A jeans and a T-shirt girl at heart, unlike many of today’s leading ladies, it is easy to admire Jennifer Connelly. She has a simple and elegant style, regardless of the high-end price tags she reserves for the red carpet. Her hair is always simple, her makeup is no-fuss and to her, heels are something that are for events only, “…high heels aren’t practical for the way I spend my day.”
Jennifer could never be accused of being too mainstream and this is reflected in her choice of roles and in her choice of red carpet fashions.
“I try to stay focused on my life and do try not to be brought into the Hollywood fantasy.”
Jennifer was born in 1970 in the Catskill Mountains New York, but grew up in Brooklyn Heights. After a family friend recommended that she model, Jennifer began appearing in magazines and television commercials before landing her first screen role in Once Upon A Time in America (1984). It was her role in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986) that first drew her to my attention. I spent a lot of time pretending to be her character Sarah, acting out the role in my backyard. I was 13 and a little obsessed I think.
Inventing the Abbotts (1997), with then lovers Liv Tyler and Joaquin Phoenix, was also a favourite of mine, but it was playing a heroin addict in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (2000) that Connelly finally established herself as a serious dramatic actress.
“I began working when I hadn’t yet come into my own, when I was this walking puppet. Some of the movies I did. . . I look back and cringe. For better or for worse, I feel responsible now. In Requiem for a Dream, I’m a heroin addict, and I thought it was being made for a reason–it wasn’t about shock value. It has something to say about hunger and a void.”
In Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001), Connelly played the role of Alicia Nash, the long-suffering wife of brilliant but schizophrenic mathematician John Forbes Nash (played by Russell Crowe), which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
“It was a huge honor… and it was for a film which I had a wonderful time making. Winning an award for it was like icing on the cake for such a lovely experience.” – Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer says that most of her clothes come from events she has attended, wardrobes from films, items people have given her. That’s not to say she doesn’t have an appreciation for nice clothing.
“I fantasize about how I would dress if I actually took the time to go shopping. But I’d rather spend those two hours doing yoga or hanging out with my kids.”
I always love Jennifer’s red carpet choices. She does work with a stylist for big events like premieres and sometimes works directly with the designers. She is daring with her selection of statement pieces from her favourite Balenciaga, to Lanvin and Rochas, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy – making the clothes her own, rather than looking like a clothes horse. On dressing for the red carpet she has said; “I used to find it really uncomfortable. I’d get very uptight about it. I don’t really anymore. I think that’s about getting older. Or being more comfortable in my own skin. It’s horrible, feeling self-conscious, but it’s become easier just being with Paul at things; we find a way to make it fun.” Elle magazine, November 2007.
She is self-deprecating and I would guess an extremely low-maintenance person because she once trekked through Tibet for three weeks and she seems much more at home hanging out at the park with her kids and jogging around her Brooklyn neighbourhood.
I really admire her laid-back attitude toward dressing. In an interview with Glamour magazine in 2005, Connelly said that growing up “I just wasn’t very girly. I didn’t even wear lip gloss until I was in my twenties!” Boy I know what she means because I have to remind myself to re-apply my lipgloss throughout the day. At my own wedding I remember making only one trip to the bathroom to check my hair and make-up!
When she is not working, promoting a film or attending a premiere, Jennifer can be found wearing jeans and a t-shirt (my favourite look of all time) and hanging out with husband Paul Bettany and her sons Kai and Stellan in her Brooklyn neighbourhood. She likes to run (which would account for her slip of a figure and gorgeous legs) and having recently discovered the joys of running myself, it is another thing that I have enjoyed learning about her.
I just wish that I had the Balenciaga and Givenchy gowns to choose from when I had a red carpet affair to attend…
If I ever had one to attend that is!