Jennifer Aniston says she's very klutzy, which didn't help in her role as a beauty queen. She talks to Michele Manelis.

NZ Herald: Your new movie, Dumplin', deals with the idea of judging others, in this case within the realm of the beauty pageant world. What do hope audiences take away from this film?

Jennifer Aniston:

For me, the take away of this film is how we have these pre-conceived judgments of people that we don't know. It's a projection of our own fear that we're not enough and that's why this movie is so special because it's about stripping away those pre-conceived notions. It's also about the idea of what beauty is and what it means to us.


You've been judged a lot in your life, both positively and negatively. At what stage did you stop listening to other people's judgments?

Probably the first time it didn't feel good. And the thing is, sometimes you can't dodge those bullets. You hear them but it's also really understanding who you are and knowing exactly what you stand for that really helps because then everything else that you hear will just fall by the wayside because it's not based in any kind of truth that speaks to you.

You play a former beauty queen and you've been a beauty icon in your own life for many years. What is your relationship to beauty now compared to when we first got to know you on Friends?

It goes in waves what that word means to you, but I have to say, when you say I'm a beauty icon, I kind of chuckle inside because I've never sort of thought of myself that way. I didn't grow up being perceived that way and I think it really has to do with how you feel about yourself and what that means. I've had moments where I felt horrible and I didn't feel good enough or pretty enough or anything enough and you just kind of have to go through those periods of time.

Did you go through a pageant phase?

Me? No!

Not as a kid?

No. I could barely walk a straight line! I was a very klutzy, not-so-graceful kid.


When Friends comes on TV do you watch it?

Yeah, I actually love watching it. It makes me happy. I don't know how long I stay watching an episode but when I do, because usually I have actually forgotten what happens so for me I'm sort of like, "And then what happens?" It's a wonderful thing to have been a part of and we all still find a great deal of joy when we get to see it.

Would you do a sequel?

I've always said that I'm open to anything. I would not turn my nose up ever at being able to be with those five people again.

You've been famous for many years now. Is it something you get used to? You seem to have struggled with it.

I don't love being famous. I don't love the negativity that comes along with it, that's what I don't love. I don't love the judgments. I also feel that negativity has grown and judgment has grown and I don't know if that's the Internet. I don't know if it's those faceless people being able to have a platform where they can hide and just write whatever unhappiness they're feeling inside themselves and just throw it out there into the ethers hoping that it'll relieve them of how they feel. I'm sure it doesn't work that way. I think that kind of negativity grows like a cancer.

What are you watching on TV these days?

Well, The Crown I love, Ozark is so good. I tried to get into Handmaid's Tale but it's really hard to watch. It's too much.

You've moved into work behind the camera in the last few years. Is that because you're looking for more challenges?

As a young kid growing up dreaming of becoming an actress and achieving my dream, then being fortunate enough to continue working and living my dream of being an actress, I feel that was rare. Often finding true success in that field takes a lot of work to sustain and to continue to be good at it and to be better over time and to still be excited and to still feel creatively excited is amazing. Eventually I started to realise that just being an actress for hire is not as interesting to me now. I like to explore the world behind the scenes and I would love to explore behind the camera. I would love to explore and continue to feed myself and grow and that's something that I love and I find extremely exciting, fulfilling.

In a few words, what's it like to be Jennifer Aniston?

It's awesome!

• Dumplin' is available to stream on Netflix now.