”I actually said no at first,” whispers Jennifer Lawrence. Ensconced in a two-storey penthouse at an exclusive Santa Monica hotel in a dimly lit paparazzi-proof room, the actress is reflecting on her initial reluctance to front a campaign for the Raf Simons-led house of Dior.“I thought, ‘I’m not a model. I’m not a spokesperson. I’m just an actor!’” says the 23 year old, who nabbed 2013’s best actress Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG awards for Silver Linings Playbook
. “But then [producer] Harvey Weinstein told me I was being an idiot. He said, ‘Just go to Paris and go to the fashion show.’ Once I was at the show, I felt like I had been baptised in fashion. I was just in love with his [Simons’s] clothes, so it would have been ridiculous to say no.”
Admittedly, part of her fear about signing on to work with a fashion house lay in the fact that Lawrence isn’t going to shrink before our eyes into a size 00 on a kale-only diet. In fact, her healthy body image is among the reasons she’s hailed as a role model for young girls.
“No, no, no! I just wouldn’t [diet],” she insists, with a volley of laughter. “I like the way I look, so if something has to get let out for me to wear it, it has to get let out,” says the actress, who is today wearing Band of Outsiders black pants, a 3.1 Phillip Lim figure-hugging, peekaboo white top and Isabel Marant black jacket.
As The Hunger Games’s reluctant heroine, Katniss Everdeen, torn between Liam Hemsworth’s Gale Hawthorne and Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mellark, her arrows have pierced the hearts of even the most sceptical fans of Suzanne Collins’s bestselling trilogy.
She’s not a fighter in real life, however: “I wouldn’t last two seconds in a fight. I definitely have more of a leader mindset than a follower mindset, but I’m not as courageous as she is. I don’t do as much good with it as she does.”
And while her stumble on the way to collect her Oscar in February and insouciance earned her a slew of new fans, what the world did not see was Lawrence ditching the glitzy after celebrations in favour of crashing out at home. “It was one of those things where no matter how great something is, when you are utterly exhausted, and
I was sick, too, it just was [too much] … I tried to go to an after party, but it was absolutely miserable, and I walked right back out and went home and ordered a pizza.”
Top-Earning Celebrities Under 30 list for the first time. Her estimated $27 million income placed her eighth on the list above Kristen Stewart’s $23 million at ninth.“It means I’m rich, obviously,” she shrugs. “My dad helps me manage it and I still go over my credit card [limit] every month. It hasn’t changed the way I spend, but it’s nice to know that I can plan a future and be able to put my imaginary children through college.”
While she may just be kidding today, Lawrence is unapologetic about her desire to build a home life as happy and settled as the one she enjoyed as a child.
“Growing up, my bedroom was right above my parents’ bedroom and I used to hear them laughing before they went to sleep. If you were around my parents, you want to be married; you want to have what they have.”
There’s no denying the success of The Hunger Games, combined with the kudos of taking home that golden statue, has forced Lawrence to adjust to a heightened level of scrutiny and press.
It’s the simple, everyday things that Lawrence says are harder to enjoy these days. “I want to go out to a restaurant and just eat and be left alone. Thank you for loving my movies; I appreciate it so much, but the greatest thing you could do is let me eat and just go home,” she says. “But I have to accept that I’m not going to make it through the meal without getting bothered and be OK with that.”
I remind her that when we last met in early 2013, she insisted she was so “boring” the paps never bothered her. “I wish I was still too boring,” laughs Lawrence, who has yet to purchase a home with the spoils of her success, instead living in a rented house with her best pal and assistant, Justine.
“I’m doing what a 23 year-old should be doing, which is going home and hanging out with my friend, who, when I tell her to unload the dishes, will tell me to go screw myself. I like to keep living in reality.”