QA Ni­cole

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LAURA BROWN: I wanted to talk to all of you about am­bi­tion be­cause you all me­tab­o­lize it dif­fer­ently. How does it ap­ply to you? NI­COLE KID­MAN: Gosh, I al­ways align it with pas­sion be­cause if you’re pas­sion­ate, then that’s the pull. I have an enor­mous pas­sion for my art, and there’s a won­der­ful blos­som­ing in terms of be­ing able to pro­duce as well. It’s just a beau­ti­ful thing to be in a po­si­tion to say to some­one, “There’s this great role here,” or “I read this book, and I think we can get this pro­duced for you.” I love hav­ing my artis­tic path, and then my other pas­sion is my fam­ily. That’s prob­a­bly all I need in my life. LB: That’s ded­i­ca­tion. NK: Other peo­ple are off do­ing things like hav­ing a girls’ week­end. I don’t have that be­cause I go home. I want to be with my chil­dren and my hus­band [singer-song­writer Keith Ur­ban]. I will sort of get lost in a char­ac­ter or what­ever I’m do­ing, but I’m con­stantly work­ing to keep that bal­ance. LB: How much sleep do you get a night? NK: Eight hours. I go to bed early, and when I do go out [for work], I leave early. LB: You leave early and go home? NK: Yes. I’m an in­tro­vert, so my na­ture is very quiet, and I pre­fer be­ing home. I love my work, and I can push through in dif­fer­ent places and ex­plore things, but if you look at my My­ers-briggs [ per­son­al­ity] test, yes, I def­i­nitely qual­ify as an in­tro­vert. I’m deeply sen­si­tive, so my abil­ity to han­dle an enor­mous amount of ex­te­rior stress or tox­i­c­ity … I know when I’m in the wrong place, and I go, and I leave. My home is very nour­ish­ing. LB: What’s the first thing you do af­ter an event? NK: I go home to hug my kids. Lit­er­ally, I’ll go in and snug­gle them. They’ll al­ways be wait­ing up. I’ll hug my hus­band too. The great­est thing our fam­ily priest told us very early on in our mar­riage was, “Al­ways kiss hello and kiss good­bye.” It just keeps you con­nected. LB: You guys are a very pro­tec­tive unit. NK: Very. We love to have din­ners with our friends or go to a brunch with our kids, but in terms of the work-ver­sus-life part of it, there def­i­nitely is a sense of know­ing what our real life is. LB: You’re so driven. How do you make de­ci­sions on whether to take a job or not? NK: I’ve passed on 90 per­cent of things. LB: Yeah, be­cause you’re of­fered 1,000 things. NK: There have been times when I’ve been of­fered noth­ing, and there have been times when there is an enor­mous num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties. But it’s al­ways about bal­ance. There’ll be peo­ple who are re­ly­ing on me to do things for them, and— this is the other part of be­ing a work­ing mother—i can’t let them down. It be­comes about how, as a fam­ily, does it work out for us to be in a good place? And right now the strength of our fam­ily is be­ing to­gether. LB: How do you do it when you and Keith have ca­reers that take you all over and you have two girls? NK: We’re just a very close fam­ily. We put the time in, and there’s no tak­ing that for granted. I’m con­stantly learn­ing from them. They teach me about me. Par­ent­ing is about learn­ing who they are, not mak­ing them what you want them to be, and let­ting them find their way and then sup­port­ing them. It’s rig­or­ous—rig­or­ous truth, rig­or­ous con­scious­ness. You’re con­stantly look­ing at your­self so you’re not plac­ing these ex­pec­ta­tions on a child. But, I mean, I’m no par­ent­ing guru. I’m just walk­ing the path of everyone else, but it is ex­traor­di­nar­ily joy­ful to be able to do it. LB: You don’t drink much, you take care of your­self, and you do have a real, yes, rigor. How does that help you? NK: My dad would get us out of bed in the morn­ing and go, “OK, 10 push-ups. Now you’re go­ing to walk to school in­stead of catch the bus.” That sort of thing. And he would also say we’re all re­spon­si­ble for our own emo­tional health. I just know what I feel works for me, and maybe it doesn’t work for some­body else. I’m al­ways try­ing not to go too far in be­cause I can get to the point where I be­come more iso­lated. I’ve got to al­ways be push­ing out. I’ve got to get out more. LB: How does phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity or dis­ci­pline help? NK: It’s very im­por­tant. I love the out­doors. The ocean for me is like a balm; I’d be in there ev­ery day if we lived near it. But we live in Nashville, and we love Nashville. We have no wa­ter, but we have lots of beau­ti­ful trees. LB: On Big Lit­tle Lies, you’re work­ing with women who are at dif­fer­ent stages of their ca­reers. What ad­vice would you give to peo­ple who are just be­gin­ning? NK: I sup­pose it’s all in­di­vid­ual. Hav­ing worked with Shai and Zoë, I al­ways say to them, “I’m here for you. I will an­swer your ques­tions. I will be avail­able to you for any­thing you need to know.” I re­ally be­lieve that we can help each other by an­swer­ing ques­tions and of­fer­ing in­sight on what­ever we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced. Take it or leave it. I love be­ing able to do that. I have a lot of younger peo­ple around me, and a lot of fam­ily mem­bers. My sis­ter has six chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages. She’s my best friend be­sides Keith, so I share the deep­est parts of who we are and how we raise our chil­dren with her.

She’s taught me so much. LB: That’s so rare. NK: I also have a bunch of girl­friends who have been in my life since I was 3. When I bond, I bond deeply. I get re­ally at­tached. I have to work on de­tach­ment. LB: How have those an­chors helped you through chal­lenges, both pri­vate and pub­lic? NK: Oh my god, like, down- on-my-kneeskiss­ing-their-feet grate­ful. My girl­friends’ sav­ing my life is lit­er­ally true. Like, pick­ing me up off the ground and just be­ing there. When I’ve lit­er­ally not known what to do, my girl­friends have stepped in, go­ing, “This is what’s go­ing to hap­pen, and we’re or­ga­niz­ing this.” I can’t even think, I can’t even op­er­ate, and I can’t stop cry­ing, and they’re like, “Don’t worry. We’ve got it cov­ered.” It makes me cry now with grat­i­tude. LB: What has been the value of hav­ing real friend­ships in your day-to- day work­place on Big Lit­tle Lies?

NK: As­tound­ing be­cause I’ve learned so much. We all come in with our own set of skills. There’s great lis­ten­ing and great con­tribut­ing and great com­pro­mise, but ac­tu­ally, in the end, it’s just a great al­le­giance. The show it­self is its own force. We were all like, “No, we’re done,” and it pulled us back in. Reese and I just look at each other and go, “How did we get here?” What a lovely thing to play the women we play and have peo­ple feel like they know them. I’ve never had that. I’m not used to that. It feels so good. Makes me feel very close to peo­ple. LB: How won­der­ful to have some­thing that came from a good place that is made well and then suc­ceeds. Does that re­dou­ble your pas­sion to keep do­ing this? NK: Each process or artis­tic ven­ture is unto its own, and the idea of try­ing to re-cre­ate or have an ex­pec­ta­tion, I think, is dan­ger­ous. So many times peo­ple can put ev­ery­thing they have into a project and, for what­ever rea­son, it doesn’t end up as part of the zeit­geist. That’s way be­yond our con­trol. With Big Lit­tle Lies, in­stead of re­sist­ing or fight­ing it, we went, “OK. There seems to be some­thing that’s just pulling us for­ward.” These women are great, and to watch their char­ac­ters un­fold even more this sea­son is just fab­u­lous. LB: How proud are you? NK: No, I shy away from the word “proud.” It’s not my job to be proud. It’s my job to give. I’m just a con­duit for things to hap­pen through. There’s very lit­tle of me in there. I’m just con­tribut­ing to some­thing that ex­ists in its own way. I al­ways try to keep me out of it. LB: What are you most se­cure about in terms of your abil­i­ties and choices? NK: My choices are so un­usual a lot of the time, but I’m se­cure in them. I own that. At times peo­ple are like, “What?” But it’s been decades of that now for me. I’m prob­a­bly least se­cure when there’s a mas­sive ex­pec­ta­tion with some­thing. That makes me ner­vous. I like jump­ing in and try­ing things. Who knows what will come of it, but when there’s an ex­pec­ta­tion, I start to wig­gle. My choices, when I’m most suc­cess­ful, tend to be my most avant­garde, if that makes sense. LB: I’ve asked all of you ladies this: What is some­thing about each of your co-stars that you want the world to know? Let’s start with Reese. NK: There is just an ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of power within Reese. She’s very, very pow­er­ful and doesn’t have a lot of fear. I would also say loyal. And funny as all get-out. I know that’s what made her fa­mous, but when you can have us all belly-laugh­ing on the set at 1 in the morn­ing, that’s funny. LB: How about Zoë? NK: She just ex­udes this con­fi­dent sen­su­al­ity that is beau­ti­ful to see. She’s very in­di­vid­ual and very, very deep. She’s a thinker. She’s also got re­ally good man­ners. LB: And Laura? NK: She’s lovely. Love-of-the-world kind of thing. She’s su­per­pow­er­ful, and she can get things done. She’s in­cred­i­bly funny. Laura is also an amaz­ing lis­tener. She’s very much about giv­ing back to the world. Gen­er­ous. LB: And Shailene? NK: Shai is un­be­liev­ably real. She’s so warm and so for­giv­ing. She’s of the heav­ens and of the earth. It feels so nice to be the re­cip­i­ent of their love. All of them. LB: What would you like them to say about you? NK: Oh, I don’t mind. I just hope they know how much I love them. Q

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