To the average woman, these three actresses look so effortlessly beautiful, you'd swear they had superpowers - and that's before they put on their costumes. Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn and Famke Janssen all play mutants in this month's X2, but these are mutants who make men swoon. The sequel to X-Men (2000's blockbuster sci-fi tale), X2 reunites three former models who have surprisingly down-to-earth views about the otherworldly life inside the Hollywood bubble. Over a giant bowl of salt-and-vinegar potato chips (with fruit and Diet Coke on the side, for pretend), the three actresses tell Glamour about body love, life beyond the red carpet and why Kathy Bates should get naked more often.
Glamour: You all started out as models and became actors, and your looks have been the focus for most of your
professional lives. Would any of you alter your appearance for a role if you had to? If you really wanted a role, would you gain, say, 40 pounds?
Rebecca Romijn: If it's worth it, absolutely.
Halle Berry: Whatever you can do to be more in character is great.
Famke Janssen: For me, it'd be very difficult to gain that much weight. But I'd try.
HB: Famke eats more than anybody I've ever seen. She'll come into the makeup trailer in the morning with a plate...
FJ: Like, three breakfasts on one plate.
FJ: Eggs, toast .... And I'm very tall. So it's got a lot of places to go.
RR: I eat as much as she does. I think it's that Dutch stock. I had two fried eggs and a big bowl of cereal this morning.
Glamour: Halle, how about you?
HB: I dont think I could eat as much as I see Famke eat. But I'm not on any weird diet. I'm diabetic, so I don't eat a lot of sugar. But I eat a lot of chips - I get my junk in other ways.
Glamour: Anything you three would change about your appearance?
HB: I'd be taller. I think it's really sexy.
FJ: Actually, in Hollywood it doesn't help to be as tall as Rebecca and I are, 'cause the majority of men aren't.
RR:There are a lot of insecure leading men out there, by the way.
FJ: Ones who pretend that they're 5'11" when in reality they're probably 5'6", We're not going to be cast opposite those men too easily.
RR: And they get to choose.
Glamour: So how do you feel about plastic surgery? Halle, you're shaking your head. Never?
HB: I never say never, but I know I'll never augment my body.
RR: I have no plans either.
FJ: I'm just so scared of surgery and hospitals that I cannot imagine willingly putting myself under and having all that stuff done.
HB: You know what you start to realize? The faces are all starting to look the same. What's so great about Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon [is that] their characters are in their faces, and they look beautiful. Today women are all looking pulled back, lips the same, the boobs- we're becoming one woman. How boring is that?
FJ: You're right.
RR: I love seeing women with lines around their eyes. My mom has the most glorious lines around her eyes from laughing and from sun. It just tells so mucht - there's so much story there.
FJ: I haven't learned to love my lines yet.
RR: I think lines around the eyes for men and women are so sexy.
HB: And I think it's a person of great depth who hasn't gone and changed them. That's a secure person who says, I'm OK with who I am. I always think, I want to know that person.
Glamour: But is their pressure on you to look a certain way?
FJ: I don't feel the pressure. If there's any pressure, it would come from inside me.
HB: That's not true for me. In the last year [since she won the Oscar], my whole life has changed in a wonderful way, but now there are more paparazzi. I feel like I can't leave my house sometimes and be who I really am because there they are. And then I'II see a picture, and somebody is saying, "Oh, gosh, look at Halle's disgusting sweats."
Glamour: Rebecca, how about you?
RR: I hate being conscious of the way I look. I always feel like I'm a disappointment cause I don't wear makeup. So I'm always like, This is me without the airbrushing and the two hours of hair and makeup. Sorry if I'm disappointing.
Glamour: Do guys in Hollywood feel the appearance pressure that women do?
FJ: Women are perceived very differently. We've always been objectified.
RR: But you know what? There's more and more pressure on men.
FJ: They all seem to be doing plastic surgery, so I guess there must be pressure. Still, men have a lot more longevity.
RR: [There's a conception that] they get better with age and their careers are so much longer.
Glamour: Do you work out? Is exercise an important part of your life?
FJ: It is for me because it keeps me sane. I find it the best antidepressant. I do Spinning and stuff like that. Anything to give you that high.
Glamour: Halle, do you work out regularly?
HB: I try to. I like to spend an hour a day with weights or to do some kind of running. That goes back to my diabetes again - it's something that I really need to do for my physical health. But when I',m working on a movie, there's almost no time to work out.
RR: I have scoliosis, and I have to keep it in check with Pilates, which I swear by. I also hike with my dog almost every day I live up in the Santa Monica mountains. Being connected to nature is my church.
Glamour: Did your moms influence how you think about the way you look? Or did you grow into that with other
HB: Both. My mom did the best she could for that day and time. She passed on all she knew. My mother is white, but I had a really strong black fifth-grade teacher who helped me embrace my culture-part of me that my mother really doesn't share. The emphasis in my family was always "beauty is as beauty does." My mother would cringe when people said, "Oh, Halle's so pretty." She always made me know that that's not what it's about.
RR: I grew up in Berkeley, California, and there was no emphasis at all placed on looks. My mother freaked out the first time I plucked my eyebrows.
Glamour: She did?
RR: Yeah, when I first moved to Paris and I came back as a model, she was like, 'What did they do to you? I made
those perfect the first time!'
Glamour: So your mother never plucked her eyebrows?
RR: No. She just started last year.
HB: My mother just shaved off her mustache last year!
Glamour: Famke, what about your upbringing?
FJ: I grew up in Holland, and the emphasis has never been on looks that much in Europe. Everybody lets it all hang out. When I started modeling, it was never something that anybody in my family wanted me to pursue.
Glamour: I really liked Nicole Kidman's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. She said, "This year, you really see that there is an enormous amount of really good performances by women. And I say to the writers, please keep writing for us, because we're really very interesting." Do you feel like this has been a good year? And can you imagine a guy saying, "Hey, it's been a great year for men in Hollywood, and please keep writing good roles for men?"
RR: Every year is a good year for men in Hollywood, by the way. Every year.
HB: I wish there would be more great roles for women. In the forties and fifties women were the leads in movies more. And somehow they suddenly became so subordinate. I hope we get our power back.
Glamour: Do you have female mentors in Hollywood? Role models?
FJ: Gena Rowlands, Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange are sort of the reasons I'm sitting here today.
RR: Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn for me. And Lucille Ball.
HB: Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster and Whoopi Goldberg.
Glamour: I'm thinking about women who are in their fifties and sixties - people you want to be in 30 years.
HB: I have nobody. Being a black woman, I'm paving a way of my own.
RR: Yes, you are, by the way.
HB: If Dorothy Dandridge had had this great career, I could say I want to be like her. But she didn't live long enough to make her way. And there is a big difference between being a black woman in Hollywood and being any other woman.
Glamour: You mentioned Meryl Streep. What is it about her? Why do you see some actresses go to extraordinary lengths to keep looking young, and then someone like her transcends that?
FJ: Well, she has a remarkable talent that is just from another planet or something. I'm so incredibly excited that a woman like that is around. I think it gives a lot of hope for the future that women who look normal and are normal, and are not doing that entire Hollywood thing, can have a future.
HB: Kathy Bates, too. I saw her at the Golden Globes and she was radiant. And she was nominated and is still able to work.
RR: Doing nude scenes.
HB: It's really inspiring.
Glamour: That's America, too. She's much more representative of what we look like.
FJ: Yeah. More so than the majority of women you see on screen. That's why it must be so hard for teenage girls to grow up in the United States. You have to be slim and fit and pimple-free....
Glamour: Well, Halle, what do you do? Your adopted daughter is 11 and in fifth grade. How do you help guide the way she feels about her looks?
HB: At the school she goes to, they all wear uniforms, and that helps. She doesn't get caught up in wanting the new Prada bag for school. Since she's a black child, I'm trying to teach her a good, healthy self-image. How to be proud of who she authentically is and not try to conform, making her hair super-duper straight because all her friends, have naturally straight hair. Teach her that it's about taking care of what she came here with and loving that.
FJ: I think the X-Men specifically speak to teenagers. During puberty, everyone feels out of sync with the rest of the world. And they think their feelings are the only feelings.
Glamour: The X-Men franchise - first the comic books, which started in 1963, and now the two movies - seem to appeal to so many people. Why?
RR: It's the conscience of the X-Men. It started dining the Civil Rights movement and has to do with racism or homophobia or anybody who's ever felt alienated.
HB: Being a minority in this reality, I can certainly understand part of that pain, feeling like I'm judged the minute I walk in, no matter what I say, what I know - I'm automatically a notch down. And I think that's kind of what the mutants feel like.
Glamour: Well, the mutants do have incredible powers. Speaking of, do any of you have a favorite female superhero?
HB: We're it.
Original article: Glamour 05/2003