At 38, Gwyneth Paltrow has never looked better. In Beverly Hills for an interview with madison
, she’s dressed in a black long-sleeved Nation Ltd T-shirt and black leather Diane von Furstenburg shorts that show off every inch of her long, toned and tanned legs. On her feet are grey Brian Atwood booties, while two chunky gold bangles adorn her left wrist. When she speaks and gesticulates, they clink and chime. You could say they’re calming.
Paltrow is clutching a mysterious iced green concoction that’s jam-packed with fruit and vegetables. It’s the type of drink you’d expect the svelte star to be sipping, but Paltrow – who’s taken more than her share of heat for her dietary quirks – is quick to add it’s not her beverage of choice when she’s home. “No, no, not at all,” she insists. “The key is balance. When I cook or am relaxing, I love to have a glass of wine. I do have a preference for red, but I’ll drink white, rosé… you name it. I also like Guinness, too. Kelly Canter is much closer to the real me, I’ll have you know,” she laughs.
She’s referring to her latest onscreen counterpart, a vodka-swilling country singer who’s trying to resurrect her career in the drama Country Strong
(out April 28). The film is heavier than some of her previous movies – Emma, Sliding Doors
and Shakespeare in Love
, which earned Paltrow a Best Actress Oscar – and as such, she says it was one of the hardest roles she has ever tackled. It was difficult, she says, to put herself into the headspace of an addict. “I guess when you think of country superstar, drug, drink addict, you maybe don’t think of me immediately, but it’s in there. I mean, for a long time people thought I was very strict with the whole macrobiotic diet thing. But it was extremely exaggerated.”
These days, you’re much more likely to find Paltrow chowing down at New York’s Babbo or La Petite Maison in London. She also likes to pop into her favourite pub in London, The Grenadier, with her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. The self-confessed foodie led fans on an epicurean adventure in the TV documentary series Spain… On The Road Again
in 2008 and plans to release a cookbook in April. My Father’s Daughter
is a tribute to her beloved late dad, Bruce, and features easy-to-follow recipes from the mother of two. (Paltrow’s daughter Apple is six years old and son Moses is four.)
While at home, Paltrow loves to cook “anything and everything – American, Italian, Japanese” with a focus on fresh, healthy fare. Still, she does make exceptions. “I make really good French fries,” she swoons. “I make them the French way where you double-fry them. I like to make them at home so at least I’m using organic potatoes. I’m not saying fried food is good for you, but I also think life is short. I do love fried food. Put a cockroach in batter and I’d probably eat it,” she laughs.
Her love for food came in handy for the role in Country Strong
. When director Shana Feste met the actress, she had one demand: soften up! So Paltrow stopped toning her yoga arms and put on some kilos so her role as the fallen alcoholic star could be more believable. It took a few months before the fitness addict noticed a difference. After all, Paltrow works out daily with famed star trainer Tracy Anderson. “Well, fortunately, because of Tracy’s method, but unfortunately because it works so well, it basically took me until the end of the [film shoot] for everything to fall apart. I still looked like myself for most of the movie and then, at the end, when I was finished, I was like,” and here she looks down at her body, “‘What the fuck?’ It was too late.”
Paltrow gained 4.5kg for the role, and although some reports speculated it was double that, she’s quick to dismiss them. “I have no idea where that came from, but I gained 10 pounds, not 20!” she says. Standing at a statuesque 178cm and with a model’s body, it’s little wonder Paltrow is feted by some of the world’s top designers, including Valentino, Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein. “I love clothes,” she says, adjusting a messy ponytail she’s tied back with a thin black ribbon. “For me, it’s like playing dress up. I mean, this,” she smiles as she points to her black leather shorts, “is fun, but it’s not what I wear to go and pick up the kids from school. You know what I mean?”
Since becoming a mum, says Paltrow, her wardrobe has become as much about function as fashion. Getting dolled up in minutes has become a necessity. “Accessories, like a big necklace, can really pull an outfit together, especially if you’re feeling like ‘Argh, I don’t know what to wear!’ If you have great accessories and wear even just a T-shirt, leggings or jeans, you can think ‘Okay, I have an outfit on.’”
Paltrow says her style has evolved since her 20s. “When you’re in your 30s you really start to know what suits you,” she says. “In your 20s you’re still kind of finding yourself.” And her number-one style tip? “It’s really important to know your body. Dress in what flatters you, not for the trends.”
By Donna Walker-Mitchell This is an edited feature. For the full interview, pick up the April 2011 issue of madison from your local newsagents, or subscribe online at Magshop.
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