GLY­NIS TRAILL-NASH

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - News -

Char­l­ize Theron is many things: an ac­com­plished ac­tor, an in­tel­li­gent force, a stat­uesque beauty, a char­ity pow­er­house, a mother to five-year-old son Jack­son, a United Na­tions Mes­sen­ger of Peace, and somebody com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing a bet­ter world in her na­tive South Africa while liv­ing in her adopted home of Amer­ica. In her own words, women can be com­plex and con­tra­dic­tory, some­thing she doesn’t shy away from in her work both on and off the screen. Hav­ing wit­nessed do­mes­tic vi­o­lence first-hand grow­ing up in South Africa – her mother shot and killed her fa­ther in self-de­fence – she is out­spo­ken on the sub­ject, as well as her belief that HIV can be erad­i­cated, some­thing she is aim­ing for through her char­ity, Africa Out­reach.

Prior to the launch of her lat­est cam­paign for Dior’s fra­grance J’Adore, which she has fronted for the past ten years, and be­fore shoot­ing in South Africa op­po­site Javier Bar­dem and di­rected by her part­ner, Sean Penn, Theron spoke to WISH in Paris about her pas­sions and peeves, and all that makes up a mod­ern woman. You turn 40 next year – how do you feel about that? Oh, al­right! I turned 39 in Au­gust. And I’ve en­joyed it. Maybe 50 will be dif­fer­ent, but not to sound all ego­tis­ti­cal, I like look­ing in the mir­ror. And I look at th­ese cam­paigns we do and I feel like that’s me. It's not some kind of mech­a­nised, plas­tic ver­sion of me. What makes you say yes or no to a project? There’s no recipe to it. If you treat it that way you’ll be dis­ap­pointed. There’s no way I could have fore­seen this J'Adore cam­paign for ex­am­ple. And there’s no way that I could have fore­seen mak­ing movies like or

For me, what’s been re­ally great is the mys­tery – not know­ing how I’m go­ing to re­spond to the roles or projects I’m of­fered. When you get too stuck in your ways you miss op­por­tu­ni­ties that come your way. Some­times you sim­ply need to take a leap of faith in­stead of try­ing to mak­ing sense of it all. What do you en­joy most about your work? To sim­plify, I get to do some­thing that I re­ally love. I get to do some­thing that doesn’t feel like a job. I think that’s the great­est gift that you can have. It doesn’t mean that you’re not work­ing and it cer­tainly doesn't mean you’re not work­ing hard, but it doesn’t feel like tor­ture. What ap­peals to you about the long-run­ning J’Adore cam­paigns? The idea that we have to keep ask­ing ques­tions and that we don’t nec­es­sar­ily have all the an­swers. I like that ex­plo­ration of what the J’Adore woman is, or just what a woman is, and feel it's some­thing that will con­tinue to evolve for Dior. It's ac­tu­ally look­ing at women for what they are – all their com­plex­i­ties and all their flaws and all their lay­ers and all their beauty and all of their con­tra­dic­tions. That part of it re­ally in­ter­ests me and I think it's made a good mar­riage be­tween how I feel about be­ing a woman and be­ing a part of the cam­paign. I don’t know if I could have done this if there wasn’t that grander el­e­ment to it. Are you very in­volved in the process? Yeah, right from the be­gin­ning. There was no need for me to do any­thing like this un­less I felt there was go­ing to be an el­e­ment of cre­ativ­ity; be­ing part of the cre­ation of some­thing. I’m so lucky in my life to have a job that re­ally utilises so much of who I am. The only rea­son for me to do this was if there was re­ally some­thing sig­nif­i­cant to say; to be part of some­thing greater than sim­ply a one-di­men­sional beauty cam­paign. What are the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of the J’Adore woman? A bit like life, I think it's re­ally about the jour­ney. It’s not about la­belling or tak­ing the easy road – which I think a lot of beauty cam­paigns do – and say­ing, ‘beauty is this’, ‘beauty is that’, ‘if you’re this, you’re beau­ti­ful’, ‘if you’re that, you’re beau­ti­ful’. I be­lieve there’s some­thing in­cred­i­bly brave about Dior tak­ing the risk of pre­sent­ing a woman who goes against lux­ury, at least at first. So we start the cam­paign with her strip­ping off beau­ti­ful jew­ellery and a beau­ti­ful Dior dress and walk­ing over it. I mean, what other fash­ion house would al­low that? They’d say you can’t do that, you can’t step over a cou­ture dress, that’s dis­re­spect­ful. But Dior did it. Now it's evolved to what it is to­day, to where she doesn’t have to step over the dress. She can ac­tu­ally wear a gold, abun­dant dress with se­quins, high heels and all the trim­mings and see what the fu­ture holds for her.

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