Exclusive Interview: Golden Girl Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow has long been associated with beauty, even before she hit the big screen in the 1990s and clutched an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999 as Best Actress. At the age of 24, she modelled for Calvin Klein and it seems this willowy blonde keeps getting better with age.
At 42 years old and mother to children Apple and Moses, there seems to be no stopping the star who set up her own website Goop in 2008, has authored two cookbooks and starred in countless films, not to mention the girl can sing – remember Country Strong? It is little wonder Max Factor chose her as its face to celebrate 100 years of beauty. Given her chameleon quality, she was an obvious choice to recreate some of the most influential beauty looks of the past – as she morphs into Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. This star shows how she can go from classic to pop siren with the flick of a brush. She talks to Anita Quade about her love of old Hollywood and her favourite beauty looks of all time.
The actress morphed into stars including Brigitte Bardot for the Max Factor campaign
Congratulations on being chosen as the face of Max Factor – it must be quite an honour to be asked to be part of the campaign. Can you tell me how this came about?
It was a huge honour, I was thrilled when I was asked. A couple of years ago I got one of those surprise, wonderful calls. They wanted an actress to represent the brand and to me Max Factor is the most iconic movie make-up of all time so when they asked me to be in the campaign I was thrilled. They were also describing the campaign and I love the different character aspect of it all. I was honoured to be asked.
So it was a couple of years ago that you were approached?
I am bad with keeping track of time, but it was a couple of years ago because I was definitely still living in London when I got the call and that is when I started to do the campaign.
Channeling Upper East Side glamour
They transformed you into four of the most iconic stars in history including Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Farah Fawcett and Madonna – which one was your favourite?
I think all of them were amazing, but I think I would have to say Audrey Hepburn because I love that look and obviously she was one of my favourite actresses of all time – I loved that picture in the campaign of Audrey. It is timeless.
Did it take them a long time to transform you into each of the characters in the campaign?
Yes it took ages – everyone was very creatively involved and it is so interesting. You forget when you sit down to do something like this, just how long it takes to put on the wigs and make-up. So I was just listening to music and enjoying the process.
You are a long standing actress in Hollywood – why do you think these icons have stood the test of time?
I think that the great icons and stars have an extra quality and I don't know that I can articulate exactly what it is, but if you look at Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth or Katherine Hepburn, they all have this amazing other worldly quality. There is something mysterious about them that is strong and powerful. They just have a very interesting layering of qualities – you can be beautiful or interesting and have success, but then not turn out to be a star like Audrey Hepburn.
You have a very natural, down to earth look. Tell us what is beauty to you?
I really think that beauty comes from the woman and when the woman knows herself and is comfortable with herself she just exudes a real allure and real beauty. I had the honour to have dinner with Diane Von Furstenberg the other night and she is so beautiful, because she is so herself, it’s integrated in her being and it’s who she is and it makes her stunning. She is not 21 and she is not a supermodel, but is one of the most beautiful women because she is so authentic and real.
Gwyneth channels the popstar look of Madonna
So make-up doesn't maketh the person…
I think it's different for each individual woman. For myself I have been discovering make-up later on in life – I have always been more of a natural type of look person that wears just mascara and that is kind of it, but if you look at someone like Gwen Stefani, she wears full make-up and red lips every day, even for a playdate with the kids, but it is so her and she is being so authentic to herself and it looks so beautiful. So I think make-up can really augment who you are. If you are a person that just wears mascara and a lip balm or if you are a person that wears full make-up as long, as you are being true to who you are then make-up just helps set that off.
You can look extremely glammed up on the red carpet – is there a moment that has stood out for you when you thought that you really nailed a look?
I am sure the answer will change over time, but I think if I had to name one look – a few years ago I went to the Venice Film Festival for the film Contagion, that I was starring in and it was my favourite look in recent years. I wore a beautiful blush coloured Prada dress and the hair and make-up was so nice and I really felt like it was a great moment and a really good look for me.
Gwyneth reveals her secret weapon is mascara
What is your best kept beauty secret?
I really believe in exercise as a beauty secret. I think that is the key to keeping your skin tone. You are detoxifying and it keeps you looking young and healthy. I also try to drink a lot of water and I try to eat healthy although yesterday I had a huge plate of French fries and a glass of wine – I normally try to balance this. I also look after my skin now that I am 42, I make sure I wash my face every night and put on cream so I think they are all important factors in taking care of yourself.
As you mentioned you exercise a lot, but obviously people do blow things out of proportion – I have read articles where it is said you get up at 4am in the morning to do yoga and meditate – is that true?
I wouldn't get up at 4am in the morning for anything, there is no way, but generally my routine is that I drop my children at school and then I exercise for about an hour and a half five days a week and that way I can do some weights, muscular structure work and get in some good cardio then I am good for the day. They really do blow things out of proportion and exaggerate, it's definitely not true I promise.
Is there one item that you wouldn't leave home without?
I have a very small make-up bag so I carry a face oil, I have a mascara and usually a lip balm so I keep it quite simple, but mascara is my main secret weapon.
In the Max Factor collection is there something that you particularly love?
Max Factor mascaras are the best around. I have tried all of the really expensive ones and now I have been using the Max Factor ones for years. I love the lip sheer they do – other than that if I am working I am not sure what they put on, but it always looks great.
You are an actress, businesswoman, author and mother – is it hard to juggle all the components of your life?
Oh my gosh, yes! I think when you are a working mother it is always very difficult, in fact it's difficult if you are a mother anyway even if you are not working. It's the demand, the responsibility and the love - it's a lot and trying to balance a career with it makes it hard. I have a lot of respect for women who try to do both things, because I really struggle. Some days I just think I am failing everywhere – like today I was making lunch and saying to myself 'this lunch is so bad' throwing pasta in the lunch bag, yelling 'get in the car' I was losing my cool. I think it's very hard to try to find the right balance and I think we all aspire to that balance, but it's easier said than done. It's just a matter of trying your best each day and not being too hard on yourself about things.
What piece of advice would you want your children to carry with them in their life?
I think that I would talk to them about the importance of really accepting all parts of themselves, even the parts of themselves that they are not necessarily proud of – that darker side – we are all very complex and have sides to us and I think we can get in trouble by trying to deny certain parts of ourselves. I would like them to be accepting of every part of who they are and have a capacity for self-forgiveness. If you can get through life without shame and beating yourself up then you can really get a lot further.
Finally, you have visited Dubai? What were your thoughts on the city?
I was totally amazed by the scale of everything in Dubai, I was very impressed by how good the food was and I stayed at a gorgeous hotel that had the biggest suite I have ever seen, everything was huge there – it was really fun and I really enjoyed it – I would love to go back and spend some more time there as a tourist.