There are various approaches to being a woman: Jodie Foster discusses boldness, beauty, and parenting feminist boys

The actor was Hollywood’s most well-known lesbian for a considerable amount of time (not that she wanted to talk about it). The True Detective star is now liberated and encouraging the younger generation to feel the same way. Written by Emma BrockesJodie Foster’s first acting role was about 58 years ago, and there are certain characteristics from that time on the set that she will not tolerate. No one will instruct her on how to adopt the persona. She refers this am-dram, shake-your-body-out foolishness as “voodoo” directing, and she will not put up with it. Certain kinds of “alpha” influence from those higher up the industry chain will not get through to her. Foster claims that she only gives in to controlling producers when they are “super passive-aggressive British people,” a personality type she simply cannot handle. When working and interacting with the media outside of work, she is a responsible, straightforward person who hardly ever becomes nervous or self-conscious. She states, “I approach a story or character the same way I approach a book report.” “I enjoy creating it.”

The 61-year-old, who has tiny-waisted black pants, a neat white shirt with a pop at the collar, and gel-spiked hair, is polite and cordial as we sit in a hotel suite in West Hollywood. Her looks and demeanor have an astonishing familiarity, as if she were a high-end caterer or a matador. Years of famous roles—from Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs and Sarah Tobias in The Accused, back to her early parts in Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone—are evoked by the voice, grin, teasing laugh, and passion.

Foster makes an unstudied—or perhaps sly—movement when she kicks off her mules to reveal red painted toenails and tucks her legs under her. She probably knows as well as I do, after fifty years of fame, that the cliché “she tucks her legs up under her” is a convenient way for profile writers to conjure up false feelings of closeness.

Foster also has a more complex aspect to her personality that has made much of the coverage of her over the years difficult to decipher. She can be quite self-conscious, a condition that, if not entirely caused, is undoubtedly made worse by the experience of having reporters explore every possible aspect in an attempt to bring up the topic of her sexuality. Foster was the first out gay woman in Hollywood for a considerable amount of time, and these days, her inability to discuss her life in public seems to be caused by a condition that resembles PTSD.

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