There it is again: the W word. For all her bohemian trimmings, Hudson is, it turns out, a traditional gal at heart. She loves beauty products and trading clothes with her friends. She bakes (though she won’t eat her own concoctions—she says she’s a hearty eater but doesn’t do sugar), watches Oprah and writes in a journal daily. “Years ago Oprah had this show where she said to write down three things a day that you’re thankful for and see what happens. I started doing that and couldn’t believe where it led,” Hudson says, citing short stories about sad breakups and stream-of-consciousness entries about her life as the sorts of things that now fill her pages.
Though early in her career she would chain-smoke and make blasé statements about recreational drug use, these days, she doesn’t go in for artsy pretension. To describe her recent trip to the New Museum in New York, she cobbles together a little collage on our lunch table of a used straw, a tiny ball of paper napkin, her sunglasses and the tin of desserts she has ordered to bring home for Ryder. “The art [there] is like this. And you have to stand there and say”—here, she furrows her brow—“‘I think it represents conflict.’” She gives the Goldie-clone smile, an impish grin that features teeth many a Hollywood dentist would consider too small: “It wasn’t my thing.”
Don’t confuse her breezy frocks and crusade for safer hair care with flakiness, either. As Hudson makes clear, her own and Hathaway’s characters in Bride Wars were exaggerated versions of their actual personalities. “I play the classic extrovert, and she’s the classic introvert. She sort of goes with the flow, gets a bit walked over sometimes, while I’m that got-it-all-figured-out, everything-needs-to-be-done-my-way, take-care-of-everything type. And that’s kind of how we are.”
Lynda Obst, the prolific producer who worked with Hudson on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, calls her “a real girls’ girl. She loves women, and she knows the difference between friendships and alliances.” Obst believes this has played no small part in her box-office success with such films as You, Me, and Dupree, The Skeleton Key and Fool’s Gold. “It’s the girls’ girls who are the true stars. Because female audiences can identify the actresses who aren’t, and they don’t flock to their movies.”
Indeed, Hudson, who’s prone to earnestness, quickly gets maudlin when it comes to her family and friends. “I have a supersolid family,” she says. “We have the best time together, just a blast.” She has a couple of close male friends from high school (she name-checks actor Cash Warren and NBA star Baron Davis—“Uncle Baron in our house!” she effuses) and “a real solid group of girlfriends, about six of us who are really tight. A lot of them are from when I was little, and we’re still superclose. A solid group of girls will get you through anything—believe me, I know. I feel bad for the women who don’t believe that,” she adds. She’s surprisingly sappy about other topics too—and today, love is among them. “Every girl wants a fairy-tale ending,” says Hudson. “And I believe it’s possible. Absolutely.”