rich, she's pretty and she's going out with Brad Pitt. No wonder Jennifer
Aniston is so happy. So what are the secrets of her success? Susan Korones
Gifford finds out...
IT'S A SUNNY SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND
THE SHOPPERS ARE SHOULDER TO shoulder in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood.
"Thank you," says Aniston, 29, whose fame has flowered with appealing roles in movies such as She's The One, Picture Perfect and The Object Of My Affection. If Aniston is the only one of the three Friends stars a fan has approached, it's probably because she's just so, well, approachable. "The main thing is not to become a bitch," she says. "Your biggest fear is becoming that, you know?"
Yes, Aniston is pretty, but she's
not drop dead gorgeous. Yes, she peeled off; l2kgs a few years back and
has a stomach so flat it begs to be bared, but if we lost a few kilos and
worked out really hard for six months, getting her figure certainly wouldn't
be out of the question. The point is, Aniston's attractive and smart, but
not so attractive and smart that we can't identify with her. As her stylist,
Phillip Bloch, says, It's not like she has the biggest breasts, but she
has beautiful breasts. She's not the most beautiful, but she's really pretty.
She's not the most of anything, but all of it just works." But it's more
than that. Aniston
Born in California, Aniston moved
with her family to Athens at the age of five (her grandparents were Greek)
where her father enrolled in medical school. A year later, his American
agent rang with the DOOL role and the family moved to New York. Aniston
was enrolled in the Rudolf Steiner School, which, ironically, discourages
children from watching television and movies.; Nevertheless, she managed
But the divorce was "like a slap
in the face for her", says 39-year-old Melick, now an assistant director
in Los Angeles. Aniston coped by becoming a bit of a troublemaker, clowning
around until both parents were called to the school. "I figured if I was
bad enough, both my parents would have to come to the principal's office.
It was me bringing them back together again." In fact, if the acting thing
hadn't worked out, she says, she might have pursued psychology, which she
But, of course, the acting did work out, although not right away, and not without the objections of her father, who explained to American People magazine, "It's not the kind of business anybody would wish on their child." Nonetheless, after graduating from New York's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (the Fame school) Aniston took the same route as many aspiring actors - she became a waitress. "I was having a good time," she told Mademoiselle magazine. "I was pretty sure I was going to be a professional waitress who just auditioned on the side. Because I couldn't get hired. Not even for a commercial. For 10 years."
In 1990, she moved to LA, picking up small roles in unsuccessful sitcoms such as Ferris Bueller and The Edge, and trying to flog time-share apartments over the phone ("I wasn't very good - I didn't like disturbing people"). Then, three hours after a 1994 audition, she learned she'd landed the part of a spoiled suburban twenty something in a pilot for a new television show to be called Friends Like Us. Like the name of the show, Aniston's life would change for good.
It takes some cool, clear thinking - and feeling - to ride the tidal wave of fame that has washed over her since that audition. Herewith, the rules for her success as an actress and a woman: Aniston claims to have had only three serious relationships in her life (including one with Ferris Bueller co-star Charlie Schlatter) and they tend to be long-term and low profile - at least by Hollywood standards. Breaking up is always tough, but her rift with fellow actor Tate Donovan (he was Hercules in the animated Disney film, leading to many jokes from Aniston about dating a Greek god) may have been especially hard. The two had heen together for two-and-a-half years and were clearly close to marriage. They'd exchanged Irish Claddagh rings on their first anniversary (when worn with the heart pointed in, they traditionally symbolise a taken heart) and Donovan even mentioned the 'M" word in People magazine last year. He said, 'I definitely want to get married; she definitely wants to get married. There are no proposals or anything, not yet, but we definitely think about it." Then, in March 1998, the rings were gone and the relationship was over.
One month later, Aniston was consoling
herself in the arms of Brad Pitt and championing the cause of "girls next
door" everywhere by proving that you don't have to be as beautiful as Gwyneth
Paltrow to bag the world's sexiest man. First photographed cuddling at
Whatever the reason for the split with Donovan, Aniston is left with one more ex-lover to stay friends with. It's a kind of specialty of hers: three years ago, after a huddling romance with Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz was crushed by too much publicity too soon, it wasn't long before she was calling him "a wonderful friend". She says, "You have to really want to remain friends - have a kind break-up,be an adult, make the effort and let time pass before the friendship can re-ignite."
Aniston calls herself a "one outfit kind of girl" but that's not how the professionals who help style her see it. Phillip Bloch describes her as "always sexy, even in overalls and a tank top", and says she's also fashion fearless. True, her daytime style is casual - more often than not a T-shirt and cut-off jeans - but at night, the glamour queen emerges.
Bloch has dressed her in everything from classic Ralph Lauren to a Vivienne Tam dress so sheer most women wouldn't dare leave the dressing-room. On that occasion, Bloch offered matching underwear, which Aniston declined. "She's like, 'No, that's fine, I'll just put a G-string on,"' he says.She's also starting to show the confidence that comes with having had a good body for a long time - by not showing it.
When she moved to Hollywood, Aniston
was an unemployed actor who hung out with other unemployed actors in their
early 20s, watching too much TV and eating junk food. Blissfully unaware
that her metabolism wasn't a teenager's anymore, she quickly stacked on
l2kgs. Told to come to an audition in a leotard and tights, she joked to
her agent, "Well, this should blow it for me." Her agent then proceeded
to deliver some straight talk about her ample curves and let her know that
This one took a while. First, Aniston
had to pass through a too- much-make-up phase encouraged by her model mum.
"She would say, 'Jennifer, before you go up to the market, would you please
DON'T SETTLE FOR ONE HAIRSTYLE WHEN
FIVE (OR EVEN MORE) WILL DO Not since the 70's and Farah Fawcett-Majors
has an actress been as well known for her hairstyle as her talent. For
a couple of years, girls the world over were asking their stylists for
"the Rachel cut" - the wispy shag she made famous during her second season
with Friends. But Jennifer has always been into experimentation. The history
of her naturally curly hair is long, varied and interesting.
After their second season, the cast
of Friends took some heat for demanding big, big raises. The majority of
the cast was making around US$35,000 an episode and, since the show was
raking in big bucks for TV station NBC, they asked for $100,000 an episode.
(The cast of NBC's Seinfeld was already commanding $125,000 an episode,
with Jerry making between $300,000 and $400,000 a show.) While they didn't
Friend may continue well into the next millennium, but Aniston also has three movies at different points in the pipeline, including Office Space, the first live-action film effort from King Of The Hill and Beavis And Butt-head creator Mike Judge, which will be released at the end of the year. After that, she would love to work with "Diane Keaton, Judy Davis, Tom Hanks and Scott Hicks, the director of Shine".She's also still determined to build a strong relationship - children may be a big part of her motivation. "I love everything about kids - their backs, necks, smell, all their fits. I've always said I'd like about three. I want to be a young mother, too.
With Brad? Perhaps - the rumor is
they're looking to buy a house together. We'll have to wait and see.