Author Jamie Lee Curtis sat down with Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell for a candid interview about her new children’s book, “Is There Really A Human Race?”
Below are excerpts from Curtiss exclusive sit-down with Access:
Nancy O?Dell: So I love the book. ‘Is There A Human Race?’ I understand you actually got the idea from your son?
Jamie Lee Curtis: My little boy, you know, everything comes from my kids. My little boy actually asked me the question is there really a human race?
Nancy: And what did you think he meant when he first said it?
Jamie: He wanted to know if life was a race, if this human race was just a race that we hadn’t bothered to tell him he was a part of, that he had a number on his back his whole life that we hadn’t mentioned. Oh yeah, honey, it’s a race and you’re in it.
Nancy: What does that say about society and how competitive it is?
Jamie: Well, you know, it brought me to a stop and really made me wonder about this insane competition that it seems like we’re all in. There’s not an area of society today that doesn’t feel like we’re just trying to move each other out of the way to get to that final goal of winning. It’s a very American thing right now?there’s no goal except number one and I think that has to be discussed a little because who gets to be number one? Very few people.
Nancy: That’s true. What did you say to your son when he asked you that?
Jamie: I was, I was really taken by it. I really thought it was a question that demanded a lot of thought and I said, “You know what, honey? I don’t really know..how to answer that. No it’s not a race. You’re not in a race; I didn’t enter you in a race and not mention it, but what you’ve asked is actually really important for me to think about and I’ll think about it and then I’ll come back and talk to you about it.”
Nancy: And did you talk to him as you were writing the book?
Jamie: No, I went inside and wrote the book. And then I read him what I wrote.
Nancy: The business that we’re in and Hollywood, I mean, actresses feeling like they’ve got to go get every bit of plastic surgery they can just to stay competitive.
Jamie: Well, you know what’s interesting, I--as you know, I’ve had a bit of a take on that, that whole sort-of body image thing and I’ve come out the other side and I’ve survived. I’m very, very, very happy that at least I’ve retained the fact that I look like myself. I think there’s something pervasive that is in every area of show business--it may be every area of society period--that says that you’re not enough, that you . . .are not enough.
Nancy: The way you are is not enough.
Jamie: ?[T]hat you have to change inherently who you are, what you look like in order to compete. And I think that’s a big problem, because it’s sick, what’s happening to people. Younger and younger are changing the way they look. Nobody looks good. Everybody looks freakish. Everybody’s talking about it. Nobody’s saying it to their faces. There’s something wrong with the way that we’re approaching-- I really am advocating going back to a much more natural point of view, a much?
Nancy: So you wouldn’t do anything now?
Jamie: Oh God no! After being so vocal about it? No, no, no, no.
Nancy: And you look great, you don’t need to.
Jamie: I look what I look like! (Nancy: You look good!) But I look what I look like, darling, I got gray hair, I got a little circle under my eye, I’ve got-- I’ve got what I got. And I’m happy to just be . . .me.
Nancy: You’re an author now.
Jamie: There is an obsession going on with thinness, with plastic surgery, it’s an obsession and it’s going to kill people. And it’s as simple as that. If people can’t be satisfied with the way they look, you can diet, you can do some exercise, you can change your habits. I’m not saying people-- it’s just like, “OK, I’m-- this is who I am, I get to eat whatever I want and that’s fine.” I’m saying if you focus on yourself, make good choices, change bad behaviors, but that’s what you’re left with at the end of the day, you have to be satisfied at some point. This obsession, these poor girls who are walking around so, so thin, it’s just--
Nancy: But the image that everybody portrays . . .
Jamie: I understand, but you have to ask yourself, who is setting that? Who is setting that line? See, I don’t think necessarily that that’s Hollywood’s fault. I think that it’s a culture, there’s now this obsession with it. There’s this obsession with body image, there’s this obsession with changing the way you look. I don’t think you can attribute it to Hollywood. I think it’s a mental illness. It’s like a global illness now?.You know, where are the good role models for kids? Where are they?
Nancy: Very true. There needs to be more, doesn’t there?
Jamie: Well, you know, the one thing I will say is that young actors in Hollywood today have the opportunity to make good choices. They have the opportunity to show a philanthropic, a charitable, an honorable side to their public life. And that’s a choice they can make. No one is denying them that choice. They’re denying them their privacy, that’s a problem. But no one’s denying someone the choice to make good choices and show young people that you can take this bounty that you’ve gotten from your profession and give it back in a really positive way. So make good choices - that would be the mantra.
Nancy: And I think you have to say, I think you enjoy being called a children’s author even more than you would the accolade of being the actress
Jamie: I’m not an actor anymore. (Nancy: We love the author) I really don’t imagine I’ll do that again.
Nancy: Really? Never again?
Jamie: I don’t think so. I just can’t imagine, I’m just focused on my family and just can’t imagine anything that’s going to pull me away from them right now.
Nancy: And they children’s books you’re enjoying too much.
Jamie: And I write these beautiful books for children and I travel around and I talk about all this stuff that we’re talking about. So why would I want to go pretend to be somebody else right now?
Nancy: Do you have the topic for your next book, what you want it to be?
Jamie: Um, I have actually a few books already in the pipeline. but I’m not sure which one’s going to pop out. There are 3 that are vying for attention.
Nancy: Maybe you need to do something in the whole skinny something.
Jamie: You know what, that’s what my book called, “I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem.” It talks about liking yourself, being happy with who you are. And that’s when that More magazine came out, was in conjunction with that, when I took off my clothes and showed what I look like you know, at forty-whatever?