MOST POPULAR UNDERGRAD TALKS ABOUT EVERYTHING FROM FEMINISM TO FACIALS,
FROM HOW SHE GOT WHERE SHE IS TO HOW SHE JUGGLES DORM LIFE AND A HOLLYWOOD
CAREER, BRANTLEY BARDIN TRIES TO KEEP UP WITH HER.
dusk at Le Monde, a French bistro on upper Broadway, and Julia Stiles,
twenty-one, the lanky, born-and-bred Manhattanite, the brainy Columbia
University English major about to enter her junior year, and, oh, yes,
the Very Big Deal Movie Star, has just come from class, plopped herself
down, ordered a cappuccino, and is now girding for a grilling. As smart
and well spoken as her persona in films from 2001s breakthrough
hit Save the Last Dance to the new screwball comedy with Jason
Lee, A Guy Thing, shes equally adept at discussing art (The
fact that we have Picassos portrait of Gertrude Stein at our fingertips
here in New York is incredible!) as she is at less, er, heady matters
such as Blankey, her childhood blanket (I still like to sleep with
it, but if a guy spends the night, it goes in the closet).
Juggling a frat boy, but thats okay boyfriend with preparations
for her latest dream roleViola in this summers
New York Shakespeare Festival Central Park production of Twelfth Nightthe
feisty star begins todays talk with a revelation sure to ruffle
the feathers of hairdressers across the land.
youve cut your trademark tresses, Miss Stiles.
Right---Israel and Palestine are fighting, but Julia Stiles has cut
her hair! [Laughs] And I cut it myself. How do you like that?
speechless. Howd it feel?
and wonderful. But my mom was, like, Are you rebelling against me?
Or are you asserting control because you feel like [film studios] are
trying to dictate the way you look? Actually, I just wanted to have
a cute haircut.
Yours is a ceramist in SoHo, right?
and growing up I saw her kinda kill herself taking care of me, then working
all night in her studio. It was tough, but the key is that she had my
dad helping her. They were liberal, progressive types, and they completely
split both rolesrunning their pottery business from our apartment
and taking care of the kids [Stiles and her younger brother and sister]and
my dad never took it as, like, an affront to his manhood. Which needs
to happen more.
think were to the feminist discussion now
I am a feminist, but people have so many stigmas they attach to the word---even
girls. Personally, I define it by goals. Like, we have semi-equal opportunity
in the workplace now, but the dilemma is how to reconcile our two roles:
to be a career woman and also a mother; to be a feminist, but still an
attractive female, et cetera. [Some say] you cant have both, but
Im not satisfied with that. Hey, Im waxing so political here,
I hate it. Can we talk about boys?
I want to hear how this movie-star-at-college thing works. You just made
a reported $3 to $5 million for A Guy Thing, so it cant be
for something to fall back on, right?
gone for two years now, I realize the reason Im staying is cause
it makes me happyI love being in an environment where, for the most
part, all that matters is my ideas. But the reason I went in the first
place was because I dont want to be forty-years-old, surrounded
by studio executives who went to good colleges, and feel like Im
at a disadvantage. And, more importantly, I dont want to get sucked
into the whole Hollywood thing to the point where I cant exist in
a world that doesnt revolve around me.
you did start your own ascent to stardom at the wee age of eleven by writing
a letter to Manhattans Ridge Theatre company and volunteering yourself
as an actress. The legend goes you had an epiphany after seeing an avant-garde
opera about Charles Manson, yes?
was more like I really want to be an actress, and I dont know
how to start, but why dont I just give this a shot? I was
preadolescent, so I didnt feel there was anything to stop me, you
know? The Ridge Theatre people were, like, [rubs hands conspiratorially],
Oooo, we can have a child! [Laughs] So we had a nice
within seven yearsafter putting in some TV time [Oprah Winfreys
Before Women Had Wings; The 60s]your American-sweetheart
status was sealed with 10 Things I Hate About You.
maybe its just paranoia, but I always think, instead of being perceived
as the girl next door, Im more perceived as, like, the feminazi,
man-hating lesbian. I mean, [guys] say, You were such a bitch in
10 Things I Hate About YouI thought I was just a strong,
opinionated girl. [Laughs] Or Ill meet guys and theyre,
like, Your favorite musician is Ani Di Franco? Youre such
a dyke! She is so influential in my life on a female and a political
level, but Im very staunch in my heterosexualitynot to quote
Seinfeld, that theres anything wrong with that.
Perhaps you could femme the image up with some cinematic sex.
Well, Im kind of modest, but it depends on how comfortable my colleagues
are. [Suddenly aghast] Colleagues?! God, I cant believe I
had my head so far up my ass I actually said colleagues!
you know, since youre the Columbia chick who specializes in
Shakespearean roles (10 Things, O, Hamlet), we dont
much think of you as Fun Central.
biggest misconception of me is that I dont have any idiot time.
Of course I do, Im friggin in college! So I go out andI can
say this now that Im twenty-oneif I get a couple of glasses
of wine in me, I certainly get diarrhea of the mouth and am just an idiot.
re: the idiot topic. Whats your most horribly Hollywood
I love massages and facials, although, weirdly, I never get them when
Im not working. Thats probably because Im really cheap
and like the studios to pay for them. [Laughs] And its pointless,
because dorm rooms are so dirty, youre gonna have blackheads anyway.
Listen, as a twenty-one-year-old, full-blown celluloid queen, are you
amazed at where you are?
[Laughs] Not to pat myself on the backand please print that,
because I dont want people to think, "Shes so conceited"but
Ive definitely worked hard, and, well, [grins], Im
just a damn lucky girl.