On Sunday night, award-winning actress Nicole Kidman took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie, for her role as Celeste Wright in the hit HBO series Big Little Lies, which she brought to the screen with fellow nominee Reese Witherspoon. Kidman was also, unsurprisingly, one of the best dressed actresses of the night, wearing a stunning Calvin Klein by Appointment gown, paired with an elegant up do and radiant skin, courtesy of hairstylist Kylee Heath and makeup artist Angela Levin. Here, the Australian actress opens up about playing a complicated character like Celeste, how her beauty routine has changed since she turned 50, and more.
Your character in Big Little Lies is so complicated. What was it like to play someone who was in an abusive relationship?
Well, it’s very complicated because as much as she has strength, she has a lot of self-esteem issues and self-doubt, and obviously the storyline that Celeste follows is very complicated because of that, and she has a family. I’m fortunate in the sense that I have worked now for a long time in this industry, and so I know how to kind of balance myself so I can do a role like that, yet still be able to come home to my family and not be a complete wreck. I think years ago I probably would have been like that.
Why was this role important?
Celeste is strong, and she’s very smart, and she’s given up an enormous amount for her husband, which puts her in a place of feeling dependent, which I don’t think she actually enjoys. And so that [the goal] in this series, was to shine a light on domestic abuse through entertainment, opening doors and topics that are taboo a lot of times. And that was part of the appeal of the book, I think, to people, and of the series. It’s that as much as it’s kind of tied up in this entertaining, frothy exterior, that the interior of the series is very, very deep and topical.
How did you physically prepare for the film? You obviously have some scenes where you’re very exposed.
It felt weird doing that. I was lucky. I use sunscreen, because we did do a lot of running scenes, and Neutrogena did supply us on the whole film. I just love their sunscreen because it’s fast, it’s so easy to put on, and the make-up artist loves it because you can put make-up over it. So, we had the Sheer Zinc ($11, target.com), which is amazing because I’m so fair. And a lot of the times, you know, we were on a run, having to do stuff, so have to be able to take make-up off and then reapply, and all of those things.
And the Rapid Wrinkle Repair ($21,ulta.com) is so good for my skin just because at this stage of my life, I have to be able to sort of keep my skin wrinkle free and be able to play all ages. So, a lot of times I’m trying to blur the lines and what’s really good is being able to use the products, being given Neutrogena products; my make-up artist is like, "Yes, please, whatever you can give us." Shay [Woodley], Reese [Witherspoon], and I, we did all those running scenes on the beach, and even though I was wearing a cap, I have to wear sunscreen. So, that’s why the sheer zinc is so good for me, because I can apply make-up over it. And there’s an ultra-sheer SPF which is fantastic, too.
You just celebrated your 50th birthday. How are you embracing beauty at 50? What are your favorite products now?
The thing is to be healthy. Obviously, you need to use certain creams, and you need to use sunscreen, and you need to take care of yourself more. And that’s why even something that’s hydrating, because my skin tends to be dry, and my lips tend to be dry, so anything that says hydrating I’m like yes, please.
And I love the lip shine ($9, target.com), which you put it on, and it’s just moist and it’s not an enormous amount of color, which is really, really good for me, as an actor because you can just put it on and it sort of gives you that moist lip, and it didn’t, you know, rub off all over Alexander. And then the Rapid Wrinkle Regenerating Face Cream ($26,ulta.com), I put that on the night before and then I’ll just use that on the plane.
What is your best skincare tip?
Because I’m so fair, I recommend even my girls, like my little girls, they wear the sunscreen too, because one of them is dark, and one of them is fair. I’m just so religious about it. It's just how I was raised, and it’s why my skin now is, I think, far less damaged than it could have been. Because I still go to the beach, it’s not that I don’t go to the beach, and it’s not that I’m not outside.
Watch: Nicole Kidman Opens