A great find from Fanatical – another magazine appearance, this time it’s the October issue of Her World Singapore. The article has a couple nice quotes, but it’s the photo that is an absolute stunner.
Natalie Portman may be one of the most sought-after actresses on the planet currently, but there’s a side of the Hollywood superstar that’s unexpectedly… real.
Confession #1: She goes out and is caught on camera without makeup – almost all the time. (“Yes, it’s a habit that makes some people scream,” she says with a laugh.)
Confession #2: She picks at her skin — almost constantly. (“My mum is like: ‘Stop touching your face!’ Yup, that’s pretty bad”)
Confession #3: No eight-step beauty routine for this A-lister. Hers is surprisingly pared down and simple. (“I cleanse and moisturise, drink water and try to get enough sleep. That’s it.”)
I meet the Oscar-winning star in Tokyo to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of the world’s most iconic lipsticks. Rouge Dior, for which Natalie is the latest face.
Clad in a bright red Dior dress with her hair tucked neatly behind her ears, the 32-year-old is a picture of elegance and glamour. She is all smiles despite having gone through a full day of presentations and various rounds of interviews with different groups of journalists.
Her choice of lip colour for the day – a hot red that Rouge Dior is known for. It is a shade she associates with “passion, confidence, seduction and strength.”
“I love wearing red lipstick especially when I’m in Paris, or when I’m on a dinner date or out dancing with my hubby. It makes me feel very womanly,” Natalie says. She also loves playing with different shades: “It helps me transform into different characters. I can be really seductive one day, and meek another day.”
And that’s as far as smooth PR-speak goes. Throughout our 20-minute interview, I am pleasantly surprised by how likeably down-to-earth, and practically normal, the actress comes across.
Ask her to describe herself in five words, and Natalie draws a blank. “Erm… worried, happy, tired,” she says, chen pauses and laughs awkwardly. “I don’t know why this is so hard for me (another pause). Curious, and possibly, smiley?”
What about the things she can’t leave home without? Like you and me, its her cellphone and wallet, of course.
Her beauty must-have? Nothing fancy. Just pawpaw ointment, a humble, affordable multipurpose cream-gel – it can be used as a lip balm or a moisturiser, or to sooth irritated skin – that can be found in pharmacies. (“Its great for mums. I use it on my son sometimes too.”)
On her experience filming the ad campaign for Rouge Dior, she says that looking glamorous is hard work. “I had to swing the bag to and fro so many times while walking, and I looked quite silly at times. Modelling is totally different from acting. As a model, you have to see yourself from the outside and make sure you look good, whereas when you’re acting, you have to be in character and unaware of anything else.”
Thee brand executives fell in love with her. Claude Martinez, president and CEO of Christian Dior Parfums, says: “Natalie is beautiful and a great symbol of femininity. She’s clever, big-hearted and very generous, and that’s why we love her.”
In fact, Natalie has been working with Dior to raise funds for Free The Children, a charity that helps underprivileged kids around the world. Last year, proceeds from the sale of Rouge Dior in #169 Nude Grege, a shade Natalie describes as her “everyday nude”, went to a scholarship fund for secondary school girls in Kenya. This year, the brand will sponsor five children from Fukushima, Japan, who’ll get to attend a leadership camp in Canada. These children are survivors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster following a major earthquake in 2011.
“I realise how lucky I am and I want to share that luck with other people to make a difference. We are really the 1 per cent of the population that has the opportunity and privilege to not worry about our next meal, have proper healthcare and a roof over our heads. We take these for granted, not realising that there are millions out there who don’t have these basic needs.”
Despite her belief in the cause, Natalie is aware that being on the ground is not the best way for her to contribute.
“My role is mainly to raise awareness and funds. Although it’s always more meaningful to visit and see the projects directly, its not necessarily the best way for me to make an impact,” she says.
She admits that motherhood has fuelled her passion to help kids. Natalie is married to dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, whom she met on the set of Black Swan in 2009. The couple have a two-year-old boy, Aleph.
These days, spending time with her husband and son is what makes her truly happy. But the protective mum is fiercely private about her family life, declining to share details.
“We’re probably the same ascmost other couples. We share the responsibilities pretty evenly. Work-life balance has its challenges, but I feel very lucky to have a wonderful family and a great job. Neither one is overly difficult.”
As to whether therecare plans for a second child, she says: “Its private, but I’ll let you know when it happens, if it happens!”
the free spirit
Natalie recently finished filming Jane Got a Gun, a western slated for release next year, in which she plays a woman who has to protect her home from a band of outlaws. She’ll also appear in director Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups with Christian Bale, also to be released in 2014. But for now, she has her hands full promoting Thor: The Dark World, which will hit cinemas at the end of this year.
“When I choose projects, I really don’t have a plan. I go with whatever I’m feeling at the moment. It may be the script, the director, the actors, or simply the mood I’m in – whether I want to do something funny or serious, or about a certain time in history, or if I want to learn something new.”
Natalie is best known for her roles as a troubled ballet dancer in Black Swan, and as Queen Amidala in the Star Wars trilogy.
Her role choices have been as varied as the people she admires and the things that inspire her. “I can’t give you exact names or things because there are just too many. I admire different things in different people, but at the end of the day, everyone has to find their own path. It would never work in real life to model yourself after one person.”
And her hit list of what makes a woman attractive?
“Confidence, being comfortable in her own skin, and well, red lipstick, of course.”