December 11, 2015
Drew Barrymore On Why Women Can’t Have It All

One of the things I love the most about Drew is how she is passionate about life but also honest and open and realistic while being a dreamer. This interview with Forbes shows this side of her!

Drew Barrymore is at peace with the fact that women can’t “have it all—at least not in the same moment.” That’s a statement with the potential to ruffle some feathers. “I get in trouble for saying you have to make choices and therefore you may not get to do everything you want,” she says. Barrymore’s not suggesting that women can’t achieve both their career and personal ambitions—in fact, that’s exactly what she’s done since she was a teenager—she’s just a realist about the fact that life can get chaotic and complicated.

“I never hit the pillow thinking, ‘Yup, did it all today,’” says Barrymore. “I’m like, ‘Oh, phew! I think people at work don’t hate me today and my kids are feeling like Mom was there and this is good’…. It’s a hot mess and I need to make the best of it that’s possible!”

Barrymore does seem to be doing it all though with her impressive list of job titles. Mother. (She has two daughters, Olive and Frankie.) Entertainment mogul. (She was cast in her first film at 5-years-old, and has been a household name to Americans for decades thanks to her work as an actress, director, and producer.) Entrepreneur. (She founded the company Flower Beauty, an affordable line of cosmetics, as well as a production company called Flower Films, and she’s a partner in Barrymore Wines.) Barrymore recently added author to that list with the release of Wildflower, a collection of humorous and thoughtful first-person essays that recount a life in the public eye that’s been anything but ordinary.

But it’s in navigating the intense, often-competing demands of work and family that Barrymore’s life now resembles one that many women can relate to. Bouncing between the must-do’s at work and making sure she’s spending quality time with her daughters, Barrymore faces a daily routine that’s more of a triage situation than a balancing act—which doesn’t leave time for much else. “There’s your marriage. There are your friendships. There’s, God forbid, yourself for a minute. If I go do something for myself, even a workout, I feel so guilty,” Barrymore admits. “I don’t know what the answers are. In my life, I never feel like, ‘I’m doing it all, having it, feeling good about it. ’”

Barrymore has a unique and powerful perspective on the idea of balance, which she candidly discussed with me in a recent conversation about her new book, her entrepreneurial pursuits, and what’s it’s like to be an actress over the age of 40 in Hollywood.

Do What You Love

For Barrymore, pursuing a profession that you’re passionate about makes the tough parts—long hours, travel, whatever it is—feel like challenges to overcome instead of insurmountable roadblocks. “You should do what you love because you’ll want to do it. And you’ll want to do the work. It’s such a blessing in this world to do anything that you care about,” she says.

Her passions are storytelling and the process of creation. “I love words so much. And I love description,” says Barrymore, reflecting on writing her new book Wildflower. “To try to paint the picture of scenes and the rooms and the people was really fun for me because I love the art of how you color something with words.” Her other professional pursuits are equally stimulating. She calls the beauty company “storytelling to women.” And the wine business? “The wine is just ‘I like to drink wine,’” she laughs. “I think it works best when it’s business and pleasure all mixed into one.”

Getting Older Means Getting Better

Today, youth and beauty are celebrated almost obsessively­—perhaps nowhere more so than in Hollywood. But Barrymore’s take on age is refreshingly down-to-earth. “Every woman gets older if they’re lucky. It all ends and begins in diapers, if you’re lucky,” says to 40 year-old actress.

“So enjoy those wrinkles, embrace them.” She says she wouldn’t want to go back to being 17-years-old for anything. “I hope that I look like the most wrinkled saddle bag you’ve ever seen on planet Earth. And I’m just sitting there with my braids and my wisdom, drinking my wine and watching my grandkids. I hope that’s where my life ends up.”

Go With Your Gut

The 1996 horror film Scream opens with a chilling scene where Barrymore’s character dies. It was her idea to play the part—even though the role was too small for an actress of her caliber and reputation. Still, she knew in her gut that that if she played that character “it would feel like bets are off and it’d be even scarier.” She was right. “I just remember daring to make that phone call and share a gut instinct and an idea. And then we ended up going that way with it,” she remembers. “And I think that gave me confidence moving forward to share ideas and take risks. That one film call was pivotal to me. [It taught me to] dare to have a weird idea.”

Find Words To Live By

A conversation with Barrymore is peppered with life lessons and she has a few of her own mantras that inspire her every day. Number one: “The work is going to say things much louder than words do. Actions, not words, always. Don’t talk about anything until you do it.” “That’s always calmed me,” says Barrymore. “ I think, especially in this day and age, the quieter you are the louder you can be. Confidence is quiet and insecurity is loud.”

Another guiding mantra of hers comes from Abraham Lincoln: “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.” Barrymore says, “Yes, that’s it. Check please!”

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