Actor Naomi Watts is styled by Tracy Taylor in modern luxe, clean lines simplicity from Balenciaga, JACQUEMUS, Proenza Schouler, The Row and more. Photographer Jason Kibbler is in the studio for Porter Edit August 2, 2019. Jane Mulkerrins conducts the interview.
Naomi Watts on her role in ‘The Loudest Voice’
This summer the Game of Thrones star has a high-profile role in the TV drama miniseries ‘The Loudest Voice’, with Watts playing the role of Gretchen Carlson. The Fox News Primetime anchor filed a lawsuit in July 2016, accusing head of the network, now-deceased Roger Ailes, of forcing her off the air when she thwarted his sexual advances.
As a result of Carlson’s courage, other women at Fox News, including Megyn Kelly, followed Carlson’s lead and within weeks, Roger Ailes resigned as head of the network.
“She’s a hero,” enthuses Watts of Carlson. “She was the first, inadvertently bringing about the #MeToo movement [which exploded 15 months later], and she doesn’t get a huge amount of credit for that.” Carlson’s settlement with Fox was worth $20 million, with terms that prevented her from working on the mini-series or any other projects connected to the lawsuit. Watts met her for the first time at the show’s premiere. “I had to do everything in my power not to cry and just fold into her,” she says.
Naomi Watts on her family
Watts grew up in what sounds like a glam environment, but in reality she and her brother, photographer Ben Watts came from an indigent family. Her bohemian mother, Myfanwy, known as Miv, is a costumier and interior designer, who was friends with Marianne Faithfull (“I remember being fascinated by her voice,” says Watts), Her father, Peter, a sound engineer for Pink Floyd, left Naomi’s mom and his kids when Naomi was four. He died of a heroin overdose at the age of 31, when his daughter was seven.
The little brood moved to Australia when Watts was 14; she was scouted in her acting classes and soon found herself auditioning for commercials and TV roles. This activity introduced her to Nicole Kidman, who remains a loyal and lifetime friend.
Kidman , next married to Tom Cruise and established in the US, persuaded Watts to move to Hollywood.
After hearing the word ‘no, no, no’ for a decade, Watts met David Lynch who made her his lead in ‘Mulholland Drive’. “He really discovered me in a way that I’d lost track of.” The world has been Naomi Watts’ oyster ever since, although she continues her frugality to this day.
“I grew up poor, so I still think I’m poor,” Watts has said. “There are certain things that I cannot spend money on. I will not let my washing be done in a hotel – even if I am living in that hotel for weeks at a time, I will not pay $6 to wash a sock – I will wash my socks in the sink,” laughs Watts. “I fly economy with my children. Those things don’t go away just because you start earning money.”
Watts is also inspired by friend Gwyneth Paltrow, her friend and Hamptons neighbor in Amagansett.
Paltrow has also been a point of inspiration and support for Watts in her burgeoning ‘clean beauty’ business, Onda, which she founded with two old friends, writes Mulkerrins. Though she is not, she says, planning on doing “as much of a pivot” career-wise as Paltrow, Onda has grown from an online-only brand to stores in New York, the Hamptons’ Sag Harbor, Sydney, and, soon, London’s Notting Hill. “If you’re going to spend a lot of time on something, do it with like-minded people,” she notes.