Do you read reviews about your work?
Sometimes. People send me nice stuff. Bad news, you don’t need it. I don’t go on the Internet and read comments. I’m sure everybody gets curious and does it, but I don’t. Why would I? If you want to look for something negative you’re going to find it. And the truth is the negative comments are so small compared to the love that I get.
You said in an interview with Movieline magazine in 1998: “The thing I’m most afraid of, though, is being alone, which a lot of performers fear. It’s why we seek the limelight—so we’re not alone, we’re adored. We’re loved, so people want to be around us. The fear of being alone drives my life.” Do you still feel that way?
I’ve changed a lot since then. I was afraid to be alone. And I was probably much more raw when I did those interviews and more off the cuff. But now, as I’ve grown and matured, you realize that being alone is liberating. It’s freeing and you need it. Whether or not you’re afraid of it, as I was, it’s a fear that is to be conquered, not to be soothed with adulation from other people. It comes back to loving yourself and being happy on your own. Then you can go to another level of sharing something amazing with the world. And that’s why I keep growing.
How do you respond to people who criticized your “Booty” video and asked what your kids will say when they see it?
I’m not allowed to be sexy because I’m a mom? It’s like, How do you think I got my children? [Laughs.] The truth is I don’t want to do anything that they would be embarrassed of in the long run. But at the end of the day, they care more about me being there, taking care of them, than if I’m sexy in a video. And I’m not saying that one day they may not be like, “Mom! Why did you do that?!” [Laughs.] But I don’t think that in 10 years I’m going to be doing that either. Again, it’s about what feels good to me in this moment. It felt right. It’s a good message for women. I’m standing next to this girl who is 24 years old and I’m in my 40s and there’s no difference. Women need to see that and feel that. You can’t let the fear of what people might say or think stop you from doing what you want to do or else we would never do anything.
You’ve maintained an all-natural look, but nowadays even young women are getting plastic surgery.
Yeah, the bodies right now are…unreal.
That must concern you as a parent of a daughter.
Yeah, what is she gonna want to do, or how good is she gonna feel about herself? I hope to show her from example that you have to love yourself for who you are. And that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to enhance yourself, like work out, or if somebody wants to get a nose job. I don’t know. You can take a hard stance on things and then eat your words later. All I’m saying is, at the end of the day, you got to feel happy about who you are inside, and then you can make good choices for yourself.
What’s it like being middle-aged in Hollywood? Is it a struggle to get non-mom roles?
It’s not like that anymore. Look at all the actresses who are working. I remember a couple of years back every actress on the cover of the September issues was over 40, because each one of them had a big film coming out. It was me, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston. That was a defining moment. The world has changed. Women maintain themselves. We live in a different time.
So, do you feel good about getting older?
I feel great about being able to do everything that I did in my 20s better now. That’s what happens as you mature, you get better. You have more experience. And I’m proud of that. That other rhetoric, like the fairy tale rhetoric, in your mind can defeat you. And this generation of women said, “No. We have a lot to offer.” Probably more than we ever have. And it’s great for girls that are young right now to go, “I have time.” It’s a long road. And for me, I feel like mine has just begun.