Celebrity Interview: Emma Stone
Q. What drives your passion for exploring new places?
My first real experience of travel came when my mother and I moved to Los Angeles when I was 15. It was so tough and so miserable that, since then, I’ve always promised myself I would embrace a new place rather than just let it exist around me. If I tell you that my mother and I lived in a small apartment in La Brea Park in LA, I never went out by myself, had no friends, zero social life, and when my mother and I did go out, all we did was go to the movies…you will see why going somewhere new now has to be exciting.
Q. You live in New York now, so the experience must be very different?
Oh I love New York. It’s the diversity and honesty of the city that really engages – you don’t get too swayed by the bright lights because there is a much saner, more natural edge around every corner.
Q. What is your favourite part of New York?
Tribeca is cool and understated, but really I love the fashion district. I’m still learning a lot about clothes and experimenting with different looks. I also have a great stylist who looks after me, but really you only have to stroll around to see every variety, every influence, every type of person…and everyone is defined by amazing clothes.
Q.What else do you look out for when you’re away from home?
Food always plays a big role in the places I visit. I mean, first off, I’m really into baking. I make a Mexican cake, tres leches – three milks. It’s delicious.. I also love the grilled cheese from Brooklyn Diner in New York City. It’s hollowed bread, cheddar cheese with French fries and I’d probably have it with an Oreo cookie or chocolate peanut butter shake. To understand a food culture is to understand a country’s culture.
Q.Do you have a routine that you follow when you’re abroad?
I try to give myself an initial guide to a city and then go ‘off-piste’. If you go equipped with a basic idea of the sorts of things you want to do – visit cafes and museums, go on boat trips – without being tied to a schedule, it gives you licence to uncover the real heart of a place.
Q.Do you like to explore when you’re shooting abroad?
Explore but feel comfortable. Whenever you shoot a film, your regular life is put on hold for three or four months at a time. If you’re away, it really helps to get familiar with your surroundings so it doesn’t feel quite so alien. Just feeling homely when you’re away from home is important. So as well as venturing out, I like to spend a lot of time reading. And if I’m walking around, then I stay off the main drag – I love finding cool little cafes where I can hang out and not attract any attention. I couldn’t tell you the names of any, which is kind of the point. When I was in Venice, I just kept going in zigzags wherever the walkways would go. It took me right away from the main areas and I could see where the real life of Venice was. There is a vibrancy in Italy. I love Rome for that reason.
Q.Does exploring help your creativity on set?
I wouldn’t necessarily say that, it’s just much more interesting to be able to explore a city when you’re not on set. It’s a great escape from the hotel, when you know all you have is a 6am start the next day. I have to be careful not to spend so much time on the internet, because it starts to become a black hole and it’s so easy to get sucked in before you realise it.
Q. What’s your idea of total relaxation when you’re away?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m caught between venturing out and sitting back – they’re both relaxing for very different reasons.
Q. Have you always been fascinated by travel?
Early on, all I was set on was getting good grades. I hated school, but I felt a need to be really good in class. I was miserable, but trying to get As. I felt I had to succeed in it even though I hated it. So there’s a little insight into my psyche. But ultimately I think the reason I wanted to succeed was to see what else was out there, and to explore. And that comes back to the same inherent feelings you get through travel – it’s the essence of reaching out into the unknown. There’s nothing more exciting than that.