She's young, beautiful, rich, sucessful - and she gets to kiss dreamy
co-star David Schwimmer. Yet, despite her fame, fabulous hair and
millions of fans, Jennifer Aniston still feels "pretty insecure", as she
reveals to Cosmo.
Jennifer Aniston looks like the woman who got everything she wanted, when
she wanted it. But in fact, her life is a classic tale of determination
and angst. She grew up in New York city. Her parents - mother Nancy, an
ex-model, and father John, a Greek/US actor, divorced when she was nine.
For Jennifer, the emotional aftershocks rippled on for years.
She escaped reality by dreaming of an acting career. "Jennifer was the
queen of make-believe", recalls her half brother John. "She was always
walking her Barbie dolls through scenes." She attended the local drama
school and, after graduating from New York's High School for the
Performing Arts (where Fame was set), she waited tables and scraped a few
minor acting parts off-Broadway.
But the transition from zero to hero was a struggle. When she moved to
LA, Hollywood hardly fell over itself to welcome this voluptuous Greek
girl (real name Anistonopolous) into the fold, and she was forced to work
in telesales to support her occasional bit parts on dud TV shows.
The turnaround in her career was prompted by a pre-Friends audition where
she had to wear a leotard and tights. "A friend suggested I might want
to lose a few pounds and I'd look a million times better."
She lost the audition, but the experience booted her into action. She
employed the services of a personal trainer, who bullied her into
stunning shape. Two stone lighter, she went for the Friends audition and
won the part of Rachel, although she was originally up for the role of
Monica, which went to her pal Courtney Cox. According to Aniston, Cox is
as neat in real life as she is on screen. "Courtney's a neat freak. And
thank God, because my dressing room would be a mess if it wasn't for
her," she says.
But the scale of her success has surprised even her - the fuss over her
hairdo, the advertising contracts, the film roles, the paparazzi. She
still can't believe she's made it. "For so long I was a waitress, acting
on the side. Now, when I drive onto the Friends lot, there's a moment of
total excitement," she says, eyes sparkling.
And, incredibly, she still lacks faith in her acting ability. She
admits, "I'm confident about some things, but I'm not confident about my
work. I used to dread watching myself."
Whatever she thinks, the offers keep coming. This summer, she had to
slot between work commitments a bike trip through Provence with her
boyfriend, actor Tate Donovan. "It was great having a chance to clear the
brain," says the 28 year old actress of cycling 30 to 50 miles a day.
You get the feeling that she isn't Tinsletown's biggest party queen.
Sure enough, she says, "I really am a homebody. I just potter around my
house, turn on the computer and try to return e-mails." The high life or
Now, however, it's back to the grindstone to promote her latest film,
Picture Perfect (co-starring Kevin Bacon and due out in the UK early next
year), while we set the video for the current series of Friends.
Jennifer, we adore you, we envy you, we just can't get enough of you.
Cosmo Magazine: Is David Schimmer a good kisser Jennifer: He's awful!!! (Laughs). No, he's a great kisser. C: Are the Friends cast members really friends? J: Absolutely. I was friends with Matthew Perry (Chandler) before the show. We all clicked within days of shooting the pilot. C: Of the three men on the show, who would you fall for in real life? J: I've gone for each type: the rough guy; the nerdy, sweet, lovable guy; and the slick guy. I don't really have a type. Men in general are a good thing. C: What qualities do you like most in a man? J: Kindness, chivalry and a good sense of humour. C: Do you and Rachel have a lot in common? J: I love clothes! That's about it. C: Name something people would be surprised to know about you. J: I'm pretty insecure. Oh, and I have very curly hair. C: Do the paparazzi ever get to you? J: It's strange with these videographers now - they're like this silent red eye. I've seen footage of me where I've thought, "Where did they come up with that? Yuk!" C: How difficult is it to do love scenes? J: It's totally weird. You're introduced to someone - "Hi, how are you? Now lets get into bed and make love to each other" - and 100 people are watching! But it has to be okay, because it's the job. C: Would you ever do a nude scene? J: I'm not opposed to it, if it's necessary. Old movies used to leave so much to the imagination. It was so romantic. C: What's the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you? J: I was shooting the show one night and I came into my room in the middle of a scene and there was a little Australian sheep dog puppy with a big red bow. My little Enzo. He's a good boy. He was a Valentine's gift from Tate. C: Where did you and Tate meet? J: We met at a bar, funnily enough. A friend of ours set us up. C: Is it difficult dating another actor? J: No, it's really easy. We help and support each other. There's no competition or jealousy. Tate understands what I'm going through and his patience is the greater. He's such a great actor. It's great to be so impressed with your partner. C: Do you and Tate practise lines together? J: There are definitely times when we do that. I don't feel nervous in front of him at all. And I just love that I'm dating a god. C: Do you want children? J: Yes, absolutely. I've always said I'd like about three. I love everything about them. I want to be a young mom too. I'm not ready now, but in a couple of years... C: Why does your relationship with Tate work? J: Communication. Total honesty - neither of us had explored that to the extent we have in this relationship. And respect. C: How did your parents split affect you? J: It was tough. Your self-esteem and everything is formed by your parents and, if that's not so stable, you're going to be a bit off-kilter. I started looking into all that in my early twenties, and I'm realising I didn't do too well. It didn't feel great. C: What did you want to be when you were growing up? J: A psychiatrist. I was always the one people would drag to one side and say "I've got to talk to you!". C: Have you ever lived a Friends-like lifestyle? J: Absolutely. We (a group of aspiring actors) were living in California. We hung out together and we were very incestuous, very concerned about each other. I had to move away - you get to a point where you don't want everyone knowing every moment of your life. C: Who do you admire? J: My grandmother. She's a very strong woman who led a very difficult life. She came from Greece with all these children, made a beautiful home and raised an amazing family. C: What did you like about Kate, your ad executive character in Picture Perfect? J: She's a good girl who just went, "Fuck it, I'm going to do something crazy". She takes some heavy chances and acts almost male in terms of doing something a little sly to get what she wants. C: Do you prefer working on TV or films? J: They're so different. Working on a sitcom is the more familiar. The schedule is a lot easier, although the work isn't necessarily easier. Films are more of a challenge - your focus is much more intense. You're tracking your character constantly, because you shoot out of sequence, as opposed to TV, where you work sort of like a play, from beginning to end. I love both. C: Who do you most want to work with? J: There are so many people. I would love to work with Diane Keaton. I think she's just wonderful. And Judy Davis, Tom Hanks and Scott Hicks, the director of Shine. C: How has fame affected your personal relationships? J: People assume you're different, so they behave differently. I feel fustrated a lot, not having the time to connect with people in my life that mean a lot to me. I just do the best I can. C: What's your biggest fear? J: Becoming wrapped up in myself and unconsious, or not sensitive, to others. C: Do you have any regrets? J: I wish I'd been better as a teenager to my mom. But I'm kind of grateful for everything difficult that happened - it creates drive. C: Do you collect anything? J: I love antiques. My mom was a big antiques freak, and I love making something like an old tub into a flower holder. C: How do you relax? J: Go away, usually. I love to take drives, have a massage, go to the hot springs, get in the sun, be with friends or just relax at home. C: Do you ever stop and think, "Wow, is this really my life?" J: Mmm-hmm. Sometimes I feel as if I still have so much further to go to be a better actor. You almost want to wait and save fame until you're better.