We’re at a restaurant in Brentwood, California (pre-lockdown, of course), and Kate Beckinsale is politely explaining that in her more than 20 years of being famous, she’s found writers often get her wrong. Because of her acting roles (which include thriller TV series The Widow and vampire movie franchise Underworld), people assume she spends a lot of time walking around with a solemn expression, or angled optimally on a red carpet. In fact, she says, she hates posing and finds photoshoots mortifying. During them, she pictures her four stepbrothers rolling their eyes. “Which is healthy,” she says. “I think once you get comfortable with that, you’ve left the building.”
Instagram, she notes, has been helpful in communicating to people what she’s really like. “I’m not a social media person, but it’s nice to have this little corner that’s my vibe,” she says, removing a lime from her fizzy water (a histamine intolerance).
So, what is Kate Beckinsale actually like? On this day she is witty and wry; on social media she is irreverent and cheeky; in every reality she is sharp and articulate. She has the self-possession of her 46 years while also somehow looking like she might be elected homecoming queen. Her trainer, Brad Siskind of Gunnar Peterson’s gym, observes that she gets right down to business. “The whole hour is work,” he says.
Even so, Kate admits that on a corporeal level, she can be delicate. “I think some people’s systems are just a bit sensitive to things. If you told me you had nausea yesterday, I might start throwing up myself.” As a result, she consumes virtually no stimulants – definitely no caffeine – and no alcohol. “If I ate too much dark chocolate, it would be like someone else taking cocaine.”
“I’m very connected to my body, so if I’m going to experience stress, I’m probably going to experience it physically,” she says. “So it’s usually a good idea for me to go do something physical to get rid of it. I kind of have to think of myself as a horse or something – time for a run around the paddock.”
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