Connie Britton / Photo: Trunk Archive
Some women just get better with age, and Connie Britton is one of them. Not only does the 47-year-old actress look more gorgeous every year, but with a thriving career and an adorable young son, Britton is proof that life can take off after 40. Whether playing football wife-turned-principal Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights, or country superstar Rayna James on Nashville, Britton shines playing smart, strong, and sexy characters. Her amazing voice is just another reason fans keep tuning in to Nashville, which returns on ABC tonight. Like the characters she plays, Britton is outspoken and confident, but the star is also really funny, open, and incredibly warm. Here she talks about the reason she’s never relied on her looks, and why she stopped looking in the mirror after becoming a mom.
BB: Do you remember the first time we met? It was at the Whole Foods in Austin. We both had no makeup on and I took a picture of us.
CB: [Laughs] Of course! It was pretty typical of me walking around in the grocery store with no makeup on and my glasses.
BB: Me too, by the way—especially in the grocery store. I’m constantly running out in my clogs, with my hair in a ponytail from the gym. People will stop me and say ‘Aren’t you Bobbi Brown the makeup artist?’ And part of me is a little embarrassed, but the truth is, this is what real women look like.
CB: I know! I feel the same way. And also, quite frankly, I wear makeup professionally every day, so when I’m not working it’s so nice not to do that. I’ve just kind of always appreciated a very natural look.
BB: We just did a story on women who actually look better as they get older and you were the inspiration for the story. I think part of the reason is that you are clearly not messing with your face. You look so natural and pretty.
CB: Well, thank you. I think I’m really fortunate because I never thought that my career or my value was based around my looks. I’ve always admired actors and actresses who are real chameleons, with work that is really much more about character and recreating themselves each time. So, I think that has been a huge advantage for me. As I’ve gotten older, other friends of mine who are actresses, who are stunningly gorgeous—I see the toll that it takes if you place your value on [beauty].
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BB: Absolutely. You’re just going to lose because someone’s always going to be younger, taller, thinner, and everything. When I was younger and working with all the supermodels in bathing suits at fashion shows, I realized I just shouldn’t even try to compete in that world. You have to focus on other things.
CB: Exactly. I appreciate what you’re saying because I would love to change how we think of ourselves as women, particularly as we get older. But it’s got to start when you’re young, quite frankly.
A photo of Britton with the cast of Nashville posted on her Instagram.
BB: My family and I have been watching Nashville from day one. And there’s one scene when you were looking in mirror and pulling up your face and deciding if you were going to do something, and you didn’t. It was a great moment.
CB: That might have been in the pilot. There was a lot of conversation that happened around that scene because I was like, ‘Wait a minute!’ When I decided to do this role, there was immediately all this stuff like, ‘She’s the aging country star!’ And I was like, ‘Hold on, that’s not point here. She’s a woman who is in a different place in her career and we don’t just automatically call her aging and has-been.’ So, when we shot that scene, I personally have never looked in the mirror and pulled up my face. And that’s not to say that I couldn’t…
BB: I have!
CB: [Laughing] Okay, now that I’m talking to you, I’m doing that. I’m doing that right now as I’m talking to you. I’m like, ‘oh yeah, oh, now I see.’
BB: [Laughing] But then you stop. I don’t look in the mirror a lot. That’s my secret.
CB: I don’t either. Once I became a mother, I went for two years straight when I didn’t look in the mirror at all.
BB: That happens when you have kids! How else has your life changed since you adopted Yoby?
CB: He just turned four last weekend and my life has changed dramatically. Nobody can tell you all the ways that you life is going to change. Or they can try to tell you, and you won’t be able to hear it because you won’t know until you experience it. For me, it was unusual because I adopted my son when he was nine months old and I was in the middle of working on American Horror Story. And God bless that show—they literally let me go to Ethiopia twice in a month while I was in the middle of filming. I came back with my son, and then suddenly I was a new mother and I was still working. I hadn’t been a mom long enough to make decisions like a mom does, so I made a decision like an actor does. I moved to Nashville to do the show. Obviously, I wanted to be able to do this role, but that was an incredibly difficult thing to do—to literally just up and move as a brand-new single mom who didn’t really know anybody and start working 16 hours a day on a very ambitious show. I basically just made it as tough on myself as I possibly could, but unknowingly doing so.
Britton out walking with her son, Yoby, in a photo posted on her Instagram.
BB: Your life has also changed in that now you are really a household name. How has that changed your day-to-day? Do fans come up to you all the time now?
CB: People are respectful, I really appreciate that, and I think that is probably evident to my fans. I’m also really protective if I’m out with my son—I’m not going to take a picture. I just say, ‘ You know, I’m sorry but I’m with my son, so not today.’ I was at the airport in LA, and we’ve all seen people who’ve had terrible experiences with the paparazzi there. A few weeks ago, they actually waited for my son to get ahead of me and then took pictures. They were all like, “Respect! Respect!” I was shocked. I was like, ‘Thanks guys.’ It’s the first time I’ve ever thanked paparazzi before.
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BB: So talk to me about health, I saw you at Whole Foods, and you look so amazing, so I am assuming you also believe in healthy eating. What have you found that works for you?
CB: I feel like it’s been sort of a lifetime trial and error. Particularly living in Hollywood in my 30s, there was just ample time to try pretty much every possible potion, herb, and cleanse and all the rest of that stuff. And now I have been able to kind of glean from all that what works for me. For me, the big deal is sugar. I love food, and I try rarely to feel like I’m depriving myself because that doesn’t work for me. I think that the most important thing is to have a life that feels very whole. As women we can be so hard on ourselves in so many ways, and food is one way that we can be very hard ourselves. There is a lot of value in looking at food as something that’s nourishing—physically nourishing and also emotionally and psychologically nourishing. There’s something really valuable about going out and having a great dinner with friends. So, to answer your question, I like to feel good and I like to eat what makes my body feel good. So I do love a lot of raw stuff, green juices, and vegetables and things like that.
BB: I like that perspective. What about exercise? Have you always been athletic?
CB: No, growing up, I had terrible asthma. It sort of got in my head that, ‘Oh, you can’t run the 600.’ Then once I went away to college, I actually became very athletic and my asthma just kind of subsided. I’ve been athletic ever since. I even used to teach aerobics. That’s what I did when I was in New York pounding the pavement!
BB: I love that! Now, beauty-wise what do you swear by?
CB: I actually have a friend Christy Coleman who just came out with an incredible line of products called Beauty Counter. She spent years doing research so that she could make sure that there’s nothing carcinogenic or toxic. I’m just loving it so much. It makes you realize how many things that we put on our bodies every day that may have ingredients in them that are not good for us, particularly as women when we’re wearing so much makeup and creams. It’s as important as the food that we eat.
BB: It’s good to be aware. You know, I really appreciate you talking to me. I hope we can connect in New York. I will definitely babysit! I miss having boys that age.
CB: I’ll take you up on it! Thanks so much Bobbi.
BB: Thanks so much for taking the time. I can’t wait to see Nashville come back tonight.