Whether it’s championing for environmental and social justice or embarking on a new film role, SHAILENE WOODLEY takes on everything with unwavering optimism and passion. She speaks to us about the second season of Big Little Lies, the power of empathy, and what it was like to work with the legendary Meryl Streep.
At what point did you start caring about the environment?
I’ve just always loved trees. I honestly can’t get enough of them. They talk to me, I talk to them. Some people connect deeply with the souls of animals, but I feel like I deeply connect with the life form of trees. They teach me so much, just by simply being. They ask for nothing, yet, they give us air, provide us with nourishment in the form of food, and tantalize our eyes with their captivating beauty. As a child, trees gave me a purpose that was bigger than myself…and that purpose still remains today.
With everything that has been going on with the world, and all the different movements that we have, do you feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a world?
I do! I am infinitely optimistic. Look, anything other than optimism right now feeds a beast that is feeding us fear. And fear is the most immobilising and debilitating thing we have on this planet. Fear is the root of all adversity, all division and all discord.
Do you feel the need to censor the things you say or do, and does that take a toll on you as a person?
I don’t know how to censor as people will say what they want. And it will always come down to my word against theirs. I have too many things in this world to direct my life-force at than defend a position I’m passionate about. You’ll either agree with me or you won’t. And if we’re getting to the nitty gritty, democracy in its truest sense of the word requires a certain amount of healthy polarity and debate to function. As long as what I say comes from a place of compassion versus one of retaliation or ugliness, I can stand behind it. Even if it means I am wrong sometimes. We’re all just trying to do the best we can. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we make mistakes. To me, accountability and self reflection are two of the biggest and most vital tools we have for progress.
What are one or two things that you do for self-care?
Yoga! And walking, going to bed early, laughing with friends, drinking wine, blasting music, meditating, cooking. Self-care looks like a lot of different things for me. It depends on the day.
Anything interesting coming up that you would like us to know about?
I did a film last year with the director Drake Doremus. It also stars Sebastian Stan and Jamie Dornan. I am really, very excited about it. The entire thing was almost improvised!
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Editor & Stylist: Azza Arif
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