Kate Winslet wowed us in the exceptional series Mare of Easttown, in which she plays Mare Sheehan, a small-town-Pennsylvania detective navigating a bumpy personal life and the difficult investigations she leads. While the English actor—and new face of L’Oréal Paris—delivers an incredible performance, Winslet believes that it’s Mare’s authenticity that makes her so interesting. “I think that the world wants to see a more realistic version of women onscreen,” she says. “I’m constantly trying to play all my characters so that they feel as accessible as possible to female audiences.” Winslet also demonstrates a deep desire to accurately represent women over 40 by refusing to cut scenes in which her body is shown in less-than-flattering light and by vetoing a second round of touch-ups to erase wrinkles around her eyes on a promo poster.

She applauds this same conviction in other actors, including Dame Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench. “I admire the actresses who look exactly their age and are doing an excellent job and inspiring younger generations through their brilliant performances and the incredible committed work they do,” says Winslet. “You look at someone like Frances McDormand and you see a beautiful natural face that moves, that has life in it. It just goes to show that to be successful in Hollywood and tell stories, you don’t have to alter yourself to look this certain, ridiculously unattainable way that is a mythical version of perfection.”

In every role and public appearance, the Oscar-winning actor’s desire to lighten the load of the beauty ideals and social pressures that women carry is evident. “The best advice I’ve been given over the years is ‘Make the best of what you’ve got, and don’t beat yourself down,’” she says. “Even though times are changing, we, as women, are too hard on ourselves. Sometimes we even expect too much of our faces and bodies. Learning to say to yourself ‘It’s okay—I’m good with this today, and I don’t have to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be’ and knowing that that’s okay is a very important thing. So go easy on yourself, and just be grateful for what you have and who you are.”

How does this vision of beauty apply to Winslet’s new role as an ambassador for L’Oréal Paris? “I feel enormously privileged to lend my voice to the already very powerful voices of the other ambassadors,” she says. “L’Oréal means a lot to women because the products are far-reaching and accessible. I love that, because beauty [products] and skincare should not be unaffordable, elitist things.” Her own relationship with beauty has also evolved over the years. “When you’re in your 20s, beauty is how you care for your face and what you apply to it. To me now, beauty is about being a strong person, living life authentically, supporting others and standing up for your sisters, friends and colleagues.”

“I use this serum at night; it’s incredibly hydrating, and it absorbs quickly, so it doesn’t cling to the skin. It makes your skin smooth and even.”

“I love this cream. It’s very moisturizing and not sticky at all. Makeup goes on over it really nicely.”

What she’s watching

“I don’t normally sit down and watch TV, so that was new for me during the pandemic. I was allowed to indulge in some great television that I felt like I had missed when it came out. My family and I loved the fantastic French series Call My Agent and, more recently, Unorthodox. The lead actress [Shira Haas] is brilliant, and I found it educational because I knew very little about the Hasidic Jewish community and their lives and rituals and beliefs. I found it really compelling and very moving.”

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