My Exclusive Interview With Brooke Shields: Yes, She Really is That Awesome
Brooke Shields. The name conjures so many images. Supermodel, Princeton grad, 80's icon, star of stage and screen. When my editor asked if I'd like to interview Brooke to talk about playing Col. Kat Young on Lifetime's "Army Wives," I said, "You mean for real? Or like when I used to pretend interview her for my pretend entertainment news show in my bedroom circa 1981 and tell her how much I wanted a pair of Calvin Klein jeans but my mother wouldn't spring for them?"
She said, "Um...for real."
I busted out my old list of questions, written in bubble letters, and my hairbrush microphone.
Question #1 Do people still boss you around even though you're famous?
Question #2 Is it fun wearing makeup? My mom won't let me.
Question #3 Do you want to come over sometime and we can roller-skate to the "Grease" soundtrack in my basement?
While I do still have a pair of light blue sneaker skates, I don't know where my "Grease" album is. So I decided to ask the megastar about marriage, motherhood, and her new role on "Army Wives."
ME: Colonel Kat Young is a tough cookie. Is it fun to play such a strong character?
BROOKE: She is the most enjoyable character I have ever played. She’s tough, but she’s also fun and funny and she maintains her femininity. Kat is very highly ranked and she’s also a mom. She’s very complex. I like that. I also enjoyed getting to know the protocol. The differences between army and air force. I got to experience a flight simulator. That was incredible! And I love the flight suit!
ME: How has being a part of the show changed or enhanced your opinion on military life?
BROOKE: I’ve spent a lot of time with the USO over the years so I have always had such respect for our service men and women. I’ve always realized the values that they maintain and the hardships that they and their loved ones endure in order to serve our country.
ME: I had my twins through in vitro. You went through in vitro yourself. Do you feel that that experience informs your acting roles?
BROOKE: Every experience informs every role I play. But even more than my work, it just gave me a perspective in life on how difficult women have it. It’s so hard to do everything. You spend so much time putting off having children because you’re working at your career and then you have to expend so much trying to have the family that you want. The waiting and delaying. It’s very difficult.
ME: And your experience with post-partum depression?
BROOKE: While I haven’t yet played a character that suffers from depression, that experience gave me an understanding of how dark you can go. Just the depth of sadness and loneliness that can be part of the human experience.
ME: You do it all - TV, film, musicals, one-woman shows. How do you manage to stay so prolific in this business when so many women over 40 can’t seem to find work? Please speak into the hairbrush.
BROOKE: Um.. OK. Well, it may seem like it comes easily but it doesn’t. And it’s not without heartache. I think the key is not accepting defeat. You get a lot more “No’s” than you do “Yes’s.” But you don’t stop. I just keep getting up to bat in any way that I can. I’ve performed in front of thousands and I do readings of plays in friends' basements. I go where there’s work.
ME: Being a child star, is there anything you feel you missed out on?
BROOKE: I really feel like I had an enhanced childhood because of the travel and experiences I had. I never missed school to work.
ME: If you had the chance to do your childhood over again, is there anything that you would change?
BROOKE: Not a thing because good or tough, it made me who I am today.
ME: How would you feel about your girls working in show business?
BROOKE: I'm conflicted because it is such a difficult business that involves a great deal of rejection and it's hard to have a career. However, the joy I have experienced by performing is a feeling I would not want to deny my girls.
ME: How do you still look so damn good?!!? Do you have one beauty tip you could pass on to a fellow forty-something mom?
BROOKE: It sounds so “Kumbaya” but I take care of myself. I exercise, I get enough sleep, I’m good to myself, and when I am I look better. I look younger. And I’m not a super-thin person. I think that helps.
ME: What is your secret to a lasting Hollywood marriage?
BROOKE: Communication, laughter... and separate bathrooms.
ME: That was great, Brooke. Thank you. Hey, you want to go roller skating sometime? Brooke? Brooke?
Catch Brooke on Army Wives, Sundays at 9.8c. on Lifetime.