'I Feel Proud Of The Things That I Said “No” To': Charlize Theron
Elle India|December 2021
Movie star. Producer. Founder of her own charity. The face of Breitling’s new Chronomat campaign. The villain dean in the upcoming Netflix film, ‘The School for Good and Evil’. As Charlize Theron savors her motherhood, she breaks barriers on and off screen, aiming to change mentalities. Zoom conversation against the clock
Virginie Dolata

It’s 9am in Los Angeles. It’s time for my zoom meeting with Charlize Theron. Her voice is clear, pure, cheerful. Perhaps she is even smiling. But I wouldn’t know as the screen is black! Woof... A dog? She apologises and gets up to open the door. He wants to go out.

To her many fans, Charlize Theron is the epitome of beauty and femininity, transformed into an ethereal goddess for Dior’s “J’adore” fragrance. In Breitling’s new Chronomat campaign, she is a woman of commitment. Her reality. Alongside African-American prima ballerina Misty Copeland and Chinese actress Yao Chen, they form a trio of women recognised for breaking the rules and confronting stereotypes and boundaries of all kinds with style and conviction.

It is not a well-known fact that, since 2009, Charlize Theron has been a respected messenger of peace for the United Nations and a tireless campaigner committed to social issues. In 2007, she created her own foundation, ‘Charlize Theron Outreach Project for Africa’ which supports the African youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other causes. Last year, her charity launched ‘Together for Her’, a global campaign against domestic violence, which has risen significantly during the pandemic across the globe. Theron also fights for the LGBTQIA+ community, having stated in the past that she would not remarry until same-sex marriage was legalised in the US. Finally, she spoke out during the #MeToo movement, disclosing on NPR (National Public Radio) that she was sexually harassed by a director a few years ago.

When it comes to film, Theron also thrives on action: an uppercut here in ‘Atomic Blonde’ (N°2 has been announced), another there in ‘Mad Max, Fury Road’ or in ‘Fast & Furious #9’. In ‘The Old Guard’ (Netflix 2020), she plays an immortal with style in incredible physical shape. She also demonstrates her versatility by choosing more demanding roles, at times requiring a full transformation. In 2004, she won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Silver Bear for Best Actress in ‘Patty Jenkins’ ‘Monster’, the story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The actress appeared unrecognisable having gained an extra 15 kilos. In 2018, she did it again in Jason Reitman’s ‘Tully’, putting on another 18 kilos to play the role of a young mother: “I had to live with that weight for almost two years. At 40, it’s harder to lose weight than at 20!” (ELLE France 2018). In 2019, she starred in and coproduced the drama ‘Bombshell’, for which she has been nominated for yet another Oscar.

Soon, the actress will play Lady Lesso, the dean of Evil in the fairy tale ‘The School for Good and Evil’ based on the eponymous novels by Soman Chainani and directed by Paul Feig for Netflix (to be released in 2022).

Now, at 48, Theron’s greatest role in life is off-screen. A mother, she is raising her two adopted children, Jackson, 9 years old, and August, 6 years old, on her own with a beautiful open mind. In 2019, she confided in Jimmy Fallon on ‘The Tonight Show’ about her eldest being transgender. “My daughter’s story is her own, and one day, if she wants, she can tell her story (...) it’s important for the world to know that I would want the right pronoun used for her” (Pride Source 16/12/19). She now has two daughters.

Dammit! It’s 9:25. Her agent lets us know discreetly on the Zoom chat that the time will soon be up... Time is not on my side, but very much on hers!

ELLE: You are an actress, a producer, a UN ambassador, an activist through your own charity and a mother of two... you confessed to having some difficulties balancing your private and professional life. Have you found the perfect balance yet?

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