Feature by: Jack Foley
SANDRA Bullock plays the fame game well. She's aware of the pitfalls
but has learned her lessons well and retains a positive outlook
on all aspects of her celebrity.
Speaking at the London press conference for her latest movie,
Miss Congeniality 2, Bullock explained: "There’s things
that you get to see doing what we do that most people will never
even know about in their lifetime.
"The opportunities that we have are extraordinary and you
can either ignore them or you can take advantage of them.
"I choose to take advantage of them just because you get
up every day and you’re tired, like this morning I was like
'Oh my God, the past year’s hit me. I’m tired!'
But look at what I get to do.
"I’m getting on a plane to Berlin today. I’m
going to be in Berlin for all of 18 hours but I get to enjoy things
that no one ever gets to do in their lifetime and I have to remember
that I’m in this job because I’m lucky.
"There’s a lot of other people far more talented than
I am that should be in this job. I know it, but I work really
hard too and I will continue to work hard and appreciate what
It's a refreshing attitude given that Bullock has been forced
to endure her fair share of bad press, given some of the film
choices she has made.
Speed 2, for instance, was universally derided as being one of
the worst examples of a sequel, while even some of her biggest
hits have been treated with disdain.
Being a woman, too, has its disadvantages, given the lack of
genuinely good comedic parts being written, or the tabloid culture
of exposing celebrities whenever they look their worst.
But while Bullock admits to getting annoyed at some things -
and refuses to answer personal questions during interviews - she
can still have a laugh at just how ludicrous the whole fame game
is, especially when answering whether she ever wishes she hadn't
"Any time I leave the house," she exclaims. "Because
I don’t have the hair and make-up team available in everyday
life to fix what came undone the night before.
"Inevitably, that is when you have a photographer taking
a picture! I have dogs who’ll sleep on my clothes; you don’t
remember so you put on your sweatshirt, you go to get your coffee,
your hair’s all over to the side.
"You just have to give in to the fact that you’re
gonna look like crap nine times out of ten when you’re in
a magazine. You go on vacation, they shoot you from behind, they
add a little bulk to your ass and then for the next year, your
ass is on the cover!
"I don’t mind that I have
a normal body, but I know my ass is not that big and I need validation
"I doubt myself. And so then I don’t go on vacation
anymore and I don’t wear bathing suits!
"It’s just part of the job and it’s their job
to make me look as unattractive as possible and I figure, why
"Just look your worst when you go out and make expectations
really low. The only time I look good is when I do these things,
because then you have hair and make-up. Of course, now I’m
saying I think I look good," she laughs. "But I look
better than I do when I leave the house in the morning!"
Bullock was in London to promote Miss Congeniality 2, the sequel
that finds her FBI agent, Gracie Hart, travelling to Las Vegas
in an attempt to find the kidnappers of Miss United States.
As well as serving as a comedy thriller, however, it also functions
as a commentary on the dangers of celebrity and how fame can change
Her character, especially, falls victim to the fame game and
suffers as a result - appearing quite selfish at times, while
continually falling foul of her colleagues and love interest.
Indeed, she begins the movie by being dumped by her boyfriend
and doesn't really wind up in the arms of a hunky guy.
Yet Bullock insists she fought to retain that part of the story,
insisting that there were lessons to be learned from Hart's story.
"My question is why does a female-driven film have to have
the girl get the guy? Does that make her less of a lead character,
or less of a woman if she doesn’t have the guy?
"I think we are doing a disservice to people by saying that
without another half, you are less than.
"I think if we say to people, especially young girls, like
in the film, it wasn’t so much that without a guy you’re
nothing, it’s don’t conform, be who you are, love
yourself and be true to who you are as a unique individual rather
than what the magazines tell you you should be; life will make
a lot more sense.
"But it’s hard to ignore all of those aspects in society.
We all question ourselves looking at a magazine, I know I do.
"God, I wish I was blonde and looked like this!” I’m
never gonna be a blonde, no matter how hard I try - it’s
just not who I am, so the message as a man or a woman is that
it’s hard to stay true to who you are and be unique, but
if you can do it, it’s gonna be a better path for you.
"It’s gonna feel better and you’re not gonna
go against your grain."
Miss Congeniality 2 opens in cinemas on March 25.