Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, Tina Fey explain work ethic in Elle

Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana and Tina Fey have landed the three covers of Elle magazine’s November Women in Hollywood issue.

The actresses were also joined by “Hunger Games” star Elizabeth Banks, TV star Brie Larson, screen legends Jessica Lange and Annette Bening and newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw of “Jupiter Ascending.”

The women’s contributions to the industry will be feted at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards on Oct. 20 in Los Angeles.

Elle’s Women in Hollywood issue, complete with the ladies’ profiles, will be available digitally and on newsstands in select cities on Oct. 14 and nationwide on Oct. 21. Until then, here’s a sampling of the honorees’ most empowering and revelatory quotes:


“Men, Women & Children” star Jennifer Garner, who is married to “Gone Girl” star Ben Affleck, shared that her ambition “shifted” in a way she didn’t anticipate when she had her three kids, Violet, Serafina and Samuel.

“I became more ambitious for my life as a whole, and for that kind of health and happiness of the overall family unit. And that very much includes my husband and very much includes me,” the “Alias” alum and activist told the mag. “My husband is always the one saying to me, ‘You have to work, you have to work. This is part of who you are. We’ll figure it out.’ That’s powerful, when your partner has that serious mantra.”

“Star Trek” star Zoe Saldana enjoyed a cushy run at the box office this summer with Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Currently pregnant with twins, the actress has wrapped up playing Nina Simone in a biopic about the jazz star. Saldana said she encouraged director-writer Cynthia Mort to cast someone else as the lead, but Mort said that “‘everybody was afraid,’ and I thought ... then how can we complain that there aren’t enough films about African American iconic figures?”

The “Avatar” star said her Dominican Republic upbringing shaped her idea of whether she’d make it, but “making it” seems to be a made-up construct.

“That’s how those seven years my sisters and I spent on a bohemian island played very well,” she said. “We’re not American in terms of feeding into that machine that you have to be somebody. We were somebody the moment we were born.”

“30 Rock” writer-star Tina Fey, who’s won Emmys and accolades for her quirky brand of humor, explained that she thrives on praise and positive reinforcement.

“I’m not sure I know, but having been an obedient and nerdy kid, I’m very driven to receive praise. If I were a smarter person, I’d be driven to receive money. I’m a dope -- all I want is, ‘That was real good. Looks like you guys worked real hard on that.’ It’s always parent-teacher conference day in my mind,” the Golden Globes co-host quipped.

Additionally, the “Bossypants” author has been compared to “Girls” wunderkind Lena Dunham, who’s been referred to as Fey’s successor in TV-writer stardom.

“There’s a generational difference in our comedy,” Fey explained. “Her generation feels that to be nude and to be sexual on screen is empowered, and we’re on the end of a generation that’s like, ‘You’re not gonna trick me into doing this!’ But they say, ‘We’re not being cute, we’re incorporating our genuine sexuality.’ Which is an improvement. It’s great.”

“Pitch Perfect” and “30 Rock” alum Elizabeth Banks didn’t appreciate it when the magazine asked her which actress has the best career in Hollywood.

“I don’t compare my career to other women’s; I compare my career to men’s,” the 40-year-old said. “Why would I compare my career to the women’s? They’re not making as much money. And they don’t get to work as much. So I compare myself to Paul Rudd. He’s gotten way more opportunities than I have.”

“Community” star Brie Larson, 25, the magazine’s Emerging Star Award recipient, relayed the same sentiments as Banks when asked which actor makes her want to step up her game.

“Mark Wahlberg,” said “The United States of Tara” actress. “He does something that is very hard for me: He asks for help, which is especially important when you’re the number one.”

“The Kids Are All Right” star Annette Bening, 56, wife of actor Warren Beatty, said the biggest surprise she’s had as an actress is that movies would allow her “to start and stop in a way that so many people couldn’t.”

“I always wanted kids, and I took years off when my kids were little, and I still do completely withdraw. It’s been a way of saving myself and saving the work,” the four-time Oscar nominee said.

“American Horror Story” fixture Jessica Lange has two Oscars, five Golden Globes, three Emmys and a SAG Award to her name (and she’s also getting Elle’s Legend Award). She addressed why she’s seemed to shy away from typically glamorous roles.

“I never really thought of myself in those terms,” the 65-year-old said. “When you’re young, you just take your beauty for granted. Sometimes I think ... I should have done that film! But it’s a passing thought. I played the parts I wanted to play. I do have regrets about films I shouldn’t have done, which took me away from my children. That’s the only real regret -- time wasted.”

Mbatha-Raw, an English actress of South African descent, has appeared in the TV series “Touch” and will star alongside Minnie Driver in “Beyond the Lights.” The 31-year-old is still coming to grips with the idea that she’s “made it.”

“It’s funny -- I never feel like, ‘Oh, wow, I’ve made it.’ I’m interested in the journey. I’m interested in the adventure of working with different people, and I guess as soon as you sit on your laurels and can go, ‘Well, aren’t I great? -- that’s just the beginning of the end.’”

Aren’t I great! Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.