Balancing Act (Part 2)

- 5 Celebrities Who Have a Fear of Heights
- 5 Stars Who Use Expensive La Mer Skincare Products
- 5 Celebrities Who Don’t Pluck Their Eyebrows

“Happiness is a choice. You have to choose it – and fight for it!”


Though Drew’s journey toward creating this extended family has had some bumps, she is now happily adjusting to what she calls a “stable, normal kind of vibe” in her personal life. When discussing Kopelman, she squeals and hugs herself. “He’s lovely,” she says with a smile. “It’s really positive. I’m super-happy.” Then she mentions the way a friend refers to him as her “boyfriend” and smiles again. “For some reason, it’s still my favourite [word].”

It’s hard to believe the Little Girl Lost – to borrow the title of the autobiography she penned at 15 – is coming up on a milestone birthday. “I am – I’m pushing 40,” she says, laughing and crinkling her eyes, which, honestly, have no lines around them. (She’s 37.) “I feel like those things I always aspired to let go of the intensity. I though the work would suffer. But the lesson is, no, it’s still good and I’m a lot happier – and less of a nervous kid.” Growing older and wiser has given her the nerve to push for what she believes in. She campaigned hard for her role in Big Miracle. “I would write Ken letters saying, ‘I want to do this with you so badly!’” In the end, it wasn’t that hard a sell, says Kwapis.

“There are many actresses who can play assertive, but what I love about Drew,” he says, describing a key scene, “is that she can be standing in front of a room of Eskimo whaling captains, condemning their whole way of life and you still love her.” Big Miracle is inspired by the true story of three grey whales that got trapped under the ice in Alaska in 1988. John Krasinski plays a TV reporter posted in the remote area; Drew is his ex-girlfriend, a Greenpeace activist who arrives in town to save the creatures from the ice and the local Inupiat tribe that plans to kill them for food if they are not rescued. “Filming on an ice floe in Alaska was a very ‘scuba experience’,” says Drew, using one of her favourite metaphors. (“People communicate so well underwater. You can have the greatest joy and fear and still experience all the emotions you do on the surface, but with a lot more calm.”) “It was so quite – it felt like we were inside a snow globe.”

For someone with the word “breathe” tattooed on her wrist, any opportunity for “scuba experiences” is relished. So what’s next? With the well-reviewed Whip It (her 2009 directorial film debut) and the Best Coast video on her CV, she has shifted her professional focus equally to directing. “Sometimes, it feels like I am biting off more than I can chew,” she says. “But I like to scare myself.

Indeed. Drew has raised the concept of multitasking to an art form. “I think it was Bill Gates who said that every minute is a chance to do something,” says the actress, who has made three trips to Africa as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme. With a personal $1 million donation, she co-founded the Drew Barrymore Education Project, administered by the WFP, which has given two communities in Kenya food for children, a new school, and a water well. Don’t dismiss her efforts as some publicity stunt – she wouldn’t even let them put her name on the school. “Drew might statistically be the nicest person on the planet,” says Krasinski. “She genuinely doesn’t care what people think.”

When it comes to ageing, Drew is equally sanguine. “I say, don’t fight the rings on the trunk of the tree. Just keep counting ‘em.” And as for plastic surgery? “The idea of not looking like myself scares me,” she says of cosmetic interventions. “I just think a person’s character is what’s interesting.”

These days, she spends more time focusing on her health – both mental and physical – than on her appearance. “I look ten times better after exercise than I do at any other time of the day,” says the yoga and Bar Method devotee. She has even given up that last talisman of adolescent rebellion: smoking. “I quite!” she cries, arms raised like she’s just scored the winning goal. “I’m so happy. You really do outgrow things. You don’t think you will, but you do.”


Six random facts you didn’t know about Drew

  1. She hangs out in cemeteries.

“I love going to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where they screen movies outside, with a bunch of friends and a nice bottle of wine.”

  1. She loves the subway.

“It’s my favourite mode of transportation. Whenever I’m in New York, I smoosh in like one of the sardines, I keep my head down, put my headphones on and read my magazine The Week.”

  1. She makes a mean playlist.

On the current rotation: Mac Miller, The Drums, Spank Rock, Warpaint, Audra Mae and The Almighty Sound, Lord Huron, M83, The Peach Kings and Mayer Hawthorne.

  1. She’s launching a wine label.

Drew is working with Decordian, an Italian vineyard, to develop her own blends. First up, a Pinot Grigio, out this spring.

  1. She always eats Chinese food on Sunday nights.

“I know I’ll be puffy on Monday morning, but I love that tradition.”

  1. She fantasises about being a travel writer

“I would love to write the articles and take the pictures and learn as much as I can about the world.”

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