Jamie Lee Curtis: Author, Actor, Activist


Words:
Chelsea Sonksen

Photography:
Michelle Mishina

Jamie Lee Curtis is a household name across America. While many of us know her prowess as an actor, starring in films such as Halloween and Freaky Friday, the truth is that Jamie is also a talented writer and photographer. Jamie told us she didn’t specifically plan any of it. For her, development is a creative, emotional, spiritual process and, she says, “I just have to stay out of the way and receive it.”

Take her start as an author for example. Although she never intended to write a book, one day her daughter, who was four at the time, began telling the story of her past—from the time she was a baby—and Jamie found the idea of a child’s memoir so intriguing, that she started writing a list of things a child might remember. When she finished and found that tears were rolling down her face, she realized it was a book. HarperCollins published the story, When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir Of Her Youth, in 1993, launching a new venture for Jamie.

Today Jamie is starring in Fox’s satirical horror series Scream Queens, serving as a vocal advocate for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, blogging for The Huffington Post, publishing her eleventh children’s book, and still finding time to golf, meditate, and (literally) smell the roses.

What is the inspiration behind your career path?

I’ve never really followed a career path. Everything has just flowed from one thing to another. For example, I went to college, barely, and while I was home for Christmas break I ran into an old tennis teacher, who was managing actresses at the time. He suggested I audition for the part of Nancy Drew. I didn't get it, but I ended up landing a seven-year contract with Universal Studios. So I quit college and became an actress. The same occurred with writing books: I didn't plan to write a book, but one day I wrote one. I've just learned to trust the natural evolution of things and try not to force anything.

What, for you, is an indicator of success? Do you feel successful?

I am now an old lady—not an ancient lady—but an old lady. I feel it physically, but I also feel it in a sense of having dotted a lot of i's and crossed a lot of t's. I always wanted an instant life; I wanted a house that was filled with objet d'art. But I've learned that you can't have a house filled with objet d'art unless you've collected them over the course of a lifetime. It is the accumulation of life lessons, sights, sounds, and smells that ultimately add up to some feeling of satisfaction, which I guess you could equate with success.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

Most people think I am very confident, brassy, and able to speak my mind. That is all an act. Only in the last few years have I learned what my true voice is and how to express it. The rest is bravado, which has obviously served me well but hasn't satisfied me at all. I'm quiet; I read, and I actually like solitude.

What was your professional highlight of the past year, and why was it particularly meaningful for you?

On September 20th, my book about immigration, This Is Me: The Story Of Who We Are And Where We Came From, debuted the same day as my second season of Scream Queens aired. That combination of events was very exciting for me.