Here is Cate Blanchett’s interview with Marie Claire Greece where she is the cover of November 2023 issue. It is now available on newsstands in Greece.
Google translated from Greek to English.
On an autumn afternoon six years ago I was trying, without success, to look comfortable entering the room where Cate Blanchett was waiting for me. She was, as always, the personification of comfort, and she had that particular – total – charm that results from the sum of rare external beauty, intelligence and generosity. I then left our 15-minute interview, which took place in the context of her Armani Si perfume collaboration, feeling like I was floating with joy, with an autograph in my notebook and her promise to visit Epidaurus. But not with the expectation that I would have a second chance to talk with her.
Our new date a few weeks ago was online, but the effect was much the same: her voice filled the room, her humor broke the ice, and her glow permeated the laptop screen.
“Before we begin, I would like to comment: what a beautiful vase you have there!” it surprises me, making me also look at the sideboard behind me, one at the Greek ceramics bought a few years ago in Poros and one at the white porcelain wedding gift that looks a bit like a sculpture. “Which one;” I ask her, stepping aside so she can see better. “Ah, there is a second one! Both very nice!’ I must find a way to send it to her as a gift, I think, as I ask her about her recent vacation in Paros. “I love Greece and I always have a great time there, although this year I was saddened by the troubles that befell your country,” she says honestly, referring to the fires.
“It’s very difficult some days to be positive when the world is so unstable and uncertain,” she answers my question about her own “translation” of the title of this now iconic fragrance that sealed her collaboration with Armani Beauty: “Si”. “It’s hard to find the courage to say yes when fear forces us to isolate ourselves, go into lockdown and close the door. So the “Si” trigger acts as a reminder to be courageous, inclusive, warm, generous, and all these things that I think are very important today. It’s a wonderful invitation to be open and bold.”
Like its previous versions, the new Si EDP Intense is a sensual fragrance. “We often confuse the sensual with the sexual, but they are not the same. Sensuality embraces you, it is our private feelings that we allow to exist. You know, we don’t always have to run through the streets, shouting and screaming – that’s a form of self-confidence. But there is also quiet confidence, and this is what the new version of the perfume celebrates. I think this is of great interest.”
But in what situations, on the other hand, does he feel he has to say a strong “no”? “I learned very well, from very early in my career, that what you choose to say ‘no’ to has the same effect as what you choose to say ‘yes’ to.” And I guess I was kind of on the side of saying “yes” quite often. Because I’m thirsty for life, there are so many things to do, so many people to meet, so many experiences to live.”
As Blanchett has become identified with Armani Beauty and the beauty part of the Italian house, the conversation inevitably turns to the perception of female beauty and standards. “Beauty is not fixed. It changes not only with the years, but also with the seasons and days. Also, we can do whatever we want to change things on the outside, but if we don’t work on the inside too, if your outer beauty is not a reflection of your inner state, then a painful psychological situation can arise. When I think of something that is truly beautiful, in a way that is timeless and not ephemeral, then it always has its own innate beauty, that comes from within,” she explains – and you can’t help but think that you have a woman in front of you, a living example of that of the harmonious coexistence of “outside” and “inside”. As far as fashion is concerned, certainly in recent years her style has perhaps found the perfect representation in the masterful haute couture collections of Giorgio Armani . “Armani is such a powerful influence aesthetically, not only in fashion, but also in decoration and architecture, that we take it for granted and absorb it. Especially when you see the Privé series, you realize how deep his influence is. The core of his aesthetic is strength and fragility together. Just like his clothes and his fragrances invite you to create memories that last forever.”
The dominant figure of Blanchett, who until now starred alone in the fragrance’s campaigns, is this year embraced by women of different ages and body types in a renewed campaign. “It was a very refreshing campaign, it had such a fresh energy! Which is incredible – after ten years this energy is still unfolding! It’s important to talk to people who live their lives differently than you, belong to a different generation, a different culture. You expand just by being in their company.”
Cate Blanchett is a mother of four children, three boys and one girl, so she listens to Generation Z every day. What advice does she give them? What does she aspire to pass on to them? “One piece of advice my mother always gave: Be respectful. Self-respect and respect for others.”
Against a star of her stature, mother of four and wife, I try not to fall into the trap of asking women the question (“how does she do it all?”). But on the other hand, I can’t pretend I don’t see the elephant in the room: life is more demanding than ever, whoever you are, but especially for women. “The very fact that we’re talking about it right now means that career-life balance is something impossible, an unachievable situation. We push ourselves as women to achieve balance. But the balance is something temporary! No, I don’t think it’s unfair to talk about career-life balance, but it’s definitely disproportionate.”
Trying to extract some wisdom from her, I refer to the former Prime Minister of New Zealand (a neighboring country to Australia’s Blanchett), who resigned last year sparking a huge debate about female leadership. “Whether women can ‘have it all’ or whether it’s worth it is a debate. But another equally important debate is why so few women lead countries. There is a huge pressure on the woman to be everything. You can’t carry that banner all the time, to have so much demanded solely of women. If we don’t have gender and ethnic diversity in the parliaments of the world, then we will continue to have the same type of men leading this planet and driving it to the brink. I believe that diversity should be dominant. Because the world itself is a place of diversity.”
Time is pressing us. I ask if we have a few more minutes to spare… to lighten the mood. Laughs. “I don’t find the conversation heavy at all, but absolutely important and necessary!” I continue by asking her to describe her own image of absolute happiness, a little Proust questionnaire: “Absolute happiness is unattainable. It’s an illusion. That is why it is so glorious! Sometimes you can just be making a cup of tea, be in the middle of a conversation or just sitting at home and suddenly, for a second, everything around you is so full of joy. And then it’s not. I think the expectation to be happy all the time causes a lot of unhappiness. Happiness for me usually involves being in motion. I’m very happy when I’m on stage. Something that makes me happy is to see a dancer lift up in the air and for a moment float.”
‘What achievement in your life are you most proud of?’ I continue. “My wedding,” she answers firmly, without a second thought. ‘If you could have a superpower, what would it be?’ I ask nearing the end of the interview. “To be able to defuse all the minefields in the world.”
‘And which living person do you most admire?’ “Nathalie Stutzmann, French contralto and conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. And Mr. Armani!”
Source: Marie Claire Greece