InStyle: Jennifer Garner on the Choices that Have Defined Her Career

Jennifer is part of InStyle magazine’s 25th anniversary issue!

My first InStyle cover was in 2004. I cut my bangs for the shoot in Hawaii, which was not very nice because I was in the middle of an Alias episode. I came back to L.A., and I was like, “Oh, I have bangs now.” Rude! Unprofessional! But I really love that young girl on the cover. Bless her buttons. I had been working professionally in the industry for 11 years, and I thought, “Wow, I have been through some things.” I thought I’d been around the block. Fifteen years later I realize, “My god, I hadn’t even been through anything bad yet.” My life is so intact, and I have so much respect for how fragile that is.

I feel a lot less stressed about the industry and my place in it now than I used to. When you’re one of the “hot girls” of the moment, you’re making choices that define you. I was defined first by choosing to go on hiatus, and then I was very quickly defined by pregnancies and babies. Now my choices are defined by different things. I don’t have the offers coming at me that I had during that first cover, but I know that what does come my way is because someone really wants to see me take a shot at a role.

Early on in my career I realized I was attracted to projects that weren’t your run-of-the-mill movies. There were a ton of big hits that I would have loved to have done, but those scripts weren’t coming to me. I look at all six of my InStyle covers, and I was promoting films like Butter, The Kingdom, Catch and Release, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. They’re movies that no one has heard of. They’re not big blockbusters or Oscar movies. But everyone who did see them, a combined total of 25 people, really loved them. They’re all pretty quirky—even 13 Going on 30 was a quirky choice to make at the time; it wasn’t a hot script being pursued by many people — and they all just require accepting the world from a different angle. That common thread makes me realize that I know myself. I am who I am.

I’ve always pursued other interests outside of acting too. In 2008 I started working for Save the Children to help kids growing up poor in rural America. I thought I’d be going to school-age programs, but Mark Shriver — who’s been my boss there for 11 years — said, “If you want to help kids growing up poor, you have to help them starting at birth.” So I got involved in early-childhood education, and I’ve learned so much about brain development. I wish I could go back to do it all again with my kids and fix whatever I’m sure I screwed up. [laughs]

It’s so gnarly to be a kid now. I guard my kids’ privacy as much as I possibly can, and I’ve never posted pictures of them on Instagram. I used to refuse to say their names during interviews — but everyone knows their names! I would just say “my eldest,” which I still do out of habit a lot. I’m sure there are times my kids would really love to see themselves reflected on my social media in a fun way and to have the attention they would get from that. But I’ve fought too hard against it. It would feel hypocritical. There’s no implied judgment of people who do put their kids up there; I just don’t think most kids have been hounded in the way that mine were when they were little. We were completely hounded 24/7 for 10 solid years, and it changes you. You no longer take things like being able to go to your mailbox for granted. I even stopped going to the farmers market because I was being photographed there constantly. I realized, “I’m ruining the farmers market for everyone; this is selfish.” [laughs]

I’m grateful I came up when I did and I didn’t have to deal with social media. It’s a whole other job. I know, cry me a river. But I’m glad we didn’t have the pressure on us that girls have now. I was such a baby about having to join [Instagram] — I kicked and screamed. Whatever I post has to feel authentic to me, like getting dressed for a red carpet. You’re in control of whatever you’re putting out there, and it’s got to be you. My stylist showed up today in something I could never pull off in my entire life — because I’m just not that cool — and she said, “Well, I would never bring it to you. I know you better than that.”

Close female friendships are everything to me. I’m still friends with the same people I was when I shot my InStyle covers. I’ve spoken to most of them in the last 48 hours. So I feel pretty lucky as far as the girlfriend thing is concerned. The few times I’ve been able to get together with groups of women thanks to #MeToo and Time’s Up, it’s been life-changing. I used to see Reese [Witherspoon] mainly because we have sons the same age. But she was really the only person in that kind of position in Hollywood that I could call. Now there are so many other women in the industry I can reach out to. Feeling like part of a whole instead of thinking “Oh my gosh, I’d better hold on to my spot as tightly as I can or we’ll all be subsumed” has been the hugest gift and the biggest game changer.

It’s important to find the beauty in everything, even when it’s hard. Looking back at my earlier InStyle cover shoots, especially the one [from 2005] when I was pregnant for the first time, I was naïvely confident that everything would be fine. I knew nothing, and I still know nothing. But now I know that I know nothing. And I’m comfortable with that.

How I’d describe myself:
In 2004: Optimistic, Empowered, Flat-stomached
Today: Optimistic, Humbled, Seeking wisdom, Grateful

Source: InStyle.com

Jennifer Garner: “I could cry” from the stress of paparazzi

I came across this interview clip today and I think it is important to post this as a reminder. Jennifer has always shared how difficult the paparazzi has made her life. Out of respect to her please remember that she is entitled to some privacy in her personal life.

Thank you.

Conor Knighton talks with the actress and fellow Charleston, West Virginia native who became a star on the series “Alias,” and became tabloid fodder with her marriage to (and separation from) Ben Affleck.

Jennifer Garner on the Moment She Decided Not to Retire From Acting

Jennifer shared with etonline.com how she almost decided to quit acting and what made her change her mind.

Jennifer Garner’s career couldn’t be hotter, but there was a time when she wasn’t sure she would return to acting at all.

The 46-year-old actress got candid about her almost-retirement after giving birth to 6-year-old son Samuel in a recent interview with Variety. As Garner explained, welcoming three kids in seven years was enough to make her consider leaving her career behind.

“Three kids just knocks you flat on your a**,” she said, before recalling the phone call with her then-agent of 20 years, Patrick Whitesell, that changed everything. “I would have to decide, ‘No I actually do love this job.'”

“Patrick said, ‘Either this is the telephone call about you doing Dallas Buyers Club and how we’re going to make that happen, or it’s a telephone call about your retirement,’” Garner remembered. “That was a real moment of decision and clarity and I loved him for it, because it forced me to say, ‘OK, I am not ready to be home all the time.'”

Now, Garner seems to have it all. She’s a doting mom to 12-year-old Violet, 9-year-old Seraphina and Samuel with ex Ben Affleck, just received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, her new TV show, Camping, is about to debut on HBO, and her new movie, Peppermint, hits theaters on Sept. 7.

The actress opened up to ET last fall about how she manages motherhood and her career. “Any time that you’re playing someone who is going through something, you have to just figure it out, and you actually — believe it or not — don’t use your own life as much as you might think,” she said. “It really is its own bear to get through.”

“You just get into that place. That’s your job, and then you shake it off, because you have to go home and raise your kids,” Garner explained. “It’s just like any other time I do a scene with an emotional place.”

Jennifer Garner Talks Walk of Fame, TV After ‘Alias’

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Garner thought her career couldn’t get better. She’d survived nine months of sleeping in a kitchen in Manhattan and eating spaghetti with butter while understudying for an Ivan Turgenev play on Broadway, scored a few walk-on parts on TV, and landed the lead in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie in which she played a 19th century orphan.

“Making a couple hundred dollars a week to pay for my apartment, I really thought that was as good as it was going to get,” laughs Garner on an afternoon in Los Angeles. “I was completely and totally thrilled with that.”

Her Hallmark director, Christopher Cain, invited her to fly out to Malibu and stay with him and his wife, Sharon. The rental car company ran out of cheap sedans, so they handed her the keys to a convertible. One day, she drove around, got lost, and found herself on Hollywood Boulevard stumbling over other tourists and signs as she watched the stars go by under her feet. On Aug. 20, she’ll get her own.

“It’s all been a big accident,” she insists. Not for anyone who’s paid close attention to her performances: the attentive eyes, the steel spine, the radiant likability second only to Tom Hanks. Her first starring film role, 2004’s “13 Going on 30,” is this generation’s “Big.”

“There’s rarely a day that I’m out in the world that somebody doesn’t mention ‘13 going on 30,’” says Garner. “It just pops up in your life as a GIF.”

Only Jennifer Garner would highlight the body-swapped eighth-grader’s enthusiasm, not her ignorance. Only Jennifer Garner could take the anxious adoptive mother role in “Juno” and fill her brittle character with so much heart that she, not the sarcastic teen, becomes the film’s emotional center. And only Jennifer Garner could launch into a major new act of her career — “The Tribes of Palos Verdes,” “Love, Simon” and this fall’s HBO black comedy “Camping,” her first TV show since “Alias” — with such modesty that she hardly seems to expect that people will catch on that at 46, she’s doing the most fulfilling work of her career.

All the Charleston-raised girl, a self-described “total snob” about sticking to theater, wanted to do was eke out a living performing live Shakespeare. Growing up as the middle child of three daughters, she was so well-behaved that she didn’t pierce her ears, pluck her eyebrows, or wear nail polish. The worst thing Garner did in high school was swipe her dad’s Camry to drive to Taco Bell. She entered college studying chemistry — her dad’s profession — and then switched to drama, which aligned her more with her mom, an English teacher.

“I just love language,” says Garner. Twisting lines, muttered quips, mouthsful of monologues. Yet, when she committed to Hollywood, the best part an ingénue could get was as Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend in “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” in which her character had magic inflating boobs.

Continue reading “Jennifer Garner Talks Walk of Fame, TV After ‘Alias’”

Jennifer Garner on the farm, and away from paparazzi

Turns out acting is just ONE of Jennifer Garner’s callings. Conor Knighton has our Sunday Profile:

You may not recall the 1995 Danielle Steel miniseries “Zoya,” Jennifer Garner’s first on-camera appearance (“Freddy and I were married this afternoon – and I’m pregnant!”). But Knighton grew up in her hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, went to the same church, graduated from the same high school. So, he can name every project she has ever done.

“Zoya,” Knighton noted, was front-page news in Charleston. “That was the hugest big deal! That was the hugest deal that ever happened,” Garner laughed.

Her career spans more than two decades from a superhero (“Elektra”) to super awkward (“13 Going on 30”), from critically-acclaimed indie films (“Dallas Buyers Club”), to huge ad campaigns (“What’s in your wallet?”).

But way before she became the center of attention, Garner was your typical middle child in a family of three girls. The daughter of a chemical engineer and a teacher, Garner’s love of performing began on the dance floor. “My mom just put us in dance,” she said. “And I wasn’t as talented naturally as either of my sisters. But I was expressive. They would say, ‘Oh, she’s very expressive!'”

She entered Ohio’s Dennison University as a Chemistry major, but graduated with a BFA in Theater. After four years, she had left her West Virginia accent behind.

“When I went to college, I had a bit of a twang – I sounded kind of mountain-y,” Garner said. “But I loved, loved, loved any play that was just dripping with words, the more words, the better. And it takes a long time to speak with a twang. So, I had it kind of kicked out of me!”

After traveling the country in summer stock theater productions, building sets along the way, Garner started building a small resume of television appearances. A guest spot on the TV series “Felicity” caught the attention of writer-director J.J. Abrams, inspiring him to create a role with her specifically in mind: super spy Sidney Bristow on TV’s “Alias.”

It was a role the studio made her fight for … literally.

Garner said, “I went through the Yellow Pages. I looked up the local guy who had the most degrees of black belt. I called him, I went to see him every day, and by the time I had my fifth audition for ‘Alias,’ they said, ‘What can you show us?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ve learned a couple of forms. I’m already this belt. I can do this.’ And I just stood in the room and did it!”

Knighton said, “I remember there was a summer in college I’d gone to New York, and I’d seen a billboard for ‘Alias,’ with you in an orange wig. And I realized that, ‘Things are about to get really different for her.’ How did that change your life?”

“It changes it in such an instant and enormous way, because it’s startling to become recognizable. It’s startling and shocking,” she replied.

“Alias” made her a star, but nothing could have prepared Garner for the non-stop tabloid coverage that followed her romance with actor Ben Affleck.

“Well, there was a solid decade where there were five or six cars minimum, and easily up to 15 or 20 on the weekends, outside of my house at all times,” Garner said. “And looking back on that, I really feel the stress of it. I really – I could cry, talking about it.”

After ten years of marriage, the A-List power couple who have three children together announced their separation, in 2015. They filed for divorce last year, but …

“The public was, and still is, obsessed with your private life,” Knighton said. “What has that been like for you, going through a divorce and having every moment of that played out on the cover of these magazines?”

“What I think that I’ve learned is that scrutiny in your private life puts a pressure to make something happen,” she said. “You feel a pressure to hurry up and get married, ’cause you think that’ll end the Are they engaged? Are they not? [talk]. And that’s true in the reverse, as well. You know, if there is any inkling of trouble, or if the tabloids decide there’s trouble, it can create trouble.

“But to be honest, public scrutiny, everyone says, ‘Oh, you’ve had to go through this in public.’ The public isn’t what’s hard; what’s hard is going through it.”

“Do you find that you’re able to tune out from all of that? Do you pay attention?” asked Knighton.

“I don’t look at it. I had to really get serious with myself, and say, ‘This is not healthy.’ In the morning you can either be making breakfast for your kids, making their lunchboxes, or you can be getting paparazzi-ready!” she laughed. “And so, you know, I know which way I’m gonna go!”

You won’t find any paparazzi out in Locust Grove, Okla., just east of Tulsa, where Garner recently purchased the farm her mother, Pat, grew up on, and where her Uncle Robert still lives.

“Mama could sure fry a good chicken,” said Pat Garner.

“Yeah, she could. Mom could make a squirrel taste real good!” laughed Uncle Rob.

“Well, that’s saying something!” said Jennifer.

“Wait, is that in theory? Or that’s in practice?” asked Knighton.

“No, no. That’s in practice. We ate squirrels. I will again, if I have to!” said Uncle Rob.

With her uncle’s help, Garner is turning the old family farm into a site to grow produce for Once Upon a Farm, the organic fresh baby food company she recently co-founded. Here they’ll be raising blueberries, kale and persimmons. “Persimmons are native to here. They do real well here,” Uncle Robert said.

When asked why it was important for her to have it on this farm, Garner replied, “First of all, if I had had any idea how happy it would make my mom to be part of bringing this little farm back to life, I would have done it ten times over. But your family just has a connection to the land that has raised them. I wanted the business to be connected to my family.”

Fresh food was a key part of Garner’s childhood: “Mom did not believe in processed food. So, everything we had was homemade. If it was a cookie, it was a homemade cookie.”

Of course, that doesn’t always mean it was eaten. Pat Garner noted that Jennifer was a picky eater, who lived on peanut butter and honey: “And she’ll say, ‘How did you stand me, Mother?'”

Now in her role as Chief Brand Officer, Garner’s goal, she says, is to get the quality of homemade food into the homes of busy parents. “We’re just making an option for moms who might be too busy to make their own fresh food for their kids, that day or ever, and we’re making it fresh from the earth, just at the grocery store,” she said.

Knighton asked, “And is this something that you’d have three meals a day? Or is this, you know, the midday kind of snack and then breakfast, dinner? Or different?”

“It just depends. Babies eat different things at different times. You’ll see some day, Conor!”

“Nachos and milkshakes, right?”

“Yeah, sometimes a baby might have nachos!”

“Okay. I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll learn. I’ll help you when you get there!”

It’s been a busy year for the 46-year-old Garner. In addition to a celebrated turn in the movie “Love, Simon,” Garner is returning to TV. She just wrapped shooting the new HBO show “Camping,” and she’s also back in action in the revenge film “Peppermint” that premieres this fall,

But back in her backyard garden at her Los Angeles home, blueberries are in season. Here, she grows kale and lemons, raises chickens, and keeps bees for honey. It’s food for her own family – her way of connecting to how, once upon a time, she was raised.

Garner said, “It just makes you happy to pick something and eat it.”

Stars Tell Us the Most Beautiful Thing Anyone Has Ever Said to Them

People is ready to release their Beautiful Issue this week. They asked some celebrities, including Jennifer, what the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to them.

JENNIFER GARNER
“If someone tells me there is something special about my kids, that is the nicest thing they can say to me.”

Jennifer Garner Reveals Who Still Makes Her Starstruck

Entertainment Tonight’s Cameron Mathison spoke with Jennifer at The Tribes of Palos Verdes press junket!

Jennifer Garner may be an A-lister, but she still gets starstruck.

ET’s Cameron Mathison sat down with the 45-year-old actress and her The Tribes of Palos Verdes co-star, Maika Monroe, at the film’s junket on Friday, where Garner revealed who she still gets giddy seeing out and about.

“I am starstruck by children’s book authors, big time,” she revealed. “I met Marla Frazee and was just, didn’t even know what to say to her. I am starstruck by ballerinas, big time. I am starstruck…I heard this woman play the saxophone the other day, she was so amazing. I couldn’t look at her after. Just anyone who can do something that you can’t do.”

“Barefoot Contessa!” she added.

While Garner gushed about her idols, Monroe, 24, couldn’t stop singing Garner’s praises. The two play mother and daughter in the film, which centers on their family’s move to the idyllic and affluent suburb of Palos Verdes in Los Angeles — and the drama that ensues.

“This comes from the bottom of my heart. I don’t think I’ve met a more genuine, more talented, literally, it was a hard movie for both of us. It was just, every day was a different thing, and what Jen brought to set, I have so much respect,” she raved. “I wanna grow up to be you.”

“Oh my gosh,” Garner replied, agreeing that their emotional roles (Garner’s character finds out her husband is cheating on her) definitely took a toll.

“The character is something so different from anything I’ve played before. I usually play characters who are more kind of buttoned-up than I am in real life. To play somebody who is this just coming apart at the seams was exciting, terrifying but exciting,” she said. “I went home to kids and a busy house, so I didn’t really have a choice [of whether or not to shake it off].”

The mother of three also dished on her first time moving to Los Angeles, admitting that she found similarities between herself and her character’s tough adjustment at first.

“I did have a hard time leaving. I lived in New York first, and I moved out here and felt like, ‘What did I do?'” she confessed. “I really had to make the decision to be happy and figure out what the things are that I love about it here, and do them constantly. They were hiking, farmers markets, cooking, yoga… I found a few things and the work followed.”

Now, Garner’s career couldn’t be hotter, as the actress is about to start working on an action film, Peppermint — and has showcased her intense training on Instagram.

“[It’s] super fun. It’s my same stunt double [from Alias],” she revealed. “She’s like a sister. It’s so great. She’s the best.”

“I been doing tutu Tuesdays to celebrate different ballerinas, because I love them so much and I stalk them on Instagram. And I just one night was on Amazon and clicked. And then stunt people are so game for anything that when I said to these big men, put tutus on, they didn’t even bat an eye, they just put them on,” she explained of her Instagram video. “We just did the whole two-hour rehearsal with them on, nobody even questioned.”

Garner also opened up about the importance of supporting women in the industry.

“Just keep seeking out women because we don’t get to work together very much and you have to insist on having women as part of your job life, your career — not just outside of work, but work. And if you find one, hold onto them,” she shared.

“It’s your responsibility to call me if you need something, and it’s mine to say, ‘Come on up, what can I do? How can I help you?'” Garner continued, addressing Monroe. “Look after the other women around you and make sure you are going around them if you need them.”

The Tribes of Palos Verdes hits theaters on Dec. 1.

Jennifer’s Friends Celebrate Her on Her Birthday

Some of Jennifer’s friends sent out love to her on twitter and instagram. Here are some of the posts:

Jessica Biel

Reese Witherspoon

Mark Shriver