At this year’s Cannes International Film Festival, actress Naomi Watts owned the red carpet in a collection of dazzling gowns by Ralph Lauren, Elie Saab and Armani Privé. When she wasn’t busy promoting her Palme d’Or contender, The Sea of Trees, the busy mom of two was celebrating her role as a brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris.
Recently, the Australian stunner sat down with our sister site, HELLO!, to discuss her successful career, motherhood and the best beauty advice she received from her mother.
Scroll below for the full interview
Naomi, as one of the modern beauty icons who has helped make pale skin beautiful, have you always embraced your natural skin tone?
“No. When I moved to Australia I made the mistake of sun worshipping, drenching myself in baby oil for the first two years. Then I got wiser and now I protect my skin as much as possible. But I definitely like a bit of sunshine. I’ve got a lot more careful with my skin, but I do like a healthy summer glow.”
Sunscreen aside, what is your biggest skincare must?
“Cleanser is really important to me, especially as I wear too much make-up most of the time when filming. I do shoots that are ten or 12 weeks long, wearing make-up for ten hours a day under lights that push it into your skin. It’s then reapplied and layered on. So to cleanse well and take care of my skin is important.”
Which treatments you like to indulge in?
“As soon as I land in London, I book in with Sarah Chapman – I love her hydrating facials. In New York, I see Joanna Vargas, who has a lot of fabulous machines and state-of-the- art technology. Facials are my biggest indulgence and Dr Colbert’s really bring my skin back to life, even with all the late nights. I’m a big fan of looking natural and rested. I don’t wear much make-up so I like to treat myself to his Triad Facial – light microdermabrasion, laser toning plus a gentle flower acid lavender peel. I walk out red-carpet ready and you’d honestly never know I’d just had a facial – you just look dewy and fresh. It’s one of my secret weapons.”
Which beauty products do you always carry in your handbag?
“Lipstick, blush, eyebrow kit, mascara and sunscreen.”
Are you comfortable not wearing make-up?
“I rarely wear any in my day-to-day life, mostly because I’m horrible at applying it.”
When you do, what’s your signature look?
“Fresh and natural. I like a good lip.”
Naomi’s beautiful pale skin glows. “I’ve got a lot more careful with my skin, but I do like a healthy summer glow,” says the L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador.
If you had to restrict yourself to just three beauty products, what would they be?
“L’Oréal’s So Couture Mascara and Color Riche Lipsticks – Erotique 640 for day and Mon Jules 430 for night. Plus Elnett. Every hairdresser I’ve ever worked with has a can of it up their sleeve as it’s a tried-and-true product. I can remember my grandmother using it.”
Your mother Myfanwy Edwards has also modelled and acted. Did you look to her for advice about make-up when you were growing up?
“She’s a true beauty but she’s also a tomboy, so when I was growing up, she wasn’t someone who I necessarily looked to for beauty advice. Then I got into the film industry, where you learn on the job. People introduce you to their trusted products and you get to know all the tricks of the trade, especially lighting, which is everything. Also, working in this industry, you have a natural affinity for taking care of yourself. I feel it is my job to take care of myself. I mean, no one wants to see an awful photo of themselves.”
What is the best piece of beauty advice you have been given?
“To colour my eyebrows and eyelashes.”
And your ultimate secret to looking good?
“It’s no secret – water and sleep. You only appreciate how important they are when you’re on a film set for three months without easy access to them and you see how you look.”
Who or what epitomises beauty to you?
“Grace Kelly. When I was growing up, she seemed so natural, so fair, not an obvious beauty but delicate and feminine. But beauty has to go beyond the surface. If you meet someone and they don’t hold your attention and interest… I’ve met some beautiful models but then thought, ‘Oh, okay, I don’t feel that attraction anymore.’”
Would you describe yourself as high or low maintenance?
“Low. My kids and my family keep me grounded and I’m always just completely grateful.”
Do you have a favourite fragrance?
“I like essential oils, which I find more natural.”
How do you stay in shape?
“I like to mix it up between dance classes, hot yoga, Pilates and running. I’m not fanatical about keeping fit but as I’ve got older, I really enjoy exercise. I like to remind myself that my body works and the endorphins give a great rush.”
Spa or gym?
“Neither, really. I love classes but I never know what to do with myself in the gym and it’s rare that I have time to go to a spa.”
You spent your early life in the UK then moved to Sydney as a teenager. Do you consider yourself Australian or British?
“I was born in England and both my mother and father are English but we emigrated to Australia when I was 14 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have great memories of growing up in the UK – I now feel a great mixture of both cultures and they complement each other really well. People only ever speak of me as being Australian, but I feel evenly split. When I’m around my Australian girlfriends, I sound really Aussie; then when I’m with my mother, you can hear no trace of my accent. That’s also been great for me in opening my ear so I can hear and replicate dialects really well.”
You’ve had great critical and commercial success over the last few months, first with Birdman and then with The Divergent Series: Insurgent. What attracted you to those roles?
“With Birdman, it was the director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who never makes a false move. The concept was also original and genius. With Divergent, it’s amazing to be part of a franchise and there are fantastic themes about identity. That’s always a story worth telling.”
What’s next for you?
“I’ve just completed a film called Shut In and I’m about to start the third instalment of the Divergent series.”
Where, for you, is the perfect family holiday escape?
“The Amalfi Coast in Italy – the food’s amazing and I love Europe in summer.”
What was the last great film you watched?
And the last great book you read?
“I’ve just re-read my favourite: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.”
Who or what inspires you?
“Strong women, absorbing new cultures, art and my mum.”
What makes you smile and laugh?
“My kids and Liev.”
And when are you happiest?
“When I’m with my family.”