Photo: Patrick Demarchelier/Trunk
I’ve always been in awe of actress Cate Blanchett’s ability to completely transform herself. Whether playing a feisty Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, or a woman falling apart in Blue Jasmine, she’s a total chameleon. Off stage, she’s so graceful, always beautifully dressed with luminous skin (thanks to SK-II), but her life is more layered than her public image as an elegant and brilliant actress. She’s the mother of three boys ages 12,10, and 6, and she has been married to playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton for over 16 years. Her entire household was battling the flu the day we spoke, and she was candid about the reality of her life versus the perception.
CB: So, when did you take up the job at Yahoo?
BB: It’s been about three months. I needed another job; I didn’t have enough to do (laughs).
CB: (Laughs) Yeah, because you did so badly at the last one.
BB: You know why I did this? I felt like there was more to do and more to explore. I find that women all over the world want to know more, and so do I. I’m really curious. And I’m pretty curious about you. You always seem like you have it all together.
CB: Oh gosh, you should see me right now: I’ve got a terrible flu; I’ve got a face mask on; I’ve got to go to a speaking engagement as soon as I get off the phone with you.
BB: Oh I’m sorry. So, how do you balance your very real life with a more public life?
CB: Well I’ve got the flu today, which is horrible, so I popped an SK-II Treatment Mask on my face. And I think because life is so random and so unexpected, between the needs of the children, and being in a partnership (a marriage), and having a really fulfilling career, anything you can do to make your life sort of regular and stable is good.
BB: You have three boys, like me, and an amazing husband, but how do you deal with that feeling like, “Oh my god, things are kind of falling on my head.”
CB: Well that’s been the last three days. My husband had the flu, two of my children were home sick and I was home sick. It’s not the prettiest looking time of your life, but it’s just what happens. You know, I don’t expect things to be perfect all the time. So when things are going well, I’m grateful for them, but I don’t expect them to necessarily continue. Maybe I’m always planning.
BB: Honestly, women are going to read this and say, “Wow, she’s normal,” and I think that’s the point.
CB: I think that a wedge has been created between the people who are up there on the screen or on stage or in magazines, and the people who they believe have a much more ordinary life. I think my life is more common then the media would ever believe.
BB: Your makeup always looks so simple, whether it’s a red lip or pale lip, you never go over the top.
CB: Well, I’ve got a funny old face.
BB: You don’t have a funny OLD face, come on.
CB: Someone described it once, and I think they were being kind, as character. But I know what they mean! I’ve never been that conventional. I suppose maybe it means that my face can look different in different lights, so I just try and sort of keep it simple when I’m going out, to still look like me.
BB: But you know, that’s why you’re so stunning. When I discovered the power of keeping it simple I found my own style and it really works.
CB: Yeah, that makes you so much more uniquely yourself.
BB: Tell me about your life off-camera. What is your favorite cocktail?
CB: I’m partial to a nice cup of vodka. I normally just drink it really simple with a little bit of lemon.
BB: How about fitness? Are you a yoga person? Do you run?
CB: Oh god, I wish. I really wish. If I’m time-poor, which I usually am, that’s the first thing to go. And I know it shouldn’t be, I know I should be really regular, but I like to get it done as quickly as possible. I do run after the boys, and I keep saying I want to take tennis up again. It’s not necessarily about weight so much as it is about being fit. The thing that ended up keeping me fit is being on stage. It’s really physical doing eight shows a week.
BB: Do you work with a stylist or do you just throw on clothes?
CB: Some days I’m very lazy, and some days I’m more inspired. I’ve got things I’ve had since I was fifteen—I don’t throw anything away. I prefer to give it to a friend so I can wear it again. You might find something you’ve had for fifteen years, and go “Oh my god, if I put that with that…” The way I dress doesn’t necessarily have to do with fashion, or what is current, or what is in right now, it’s more about rediscovering things.
BB: What kind of beauty products do you keep in your bag when you travel?
CB: I always, always have a lip balm in my bag for when things get quite dry.
BB: What’s your philosophy on going under the knife and all those other things that ladies seem to be doing these days?
CB: Women have been doing very, very strange things for centuries. I mean ancient Egyptians were already doing that, but I don’t necessarily judge people who do. I don’t really think it makes people look better; they just look different.
BB: I read somewhere that you promised your husband you will never do anything. I promised my husband that I will crinkle, and he promised me he’ll still be there when it happens.
CB: Unfortunately there a lot of women out there who are not getting the same level of unconditional love from their partners.
BB: I loved reading that about your husband, so tell him I say thanks. And enjoy your boys! They grow up really quickly and there’s nothing better. It’s a club, being a mom of three boys, and it’s really special.
CB: So nice to speak to you Bobbi. Good luck with the new job!