Kate Winslet Rips Back the Veil With Cynthia McFadden

I wake up this Monday morning thinking about Kate Winslet.

It isn’t often I wake up thinking about movie stars, but in this instance I find myself still mulling over a very interesting conversation with her. A good deal of the interview was broadcast Friday night on "Nightline," where our focus was on her Oscar nomination for her role in "The Reader." You can see the "Nightline" interview here, but for you, dear reader of wowOwow, I want to pass on some of my favorite parts of the conversation, which had nothing to do with Oscar and a lot to do with being a woman and a mother. A part of the interview that was NOT broadcast.

First impression: Winslet is a bit nervous. Reserved. She is very pale, very beautiful and very thin. She is smaller than she seems on film. She seems tense. But only moments into our conversation that changes, she brightens, engages and talks in a chatty, charming way about the movies and her life. She tells me she will finish a full round of interviews in L.A. and fly home to New York overnight so she can take her two kids to school. Love that.

She tells me she is fed up with how our celebrity culture preys on women’s insecurities and self-criticisms; how worried she is for her own eight-year-old daughter growing up in our weight- and looks-obsessed world. So here it is, just as she said it: Kate Winslet, unleashed.

I think the obsession with celebrity feeds into this exact thing that is really a problem, and it’s like an epidemic, I feel, for young women. They look at all of us, myself included, on these magazine covers and they think, my God, how does she get skin like that? And I can tell you I have so many blemishes under this makeup that have been so fabulously covered. I promise you. I promise you. I mean, it’s impossible to look like rubbish. I mean with Steven Meisel, with the Vanity Fair shoot. He lights for six hours. No one can look bad when you’ve been lit for six hours. And it’s a real art that they do, these photographers do, and you just kind of fill the frame.

I did realize a few years ago that no one actually talks about this retouching thing. It’s like a secret or something. I’m damned if it’s going to be a secret anymore. I really want these young women to know WE DON’T LOOK LIKE THIS. It’s not — it’s an idea of perfection that is not — it’s not there. It doesn’t — stop reaching for it, because there is nothing there when you get there, I’m telling you.

You know, it’s about all of the hair, the makeup, the lights and all of those things. And there is retouching, you know? And I think it does feed into this sort of weight-obsessed culture that I think we live in. It’s just crazy-making. It’s crazy-making, terrible.

I’m applauding right now, and I suspect you are as well. Well said, Kate. And good luck with Oscar.

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