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Emmy winner Nicole Kidman on aging in Hollywood and the success of 'Big Little Lies'

The day before the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, Nicole Kidman sat in the shade during a Neutrogena beauty event at Eric Buterbaugh Florals on Beverly Boulevard, protecting her porcelain skin from another sunny Los Angeles afternoon.

The soft-spoken Oscar winner, who wore a mint-colored Max Mara dress, appeared just as happy to talk about beauty and fashion as she was discussing her role on HBO’s Emmy-nominated “Big Little Lies,” which she co-starred in and was a co-executive producer along with fellow Emmy nominee Reese Witherspoon. (Both Academy Award winners are nominated for lead actress in a limited series or movie, and the show itself is nominated in the limited-series category.)

Here’s an excerpt from our conversation on Saturday.


Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård in a scene from HBO's "Big Little Lies."
Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård in a scene from HBO's "Big Little Lies." (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / HBO)

How are you feeling going into the Emmy Awards?

As a group, we feel very connected and unbelievably recognized in terms of the amount of nominations that the series [received]. ... The whole show is being recognized on such a big level. I’m so much more aware of how rare this is. I’m in that place of going, “Wow” — and really savoring it.

What does it mean to you to know “Big Little Lies” resonated with people?

We didn’t realize that it would have this sort of impact and become part of the zeitgeist in the way it did. ... It shows you that stories by women about women can be for everyone.

What will Emmy morning entail?

It’ll be a normal morning with our kids. We’ll read the paper, have some coffee. I’ll probably go for a run or we’ll go for a swim in the pool, and then at around 12, we’ll get ready. ... I’m so glad [my husband] Keith [Urban] is coming. My daughter had a fever last night, so I was like, “Oh gosh.” But we all got on a plane today and now we’re all here. And if we go home empty-handed, the joy will still be there.

You’re the face of Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream. With that in mind, what are your thoughts on aging? And particularly aging gracefully in Hollywood?

I was so lucky that I got to play Celeste [on “Big Little Lies”] and Julia [on “Top of the Lake”] and then I got to do “Lion” and then I got to do “The Beguiled” and then I got to do “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” I’ve played many different women in many different age ranges, and that’s my way of going: “OK, we’re blurring the lines here. Let’s keep trying to blur the lines as women and let’s be committed to it.” And men support us with that as well by letting us play [those roles]. You look at so many of the actresses in my category at the Emmys. I don’t know how old Carrie [Coon] is, but they’re all definitely over 35. That’s fantastic.

An instant print portrait of Nicole Kidman at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival.
An instant print portrait of Nicole Kidman at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

I get to wear couture and I get to see how these things are made. I love it and I honor it and I’m so happy designers let me wear their clothes.

— Nicole Kidman

Let’s talk fashion for a moment.

I love clothes and I know people go, “Oh, that’s so frivolous,” but I just do. … I get to wear couture and I get to see how these things are made. I love it and I honor it and I’m so happy designers let me wear their clothes.

You were nominated for an Emmy in 2012 for lead actress in a miniseries or movie for the HBO film “Hemingway & Gellhorn” and you wore a dress by Antonio Berardi to that ceremony. How has your approach to the red carpet evolved?

I like a classic silhouette, but [I want it] to still have a little something, a little twist. There will be times where I’ll go, “I want to be incredibly fashion forward with this one and I don’t care what people say,” and there will be other times where I go, “I just want a classic silhouette,” because there’s something beautiful about that.

Any hints about this year’s dress?

No. In case the zipper breaks, I [had] better not.

When you’re not on a carpet, what does your beauty routine consist of?

I comb my lashes. I put on Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost lip gloss. I put my sunscreen on. It’s simple. I pull my hair back and my daughter says, “Wear more makeup.”

How has your approach to beauty changed over the years?

I think because I have somebody that loves me, it’s taken a lot of that [focus] away. Also, health is really important to me. I recently lost my dad, so the idea of joy … If you’re laughing and smiling, that’s pretty. Warmth coming out of your soul and your eyes is incredibly important because there’s so much to that. But yeah, I’m lucky that I have someone that loves me. He just does. He gives me enormous support.

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