Women in Hollywood


On being known as a beautiful Hollywood actress: “I’m sorry, but it’s sexy to know that guys find you attractive. It’s empowering.”


On actresses from earlier eras that have influenced her: “For Leatherheads, I was thinking of Katharine Hepburn, the way she leaned forward with her shoulders back, speaking in her lower register the whole time. I like her confidence, her intelligence, her sense of entitlement. When I was making Chicago, I couldn’t stop watching the Marilyn [Monroe] videos. Not so much because of the sex kitten thing; it was more her vulnerability. That was a huge part of the Roxie character. But it’s not about emulating; it’s about a feeling.”

On whether a successful movie career requires sacrificing your personal life:“A friend of mine couldn’t decide between moving to New York or staying in L.A., and another friend said, “Do Everything!” I thought, That’s it, do everything.”


On types of characters she is drawn to: “I think my connection to acting has been through reading. I’m interested in scripts. People ask me, “What role are you dying to play?” It’s really, What story do I want to be in?”


On adjusting to Hollywood life since moving from the UK: “I feel the fear of the business creep under my skin in L.A. in a way that it doesn’t in England. It’s funny – I feel like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, unless you’re in Hollywood! It’s shameful how you have to look a certain way. Women are simply not allowed to grow old gracefully. That’s why I love playing character parts, because I’m not pigeonholed into trying to remain young forever to play the ingénue or romantic lead.”


On family life: “In my own life, my whole world really revolves around family. I do what I need to do, but it’s like, ‘How is everybody else doing?’ And it’s wonderful for me as an actress to put some of that into a character.”

On life as a working mom on the Broadway set of All My Sons: “Suri would sit in my lap in the makeup chair. She’d hand the wig lady the bobby pins.“

On fashion: “I love Alaïa, for sure. Stella McCartney. I like Ralph Lauren because I feel like it’s very American, and I’m pretty all-American, from Ohio. Isabel Marant and a new designer, Sari Gueron.

On the genre of film she loves most: “It can be any genre. I even like vampire movies – they just have to be well done. I want to believe in the characters. The minute it starts to feel not real, I’m not interested.”

We take you behind the scenes of the November cover shoot

For our annual Women in Hollywood Issue, we celebrate the actresses whose talent and sense of style (both on and off the red carpet) inspire us. We pay homage to Julianne Moore’s evergreen glamour and russet Veronica Lake waves with an off-the-shoulder YSL gown; and we salute shining star Emily Blunt and her fresh-faced modern beauty with a peony-pink Derek Lam shift. We photographed a sexy Renée Zellweger in New York wearing nothing but her birthday suit, fresh from a trip to Spain with her new beau, Bradley Cooper; and we captured ingénue Zoe Saldana’s natural effervescence in an airy white Calvin Klein maxi. We traveled the farthest to shoot Katie Holmes in Melbourne, Australia, where our style director, Kate Lanphear, dressed the 31-year-old star with the help of budding fashion editor Suri Cruise. After the crew sat down to make necklaces with the three-year-old from an arts and crafts kit she had brought along, the toddler walked Lanphear through ELLE’s selection of heels and platforms, pointing out pairs her mother already owns. After her tutorial, Lanphear zipped the actress into a ruched peach Fendi knockout, which proves an important point: You don’t have to be a party girl, a pinup, or even single to be a bombshell in Hollywood.

Candy WashingtonComment