Jennifer Garner is just so darn likeable! Don’t you feel like she could be one of your best friends? She seems so grounded and normal. It wouldn’t be far fetched to run into her at the park, or at a mommy & me class.
Because she stands out as a class act, she has been chosen as one of Glamour’s Women of the Year.
GLAMOUR: Your press is impeccable. Your fans adore you. Do you have a dark side, or are you a goody-goody?
JENNIFER GARNER: You totally called me out. I am a bit of a goody-goody. Not that there aren’t times when I think, I was kind of an a****** today. I work in a world in which people are really catered to; someone will come up to me and say, “Is it OK if this person’s makeup is done before yours for the premiere?” Right now Ben’s in Africa studying malaria and visiting slums with a lack of potable water and maternity wards where many women have HIV. So would I really put my energy into worrying that I’m second to get my makeup done? When you think about the bigger picture, it’s hard to not have some perspective
GLAMOUR: Who are some other women you admire?
JG: My younger sister is my hero: She’s a mom and an accountant for the state of West Virginia. She’s able to juggle a job, kids, volunteer work and church, and she still manages to cook dinner every night without feeling bogged down. There are lots of people out there who are literally heroic, but what she does counts too.
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GLAMOUR: Have you managed to find that balance for yourself?
JG: I’m trying to, but it’s hard: I just had a year off where I put every spoonful of food into [Violet’s] mouth. Now I’m working and though I’m usually with her more hours than not, some days I just can’t be. That’s hard for me, and for the first time, my daughter. Luckily my husband is a true partner, and he picks up where I leave off.
GLAMOUR: Is being in Hollywood hard on a relationship?
JG: We’ve worked really hard not to be one of those couples who are constantly in the limelight. In the past we’ve both been the kind of people who go along with things—if you’re supposed to be photographed together, you don’t question it. But how does that help your relationship? So now we refuse to walk the red carpet together: It’s a way of not condoning the attention. Plus, it just feels silly to be in that situation with him: Ben was nominated for a Golden Globe [for 2006’s Hollywoodland]. I remember being photographed next to him and thinking, This is ridiculous. You’re not some actor; you’re my husband.
GLAMOUR: J.J. Abrams [creator of Alias] said you were “raised right.” Why do you think younger women in Hollywood, like Britney Spears, are having such a hard time figuring out how to behave?
JG: My heart just goes out to those girls, especially Britney. After her performance at the VMAs [MTV’s Video Music Awards, where Garner was a presenter], I wanted to go backstage and mother her. The way everyone was celebrating [her shaky performance] was so unfair. If I’d experienced that level of scrutiny at her age—even with my background—I don’t know if today you’d be saying I was “raised right.”
GLAMOUR: Do you ever worry that Violet is growing up in the spotlight?
JG: It’s not my favorite thing, but it’s a fact of life. It’s important to us that she remain a kid. If she wants to do theater someday, OK. But as far as making a living from it, that’s not a kid’s job. We won’t allow it.
GLAMOUR: So do you see yourself having another child?
JG: I always wanted to have several. And Violet needs a sibling. But I’m not pregnant, and we’re not trying yet. [Laughs.]
GLAMOUR: Do you ever wear your Alias getups for Ben?
JG: [Laughs.] I don’t have those costumes anymore. But Ben wouldn’t notice; he is the best and worst in that way. We’ll be going out to some event, and I’ll have my hair and makeup done and I’ll literally have to say, “Hey, look at me!” But it works in my favor, too, since most of the time I’m a schlep!
GLAMOUR: You had an insane body on Alias—has it changed postbaby?
JG: Well, sometimes this [grabs a roll on her stomach] can make me a bit crazy. I don’t understand how women can manage to get back in shape with a new baby and a job. I couldn’t even touch exercise until I finished working on Alias. And trying to work out when you have a second and third child…. How is that supposed to happen?
GLAMOUR: And the paparazzi don’t give you a break to get back in shape….
JG: It was painful and embarrassing [to see myself in photos], but I wasn’t going to spend time working out that I could have spent with Violet. I was like, Screw it—what am I going to do?
GLAMOUR: You’ve landed on plenty of “Beautiful People” lists, but you’ve also referred to yourself as a
“huge dork.” How is that possible?
JG: Trust me, I can be awkward. I tend to make big gestures. Ben and I went to a Red Sox game, and when the mascot came up to us, I hugged it. The pictures showed up everywhere. Ben and I were both like, “Ooh, too big of a gesture.” Why did I have to hug the sock? Just say hello like a normal person.
GLAMOUR: Lastly, what’s your vision of a modern, successful, kick-ass woman?
JG: Someone who unapologetically defines herself, whether to say, “I love my career; that’s going to be my focus” or “I want to be home.” To be willing to grab on to that; to know what you want and do it.