She’s been the mesmerizing figure in the Dior J’adore fragrance campaigns for over a decade. She’s been equally captivating in her various roles as an assassin, a serial killer, and a fierce vigilante throughout her 20-plus-year acting career, which has landed her gold statues and best-dressed wins. But Charlize Theron’s most important job — as mom to Jackson and August — doesn’t allow much time to apply makeup or even brush her teeth. Here, she talks about her definition of beauty.
Kahlana Barfield Brown: You’ve been known to drastically change your appearance for roles. What was the most difficult transformation so far? Was it shaving your head for your character Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road?
Charlize Theron: That one was easy because I’m not a big hair person, and I don’t have great hair to begin with. If I had the hair of someone like Jennifer Aniston, then I think I would’ve had more issues with it. But I can’t imagine playing Furiosa with long hair. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to cut my hair off on my own — my job kind of made me. But I tell women, “If you can do it, do it because it’s pretty freakin’ amazing.” I think the hardest was definitely the weight gain for [the movie] Tully because I had to deal with depression for the first time. I was eating so much sugar to maintain the weight that I was sick for a good six months. I became lethargic, depressed. I had no energy.
KBB: Who shaped your perception of beauty?
CT: My mom played a huge part because she exuded so much of what I believe beauty really is. But for me it wasn’t an aha moment. I was lucky at a young age to start traveling and seeing what people in other places did, what they ate, and what they smelled and looked like. I grew up in South Africa, a country that has more cultures than any other place in the world. All of that gave me an awareness.
KBB: So you’ve always felt that beauty comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, complexions, and ethnicities.
CT: Yeah. In a way, women I barely knew made me understand that — I was lucky to be in their environment for a second. To watch that and then come home and realize, “Wow, that’s not at all what it is like over here. How are we missing that beautifulness?” I think it’s our job as parents to have our children consistently hear they’re valuable. Whether it’s their beauty, talent, conversation, smarts, or wit — I make it a point to let [my kids] know that they own many spaces.
KBB: You star in the new J’adore Absolu campaign. Do you wear this scent differently from the original?
CT: At 5:45 a.m., which is when I wake up, [I’m] trying to get two kids ready for school, and I’m lucky if I get to brush my teeth. But I’m also lucky to have a few bottles of Dior [perfume] on a dresser in my wardrobe, and the one thing I do is spray one on. That’s part of my morning ritual. It actually takes precedence over brushing my teeth, which I do at 7 a.m. when I come home—I want to be clear on that so people don’t think I have horrible dental hygiene.
VIDEO: Charlize Theron Stars in the New Dior J’adore Absolu Campaign
KBB: You’ve been with Dior Parfums for over 10 years now. I swear you never age. What’s your approach?
CT: It’s ever-changing. There are days when I really love my face and have no issues with the wrinkles around my mouth or eyes. Then there are days we tell ourselves, “Oh my god, maybe it’s time to get a face-lift.” And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to age. The more we can understand that it’s normal and part of the process, the more we’ll take the pressure off. Be kind to yourself. Take every day for what it is, and that’s it.
Dior J’adore Absolu eau de parfum, $135/75 ml; dior.com.