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 Graces the Cover of PEOPLE’s 2019 Beautiful Issue

The gorgeous actress, activist and mom of three is doing her part to change the world

From balancing her career as one of Hollywood’s leading ladies with her business pursuits — including cofounding Once Upon a Farm organic cold-pressed baby food — to her role as an artist ambassador to Save the Children, Jennifer Garner is more than deserving to grace the cover of this year’s The Beautiful Issue.

But it’s nothing compared to the beauty she finds in being a mom to her three kids, Violet, 13, Seraphina, 10, and Samuel, 7, with ex-husband Ben Affleck.

“I’m starting to get to the point where I realize this job is not going to be forever,” the gorgeous star, 47, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Not in the all-encompassing every meal, every moment, every day way that I have loved for the last thirteen years. It’s going to shift. But there’s beauty in how it works in episodes.”

Growing up in West Virginia, Garner insists her own style could initially be described as “band geek-chic,” she says, laughing. “I was so not one of the pretty girls that I just bypassed insecurity and didn’t see myself as attractive at all. It was not part of my life.”

Yet the actress was grateful to her family for keeping her so grounded. “I felt good about myself back then! That is the lucky trick,” she adds. “Looks weren’t a big deal in my family. I don’t think my parents ever said ‘You’re pretty’ and so we just didn’t think about it.”

Watch the full episode of The Beautiful Issue Cover Story: Jennifer Garner streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

When she doesn’t need to be red-carpet ready, Garner admits her “uniform” more often than not is workout clothes. “I try so hard to get out of [them],” she says. “But sometimes the day just doesn’t give you a break to shower and put on my other uniform, which is jeans, a sweater and sneakers.”

And don’t get her started about makeup. “Do I seem like someone who’s good at applying makeup?” she says, laughing. “I own the nicest brushes and I own contouring things. If I used it, I would just look bruised.”

Which is just fine with her three kiddos. Arriving home after a glam photo shoot, “I’ll feel like the best possible version of myself,” Garner adds. “They’ll look at me and say, ‘Can you wash your face? Can you put your hair in a ponytail and put your glasses and sweats on?’” she says, smiling. “And I see the compliment in that. They just want me to look like Mom.”

For more of our exclusive interview with Garner, pick up this week’s The Beautiful People issue on newsstands Friday and check out all of our coverage on PEOPLE.com

Source: People

What Jennifer Garner is Teaching Her Kids About Food, the Farm, and Their Grandmom’s Childhood

Jennifer is featured on the cover of the September issue of Southern Living magazine.

Ask Jennifer Garner what she remembers about growing up in the South (she is from West Virginia), and she will probably mention food. More specifically, her mother’s cooking. For Jennifer, like so many other Southerners, food represents more than just a meal at the table. It’s a time to gather as a family. It’s a way of passing down recipes from generations. Food is love.

SL: What do you want your kids to know about this farm?

JG: I want them to know that my mother was happy and free on the farm. I want them to know that you don’t need things to keep you occupied. I think that the only real way to understand a concept like that is to live it, so I guess we’d better head to the farm more often!

SL: The best lesson your mother taught you about food:

JG: That food is love. My mother took pride in feeding our family, always tried to make it fun, always made it fresh and hot. She would pick me up from dance class and then transport me to theater rehearsal with a plate of something warm from the oven. That’s one of the most consistent and loving things she did for me.

SL: How are you passing down what you learned to your own kids?

JG: I try not to battle with them about food. They are not nearly as finicky as I was, but their pickiness still drives me nuts. I do my very best to take my cues from my mom and put good food in front of them and let it be from there. I am not always successful. Oh—and I also try to have a plate of fresh cut-up veggies on the counter for them to munch on while I am finishing dinner. Mom did that too.

SL: Do you ever dream of coming home to the South? (By the way, your parents did not make us ask this question—promise!)

JG: I could easily and happily live on a farm in the South or anywhere that had enough family nearby to feel like the South. I hope to own a home in West Virginia someday, but right now, the kids and I are so happy to go home to Grandmom and Granddad’s house that I am not in any rush.

Family, Friday night football, Mama’s fried chicken. Those are just a few of the items that usually make the short list for Southerners when they talk about their childhoods, whether it be growing up in a big city or a small town. There are certain memories that are made that we just can’t forget. Memories that we would love to recreate when we are mothers or grandmothers of our own. Here, Jennifer Garner shares some of her favorite memories of growing up in West Virginia.

SL: So, what’s your fondest memory of growing up in West Virginia?

JG: The friendliness and patience of Southerners. When I first moved to New York City, my hand almost fell off from waving at every person I passed on the sidewalk—because that’s how I had been raised. I really believe the more people you make eye contact and share a smile with, the happier and more connected you feel.

SL: And you still miss…

JG: West Virginia’s warm summer nights—and fireflies. I miss the easy sense of community (although, with a little effort, you can build that for yourself anywhere). I also miss songbirds at the bird feeder, pickup trucks on the road, and high school football games on Friday nights.

SL: Favorite meal growing up:

JG: Mom’s roast chicken, rice, and gravy with hot homemade rolls. Notice that I didn’t mention anything green—I didn’t eat anything green until I was an adult. There was probably a fruit crumble afterward too—and ice cream.