It’s a strange thing. We are so conditioned to the idea – the caricature really – of what a Hollywood starlet should be, that we are shocked when they don’t always play by the rules.
Take Julianne Moore. The actress has been doing a battery of interviews recently to publicise the release of her latest film, Non-Stop, co-starring Liam Neeson. She must be a showbiz editor’s worst nightmare. Her interviews do not reveal toe-curling neuroses. No diva tantrums. No history of self-harm or drug addiction. Instead there is domesticity and a passion, not for the leading man, but for home-making! In one interview, with the Sunday Telegraph, she outed herself as “tremendously, shockingly, domestic”.
Not for her an army of helpers in the kitchen. This is a woman who rejoices in telling the world that: “I make a hot breakfast for my children every day, and I always put out place mats and napkins”.
Moore, 53, says she does all her own housework. “My house is very clean and organised,” she said, reminding those of us who have never had to fret about who to thank at the Oscars, that glitz and glamour are not everything. Indeed, her comments suggest that it is possible to imagine a world in which an orderly home might be a lifeline. For those navigating their way through life in the movies, with its reputation for high-octane living, instability and short shelf-lives – there is something to be said for the deeper roots provided by a well-run home.
On one level, it might be said that Moore evinces a desire to assert some control while working in an industry whose practitioners are famously vulnerable to the whims of fashion. A home where, as a mother and a spouse, Moore draws sustenance from the quotidian drawing-up of household rules and development of domestic regimens. I imagine that amid the ephemera of the entertainment business, the ability to pick up a vacuum cleaner or a cooking pan, and instantly see results, could be quite an antidote to the long, drawn-out process of film-making. Could the humdrum and practical throw all those sensitive showbiz egos into relief?
This is not to endow housework with transcendant properties. As Be Home has argued before, there is necessarily much about home-making that entails unheralded drudgery. But there is also something about being in control of our most sacred personal space – our home – which amounts to a privilege. It is refreshing to hear someone like Julianne Moore state candidly that she sees it that way. This is a woman who has the financial wherewithal to contract out every aspect of household management – and elects not to.