The name Julia Roberts will always be synonymous to Pretty Woman. And pretty is not even close to describing what this A-list star is all about.

Her wide grin, her infectious laughter, her sense of humour are all facets of her that we’ve grown to love through her movies.

Her love for life comes through in everything that she does but the best part of it all is when she flashes her megawatt smile and you’re smiling back in response, grinning like an idiot at the screen – all because it’s almost rude if you don’t reply in smile.

That’s the effect she has on people and who better to represent a fragrance that is all about the beauty of life, with a bottle that has a smile “carved” on it and is supposed to emanate happiness than the one and only Julia Roberts?

As the face of Lancôme’s new fragrance, La vie est Belle, Roberts reveals the story behind the ad, her favourite moments in life and her most recent political crush.

HWP: Can you tell us the story behind the advertising film of La vie est Belle? What does it conjure up for you?
Julia Roberts: I like what they came up with and I love that they brought in Tarsem (Singh) who is such a visual person and whom I have such a strong relationship with that—because I’ve never really made a commercial and I felt I didn’t—I get kind of caught between the logic of being an actor and that doesn’t really apply to commercials.

It’s not about logic or motivation. So to have Tarsem there was a great thrill and comfort to me. And this concept that they came up with – just the idea of freeing yourself and stepping away from, you know, the crowd as it were. I think it’s very timely.

HWP: What emotions does the name inspire in you?
JR: La vie est Belle, the beautiful life.  Again, it’s like the bottle, the fragrance, and the name. Obviously these people work really hard to create a harmony of what they’re trying to present and to me they’ve really done it. This name is so sweet and light and just kind of a sunny day to me.

HWP: You’ve been famous half  your life—I’m sure you’ve had experiences where were a lot happier or not at all happy. Have you learned to appreciate everything along the way as you’ve matured through the business?
JR: Well, I think as a young person I recognised the gift of being happy. And that it was a gift. And that you cultivate it like anything and don’t take it for granted and I think I’ve always had a really keen sense of that in myself. I’ve always been just a really optimistic person. And I have a lot of gratitude for that, for sure, because optimism and a sense of humour does come in handy with three kids.

HWP: Over your two-decade career, do you find that you take a little bit of every experience with you?
JR: Of course. And I think the greatest souvenir of any movie experience is going to be if you create a lasting relationship with one or more people that you’ve worked with. And I do have quite a beautiful collection of friends over the last twenty years – people I’ve met on movies and certainly Tarsem is my greatest souvenir of making that movie (Mirror Mirror).

HWP: Is there any character in history you’d love to play?
JR: Who would I love to play? That’s a good question. Albert Einstein.

HWP: You once famously said you had a crush on Abraham Lincoln. Is there anybody that you have a crush on these days?
JR: Boy, I live to regret having said that, in about ten different ways I regret having said that. Yeah, President Obama. Staying with the political crush. But I mean, in a very appropriate way, people!

HWP: What do you dream of doing that involves nothing related to Hollywood?
JR: Well, like a thousand things. Being able to spend more time at my domestic arts. Knitting. And I’ve been going to sewing school so I’d really like to be able to hone my sewing skills even more because I feel like I have time to do it and then I don’t have time to do it and I forget the things I’ve learned.

HWP: How has your relationship with your body and your self-image changed in recent years?
JR: I think I have more comfort and Elizabeth, my stylist, forces me to wear tighter clothes so that people can see my waist, though we disagree on where my waist is. I think I have more comfort, more pride in everything still being relatively where it started.

HWP: Do you have a fitness routine?
JR: I do. It is this type of yoga hybrid that’s called Buti.

HWP: Buti yoga or just Buti?
JR: It’s called Buti. I do it with a yoga teacher and some friends. We all go to this class together.

  

HWP: Do you have a favorite memory?
JR: Marrying my husband, having my kids.

HWP: Do you have a favorite moment as an actress?
JR: Well, I think probably the first time I met Mike Nichols, having breakfast with him, that relationship beginning and making Closer together. That’s a pretty remarkable moment in my career for me.

HWP: Do you have a mantra to get your hopes up when you’re down or when you’re having a bad day? Is there something that you tell yourself?
JR: Well, you know there is…and I say this with a sense of humour, I don’t take it too seriously, but I do think it’s always a good thing to think of in my head: No way out but through. You have to do it, you have to commit to it and that’s the only way you’re ever going to be on the other side of it.

HWP: It’s incredible that you have a fully realised domestic life and you joke about doing the dishes, but I know you do do the dishes. And then on the other side, this movie star life.
JR: But that’s the thing, it takes a village to put this (movie star) on. It’s not just me having some sense of fabulosity that I wake up like this. I’m perfectly aware of who I am when I get up, and how many people it takes to put this on. You know?

For that public element of my life. But they are just two completely different things. It sounds so corny but I think it’s the truest statement of my work, which is that my job doesn’t make me an extraordinary person. I’m a regular person with an extraordinary job. And the circumstances of it are pretty remarkable. But it doesn’t make me remarkable. And you know, I have plenty of people to remind me of that if I forget.

La vie est belle EDP is available in 30ml ($98), 50ml ($145) and 75ml ($170) at all Lancôme Beauty Counters.

Watch Julia Roberts in the La vie est belle ad, directed by Tarsem Singh: