An Interview with Jennifer Lawrence: The Hollywood Starlet on Success, the Importance of Privacy, and Life without Acting

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The impossibly charming Jennifer Lawrence, 24, is in Los Angeles promoting the next movie in The Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay Part 1, in which she reprises her iconic character, Katniss Everdeen, based on the best-selling novels.

Lawrence has been in the press again of late, this time linked to Chris Martin. Having been surrounded by a cloud of negative press over the past month, she reflects on the importance of privacy and of finding something other than acting to build her life around.

In this installment of The Hunger Games, Katniss has changed quite a bit, hasn’t she?
Well, she’s woken up in District 13 and she has no idea where she is. Her home is gone and Peeta is gone, so she kind of wakes up in a very desperate situation. And then she meets this new president who has the same ideals as her, so she should be on board, but at the same time she doesn’t really trust her and doesn’t know why. I don’t know if I am supposed to say that [Laughs].

Are you relieved now that the movie is done?
No. It doesn’t feel like it’s finished. Maybe it’s because I still see Josh (Hutcherson) and Liam (Hemsworth) every day, but no, I love doing these movies and I am really sad to not have them to go back to.

How have you dealt with maintaining your privacy since becoming so successful?
I don’t really leave my house a lot to be honest. Nobody knows where I live right now. If I go get my own groceries, somebody might follow me back, and that whole thing starts, so I don’t really leave the house. I have friends who come to me or I will go to a friend’s house, but the only way to keep your privacy is to really just stay as private as you can, be pretty much under house arrest.

Does it make you anxious? Is it always something you have to think about?
It comes in waves. Sometimes when a movie is about to come out and it’s really, really bad, I feel like I can’t live like this and I just need to run away to Africa or Australia or something. And then it goes away again. When it’s on, it’s very hard to kind of see the other end of it, because this is my job and this is always going to be my job. Every job has a down side, and people’s jobs keep them up at night, the same as mine.

What are the upsides?
A lot of them. I couldn’t do anything else and that’s what keeps me sane, and I would not be happy if I weren’t doing this. I have to do it, so whatever bad things come with that were just meant to be, because I can’t not be acting.

Are you nervous that the wave of success you’re on might end?
No. Not really. I’m okay with just kind of going back to what I was before I signed onto these movies, more indie, and I’m okay with disappearing if that’s what the people want.

Have you had a chance to disappear a little bit this year?
A little bit. A tiny bit.

What do you like to do when you’re disappearing – not working on anything?
Well that’s the problem. I have to find a life that’s not work, because I always get stuck in this place, so I wake up and I don’t have anywhere to go, I don’t have anything to do and I am like, “This is terrible. I could work.” And then I sign onto another movie and I go, “I am so tired.” So I am trying to stop and just find a life that’s not work. But I suck at everything. I’m not good at anything else.

Did you take a deliberate step back from the public eye after you won the Oscar?
During the season, the awards season, there is nothing you can do about the fact that you have to be everywhere. That’s how it is. There are just certain things you can control and certain things that you can’t, so I just took off to Hawaii and got out of there.

How do you sort of de-stress in your daily life?
Different things. Today I am going to exercise when I get home and that will make me feel better, because I have been sitting all day, so that will maybe help me relax. Only I never want to be one of those people who say, “Oh my God, I just don’t feel good until I have worked out.” I feel great when I don’t work out.

But what do you do when you work out?
I do some cardio, some yoga, weights, and stuff. I am just trying to mix all of it together. Watching TV is also a good way to relax. I have been binging on really bad reality TV shows.

Which ones?
I love The Real Housewives, but I don’t want to call out the cities that I do like, because they are so nasty [Laughs]. But yeah, I love the Housewives, I love Intervention, and I’m obsessed with Shark Tank.

What about the Kardashians? Are you keeping up?
I am keeping up. I am always keeping up. I know what’s going on.

There was a report in The Wall Street Journal about the biggest stars of last year and, in terms of earnings, you were second only to Sandra Bullock. What is it like knowing that that’s the level you are at now?
It’s nice; it feels good. But also at the same time, it doesn’t feel like anything. I don’t think you can ever compute those kinds of numbers. My dad just sent me a text message a few days ago, yelling at me for spending USD 600 dollars on a shirt. And I was like, I know. So in a weird way, nothing has changed.

Do you feel a responsibility to give back more?
Well yeah, I absolutely do have to give back. When I saw those numbers, I was like, “What am I actually going to do with this money to make it count?”

Have you bought anything really extravagant?
I haven’t really, because I haven’t bought a house or a car, and I still haven’t really spent that much money on clothes or anything like that. I spend money on things like security or flying private to some places so that nobody finds out that I am there.

Have you refrained from buying a house because you have to keep moving from place to place, address to address, just for privacy’s sake?
Yeah, I have to move. I just haven’t really felt mature enough to own property, so I just keep renting. It is nice, because if anyone finds out where I live, I can just move, but I do feel like I need to get a home. Maybe not.

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