2007 Jul 01

Kate Winslet: Portrait of a Lady

This is the latest famous name of cinema to lend her face to a fragrance. From September on, she will be the new ambassador of the perfume Trèsor, replacing the Spanish Inés Sastre. She received Yo Dona two weeks ago in Paris, while on a break from shooting her new film with Leonardo DiCaprio, again her co-star 10 years after world-wide successful Titanic.

By Armando Pinedo

She has become, along with Helen Mirren and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the most renowned member of the British cinema aristocracy. The careers of these three women, who started in their home country, England, solidified in Hollywood. Although, Kate Winslet is the only one who, unfairly, hasn’t got an Oscar in her biography, but yet still various nominations. If there’s anything praiseworthy in this Englishwoman’s career, an
d there’s a lot of things, it would be her irreproachable way of acting or the exquisite intelligence of picking her roles, but, above all, her struggle against the dictatorship of diets and her refusal to be terrified before the canons of what is imposed as beautiful or perfect.
Loses control, almost literally, when I ask her to comment over the critics about her curves and is not afraid to be cold if she throws in comments in the shape of chips, that still feed more fire with which some intend to damage the force of her crusade. From the month of September on, her career will be crowned with a millionaire contract with Lancôme, that has chosen her as the image of the new Trésor campaign, the emblematic perfume of the brand. Until then, the Spanish woman Inés Sastre will continue to be the face of this fragrance, that carries 17 years in the market. Kate Winslet receives Yo Dona, the only Spanish guest invited to interview her, in her suite in the Ritz Hotel, in Paris. She’s alone, dressed in black, has her hair pulled back and carries an almost empty glass of water in one hand. In the other hand, she has her mobile awaiting the call of her kids. She stands up to greet. She doesn’t have a body as voluptuous as results on screen; neither does she seem fragile, but vulnerable. When I reached the majestic parlor of the room of the Parisian hotel, I felt like I was about to interview a member of the Royal British Family. Belonging to this special race that, after having fought in some many hard battles, personal as well as professional, lives tranquil, serene, firm in her ideas, but, at the same time, reveals herself as being enchanting, polite and confident, so much as she could be a good friend for life. And that voice… I believe it creates part of that class of people who, without having seen her face before, one could fall in love with just by listening to her saying a nostalgic goodbye.

YO DONA: First I have to confess that you didn’t seem to be an actress interested in accepting to be the face of a perfume. What encouraged you to say yes?
Kate Winslet: [she laughs as if she has been faced before an innocent contradiction] Uh, let’s see… How can I explain this? In the past they had offered me to participate in a similar project, but it didn’t really seem correct for me to accept it. For me it’s very important to maintain a certain mystery in this job, because it’s the way of convincing the audience that I am the character they see on the screen and not Kate Winslet. Nowadays, you know too much about actors, which makes our profession more difficult, above all because we run a risk of seeming less convincing when we come to act. Nevertheless, when they offered me to be the face of Trésor, it seemed to be it wasn’t a campaign like the others. Isabella Rossellini was the first one to do it, so it seemed to me they were giving me her legacy, which is an honor. She is one of the most beautiful women in the world and to become her image has been an immense pride. Besides, as I knew it would be a silent film, I thought it would result in something poetic and beautiful. Also, you have to keep in mind that it’s in black and white, two very evocative colors. During the shooting, I felt I was doing a wonderful movie, with an amazing director, that is Peter Lindbergh. It seemed to me that everything was perfect.
YO DONA: What kind of similar projects you received from Lancôme in the past?
Kate Winslet: Some, but I didn’t feel ready to accept them, because they didn’t arrive in the right moment or way. I am a way that believes in the passion and the commitment, and in Lancôme there’s an huge passion behind this fragrance, that has a lot to do with emotions, feelings… I admire this honest and emotional attitude in a company as large as Lancôme.
YO DONA: In your opinion, what qualities an actress must have to be an adequate ambassador of a brand of cosmetics or perfume?
Kate Winslet: I must say that all of this has called me a lot of attention, because it’s clear that they didn’t make me the offer for my face or because they liked my skin… It was all about myself, of my idea of love, of emotions and of all what these feelings mean. Love can change our lives in some many ways that, when they told me the history that reflects the campaign, about a woman who finds the love of her life, I felt very satisfied that they offered me this role for who I am, not because I was perfect or glamorous, but because I’m somebody real, honest… And all of this is what makes the fragrance.
YO DONA: It is a pleasure to analyze your path in the movies, because you have always been very coherent and firm with your principles. You are not a woman that bows easily before the pressure of the producers or the tendencies of the business. Is this behavior your way of being or is this something you’ve been working with through the years?
Kate Winslet: Not, for anything, I am this way since always. I work a lot and I try to give my best, because I like to be good in everything I do. I hope to continue acting always, but it turns out to be very difficult. People think that in this profession, you arrive in the place of filming, you put yourself in the front of the camera and there you go, but that isn’t so. The preparation before an interpretation is huge. At the moment I’m shooting a movie and I live with a lot of suffering, because I think I’m not good, that I’m useless and I don’t work 100%. In an actor, an equally indulgent part and another very neurotic one live together. I, for example, believe that I’m as bad as I think, but ok… it’s very difficult to maintain a level of confidence the same, and you have to fight to get it, because when you’re afraid, it’s noted in your face, in your eyes, in your gestures and, what is worse, in the role you’re playing. Turns out to be very strange. Why would anyone go to a work to become a very different person than they are? If you think about it it’s a very crazy desire, don’t you think?
YO DONA: Can it be, although in your case, besides, there had to be added that you’ve lived your career marked by an huge pressure by the media because of your body. They have criticized you for being an actress with curves, and not worrying much with being thin or for following fashion… I suppose that’s not been easy. What is beauty for you?
Kate Winslet: [she breaths deeply, almost annoyed] It is something that has to be pure, beautiful, real, like children, for instance. My husband and my kids represent everything that is beautiful to me. Beauty as perfection, since my point of view, does not exist. I read in a magazine a few days ago something that really pissed me off. They had proposed a plastic surgeon that analyzed the faces of 10 women. For him, they had divided their faces in parts and they asked this man to rate them. If they obtained a 9 over 10, then they were almost perfect. And I wonder: “To whom does what this man think matter? I don’t know him and it doesn’t matter his opinion to me. [Now raises her voice in annoyance a lot] What idea can this man have about what perfection is? Nobody knows, and this kind of articles are very damaging for young people. I worry a lot that they write this kind of things.
YO DONA: Precisely because of that, I asked you about the pressure you’ve been living with. I remember that, when you attended the Oscars, nominated for Titanic, the press criticized your curves, your dress, that you hadn’t done diet for the ceremony. What would you advise all the young girls that live pressured, at times even by their own parents, so that they work hard with the objective to obtain a perfect body?
Kate Winslet: The only thing I can say is that I am a normal person, I don’t believe in what is right or wrong. To be successful, to be loved or to be a happy person, you don’t have to be thin. It’s not necessary to achieve a level of perfection to reach the happiness. Young girls see these wonderful women and want to be like them. To me, it’s very sad.
YO DONA: Another of the great crusades of your life has been the defense of your family. On numerous occasions you assured you’d take a break of your movies to take care of them. However, last year you premiered three movies and got yourself an Oscar nomination. Where do you find the balance to compensate both things?
Kate Winslet: It’s right that in 2006 three of my movies were premiered, but I have to make it clear that they were filmed along three years and a half, so it’s not that I’ve worked more than you believe. I don’t like the idea that I’ve had so many films showing at the same time, because I supposed I was very exposed and under a lot of pressure, so I understand your perception, but I don’t have as much control as to decide when a movie premieres. The promotion is huge, it leaves you a lot of time and you are very defenseless before the audience. At any means, I have the need to abandon my career 100% to be with my kids, because I spend a lot of time with them.
YO DONA: Is that right that you became aware of your last nomination when you were taking your kids to school?
Kate Winslet: Yes! [she enjoys the question and cracks up with laughter] I was in England, taking them to school, and I knew that, around that time, they’d know the Oscar nominations. So I turned off my mobile and put it in my bag. I said goodbye to my daughter, gave her a kiss and, when I was going back to the car with my other son, who goes to a different center, I turned it on again. Oh my God! It began to ring continuosly [she reenacts the moment and throws it into the air]. I wanted to get this nomination, I was so excited. I answered and it was my husband. “Congratulations!”, he said. So, I jumped like a crazy, while my son looked at me astonished, thinking that his mother had gone crazy. [Laughs] It was amazing.
YO DONA: How do you feel when you get an Oscar nomination? What was your first emotion?
Kate Winslet: It’s an huge excitement, a great feeling… The Oscar of the Academy is an huge award. You think they consider your performance one of the best of the entire year. It’s weird, because I’m not a person that believes in competitiveness, a subject that I like to discuss with my children. I always remind them that they don’t have to win, that they have do do their best, but it doesn’t matter to win. My daughter said to me, “Mom, Sam [Sam Mendes, her second husband, won an Academy Award for Best Director for American Beauty] has an Oscar?”. “Yes”, I told her, “because he did a movie that a lot of people liked”. “And why don’t you have one?”, she asked me. I thought: God, how do I manage this? “It’s not important to win”, I told her, “the best thing is that they congratulate you for doing your job good”.
YO DONA: Now you film with Leonardo DiCaprio and your husband directs you. How is the experience?
Kate Winslet: It’s wonderful, thrilling. I was very curious about this filming, because I wondered if Sam would be any different with me or if I’d behave in a different way with him like I do at home. And to work again with Leonardo is a dream come true. I feel very fortunate.
YO DONA: In September, you replace Spanish woman Inés Sastre as the face of Trésor. Have you had the chance to talk to her?
Kate Winslet: No, I’ve never seen her. I’d love to meet her, because I’m sure she’d have a lot of tips to give me and I like to be advised, but I’ve never had the pleasure of speaking with her. I hope to do it soon.

Source: Yo Dona – Notícias Kate Winslet
Translation: myself and Rachel

3 Comments on “Kate Winslet: Portrait of a Lady”

  1. HAHA she was jumping around like a freak and her son was just looking at her like ‘okey….’ haha

  2. thanks so much for that article, but it does seem a little strange that she is doing press for a perume commercial

Comments are closed.