The morning before a massive awards show like the Emmys, most celebs are running around putting the finishing touches on their dresses and hammering out the details of the acceptance speeches they might be lucky enough to give. But not Nicole Kidman. The Big Little Lies star, who is nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie, had the right idea — relaxing in an urban Los Angeles garden and sipping Earl Grey from a fancy porcelain teacup.
Kidman recently signed on with Neutrogena as a global brand ambassador and spent her pre-Emmy Saturday mingling with reporters and getting candid about getting older. Yahoo Lifestyle was invited to pull up a chair at her table and chat with the award-winning actress, who shared with a small group her views on aging and revealed her skin care secrets.
Below, Kidman discusses falling in love with her gray wig in Top of the Lake, attempting to influence Keith Urban’s skin care routine, and how she’s learned to look in the mirror, take inventory of her changing face, and accept it.
Allure magazine recently announced that it was going to stop using the term anti-aging. Do you agree that the term should be banned?
I don’t really believe in banning — but in terms of that, I do think that with men, you don’t focus on their age. People are much tougher on women in terms of age, and I think the more we as women can go, “No. We’re not going to buy into that now. No, as a group, as a whole, we’re not going to be judged by our age. And we’re not going to let other women do it to us,” then I think society and the needle shifts. I think when you combine your powers, that’s when you can really make change. And you really feel it happening now with women because we are really being taught that, we’re being shown how to do that. So do it with aging!
Everything has changed from the way it was set, say 50 years ago. They have that whole thing of “40 is the new 30,” “50 is the new 40,” all that stuff. But of course we should be able to do that because it’s available to us. We can take care of ourselves and we can have a whole different way of existing and looking great.
It used to be that women got to do something and then when they were 45, it was like, “Oh.” Well with the men, you don’t go, “Well he’s 45. Ugh.” That’s changing now, and that’s partly because we’re all going, “Hey. What about this? What about this? Use this. Use that.” We help each other and tell each other, “You look fantastic.” That’s such a good thing to be able to do for your girlfriends and your friends because it gives us all so many more opportunities, protection, and longevity.
How have your own personal views on aging changed in recent years?
When I was a teenager, I never thought about it because you don’t as a teenager. And then as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more about time for me. I want to look good, but it’s also time. How much time do I have, because there are so many things that I still want to do. So it’s more for me about time and being healthy and being able to get in there and do it.
Brilliant. Controlling. Protective. Feminist. Meet Julia. TONIGHT at 9/8c on @SundanceTV. #TopOfTheLakeChinaGirl . . . . . . #topofthelake #TOTLChinaGirl #elisabethmoss #gwendolinechristie #aliceenglert #nicolekidman #janecampion #sundancetv
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Do you feel like you stress out less about aging the older you get?
Yes, because I’m determined to be not stressed out about it. But also, I notice it. It’s not like I don’t notice it. You look in the mirror and you go, “Huh. I look different in my face. OK. Well that’s it.” But then I go, “Well that’s OK. Huh. Oh well.” But at the same time, if we all go, “Who cares. You look great,” that’s the thing. The support is what’s gonna help us.
And also you can use products. That’s why when Neutrogena came to me I said yes. Retinols work. We all know it works. If I use a really, really, really strong Retin-A or something, I break out red and I get very dry so the combination of the retinol that I can use every night, that’s what I like. And that’s why I came on board. I can absolutely use Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream every night and feel like it’s helping my skin.
Do you feel 50 or do you feel like age is just a number at this point in your life?
Well, depending on what character I’m playing (laughs). I don’t know about the feeling of “what is that age?’ I just feel like I know that I’ve got children who are 9 and 6 and I go, “OK, well I’ve gotta be in there doing everything and able to do it.” I’ve got a mother in Australia so I’ve got to travel back to take care of her and be there for her.
I think that’s the other thing a lot of people don’t talk about is when you’re at this particular age, you’ve got children and you’ve got parents, and you’re in the middle of that. And you’re like, “Woo. OK. I gotta somehow now do both.” And if you’re sensitive and emotional and connected, then you are going to be pushed and pulled with that. Because I’m like I gotta take care of my mom. I gotta take care of my children. And myself, which I always put at the end, and then I have to go “No. No. No.” But that’s a struggle for me. That is my struggle right now.
What are your best preventative skin care tips?
Wear the sunscreen. That is preventative. That is real deal preventable. Get the invisible zinc on your skin. I use 100+ on myself and I use it on my kids too. We used to always hear, “Oh no, it doesn’t matter.” Oh it does. The SPF does matter. You have to use sunscreen because it’s so helpful. And I love 100+.
You talk about being a character actor for Top of the Lake, where you actually wore a prosthetic nose. How do those physical transformations for a role impact your ideals of beauty?
I wore a tiny little bump on my nose [and] I wore teeth for that role. I did Big Little Lies and then straight after, I played a supporting role in Top of the Lake where I look so different — from Celeste to Julia, which I love. And I wore the teeth and the nose and the freckles and literally no makeup. I wore sunscreen and then just no makeup and they put way more freckles on me and the hair. I love it because what it was is she was so fierce and protective of her child and I love the color of my hair in that. It’s gray. It’s the most beautiful silver gray you’ve ever seen. It’s so flattering. It was a wig but if my hair would go that color, I would wear it that color because it is so flattering. It makes your eyes so blue. I would put it on and go “Ah.”
How do you take care of your skin when you’re not working?
I moisturize it and I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I love hydration because I tend to be dry — anything that I can just slather on hydration. And I love hydrated lips. My favorite is the Hydro Boost Hydrating Lip Shine but with almost no color in it. It’s the sort of peachy color. Because I think when I wear a dark heavy lip, I look harder.
Have you infiltrated Keith’s skin care routine at all?
My husband is low maintenance. And he also goes in the sun all the time, so he wears the sunscreen but he tans! I’ve snuck little products into his routine, but he’s erratic. And he’s a dude. He just is. I have to say he is a total dude. And I’m fine that he’s a dude. I like that. I wouldn’t want him at the mirror more than me. I’m glad for him to be like that. So I don’t encourage it.
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