In the room with Jennifer AnistonPosted: June 26, 2011
I was more than curious to be in the same room with the woman who I only ever read about on-line or in garish weekly magazines that scream all manner of nonsense on their covers (“Jen’s Secret Calls to Brad!” “Jen Cries Over Angelina’s Nail Polish!” “Jen Says Shut The Fuck Up Media Douchebags!”).
I spend a lot of time defending her honour, and what was weird about Friday is that I found myself sitting in the front row of the press conference, front and centre, having eye contact with an actress, who I felt that on some level, should know that about me.
We’re all looking for connections in life. Could I make one with this uber-famous actress who looks like she’s been dipped in honey and sprinkled in sunshine? Or was I veering into fan-girl territory with my unique spinny cocktail of fascination, admiration and protection?
In real life, Jennifer is petite, polite and effervescent. She was also surrounded by cast and crew from her latest movie and so therefore, essentially, performing for the international media. A staged event is no way to meet a person for real, so we take the crumbs they throw at us and are grateful for it. At least, that’s what we tell the people who organize these things.
Ideally, I would like to spend quality time with this modern-day icon. A few days at her home, on a film set or press tour – getting to know who is underneath that outstanding head of hair. I want to know who I’ve been defending.
And I really want to know: is she worth my time and effort?
I got there early to bag a good seat in the front row. I had to make sure that I asked my questions, so I made sure all the right people knew I would be waiting for that chance.
Talking to people in this way is my job but these events are also intimidating. During the press conference, you have to announce who you are in front of hundreds of people, and then speak into a microphone.
The hustle worked, and my moment arrived. I sounded very British as I spoke in clear tones.
As a professional, all I wanted was to sound intelligent. But as an admirer, all I wanted was for her to know that we were underneath, in some ways ‘the same women’, with the same fears, hopes and dreams.
That’s a hell of a lot of convey in one question with a shaky voice, while the the piercing eyes of several publicists bore into your head.
I THINK I made the connection.
We had eye contact, and there were smiles.
Later in the press conference, someone said something funny, and Jen and I looked at each other and laughed at the same time. We did that shoulder shrug, that says, ‘I get it, you get it. We’re on the same page.’
And then she was gone.
I would never normally analyse an interview in this way before. I’ve been doing this job for too long to know that you don’t ever really get to know a person in this fake environment.
I’m not going to sit here and say ‘We’d be friends in real life’ just because our eyes locked for two seconds, or that, ‘I get her because we’re the same age and both unmarried’. (And suppose she marries this new boyfriend – will my feelings change?)
And I’d be a fool to read anything real or philosophical into this fleeting moment.
But I’ve always felt protective of La Aniston because the media make her out to be so desperate.
Well, all I can say to that is that I’ve seen desperation – and desperation was NOT sitting in front of me that day.
She exudes a caramel-bathed power, a calm beauty and a knowing. A knowing that she’s ok. Whatever.
And at the end of the day, that was enough for me. (Well, for now, at least.)
As she left the press conference, she was swamped by journalists firing a barrage of last-gasp questions about her next project, what shoes she was wearing and her love of yoga.
She batted them away like a professional.
Giving out precious nuggets of Aniston, while remaining intensely private.
But then, a clever spinster knows that she always has to keep back something for herself.