Les Misérables star and new bride Anne Hathaway is covering Glamour magazine in January of 2013, and was interviewed by renowned American playwright and activist Eve Ensler for the issue. She spoke with the famed playwright about being one of the faces of Ensler’s global movement One Billion Rising, which she founded to end violence against women. According to Glamour “They’re inviting one billion people—representing the number of women on the planet who’ve been raped or beaten—to walk out of their jobs, schools, and homes and dance. They want to shake the globe (literally!) and announce that it’s time to end violence against women and girls.”
Eve Ensler: You were evacuated during Sandy. Can you talk about what this storm means to you?
Anne Hathaway: Eight million people across the nation are without power; dozens of people in the New York area have lost their lives. We can’t be in denial [about climate change] anymore. And I’m just making sure that everyone I love is OK, and trying to offer help wherever I can.
EE: Tell me about One Billion Rising.
AH: It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that a billion women have been raped or beaten, just the enormity of that. When I was in college, I’d heard that one in four women would be raped, and I thought, God, that means I must know someone who was raped. Sure enough, I found out a week later that a friend had been. A billion is too big because one is too big.
EE: It seems to me that celebrities are kind of the new ruling class—they have all the money, all the power. What’s that like?
AH: You realize certain things. At this stage in my life—and this moment will not last forever—me walking my dog is news. And because I take very seriously the idea that I can make an impact in the world, I hold back my voice so I can make more of an impact when I do use it. A cause like One Billion Rising is something I want to scream about, and I want you to take that scream seriously because I don’t fall out of nightclubs. I don’t have photographers capture me spending untold amounts on a handbag. Of course, in the court of celebrity, if you try to be serious, you may look like a fool. In One Billion Rising you have activists and thinkers and “celebrities.” But I’m an actress. The celebrity thing just happened.
EE: We’re calling on one billion people to rise up and dance on February 14. Why do you dance?
AH: When I think back to some of the most fun nights of my life, it was just me out dancing without a care in the world. It’s a release, an outlet. And I’m a firm believer that we can tap into a collective energy and consciousness; on the 14th, even if you’re in a field dancing by yourself, you’re going to know you’re not alone. That’s something I hope we can carry forward as we resolve to protect ourselves and our sisters.
EE: So talk about the specific day. Do you have a vision of where you’ll be dancing?
AH: I think we need to have a big party in West Hollywood, and I’m going to get the head of every studio and talent agency to commit to dancing, because L.A. is filled with people who are passionate about women’s issues. And I’m psyched because Valentine’s Day has become stressful for people and we’re giving them something positive to look forward to, a reason to be proud of themselves. And not just women: Last night my husband and my father both said, “Can we dance?” I was so happy! My husband’s a good dancer too.
EE: What music do you want to dance to?
AH: Right now I’m totally into David Guetta and that song that he has with Sia, “Titanium.” I also love Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” On the theme of girl empowerment, I think “Firework” by Katy Perry is really good.
EE: This is Glamour’s Self-Expression Issue. When did you feel like you began to express yourself in a way that was authentic to you?
AH: I had that moment after I finished making Rachel Getting Married. I realized that the life I’d been living [was not authentic] and that I had to make a change. Then I found out that my trust had been betrayed quite massively. So for me,that call came at the end of 2007. Who was I going to be? There’s no magic bullet; there’s no pill that you take that makes everything great and makes you happy all the time. I’m letting go of those expectations, and that’s opening me up to moments of transcendent bliss. But I still feel the stress over “Am I thin enough? Am I too thin? Is my body the right shape?”
EE: And is that an everyday obsession?
AH: If I’m honest, yes. There’s an obsessive quality to it that I thought I would’ve grown out of by now. It’s an ongoing source of shame for me.
EE: Because you should somehow be different than the rest of the human race?
AH: I just think about the ridicule you get if you have an off day. If people weren’t watching, I’d be so much more eccentric. I know it makes me sound weak, but rather than make myself happy and wear the silly hat and say, “Oh, I don’t care,”
I actually really don’t feel like getting made fun of. So I put on something boring and navy and go out and try to disappear.
EE: And liberation would be getting to a point where you just didn’t give a sh-t?
AH: That would be the technical definition of liberation, yes.
EE: I want to talk about work. You played so many good girls— in The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada. Then came the troubled lead in Rachel Getting Married. Was that a departure for you?
AH: I never thought of it in terms of a dichotomy—good girl versus bad girl—I was just trying to think of myself as a whole person. Of course, after Princess Diaries, I was labeled a good girl, and for the first eight years of my career I had to fight to get any other kind of role. But I like fighting for a job, actually. Once you get it, you feel like you’ve emerged victorious from the scrap and you’re like, “OK, this one’s mine. Did it. Done.” And it’s not based on how many Twitter followers I have: zero. My acting got me this role. So it feels pure to me.
EE: Let’s talk about married life. How is it?
AH: It’s wonderful. I feel like I’ve found my other half, and I’m so excited about getting to love him for the rest of our lives.
EE: You used to be critical of marriage. What changed?
AH: Him. I would never have gotten married if it weren’t for him. You have to want to be married to someone. You have to feel that reciprocated. Marriage for marriage’s sake doesn’t make any sense to me, and I found someone with whom I could put my money where my mouth is, I guess.
EE: What is it about him?
AH: He’s a good man. He’s beyond intelligent. He loves fearlessly. His beliefs are beautiful. He’s my best friend. I love him. I just feel that I have the greatest husband in the world for me. You know, we get a lot of pressure to define ourselves as women by how wild we are: How many guys did you sleep with? How drunk did you get? And we all bow to that. We’ve all done that walk of shame at one point or another.
EE: I wouldn’t call it shame. I had a good time.
AH: Well, I was always kind of proud of myself! But there’s not a lot of positive information out there about marriage. It’s the old ball and chain, the seven-year itch, the divorce rate. Still, my parents have been married for 30 years; his parents have been married for 40 years. Mine had great moments and some really sh-tty moments. But they couldn’t have been married to anyone else, and they make each other better.
EE: And you gave the money for your wedding pictures to support gay marriage. Why?
AH: I really didn’t want the paparazzi at my wedding, and I thought that I’d outfoxed them. The plan was to release a photo to my fans on Instagram. But when some paparazzi got aerial shots and I realized that they could make money off them, I wanted to prevent that, to make the money go somewhere else. So I released four photos, and every time they’re printed, in perpetuity, the money goes to a corresponding charity.
EE: Let’s talk a bit about your hair. I’m relating because I was attached to my bob, and then when I got cancer, all my hair went away. Since then I’ve kept it short. Was cutting it liberating?
AH: I was faux Zen about it. I’d resolved to cut my hair for Les Mis and to do it on-screen to make it feel real. And then the morning came, and I was shaking like a leaf. I almost couldn’t do my job. When it was over, I went to the darkest corner of my trailer and I looked in the mirror, and I saw my little brother! But eventually I felt like the coolest girl in the world.
EE: Has it changed how people act toward you?
AH: People are warmer to me. Also, I’m a fairly shy person,and [in the past] on days when I didn’t want to deal with the world, I’d wear a hat and pull my hair around me and hide. I can’t do that now. I have to be me all the time. And it’s changed my habits, because if I was having a bad skin day, I could have a good hair day. Now I have no hair, so I have to take better care of myself because I’m all face!
EE: Did it help with the role of Fantine in Les Mis?
AH: It helped. I also lost 25 pounds for the role. It was visceral and painful and beautiful to play a woman who sacrificed so much for her child.
To read the entire article pick up the January issue of Glamour, on newsstands nationwide on December 11. Please visit Glamour.com for more from Anne Hathaway!
**Anne’s limited edition Monrow tank benefiting One Billion Rising is available for $50 at OneBillionRising.com.