Interview: Uma Therman
Uma Therman is a legend and I am sharing a sofa – and some watermelon – with her. It’s a humid Monday afternoon and, jetlagged from a long flight from the US and a busy day of interviews, the Hollywood actress is tired, yet friendly when I meet her in a villa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel. Dressed in black trousers and a white shirt, with natural makeup apart from a swipe of smokey grey on her eyelids and beach-tousled hair, Uma looks effortlessly elegant. She’s curled on the couch with her famous feet (Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino is obsessed with them) hidden under a cushion. But forget her tootsies, at 41, she looks amazing. We settle down and I try to learn her secrets…
Welcome to Dubai! How are you finding it?
It’s great thank you. It’s my first time here so we’ve been driving around seeing the sights. I saw the Burj Khalifa and thought it was beautiful.
Tell me about the new fragrance, Ange ou Étrange Le Secret Elixir…
It’s a multifaceted fragrance with nice warm woody notes like sandalwood, and then a strong floral on top. It represents the idea of duality and diversity – you’d wear it for both a day and a night as it makes you feel just as beautiful when you’re wearing an evening dress as it would a sexy power suit. It has many sides to its personality, a bit like myself!
You look stunning in the ad campaign. At 41, how do you do it?
I think you need to get lots of rest and drink lots of water; always use moisturiser and sunblock, and cleanse your skin and exfoliate. Also, I’m a real bather. I love salts and scrubbing and I have at least one bath a day. I find the water very soothing and I love the sea.
The campaign features the line ‘Every woman has her secrets’. What are yours?
Well, I wouldn’t tell you because then they wouldn’t be secrets! The trick about secrets is keeping them, although some would say your secrets can kill you… but I’m a good secret-keeper.
Tell us something about you that would surprise us then…
Well, I’m trying to become a vegetarian. I’ve tried before but I keep slipping up. Also, I don’t like to exercise. I know I should do more but I don’t particularly migrate towards it.
Most women feel bad about not working out. Do you?
I feel very guilty! Exercise is not just important for your body but also for your moods. If I did more, I might not have so many moods and it would soothe my mind.
Do you need to soothe your mind?
I’ve been accused of over thinking things in the past. I’ve realised that I need to control my thoughts a bit more. That’s why I need to learn to meditate and do yoga.
From rom-coms (The Truth About Cats & Dogs) to action (The Avengers) to cult classics (Pulp Fiction), your movie history is very diverse. Was that a conscious decision?
Yes, I always like to do different things. When I was younger, I was aware of being pigeon holed. And there’s a blessing and a curse to that. The blessing has been that I’ve got to do everything else and the curse is that you don’t get identified with one particular thing that works – one person sees you as a comedy actress; another sees you as a dramatic actress and people get very polarised by what they’ve seen.
Does always trying to do new things mean that you often feel frightened?
Oh yes, all the time. As a result of trying to avoid the labels, I always feel like I’ve never done anything before. I always suffer from nerves, especially during the first week of filming but then you calm down.
What’s next for you?
I just finished filming two movies, Bel Ami with Robert Pattinson who was lovely and Playing The Field with Gerard Butler. Now I’m going back to California to do a part in an Oliver Stone movie and after that I hope to have a wonderful summer swimming, walking and spending time with my children, Levon and Maya.