Over the years, I’ve really grown to like and appreciate Anne Hathaway for who she is: a talented nerd who tries. “Trying” is rarely seen as a cool thing in our insouciant culture, but Anne has never really given up trying, however uncool, however earnest, however hated she’s become. The “Hathahate” which spread like wildfire several years ago – when she went way overboard campaigning for an Oscar for Les Miserables – has left her a bit scared and gun-shy. As it turns out, she has very specific rules for how she puts herself out there at this point. Anne detailed those rules in the latest issue of Town & Country, a magazine with perhaps the best-ever cover line in the history of magazine covers: “Mommy, Are We Rich?” Anyway, you can read the full T&C piece here. Some highlights:
Anne doesn’t post anything on social media herself: She creates the content, as it were, for her 12.8 million Instagram followers, but she sends her pictures and captions—which are sometimes lengthy—to someone else. That person holds on to them, giving Hathaway at least an hour to deliberate, and then sends posts back for final approval. “That way I look at it with fresh eyes,” the actress says. “Because once it’s out there, it’s out there.”
How she does use social media: She can use social media as a direct way to say what she wants when she wants. She doesn’t use Instagram to scream her truth; she uses it sparingly, to set her truth straight. She announced her pregnancy in a glowing bikini beach shot, preempting the paparazzi; when she needed to gain weight for a role, she shared a video of herself in the gym to head off the tabloids. “Having the ability to do something on my own terms has been good for me. “It has allowed me to calm down and communicate in a way that’s more clear.”
She sets a time limit to browsing on Instagram too: She uses her iPhone’s screen time feature to limit her Instagram sessions to 15 minutes. That’s a warmup for most of us. For Hathaway it’s enough. “It’s allowing me to focus my intentions.”
She understands that everything is finite: “It’s all temporary—like, all of it. I used to not understand that, and it was a lot harder. A part of me just has to be aware that whatever is going on, however hard it is, whatever it’s asking of me, I’m incredibly lucky to be the one who’s being asked.”
Working with so many women on Ocean’s 8: “We were there for each other, and we were supportive. Why have I always been told that the opposite would happen?” she says. She cites famous friends, like Chastain and Emily Blunt, as women she admires and draws strength from. “You just believe that more is possible,” she says of having them in her life. “You’re a little bit braver and you want to dig a little bit deeper, you know?”
Her political work: She has gone through an “information-gathering stage” in recent years, she says, “because I realized the anger was going to run out and it was just going to leave me exhausted and very possibly without actually having accomplished anything.” She focuses now on a few causes, including intersectionality and anti-racism efforts. “A huge part of doing the work, particularly as a white woman, is listening and hearing and valuing the voices of people whose voices are not allowed to be raised up as much as yours.”
Her advice for the stressed-out: “Set a timer on your phone, have a candle nearby, and write it all down,” she says, recommending that for 12 minutes you release your troubles, your worries, onto the page. “You spew it all out. You do not read i. The timer goes off, you tear it out of the book, and you light it on fire. Literally on fire. All of this energy, this angst, this rage—everything is smoke.”
A few thoughts… I loved her in Ocean’s 8 and I thought she stole the whole movie. She’s doing this interview to promote Serenity, which I also want to see because I love a good film noir. As for what she says about social media and rage and lighting it all on fire… I think if that’s the way she has to do it, God bless. It sounds like a pain in the ass to have a social media director (or perhaps just a publicist or assistant) vet all of your content, but then again, Anne has never had to apologize for mouthing off at the wrong moment. Personally, I like to browse Instagram for a few minutes, but my real social media addiction is Twitter. Last thing: I genuinely believe that Anne is a white woman committed to listening and learning. Again, she hasn’t made some of the mistakes that someone like Jessica Chastain has made on social media.
Covers courtesy of Town & Country.