How dare I say no?” Now I’m try­ing to get bet­ter at say­ing no and to be a part of projects that ac­tu­ally, re­al­ly­mat­ter à la Dumplin’ or The Goree Girls or this other film we’re work­ing on called The Fixer, about an amaz­ing cri­sis man­ager named Denise White.

MM: Good. You need to keep go­ing. The world is shit right now, and we need some Anis­ton movie escape. JA: I’m grate­ful as long as peo­ple still want me to come to the party. I think I’ll al­ways want to keep act­ing as long as there’s a de­sire for me to do it. As long as I’m ful­filled in other ways cre­atively, spir­i­tu­ally, and all of that stuff, I know that I could do this un­til they put me in a home. n

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.