MEET GINNIFER GOODWIN. Actually, RE-MEET her. Your favorite from many a beloved series is back at it with her new show, Pivoting. SBJCT spoke with Ginny about how she spends her days, how she stays connected to what grounds her, the endless quest for self-love, and remembering to breathe. Read on below…
BY ERIN WALSH
PHOTO CHRISTIAN HOGSTEDT
TURTLENECK Wolford Made Me JACKET Dolce & Gabbana
Erin Walsh Hello Ginny! Thank you so much for taking the time to have some fun with us- we are so excited to feature you and all you have been up to.
I would love to start at the beginning- I think so many of your fans have known you for so long that they might not recall when they first “met” you. How did you get into this crazy biz in the first place?
Ginnifer Goodwin I have wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. I went to drama college in the US and in the UK, and then I moved to New York City for theatre. But while I was trying to make that work, I scored a LAW AND ORDER audition for the role of the friend of the girl who found the body and screamed in the cold open. While at the audition, I requested I also be considered for the role of the screamer. So, I screamed for the casting director, and I was, indeed, cast as the girl who found the body and screamed… and not her friend.
EW I would love to know more about Pivoting-tell me everything. What drew you to the series, the role, what can we expect?
GG I have spent years trying to find the right comedy. I have known I need to improve in this area. I also have been itching to cry (on screen) to make people laugh instead of cry to make people cry. I fell in love with this script because Liz Astrof wrote it. The relationship between the women (characters) is conflicting, bawdy, and contemporary. I somehow only take shows about three women? Production could stay in town, which is a must for me. And what sealed the deal for me was the appearance of a camel toe in the pilot. I think you can expect to… laugh! Maybe you will actually cry just a little bit and only sometimes.
EW Five favorite career projects to date.
ONCE UPON A TIME
WHY WOMEN KILL
CONSTELLATIONS at Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles
*It was hard not to include WALK THE LINE here. Can I choose 6?
EW I think there are so many lessons from the past two years we have learned about learning to go with the punches, keep calm and carry on, and, well, pivoting with what life throws at us. What do you hope people take from the series?
GG I hope people are inspired to not do things the way “Jodie” does things. “Life is short” and all that, but there are obviously paths to self-transformation that don’t necessitate lying and sabotage.
EW Any lessons from filming you found you take with you into your life?
GG This experience has been about what I do not want to be. So, I am working on not being a know-it-all and not being self-righteous. I am learning when it’s best to keep my trap shut.
EW What helps you stay sane and tethered these days? Besides the work you have the whole super mom thing going on, and a husband who works across the country. How do you do it, Ginny?
GG I get up with the sun. I drink copious amounts of hot tea. I read a physical newspaper. I cook our meals and I properly set the dinner table. I go to bed with the sun. If I do not do all of these things, I go blue.
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EW What is most helpful in the process of finding a character?
GG I work from the outside in, breaking down the script and mapping out the exterior qualities of a character in my prep period. I am extreme about line memorization. Then, on my set days, I find my mark and listen. I was super stuck with “Jodie” – this was between the pilot and the second episode – and my husband gave me a writing exercise that blew her open for me. That’s how technical I am.
EW How do you go about deciding what projects to take on?
GG I have to be obsessed with the writing. But it helps when I want to work with the actors and filmmakers.
EW Any dream role you hope to come your way?
GG I desperately want to do more stage work. If something LA-based doesn’t come my way, I think this dream will have to be put on the back burner until my kids are at university, because being in a play requires so much time.
EW Do you often get “pinch yourself” moments when huge opportunities come through?
GG I pinch myself every time a huge opportunity comes through. Those phone calls make me high.
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EW What or who inspires you?
GG My grandmothers and my mother are my biggest inspirations.
EW How do you connect your spirit with your work and your day to day?
GG I breathe. I breathe for myself, and I breathe as my second greatest acting tool (after listening.) My mom pointed out to me that when I talk about my characters, I talk about them in the third person, and as if I’m doing things for them. I do think my approach is more empathetic and less like I’m becoming someone else. So, via empathy, my spirit is connected rather… adjacently? In real life, I feel very well in myself and definitely not adjacent.
EW Anything in the way of a motto you subscribe to?
GG 99.9% of the time, everything works out. It may not work out the way you wanted it to, but it works out the way it should. The Rolling Stones word it better.
EW Five favorite costars.
*It was hard not to include Colin Firth from A SINGLE MAN, but I was only in a few scenes of that film. Can I choose 6?
EW Do you consider acting or the arts as a vocation or something you were called to do?
GG I have never experienced anything so noble as a calling. And it’s definitely not Just a Job. Acting is just the only thing I can do and the only thing I am willing to do, and it has always been that way. I will keep doing it until I don’t love it anymore, if that’s even possible.
EW What are your thoughts on purpose- like do you see a greater meaning in your work and what you are called to do? And what else do you feel particularly called to do?
GG I always question whether I have anything to offer acting. I am confident storytelling in general is vital. And characters offer reflection and permission to their audience members. But I am unsure I can assign purpose and meaning to my role, as it were, in things. I belong in this industry, and I don’t belong at the same time. I feel most authentically creative (and needed) at home, with my family, problem-solving daily life.
EW How do you like to spend your days when you aren’t working?
GG My favorite days involve chasing my kids around somewhere lovely; baking bread and canning jam; reading a book; knitting and having tea with my best friends; picking up dog poo; and always making out with my husband.
EW Best kiss onscreen.
GG Josh Dallas
EW What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward? Any charities or causes we should know about?
GG I have worked for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles for years and the bettering services they provide our community are vast. We were driving by a homeless encampment recently and my eldest son asked me if the people living there knew that if they go to the public library, the librarians can help them find more help.
EW Tell us how you use your platform to pay it forward. Especially for someone who has just joined the world of Instagram 🙂 I am curious what you consider the value of social media to be and how you like to use it…
GG Social media overwhelms me! Right now, I’m mostly using Instagram to promote PIVOTING. But I would like to get people involved in knitting for nonprofits and in the Library Foundation. But that’s all to come. I understand social media’s value in raising awareness. I also understand its commercial possibilities. But I’m doubtful that these platforms are “connecting” people… The internet isn’t a real place. It takes us out of reality.
EW What makes you hopeful after getting more used to pandemic living?
GG I appreciate that my relationship to being present has shifted. Days are less about what’s next. I feel I slowed down enough to be here, now. I hope that state-of-mind sticks.
EW What makes you excited about the coming year?
GG I adore MANIFEST, but I’m ready for my husband to come home from NYC. He’ll wrap the series in late 2022 and we are craving a vacation. And until the above time comes, I want to figure out how to grow vegetables in our garden; it’s been failure-after-failure for me in this area. And I’m working on shifting my mentality from Fitness for My Career to Fitness for Well-Being. I also need a digital detox.
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EW What do you wish people would stop asking you in interviews?
GG I used to get very defensive if people asked about my curvy body. But no one has rubbed me the wrong way in years.
EW What do you wish you were asked more often?
GG In general, I wish there were more discussion about how not family-friendly this industry is and how generally unsupportive Hollywood is of pregnant women and new mothers. Disclaimer: My ONCE UPON A TIME showrunners respected my new-mom boundaries, but those showrunners are unicorns in this industry, and showrunners don’t always have the power.
EW Book we should be reading?
GG One pandemic goal has been to read the entire Agatha Christie library. I’m only about a quarter of the way through – she has 80-something books — and I highly recommend the challenge.
EW What should we be eating?
GG Make your way through Alison Roman’s, Ina Garten’s, and Felicity Cloake’s cookbooks. I think we should be eating everything, and we should be cooking it ourselves. Unless it’s See’s Candies. We can’t make those. Just keep a drawer of those.
EW What moment career-wise thus far has really made you feel extremely proud- like, “wow, I have made it”…
GG Being photographed by Annie Leibovitz for a Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover was mind-blowing.
EW Do you keep anything in the way of a 5 or 10 year plan?
GG I have an 18 – 20 year plan! I am staying put in my house until my boys leave home. After that, Josh and I fantasize about living abroad in the countryside somewhere – making some ancient village a home-base — and then taking roles that take us everywhere else.
EW How should we be relaxing? People spend so much time DOING instead of being. What connects you to your highest self and makes you feel your absolute most divine self? Forgive me for getting all spiritual, but it is the new year, after all.
GG I take a bath every single day. Even if I must get up at 3am to fit it in before work, I will take a bath. Also, I get at least 8 hours of sleep a night; I highly recommend a hot water bottle if your partner is out of town. All of the above is my spiritual practice. Maggie Q has been pitching me cold swimming, and I’m considering it.
EW Ginny, What’s Your SBJCT? What really moves and motivates you?
GG I suspect my SBJCT is self-care. But it’s because others, somehow paradoxically, move and motivate me. The others can be real, or they can be characters. I want to know what everybody is doing, that I might steal their ways in the name of constant improvement and be the person I can step outside of (momentarily), like a character under examination, and say, “Yes, that is kind of what I was aiming for.”