Kate Hudson is nothing if not versatile. After bursting on to our screens in 2000 with her Golden Globe-winning performance in Almost Famous, she has taken the lead in rom-coms like How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days, Raising Helen and You, Me and Dupree, demonstrated her singing and dancing skills in Glee, launched a clothing range and has now returned with a self-help book.
The actress, businesswoman and daughter of Goldie Hawn is following in the footsteps of Jessica Alba, Alicia Silverstone, Blake Lively and, most famously, Gwyneth Paltrow into the world of self-love and wellness with her book Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body.
Celebrity lifestyle books and websites can often feel unconvincing, especially for those living well outside of the author's pay brackets. Like her friend Paltrow knows from her website, Goop, these ventures can also be subject to ridicule, especially if recommendations can include vagina steam cleaning, a guide to yawning, or, a smoothie recipe containing obscure ingredients such as 'sex dust'.
The Daily Beast's recent analysis of Pretty Happy concluded that it was “very tedious” to live like Hudson, raising questions about just how applicable lifestyle advice from the particularly fortunate, particularly privileged and particularly wealthy can be for the average person.
However, Hudson's book has already sky-rocketed up the New York Times bestseller list to the top of the fashion, manners and customs section. This is likely helped by both Hudson’s unofficial role as a fitness icon and her likeability factor. The down-to-earth, friendly and fun persona conveyed by Hudson in interviews seems to have convinced the public she actually is “pretty happy”, something her fans have echoed in the praise on social media and her famous friends have been keen to reiterate.
The Independent had a chat with Hudson about why she took the plunge into the world of body positivity, how she believes everybody can have a healthy lifestyle and why “perfect” doesn’t exist.
On writing a lifestyle book after being an actress for over 15 years
Hudson decided to write the book because she was repeatedly being asked the same questions about her lifestyle tips. Questions that have been asked of her ever since she co-founded her workout clothing brand Fabletics in 2013 (you’ve probably seen numerous adverts involving Hudson running up hills) and consequently becoming a role model for fitness and health.
“I thought it was a nice opportunity to actually not have to continue to explain myself because I felt like every time you talked about it, it gets reduced to something and you can’t really reduce lifestyle changes,” she says. “If you really want to shift your lifestyle and be motivated it’s a much longer conversation than a soundbite so it was a nice forum to be able to just put out there and part of what I talk about is that it’s not about what I do, you know, it’s about what you like and connecting to the things that make you feel motivated.”
But the book takes a deeper approach, according to Hudson, “It’s also about tuning into other parts about how you feel because the trick is how do you motivate yourself to not only want to look a certain way but at the end of the day you’re not going to look that way if you don’t feel good and it starts with feeling good or at least understanding why maybe you don’t.”
On how applicable can advice from a wealthy celebrity actually be for the average person
“That’s why I wrote it,” Hudson says. “I feel that it is an accessible dialogue that everybody can be part of […] I want it [the book] to feel accessible and real. I didn’t want it to feel unattainable.”
The actress maintains you don’t have to be extremely rich to be healthy, suggesting: “We all have the outdoors available to us.”
“How do you motivate people who don’t necessarily have the means to do what a lot of people do when they have help, and trainers, and they can eat organically all the time and they can afford a certain kind of lifestyle that other people can’t?”, she asks. “And I don’t think that’s fair. I think everybody should be able to afford a healthy lifestyle so it’s trying to figure out an approach to that. “It’s little things you can do, we all have the outdoors available to us […] and if you have children we’ve got to take our kids to the park and we’ve got to take them for a walk.”
On using Instagram and social media without obsessing about unattainable perfection
“Perfection doesn’t exist. We put it up there but it’s an impossible target,” she says firmly.
Hudson is an avid Instagram user, with a following of 3.7 million. She regularly posts pictures of herself, working out or enjoying herself with friends and doesn’t appear to take herself too seriously.
“I’m an artist so I love imagery and images are very inspiring so I would never put down an image. An image can be inspiring, it can be beautiful, it can be something to visualise and it can be appealing and can set off all the endorphins in the brain to motivate you for a moment.”
However she says when viewing what we might perceive to be a “perfect” image on Instagram, it’s important to keep a healthy amount of perspective.
“It’s really more about the dialogue I think we’re having inside of it, it’s this idealist idea of ‘oh this is what the perfect is supposed to look like’ or ‘if you look like this you will be this’ and it’s an endless pit continuing to to try to reach for something that you’ll just never grab it. It will never happen because you’re not looking at what’s internally yours and yours alone.”
The actress says all women are scrutinised over their appearance, which is something we have to learn to ignore and rise above.
“I think women are very scrutinised no matter what, even ones that people put on the highest pedestal, they’re incredibly scrutinised. So it’s more about trying to sort of put your blinders on to that, let all of that go and really start to go forward from the inside out.”
Pretty Happy: The Healthy Way to Love Your Body is on sale now.
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