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Incredible Women. Incredible Fashion. Every Day.

Porter
Cover story

Woman On Top

With

Kim Basinger

From small-town model to Oscar-winning actress via some of Hollywood’s most memorable roles, actress KIM BASINGER calls her life a “wonderland story”. The star of upcoming film The Nice Guys tells SANJIV BHATTACHARYA about fear, fantasies and Fifty Shades

Photography David BellemereStyling Alison Edmond
Cover Stories
Cardigan Michael Kors Collection; shirt Vetements; hat Maison Michel

LESS IS MORE: “About five months ago, I ran into Adrian Lyne director of seminal erotic drama 9½ Weeks on the street in Beverly Hills. I looked at him and said, ‘It changed my life.’ And he said, ‘Me too.’ That’s all that was said. He got into his car, I got into mine. Isn’t that beautiful?”

DON’T JUDGE A CONTROVERSIAL BOOK BY ITS COVER: “I’m sure there are people who associate me with Fifty Shades Darker because I starred in 9½ Weeks. But the only reason I accepted the role of Christian Grey’s ex-lover, Elena Lincoln in Fifty Shades was because my daughter, Ireland, 20, insisted. She wasn’t enthralled with the first movie, but she knew the books. She said, ‘You have to do it, Mom, it’s really powerful for women. Your character is about a woman’s power.’ At first I thought, ‘Eww, I can’t do that dominatrix stuff, it’s not me.’ But it’s not like that. My character’s strength is more emotional and mental – she shows Christian all his moves.”

“I accepted the role in Fifty Shades Darker because of my daughter. At first I thought, ‘I can’t do that dominatrix stuff’”

ALL WOMEN SHOULD COME INTO THEIR POWER: “My character Elena is the woman who came into her power early. I know this character: I don’t have to read the books, I feel her. I’d love to see every woman come into their power. If I could equate her to anyone, in terms of the adversities she’s had to overcome, it would be Coco Chanel – she faced challenges growing up and became one of the greatest designers who will ever live. That’s what Elena is like: she doesn’t have to be crass or petty, she’s just very direct.”

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HOLLYWOOD IS A VERY COMPLICATED PLACE: “It would be great if we could have full equality, for all races and genders – not just in Hollywood, everywhere – but I don’t think we’ll get there. People think of Hollywood as this very liberal place, but if you look at the underbelly, the discoveries you’ll make are mind-boggling. Am I going to go stand outside Paramount Studios with a sign? No. There are wonderful people in Hollywood.”

RYAN GOSLING REALLY IS THE WHOLE PACKAGE: “Ryan Gosling, my co-star in The Nice Guys is one of the coolest, most polite men that I’ve ever dealt with, in movies or otherwise. He’s natural and kind and sweet. When I first met him, I was like, ‘Is this guy for real?’ And yes, he’s absolutely as good looking and charming as everyone thinks he is.”

CHOOSE YOUR PATH WISELY: “There were times I could have chosen my movies better. I did this film, The Marrying Man, where I met my eventual now-ex husband, Alec Baldwin, but I was teeter-tottering because I had also been offered Sleeping with the Enemy which eventually starred Julia Roberts. Isn’t it funny that I turned down Sleeping with the Enemy and then I went on to sleep with the enemy! Alec and I are cool now, though. Life goes on.”

FILL CHILDHOOD WITH LOVE AND LIGHT: “Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it. And ours was very public and nasty. So I brought up Ireland in a very unconventional way. I just wanted her to be free. If she wanted to have her friends over and write over the walls with pen, that was fine. I wanted her childhood to be full of love and light and animals and friends.”

Coat Theory; T-shirt James Perse; pants The Row; sneakers Eytys

“Divorce is hard. My divorce from Alec Baldwin was very public and nasty. We’re cool now, though”

Shirt dress Vetements
Coat and pants The Row; top James Perse; sneakers Eytys

“My taste in men has changed over the years. As a sexual creature, I’ve been attracted to a lot of different types”

Shirt Barbara Casasola; pants Alexander McQueen; shoes Gucci; watch Larsson & Jennings; ring Charlotte Chesnais

DON’T BE ATTRACTED TO FANTASY MEN: “I think it’s possible to date someone when you’re 20 and end up with them when you’re 55. Anything is possible. But my taste in men has changed a lot over the years. When you’re young you’re attracted to the ‘bad boy’, only to find out that they’re actually just bullies or insecure – you’re attracted to fantasies. Now, I’m more reality-based. As a sexual creature, I’ve been attracted to a lot of different types, people that others have thought were unattractive. But showing kindness and humor are the most important things to me now. If you have those qualities then I think that makes you attractive.”

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND HOURS IN THE BATHROOM: “I’m not a red-carpet girl, I’m not a fashionista at all – I’m not feminine enough! I love dressing men; I love men. If I were a fashion designer, I’d design men’s clothes. But as for me? I’m just not very high maintenance. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I shower…”

TODAY’S MEDIA INDUSTRY IS OUT OF HAND: “Social media has changed everything. There was more mystery before, but now, people just show their butts all over the place. I’ve never been one to share much of my life. It’s a shame how out of hand this industry has become, and where the value system has gone.”

IT’S NATURAL TO DRIFT APART: “Russell Crowe and I never stayed in touch after filming L.A. Confidential. We were friends, but then Russell became bigger and bigger, and you just part ways – life happens, you know? I hadn’t heard from him until I saw him on the set of The Nice Guys, and it was kind of a ‘wow’ moment. I’m a big fan of his, I always was. I knew he was going to be huge.”

“I was self-conscious when I was younger; I took stuff too seriously. If I could go back, I would let rip more”

FACE YOUR FEARS: “It’s funny; I struggle with anxiety in my life, but then I’ll do things that make other people nervous, like skydiving, and they don’t bother me at all. I was fascinated by the snakes we had on the set of I Dreamed of Africa 2000, and I’ll go swimming way out in the ocean, no problem. But accepting my Oscar for L.A. Confidential in 1997? That was terrifying.”

FIND STRENGTH IN THE THINGS YOU LOVE: “I still get anxious sometimes, but I’ve worked very hard on it so it doesn’t paralyze me like it did before. I’ve never taken medication for anxiety, so I’ve had to white-knuckle it a few times. I’ve found that it helps if I take the focus away from me – ironic for an actress, I know! That’s why I love being a mom and advocating for animals: that’s when I really feel powerful.”

WITH TRAGEDY COMES PERSPECTIVE: “It’s been a heavy year. I lost four of my dogs, four buddies. And my father passed in February. He was the humor in our family, the one who inspired me to become an actress. So when I think of all the little things that I used to get in a state about, it’s all just dust in the wind. I just breathe and tell myself not to let the small stuff throw me.”

LEARN TO LET GO: “The best part of aging is learning to shed all the s**t that has weighed you down your whole life. People don’t bother me so much. It’s not my business what they think of me. I was more self-conscious when I was younger; I took stuff too seriously. If I could go back, I’d let rip more!”

Blazer Joseph; vest and pants Stella McCartney; watch Larsson & Jennings

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.