Gwyneth Paltrow Interviews Kerry Washington On Staying Mentally and Emotionally Fit


(upbeat music) – All right, good morning, hello. Thank you all so much for joining us. It’s so nice to see you all. Kerry Washington and I met, (laughs) – This is so surreal. – This is so surreal. I was a senior in high school
and Kerry was in 8th grade. She was a rising 9th grader. (laughs) (audience laughs) – Which meant a whole different uniform. – Whole different uniform,
and we were in school together at a school called Spence in
New York City, a girls’ school. And, I was in an acapella
singing group called Triple Trio. And– – Cause there were nine of us. (laughs) – Although, now, there’s a lot more people in Triple Trio. – Really? – I swear.
– Oh, how weird. – I went back to Spence
and there’s like 30 people in Triple Trio, and I was like, you might need to change the name.
– Change the name. (laughs) – We’re supposed to excel
at math, Ladies (laughs). – Yes, exactly. So, we were holding
auditions cause a bunch of us were graduating and
in walks Kerry Washington. The most beautiful, first of
all, your face is not changed, no aging, whatsoever. This beautiful 8th grader comes in. So confident. – Really? – Yeah, in front of all these seniors. – The acting began cause I
was not feeling confident. – And, she opened her mouth and the most exquisite voice
came out of this 8th grader. She got into Triple Trio. So, I wanted to ask you,
how come you never sing? – Oh! I do, just not really publicly. I sing in the shower, I sing to my kids. I do, I miss it a lot. In some ways, weirdly, I think singing is even more
personal, for me, than acting. And, I just haven’t really had
the right opportunity, yet. – Do you look for parts,
ever, where you get to sing? – I’m open to it, I’m open to it. – I hope you do. – Thank you. It’s good encouragement. – Yeah, because, also, I
heard that J. Lo was one of your dance teachers in the Bronx? Is this true? – True, it’s so true. (laughs) – Okay, that is, wait. Can you just tell me a
little bit about that? – So, I grew up in the same section of the Bronx as Jennifer, the Castle Hill, Soundview section. And, we had a beloved
teacher, Larry, who fell ill in the 80s. And, he had to leave
often and Jennifer was one of the bigger girls, like slightly older, but she substituted for classes. So, I got there. I remember she stepped
in for Flamenco and she, I only took Flamenco so I
could wear red high heels but she, (audience laughs) and it’s beautiful. But, she did Flamenco, and
a couple ballet classes, and Jazz, and she definitely. It’s interesting that I had both of you as kind of beacons for it being possible, to take this risk and try
to find my way in this world that felt so, so foreign. – So, speaking of worlds
that felt foreign, you grew up in the Bronx,
and then you came to Spence in 7th grade, in the late 80s. And, Spence, at that time, was
predominantly a white school. It’s changed a lot now. – It has.
– I was back last year, it’s much more diverse. – It is. – What was that experience like for you? And, how did you get there? – I got there because, I mean, luckily I have
this extraordinary mom who is a retired Professor of Education. And so, education was
always first and foremost in my family. And, she felt like I wasn’t
being challenged enough in the public schools that I was in. I remember the Talented and
Gifted Program in the Bronx actually got moved out of
the school in my neighborhood to a predominantly white
neighborhood in the north Bronx. And so, the second language
that we took in that school was Italian rather than Spanish cause it was a mostly
Italian-American community. I remember the 6th grade
graduation, with all these kids who were speaking Italian with
their grandmother’s at home and I won the Italian language award and my mother was like, “I’m done. (laughs) “I’m done, I need to put you
in a different environment.” And so, I started interviewing
at Dalton, and Chapin, and Brearley and all the schools in Riverdale and Fieldston. And, to be honest, Spence gave me the largest financial aid package. And, I think I also was really intrigued with the idea of a single sex education. I remember, I was kind of a, I don’t know if I would say a tomboy, but I was super unconscious
about what I looked like and so I felt like I could not, I could get through school and not think about what I looked like at Spence in a different kind of way. So, yeah, so that’s how I got there and it was an absolute culture shock. We were rich in the Bronx
because we had two cars, and a dishwasher, and a microwave,
and then I got to Spence and it was like, heli-pads
on people’s roofs in the Hamptons
(audience laughs) and I didn’t, I really didn’t know how to comprehend it. In our apartment building in the Bronx, the elevator door opens
and there are 15 apartments on the floor. And, I specifically remember the feeling in my stomach when the first
time I was on an elevator and the elevator doors opened and that was the apartment. And, I remember it because
it was this combination of awe, but also anger. There was a sense of betrayal that nobody I knew, from where
I was from, lived that way. And that I had no idea, there was a way of living that
was completely inaccessible, it was invisible to my community. And, I remember in that moment thinking, I cannot present any of these
feelings I’m having right now because it will identify me as other. These are my new friends at
Spence and this is their norm and so, if I ask a bunch of questions, or act like this is weird,
I will identify myself as being outside their circle. And so, I have to act like this is normal and figure out what the fuck is going on. (laughs) What is going on? Cause my parents were
really hard working people, and they were good people,
and I didn’t understand why. How come nobody I know lives this way? And, how come most of the people who live this way look a
certain way that involves a lot less melanin? (laughs) – Were you able to go home
and have that conversation with your parents? – No, I wasn’t cause I also felt. My heart just broke a little bit for this little eleven year old girl who, I also didn’t want to make
my parents uncomfortable or have my parents feel
like they were less than or that I felt like
they weren’t providing. So, I just really tried to metabolize it a lot on my own. – And, how did you do that? – I think in some ways that was the beginning of me understanding, not necessarily like, and
suddenly a star was born. (laughs) I didn’t become an actor
because of that, but I did start to understand, like, oh,
there’s a level of identity that is about performance. I started to look at my life
almost anthropologically. Oh, when I get on the
subway in the morning, there’s a particular way
that people walk, and talk, and dress, and eat, and breathe even. And, 45 minutes later, there’s
a totally different way that people walk, and
talk, and eat, and breathe, and even learning, oh, my mom
used to tell me to get off the subway at 86th Street
instead of 96th Street. But, why? 96th Street was actually
closer to the school in the way the walk was, but it was safer to get off at 86th. I just started understanding
all these cultural indicators and what code switching
looked like and felt like. – Is that something, that
fish out of water feeling? Have you felt that a lot in your life? Has that been a component
of something you felt you need to overcome in order
to fully inhabit yourself? Did you feel that way at college or in your first acting job? – Yeah, it was weird. I was thinking about this last night cause I was trying to think,
what will Gwyneth ask me? (laughs loudly) Like a good Spence Girl,
I was over preparing. And, I was actually, to be totally honest, I was thinking about the fact
that I’ve told the J. Lo story more often in terms of
there being somebody who was from where I was from who made it, who made me feel like I could make it. And, I was thinking, to
be completely transparent, I didn’t have that same
reaction to you making it because it was like, oh,
I assigned that to you being part of that world. It wasn’t like a fish out of water, it wasn’t like a kid from the
Bronx making it in Hollywood. It was like somebody who was of that world whose parents were already in that world. Not to take anything away
from the immense work ethic and how hard you’ve worked to create what you have.
– No, of course, but it makes sense. – But, it’s part of what
made me not identify in the same ways. So, I do think imposter
syndrome is something that I’ve worked really hard
at and still do, at times. I can hear the little voice. I’ll be sitting in a particular
meeting and thinking, you just hear that record that tells you that what you have to offer in the meeting isn’t as valid and I’ve just really learned to know that that is a false message. That that’s not truth, and
to go, thank you for sharing, please move to the side, I
have more important thoughts. (laughs) – That’s amazing. One more question about
Spence and then I’ll– – We can talk about Spence the whole time.
– I know, well, it was such a critical part that the education there,
the sisterhood there, it was such a critical
part in my development. – Mine too. – And, making me who I am
today and so I just wondered, when you look back at– – By the way, Gwyneth was always cool. (laughs) I so remember. – No, not in 7th and 8th grade. You weren’t there yet. – By junior, senior year, absolutely. – Thank you. (laughs) I feel so validated. (laughs) I’m serious. But, when you look back at
that time, how important do you think Spence particularly
was in the trajectory of your life. – It was hugely important. I mean, I, again, I
have phenomenal parents who were really worked hard
to help me be who I am today but I know my whole world
view, my understanding of what was possible changed, but also, the education that we got. I mean, I remember getting,
I don’t know if you had this, I got to college and was like, you guys are still doing your homework? (laughs) What is that? Because we have such incredible skills in terms of really how to think about things. Not just memorizing. How to approach, how to
be a thinking person, how to problem-solve, how to learn. And, I think it also has really
changed the kind of actor that I am. Cause, I do think, as an
actor, I work anthropologically and I think a lot about
psychology, and history. I think I credit that to Spence entirely, almost entirely. – And, that very Socratic method of, we were so lucky to have
just a few young women around a table talking something out. – Yeah, and not being afraid
to have a perspective. – Or, ask a question, or seem
ignorant by asking a question. I think it’s informed
how I am in my job now. I don’t have shame around asking questions and I think that’s how
you become a woman on top. – I agree. – You embody that
vulnerability or the ignorance that you have, and don’t let it turn into a shaming mechanism. – That’s right, that’s right. Yeah, you understand
that in order to learn, you must be honest about not knowing. And, I think that’s hugely valuable. – Yeah, so how did you go from college, how did you start
becoming such a big star? (laughs)
What happened? – I’m still working on it. (laughs) When I was halfway through college, I was terrified to be an actor. I never thought that this was a career, and I really, I did not think of myself as the kind of person,
for whatever reason, this speaks to your earlier question, who was on the cover of magazines. I just wasn’t that girl. I wasn’t interested in
it, I didn’t want it, I wasn’t about fashion or beauty. I just really, really
liked telling stories and becoming other people. And, particularly early
when I was in college and just after college, I
think acting for me was a lot about like, I wasn’t very comfortable with myself and so I really preferred
to be other people. And, as I’ve moved through my career and through becoming a more seasoned actor. I’m learning that it is really
more about revealing myself as opposed to hiding myself. – That’s really interesting. – Yeah. – How are you doing that and do you think that you need to fully be
yourself as a woman first before you can reveal yourself in that way and that’s why we wait? – I feel like characters
come into my life at a point when I need to learn something about that character’s journey. And so, I find that I’m really only able to do that character justice, to really bring that character to life when I’m willing to have the courage to go into that lesson
and to reveal those things about myself to myself and
therefore to audiences. – Okay, this is so fascinating. So, this is a perfect time to
ask you about “American Son.” – Yeah. – So, “American Son” was a
play you did on Broadway. – Yes. – And, I’m going to to
ask you what it’s about, but Netflix basically built the set, is that right? And then shot the play, and
it’s airing in November? – Yes, November 1st. We rebuilt the set on a
soundstage in Brooklyn. – Okay, so tell us what
it’s about, the play. – So, “American Son” is,
it’s basically 90 minutes in real-time, the lobby
of a police precinct. And, it’s a black mom and a white dad who are frantically, desperately, looking for their 18 year old son who has just had some kind
of altercation with the cops but we don’t know what. And so, it really is like being dropped into this family’s nightmare. The family of a mixed-race, black kid, to try to figure out, is he okay? – And, it’s told from the perspective of four different characters in a play. – Four very different characters. – And, they are? – They are, myself, Kendra, who’s the mom, and my husband, and then two law enforcement officials. – And, does the biracial nature of the couple play into the story? – Hugely. Hugely. It does a lot of things. One, is that the writer
Christopher Demos-Brown, who’s so lovely, and smart, and I think it’s such a special project, but by making this kid biracial, we take an issue about police in the African-American community and we make it not just
a black people’s problem cause this kid, our son, Jamal, belongs to everybody. And so, if he’s in trouble,
we’re all in trouble. And the play’s about so many things cause of these four characters. But, I think a lot of what
it’s about is as the nightmare of what is happening with Jamal unfolds, what is also unfolding is this love story between this couple that
is recently separated. And, they love each other desperately but they are having a
really hard time crossing these cultural divides
of how do they raise this biracial kid? Should they be raising
him as just any other kid? Do they need to raise him
differently because he’s black? Do they need to have different
kinds of understanding and empathy for his experience? And, I think in a lot of ways for me, I identified with Kendra,
the lead character, but I also really identify with Jamal. I mean, Kendra talks about how
Jamal is having a hard time being one of very few
black kids at his school. And, she thinks he’s depressed
because he doesn’t know where to fit in or how to identify. And, I think in some ways,
Kendra and Scott, the parents, are kind of stand-ins for our very binary culture right now. And, for me, what’s part
of what’s important is that we’re not listening to each other enough. I think right now we only follow
the people on social media who express our views and
we watch the news channels that give us the messages that
we can go to sleep at night after hearing. We’re having a hard time going into spaces where the conversations are
more nuanced and complicated and we have to be willing
to hear things that push us outside of our comfort zones. But, these characters
are forced to do that. And, it’s private conversations
happening in a public space so we feel like a fly on the wall. And, we are forced to listen. Even in reading it, I found
myself experiencing empathy for characters I didn’t expect
to and finding commonalities in places that I thought, no way will I understand that perspective. – Wow, that’s fascinating. – It’s really fun,
might be the wrong word. But it is. (laughs) – How do you think we can
increase our capacity to listen to people with whom we
don’t innately agree with? – I’ve been talking about this a lot with Reese Witherspoon,
actually, cause we’re doing this project called
“Little Fires Everywhere” and it is also a lot
about the cultural divide, and how we figure out how
to coexist with people who threaten us because
they’re so different. And, she’s been talking a
lot about white fragility and this concept of just being willing to sit in our own discomfort more. And, we were even talking about it before. I think it’s something
that I’m really working on even as a parent. For me, to sit my own discomfort
and to help my kids be able to sit in their own discomfort because we are such an escapist society. We want to quick fix, we don’t
want to feel the feelings, we want to move over the feelings,
we want to brush them away, we want to do whatever we
can to not feel vulnerable. And, helping them and
myself to be willing to feel the feelings and sit in it and listen, I think is really important. – I’m always amazed,
too, at how culturally we are not taught to do that. – Yeah. – We are taught that all of
these very human feelings, anger, grief, sadness,
jealousy, any of these feelings that we associate with negative qualities. We’re not supposed to feel them. – Yeah. – And, we don’t have the capacity to sit with that feeling of
incredible discomfort. And, what I always try to tell my kids is just don’t resist it because
the more you resist it, the more it persists. Just feel it, let it go. But, we don’t have the
tools in the culture. We certainly weren’t taught that. – Oh, God, no.
– I was taught, behave. Don’t do that, don’t say that. Don’t show a lot of emotion in public and by the rules of society,
we’re not meant to do that. So, how do you think about
increasing that capacity or that permissibility in
your house with your kids? How do you create that? – Yeah, I’m still figuring it out cause I had a very similar upbringing. I mean, literally, my mom sent me to the Children’s Theater
Company in the Bronx because she, I tease her that she spent her whole life figuring out
how to not have a feeling, and then, I was born and she was like, who is this walking ID? I just feelings everywhere. And, she was like, “You need
to go do that in another space, “not in my house.” (audience laughs) And, thank God, because
I found the theater and there, we’re such strange people. We sit around waiting for somebody to give us a reason to cry. Actors are such strange people. Like, please send me a
script where I get to cry and be mad, and then laugh. That’s mental illness, but anyway. (laughs) So, I think, one, is I
try to have real feelings in front of my kids. When my daughter was three,
I remember sitting in the car with her and I said, this was the truth, and I decided to share it with her on the drive to preschool. I said, “You know, I
was crying last night.” (laughs) And, she was like, “Why?” (laughs) And, I said, “Well, you
know, somebody said something “at work that really hurt my feelings “and so I went to Daddy,”
I said, “in the same way “that you go “to Mommy, or to Ami “if you’re having a hard time. “Sometimes Daddy holds me
in the way that I hold you.” And, she was like (laughs)
didn’t want to hear any of it. (laughs) But, I knew that it was right. I knew that she needs to know that it’s okay and that she’s
not the only person that gets to have feelings in the house. It’s really funny now, I’ll hear them say, “You hurt my feelings.” “Well, you hurt my feelings.” Like they’re, to each other. That we all have feelings and
we get to sit in them together and talk it through and
be there for each other. As opposed to how I was
raised which was like, “I’m fine, everything’s fine.” All of the adults in my life were saying, “Everything’s fine.” And, it wasn’t. And, the message I got
was, don’t have feelings, and if you’re having them, lie about them, and do not be intimate with your feelings. – So, how did you come to get
intimate with your feelings and yourself? – They’re just so big. (laughs)
I couldn’t avoid them. (laughs) I found therapy in college. – Thank God. – Yeah, honestly, thank you. And, I think I really needed it. I know I did. But, it’s been invaluable. I mean, for me, I’ve been
in and out of therapy for the majority of my life and I was in a conversation
with somebody recently where they were like, “Well, don’t you think that’s a problem? “Maybe you need a different therapist.” And, I was like, “Oh no, this isn’t, “I’m not in it to be done. “This is a gift I give myself. “The way I have a trainer for my body, “this my mental trainer.” Cause in my life, I’m
always taking new risks and I want to be learning and growing and so I want to give myself
the mental and emotional support to stay in shape,
mentally and emotionally. For myself, for my work, for my family. So, I love it. I love it. I think it’s really important. – Yeah, I do too. I would be a basket case
without my therapist I think. – Honestly, yeah, me too. – I do want to ask you about the project that you’re doing with Reese, as well. We love Reese Witherspoon. – What’s not to love? – She’s pretty fucking awesome.
– She’s the best. – She’s a powerhouse.
– She is. – She’s maybe the shortest,
most powerful person I’ve ever met in my life.
– I know. So true. – So incredible. – She’s like Hermia, right? She packs a punch.
– It’s unreal. She’s amazing. So, how did you guys come
together to produce and star in “Little Fires Everywhere?” – Totally her idea, of course. (laughs) She read this phenomenal novel by Celeste Ng and she actually emailed me and said, “I found something for us.” And, I was like, okay, and then a little part of me was like, “I wonder what she
thinks is right for me.” And, I started reading it and I always tease her that
she made me a terrible mom for a week cause I was
hiding in my bathroom. I had to finish the book. There were crying kids, and
I was like, figure it out. (laughs) And, I just loved it. I loved it, and I loved the idea. In the novel, my character is not
explicitly African-American. She is other in some
way, and Celeste has said that in her mind, she’s
always thought of her as a person of color, but as an Asian woman she
didn’t necessarily feel like. Anyway, she’ll talk about
in some other interview. But, obviously we made her
Black, cause I’m Black. And, that’s the new splash. (laughs) And, it’s just such an exciting approach to that character, in that world. And, she and I get to play
polar opposites as women. Which is also really fun cause we’re actually very similar. My dad was on set the
other day and he was like, “You guys are like photo
negatives of each other. “You’re like the black and
white version of each other.” We’re like the north-south
version of each other. But, I love that we’re taking
those slight differences and extending them into these very, very different archetypes
of womanhood and motherhood in the 90s. It’s so fun. – Ah, takes place in the 90s. – Does race play a part
at all in the novel? I haven’t read it.
– It does. In the novel, race does
play a part, but it plays, there lots of moms in the
novel and we each have, our characters each have a friend. Hers is another white
woman in Shaker Heights, it takes place in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and mine is a Chinese
woman, I’m an immigrant. And so, the politics
of her Chinese identity and lack of citizenship, and our shared low income status. Those things are dealt with a
lot, explicitly in the book. – Right, but it’s predominantly, if you had to recapitulate
what it’s about, it’s about mothers and daughters? – Yeah, it’s very much about what it means to be a mom,
what it means to be a good mom. – What does it mean to be a good mom? – I mean, that’s what it’s about. (laughs) I think a lot about how many ways you can be a good mom, and how much we judge each other on our different approaches to parenting. And, it’s also about the
challenge of being a mom and having a child who doesn’t
necessarily identify with you or live in the world
according to your plan. Which is, I think, the
definition of parenting, right? There’s this very brief period, if this is how you enter motherhood where they’re inside you, and you get to control what
they eat and what they hear. And, once they’re out, it’s just a walk toward
individuation at all times. – How are you, or what
would your definition of, how are you a good mother? – Ah (laughs). I’ll probably be talking about that a lot in therapy this week. (laughs) And, I do think that doing
this show is triggering a lot of introspection for me around, am I a good mom? And, how am I a good mom? And, what kind of mothering did I receive? And, what parts of that
do I want to mirror, and what part of that do
I want to do differently? But, how am I, I’m sort of avoiding your question. How am I a good mother? I try to be really present for my kids. I try to be really present and I try to have them feel seen. I try to really, I’m not always with them, obviously, cause I have a job, a career, but when I’m with them, I want them to know that I am with them and that they matter to me. They matter for who they are,
not for who I need them to be. – Are there things that you
have seen or experienced in your childhood that you
consciously try not to do? Are there, sort of (laughs). – Uh huh, (laughs) wait, I want to let you finish your question. – No, I think the reason
that I’m so fascinated by this topic and I think that as mothers, so much of what we start
to do is unconscious and so I’m always fascinated
at the ways that people become conscious in their parenting, and what are the mechanisms by which they become more conscious. Like, okay, I’m actively
going to not do that. So, are there overarching
themes from your childhood? Or, not even, it doesn’t have to be, I don’t want your mother to
come hunt me down after this. (laughs) Or, that you saw, for example, in that one floor apartment
of a Spence classmate, or, in other families? Are there things that
you saw that you thought that that’s what I want to arc away from? – Yeah. Hm. I mean the first thing
that I thought about was, and I will answer your question, but the one thing that I do emulate in my mom’s parenting,
and I think this comes from her background in education. We laugh a lot, in my family, that if you dared to mention an interest, like I have a cousin who was
like, “I love birds of prey.” Or, I think he said, “I love hawks.” But, within a week we were all at the Museum of Natural History learning about birds of prey. And, I had another cousin
who was interested in sharks, and so we all read Peter
Benchley’s “Jaws” that summer. And, she really, this idea of immersive learning was my childhood.
– That’s amazing, that’s amazing.
– Yes, and so, I didn’t realize
that I was doing it but until my husband
was like, “Do you know “how much our three year
old has been to the museum.” (laughs) I’m very interested in supporting their curiosities and building on them. I guess the big thing for me is, is truth. It’s just, I try to be honest. I just really try to be
honest with myself, first, and then with them. And within the zone of what’s appropriate and parenting, obviously. I’m not like, “I had sex
with your Dad this morning.” (laughs) We have to talk about vaginas, it’s Goof. – We have to. – But, I do. It’s really important to me that they feel like they are getting the truth from me. And, that I’m able to hear their truth. And, that wasn’t always
the case in my childhood, and in a lot of the people
I love, in their childhoods. – I think generationally, that
was probably the case, right? – Yeah, I think so. – Yeah, are you going
to have more children? (laughs) – Are you? – No! (laughs) I’m 109 years old. (laughs) – You are not. You look amazing for 109. You look amazing. – Thank you, I’ve had great work done. (laughs) – I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think, I, my mind, I
kind of, I don’t know. I thought like, oh, two or three, and my husband came with one and I have birthed two,
so, I have my three. – Oh, that’s nice, that’s great. – Yeah. – I just got two extras, too. It’s pretty great.
– Bonus babies are the -ish. I don’t want to say the other
thing cause I don’t want her to hear this and be like, “You used curse word to describe me.” But, I just love bonus babies. She’s the best. – What’s your approach to step-motherhood? – I just love her. I got really lucky, which
I credit her mother. I mean, my husband had
something to do with it, too. They are great parents,
they are great parents. And, I feel really lucky
that I got to step into this co-parenting circle with them. And, that’s the other thing. I feel like there’s three
adults, and three children and we should not be outnumbered. – Right, that’s probably pretty wise. – It feels like otherwise it’s mutiny. (laughs) But, she’s fantastic. My approach is really similar
to what I said before. Like, I want her to know that I see her, that I hear her, that she matters to me. I try to be really respectful
and differential to her mom but also, to let her know that I
am an adult in her life and I am on the co-parenting
team and that’s a role that I take seriously. And, I may not have the years
that my other teammates have, but I still want to excel in this role. It’s really important to me. – How old was she when you? – When I met her, she was three or four. She’s 13 now, yeah.
– Wow, that’s great. – She’s so great. – That’s so nice. It’s interesting trying to figure out or redefine a family dynamic. My husband and I, we
both came with to two. – Congrats on your wedding. – Oh, thanks. I really like being married, it’s really fun.
– I do too. – I’m very into it. But, it’s a different situation
cause we both came with two and we haven’t had any
of our own and we won’t. But, I always find it so interesting to be present to this ever
changing family dynamic and it’s really been such a surprise how complex and rewarding it is. And, I think it’s something that, I don’t know, we don’t read
enough about step-parenting. I feel like somebody
needs to write this book. – It’s true. It’s hard to find people
who are not participating in a blended family dynamic. – It’s true.
– Whether it’s our own parents or our kids. How we define family is so different now and being able to be open hearted enough to embrace that, those
ever-evolving dynamics. I just think it’s so important. – I do too. And, it is complicated. That’s so beautiful that you
guys have been able to do that. That’s really nice. – She’s a great kid, I’m really lucky. – That’s so nice. So, this is, sort of,
a weird question, but. So, I very naively thought, during
the Obama administration, like, oh, we’re getting to a, I can see a post-racial
America, like I feel it. – Yeah. – And I think I was a little
early on that feeling. (laughs) – Yeah. – So, I just wonder, where do you feel is going on right now, we don’t have to get
political and talk about, from that standpoint. But, did you feel that, also, oh gosh. We’re really on the cusp of something, this new amazing territory and were you surprised by what has happened, or am I just a naive white person that felt like, oh, I really feel like we’ve gotten somewhere. Do you know what I’m trying to say? – I do, I do. I think the difference,
probably, is that I, I think what we share, probably, about the current state of race relations, globally, right now, but in particular in this
country, is the heartbreak. I think I wouldn’t say I was surprised, but I would say I was heartbroken. So, it’s almost like, it’s weirdly, this is a very weird analogy that I have never thought through before. So, I might be very wrong, but I think there’s something
similar in being in love with an addict, right? Of like, I know who the country is, I know that our country was founded on, I know that when the
Constitution was written, people who looked like me
were 3/5th of a human being. Like, I know those things,
they don’t go away quickly. I know that there are
pockets in the country that feel a certain way. I know that as a black
woman, I don’t easily think about driving cross-country
with my family. That the dynamics are
different in different places. But, I was hoping that there was a different level of recovery. I was hoping that we were
on this arc of justice and that we would keep. Not that we could be post-racial
cause I don’t want us to be in a color-blind society. Mellody Hobson talks about
being race courageous as opposed to race blind, race bold. I want us to be able
to see our differences and have those differences
not set the trajectories of our lives, of our kids’ lives. But, I wasn’t expecting a
relapse like this, yeah. – How do you feel that your role as a prominent, strong, incredible, famous, black woman in society has
changed at all or has it not? Or, do you feel that you
have a different degree of responsibility, at this point in time? – Yeah, I feel like I’ve always had it. I mean, there was a lot said
in Scandal’s first season about it being the first time a black woman was the lead of
a network drama in 40 years. And, at that point, I
was like, in my mid-30s. So, it hadn’t been in my
lifetime that I had seen a black woman as the
lead of a network drama. – God, I didn’t even notice. I was just so turned on
by you and Tony Goldwyn. (laughs loudly) That was the sexiest thing I’ve ever. The first show of that, the first season of that show. – Was insane. – I was like, pass the goop vibrator. (laughs) Wow. – Tony’s going to be so
happy when he hears that. (laughs) See, the weird thing about
being a woman of color who does what I do for a living
is that it was really clear for me early on that to put myself, to treat my characters as
if they were fully realized, three dimensional human beings, that that was not just an act of art, that that was a political act. When I did “Save the Last Dance,” I was playing somebody who
society thinks of as a statistic. She’s an inner city, teen Mom, black kid. And, that person we discount. We don’t pay attention to them. We cut their resources. We don’t have high hopes. And, I knew it was my job as
an actor to make you leave that film feeling like you know Chenille, you love Chenille, you
understand Chenille. You want to be Chenille. And, by doing that, I’ve now
allowed millions and millions of people who will never
meet Chenille to feel like they are one step closer
to cultural understanding, and acceptance, and
tolerance, and empathy. And, so I think I did
that with supporting roles and now I do it with lead roles. And, you know, to be a woman and say like, “I’m the center of the story.” As a woman, that’s a political act. To be a woman of color and
say, it is even more so. – It’s amazing. It’s been amazing to watch
how you’ve embodied it. – Thank you. – It’s amazing. I want to know, just
working mom to working mom, what are the things you do in your life to take care of yourself. We know therapy and trainer, but do you have any, do you meditate? Tell us about your routines. – I try, I come in and out of meditating. – Me too. Guys, I really want to
be a good meditator. – I do, too. (laughs) I do, too, but I also I don’t
want it to be source of shame. – I know. – But, I do. I always think about that
quote, there’s that quote that Dalai Lama, apparently,
was looking at his schedule, and somebody was like, “Oh,
there’s so much going on today.” And he said, “Yeah, that means I should
meditate twice as long.” (laughs) And, I was like, gosh, I
want to be that person. I’m like, meditation’s got to go. (laughs) I journal a lot. I’m a writer, I like to
write lists, and journal. I get it out that way. – Are you a Virgo? – No. – Okay. – I’m an Aquarius. – Oh. – But, I do like to journal. It’s like brain drain and I mean I’m not great at it. (laughs) I’d like to figure it out more, but the place I’m in right now is I feel a little bit like if
I pick up another tool for self-care, it means I’m
not going to sleep enough. There’s something that, so I’m trying.
– You’re busy. – Yeah. – Yeah, I mean, it’s really, it’s a lot to juggle all at once. Are there any hacks that you have? Like, do you take a bath everyday, or do you? – When I was doing “American Son,” I had to become like the
Goddess of self-care. Cause that play, now television event.
– God, I wish I’d said seen it. – But, now you can see it. – I know, but I want to see both.
– You can see it. (laughs) – I want to also go see it in theater. – That’s very sweet. But, I really had to, I mean that the level of
intensity to really drop into this nightmare and from
the beginning to the end of the play, Kendra is just terrified. She’s just terrified. And, it was also really fun for me because coming out of “Scandal,” it was my first project
after “Scandal” ended and she is like the un-Olivia Pope. Olivia Pope is always the most
powerful person in every room and Kendra spends the
entire play trying to have some level of agency and power. And, there’s no Prada in her wardrobe, she just doesn’t have any Prada. (laughs) But, so, I went to do that play, I could feel my adrenals were drained, I was dehydrated, I really had
to up the ante on everything. And, I– – So, what did you do? – I was doing, I mean taking lots of supplements and really trying to sleep enough. Although, I remember, I did
Broadway almost 10 years ago and when I did it the first time, I would sleep till 11 and
I don’t talk until one. It was all very precious,
and now of course, at 7 a.m., my kids are like, “Wake up!” But, I still try to take
a lot of supplements, drink a ton of water. I was doing rolfing, and
massage work, and acupuncture. And, really eating very clean. That’s probably my biggest
hack is trying to eat things that are good for me. I try to put good fuel in the tank. – Yeah. – Yeah.
– Do you have– – I have your cookbooks. – Oh.
– Is that your question? – No. (laughs) – But, I do. You should sign them for me. I’ll bring them next time. – I would love to. (laughs) – Who are your female idols? – You.
– Or mentors? Oh, please. (laughs) I already know I’m way back seat to J.Lo in this whole thing. You already told me. (laughs) But, who are your– – I always thought it was a
combo of Gwyneth and J. Lo. – Yeah, I speak– – A little bit of Gwyneth,
a little bit of J. Lo. – I speak for J. Lo when I say we are very flattered, both of us. (laughs) – It’s when I’m trying
to make myself feel good. – So, who are the women both the IRL women and maybe the women who you haven’t met that really have helped
guide you or mentored you? – My mom, Anita Hill. – Yes, oh, we can give confirmation. – Shonda Rhimes. – Yes. – I actually, I have phenomenal, I don’t want to get emotional,
but have an amazing women on my team, some of them are here, and they are really inspiring. To have a badass, female,
black, woman manager and a badass, white, woman lawyer. That’s really important in my world. Cause, it also just, I can be in a negotiation
and not have to explain to somebody why I can’t
do that as a black woman. There’s already somebody
in the room who has my back and understands or why, as a mother, I need this other thing
now with my trailer. And, again, there’s somebody on the call who already gets it. So, that’s been really important. Yeah, that’s a bunch. Oprah, everybody’s dream mentor person
– Everybody’s dream, mine too, mine too. – You mentioned Mellody Hobson
who I just want to bring up. – Love. – She’s an incredible woman.
– Love, love. – She’s, well, do you want
to talk about her background? She’s an incredible finance whiz.
– She’s a finance genius, world fixer, connector, philanthropist.
– Always in couture, head to toe. – Always in couture. Sparkly couture. – Best dresser. – Amazing wife and mom. Have big hair always. – Amazing, how did you get to know her? – We were on the board, oh,
this leads me to some others. Jane Fonda, Eve Ensler. We were on the board of V-day together, which was the organization that grew out of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” – Vagina Monologues. – Got it in again! (laughs) I wish this was a drinking game. (laughs) Vagina! Drink! – Yes! (laughs) – Next time. (laughs) – So, we met on that board, and that board was just an, I mean Pat Mitchell was on that board. Really, I really got in
a good circle of broads with that one. Yeah, yeah. – That’s very cool. – Yeah, I’m excited to
see “The Politician.” – Oh. – I’m really excited. How do you feel about it? – It’s really good, I mean, I’ve just seen the first
episode so I think it’s good. (laughs) – Great. – And, it’s weird to be straddling two jobs at one time. – But, you’ve always, right? – Sort of, I mean for the past
eleven years I’ve really been goop.
– It’s been goop. With the occasional Marvel. – It’s a little bit weird but I actually had a
really nice time doing it and Netflix is such a nice place to work. – It really is. – It’s really great, they’re pretty cool. – I’m hoping that they will
do more of this theater, to step up the platform.
– Yes, exactly. This is such a new format for them, right? – It is, and I think it’s so exciting because theater is such a special medium. It’s so, ritualistic. And, to be in the room in the dark, it’s like how we originally
told stories at campfires. But, now the stories that are happening on Broadway are so important
and they’re only available to a tiny portion of the population. So, when we started “America Son,” there were people on my
social media in Brazil, and South Africa, and
London, and Paris saying, “We have these issues in our community, “I wish I could see it.” And, now they can because of Netflix. So, it’s really exciting. – Yeah, I’m really looking
forward to seeing it. – Thank you. – Thank you so much for being here. (audience applauds)

31 thoughts on “Gwyneth Paltrow Interviews Kerry Washington On Staying Mentally and Emotionally Fit”

  1. Astounding Work, I Liked it a lot, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_x5rlxirO-WKjLIyk6okQ?sub_confirmation=1 , you can try 🙂

  2. wow! i loved it. Gwyneth asked great questions and Kerry was very open in her answers which is quite rare. Love them both

  3. Ha! So, Gwyneth makes a comment about how turned on she was watching Washington’s character on Scandal, that she said where is my Goop vibrator…
    If a white men just said the same thing, #metoo would have been all over it! Just an observation!

  4. Am i the only one that notices how fake Kerry Washington is being in this interview….she said shes still working on the imposter syndrome and revealing herself….maybe its that. She sounds so uncomfortable this entire time. Gwyneth basically is spoonfeeding her confidence boosters but obviously its not working. Im watching this to understand the profile of an imposter.

  5. Oh Gwyneth, I felt the same way when Obama was elected. I thought we were on the right path.Times were finally a changing. AND then my neighbor shared with me how she was so upset with his election. And she was angry!! And that was my wake up call. And I love this neighbor…we live next door to each other and were miles apart.

  6. Very intellectual conversation Kerry is so intelligent 🤓 and gwenyth asked her some really good questions she made her feel comfortable I love both of these beautiful smart and charismatic ladies .

  7. I always enjoy hearing Kerry in interviews! She did a phenomenal performance in American Son on Broadway. Looking forward to seeing it again on Netflix.

  8. wow spence is one of the most elite prep schools in New York I didn’t know Kerry Washington went there. as a black girl who went to a predominantly white prep school on a scholarship I have never identified with a celebrity so much as I have right now

  9. I've always loved Kerry Washington, but I didn't know much about Gwyneth Paltrow, though from what I knew of her from movies, etc, she always struck me as someone who is talented. 
    I loved this particular interview because there's just something organic about how Kerry and Gwyneth vibe. Both strike me as highly intelligent, talented and beautiful women. Such great role models for girls and women!

  10. This was a wonderful conversation between two brilliant women. I learned some new things about Kerry Washington . I saw American son at The Toronto Film Festival in September. I took a picture of her coming out of the theatre and posted it on my IG.

  11. Kerry never fails to answer questions so eloquently to a point where it feels as though shes gained wisdom through introspection on a level I really hope to attain someday. I’m so inspired, and when she’s asked the right questions from people as lovely as Gwenyth, it makes it that much better!! American Son is a piece that shifted my core forever. I think Netflix’s decision to bring it to their platform was so smart on their end and I cant wait til it reaches millions of people who are deserving to watch as something as important as it is. I know this is a lot and if anybody actually reads this WATCH AMERICAN SON ON NETFLIX STREAMING NOVEMBER 1st!!! 2019, for those reading this in the future. Ahhh loved this thank you Goop!

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