She’s Hollywood’s hottest property, but isn’t letting it go to her head. Meet Jennifer Lawrence, a very normal superstar…
Amid the plastic fantasticness of Hollywood, where celebrity publicists pull the strings and much of reality is stage-managed, Jennifer Lawrence’s unique brand of clumsy, carefree perfection has been a breath of fresh air.
She drinks, she swears, she totally speaks her mind. She admits she hasn’t got a clue about fashion and that she only exercises so she can eat pizza for breakfast.
And of course, she trips and falls in front of a global audience of, ooh, only hundreds of millions of people during the biggest moment of her career, and doesn’t even attempt to style it out.
“That,” she says following her stumble en route to collecting her Best Actress Oscar for her breathtaking performance in Silver Linings Playbook, “was embarrassing.”
The adorably garbled, breathless and entirely unprepared acceptance speech that followed, served only to make us fall a little bit more in love with her. She’s sparky, quirky and stupidly talented and, at the age of 22, arguably Tinseltown’s most bankable star.
But while everything around her might be changing, the multimillionairess remains the same down-to-earth girl from Kentucky who still can’t justify purchasing anything from what she sees as over-priced hotel mini-bars.
“I just constantly feel so lucky, that I don’t really have time to feel cocky,” she says. “I was raised to have value for money, to have respect for money, even though you have a lot of it.
“That’s why mini-bars are difficult, because it’s like yes, I can afford a $6 Snickers bar, but there’s just something wrong with that! I still drive my same car I’ve been driving for a long time and I haven’t bought a house yet.
“Definitely my family is not the kind of family that would ever let me turn into an asshole or anything like that, so I am fortunate to have them.”
Jennifer received her first Oscar nomination in 2011 for independent drama and surprise hit Winter’s Bone, but it was her subsequent starring roles as Raven Darkholme in X-Men: First Class later that year and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games in 2012 that catapulted her into the international consciousness. Follow-ups to both films are underway.
However, it was romcom-drama Silver Linings Playbook, in which she took on the part of widowed sex addict Tiffany Maxwell, that, as well as the Oscar, scooped her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, plus a BAFTA nomination.
Despite her success, she admits she still finds awards ceremonies terrifying. “I’m afraid I’m going to go my whole life being scared like a chihuahua,” she says. “It’s not my comfort zone. Making movies is where I belong. I shouldn’t be heard just talking. So, when I’m doing movies, I’m really happy. That’s where I’m comfortable, that’s my home. When you put me on a red carpet or on a stage, I turn into chihuahua Jennifer.”
She’s not comfortable with fame either, and dreads reading her interviews. She’s only too aware that, however refreshing, she’s yet to learn how to filter her thoughts.
“I have no control over what comes out of my mouth,” she says. “I would probably turn into a mute if I read what I said!”
Recently single after splitting with British actor Nicholas Hoult, 23, in January, Jennifer tends to shun the A-list party scene. She prefers to hang out with non-celeb friends she’s known for years.
“I’m more comfortable with people who know me, like my close friends who I have known forever and my family obviously,” she says.
“There is kind of a sadness that happens when you look into someone’s eyes and you realise that they’re looking at you a certain way, like you are not really you.
“I don’t ever walk around feeling famous. I walk around feeling the exact same way I have walked around my entire life, but it’s not until I talk to somebody and see in their eyes that I’m different. It makes me feel weird.”
It’s why she had to think long and hard before signing up for The Hunger Games. She knew it was a juggernaut and the sort of life-changing movie role that would mean things could never quite be the same again.
“It’s really rare that saying yes to something will completely change your life,” she says.
“I was happy with my life and I didn’t know if I wanted it to change. I’ve always had this imaginary future where I would be a soccer mom that drove a mini-van and my kids would be normal. That just didn’t fit with taking on a giant franchise.
“So, I took three days to decide, and each day was a different answer. I finally talked to my mom. I’d only really done indie films before that, and she said: ‘Every time people ask you why you don’t do studio movies, you always say that it’s because you don’t care about the size of the movie, you care about the story and the character. But you’re a hypocrite, because now you have a story and a character that you love, but you’re not saying yes to it because of the size of it.’ So, I said yes, and I haven’t regretted it.”
Good logic, Ma Lawrence. Though Jen’s mum, Karen, who runs a children’s camp, wasn’t always quite so supportive of Jennifer’s ambition.
When her daughter quit school at the age of 14 and moved from Louisville to New York to make it as an actress, Karen and her husband, former cement company boss Gary, both 56, were naturally horrified.
They eventually relented after Jennifer’s older brothers Ben and Blaine persuaded them to let her follow her dream.
“My brothers called them and said: ‘You’ve travelled all over the country with us, for baseball, football and basketball. This is her baseball game. You have to support her.’ So they were forced to, at that point.”
Karen accompanied her daugther to the Big Apple and Jennifer started going to auditions, eventually getting her break in TV comedy The Bill Engvall Show, despite never having had an acting lesson in her life.
“I felt like it was the only thing I had ever known that I understood, and I didn’t want to let go of that. I think my mom saw the same thing and didn’t really want to send me back to school, where I wasn’t very happy. “She saw how happy I was, living in a rat-infested apartment by myself, just auditioning.”
Jennifer’s come a long way since then. And with global fame has come a steep learning curve in fashion for the self-confessed tomboy. With top designers falling over each other to dress her – she’s currently the face of Dior, who she wore to the Oscars – she’s learning to embrace it.“I am getting there. I’ve hated shopping my entire life. My mom used to drive me to TJ Maxx and I would almost faint out of boredom.
“[I got] gifted clothes that I didn’t really like, but they were free, so I didn’t have to go shopping. So I would spend, like, years just wearing clothes that I didn’t really like.
“I recently bit the bullet and went shopping and really enjoyed it. Now I am kind of starting to like clothes.”
Her notoriety means she can’t really go on spending sprees down Rodeo Drive these days though, and so most of her shopping is done online.
But that’s a small sacrifice. While Jennifer might understandably be taking a little time to fully adjust to fame, she’s certainly not complaining.
“A lot of things that I didn’t even think could ever be possible for me have happened, all in a year. It’s been overwhelming, but in a wonderful way.”
Laying down the J.Law
What scares you?
Spiders and ghosts. I actually get comforted when I feel like there might be a burglar in my house, like: “There’s a real person that might be breaking into my house, it’s not a ghost, that’s a relief.”
Do you prefer flats or heels?
Flats. When I’m in high heels I feel like an ogre, I can’t walk and my feet are uncomfortable. I’m at that awkward height where I’m already kind of tall [5ft 7½in], so when I put heels on, everyone is like: “Oh, well, where’s the ball?” It’s just that they make me look too dressed up and yeah, I’m terrible in heels.”
Going out or staying in?
I do like going out but every time I’m out, I am always thinking about my couch. And I’m thinking I would probably be having more fun if I was on my couch right now…
What makes you laugh?
I think when people run into things or people get hurt… I know I just have a terrible reaction when I start laughing! Then I ask if anyone is OK. But I just think people falling down and getting hurt is classic hilarity.
Who’s your inspiration?
Meryl Streep. When I was about 13 or 14, Sophie’s Choice was on TV. I was just like, jaw dropped. Unbelievable. And I’ve tried to watch her in just about everything, because I think she’s incredible.
Source: Fabulous Mag UK