“The perfect Hollywood woman is a myth, so I’d rather be someone who is accessible to other women.”
“I’ve been dealing with ‘Zoom face’ just as much as everyone else,” Kate Winslet tells me over — what else — a Zoom call. She’s referring to the recently coined term that describes the psychological toll of staring at our own faces during frequent video meetings over the past year, leading many to the discovery of facial imperfections that, prior to 2020, they were completely oblivious to. For some, it’s been a new forehead wrinkle or two that can’t be unseen. For Winslet, ‘Zoom face’ has led her to ponder the peculiarity of her eyebrows in relation to one another — at least according to her. “I’ve been noticing that one eyebrow is lower than the other, and if I’m really tired, it’s way lower,” she says. I reassure her that brows are meant to be cousins, not twins, anyway, and with a laugh she immediately snaps out of having a single care about the placement of her eyebrows and into the self-deprecating humour that she’s known for. “It’s funny, I’ll be in the middle of an interview and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry but I just noticed that my left eyebrow has fallen halfway down my face’.” It’s the type of mid-interview interruption that she’s earned the right to make at this point in her career, she jokes.
Of course, it’s not just her impressive acting career (which spans over 25 years and includes multiple Academy Award nominations and a Best Actress win) that’s shaped her ability to exist in Hollywood — an industry notorious for its rigid standards and a reputation for taking itself too seriously — with the type of ease and unwavering casualness that is so synonymous with the actress. It’s simply that it has never occurred to her to be anything other than herself. “The perfect Hollywood woman is a myth,” she says. “So [I’d rather] be someone who is accessible to other women.”
Winslet says that when she first made her debut in Hollywood, being honest and frank was something that came to her as a result of, and perhaps even a defence mechanism against, feeling under a lot of scrutiny in the industry. “When Titanic came out, there was a lot of conversation about my [appearance] and weight, which was such a shock to me because I had a very average body shape. It was very important to me to come out the other side of that having said, ‘Hang on a minute; the problem is yours, not mine.’ It’s why I continue to say the things [I do], because they give validation to the majority of women who are, like me, of average size.” This long-standing, deeply ingrained confidence is even more impressive considering the fact that Winslet was only 22 when Titanic was released, a time that is often associated with navigating issues of self-esteem and body image. Now, 24 years later, Winslet says she’ll “never tire of being a spokesperson for the majority of us.”
That role, which has cemented her place as one of Hollywood’s most beloved figures, has led her to another spokesperson title, this time with L’Oréal Paris as the new face of the brand’s Age Perfect line. Her first order of business is appearing in campaigns for the newly launched Age Perfect Cell Renewal Midnight Serum ($48), a product that flips the idea of antioxidants as a solely protective daytime ingredient on its head. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of using an antioxidant product at night as well, when skin is in repair mode, to undo the damage done throughout the daytime. But rest assured — it simultaneously does all of the usual, good stuff associated with nighttime products, too (like encouraging cell turnover and revealing more radiant skin).
Perhaps, given what is known about the actress, this next point is stating the obvious, but Winslet is a die-hard fan of minimalist skincare, never having been tempted by dozen-step routines and endless shelves lined with expensive potions. “I don’t believe that good skincare should be expensive, either,” she says. “So If someone can only afford one product, this [multipurpose] serum can be it.”
The product’s multitasking approach is key for Winslet, who, over the last year and a half at home, has wholeheartedly embraced a ‘less is more’ approach to beauty. “To me, the worlds of celebrity and beauty are totally separate and disconnected [from my real life],” she says. “It just takes a lot of effort and time, and I’d rather be spending that time with my kids. Of course there are fun moments, like walking the red carpet and celebrating a movie release, but those moments still feel like my job. My real world is so different from that.”