Actress and activist on living positively, listening to our kids, empowering women and the evolving state of marriage
by Colleen Crivello
SHARE THE LOVE (& THE STYLE)
Upon arriving at Kelly’s home in LA, I was greeted at the door by her AND her brother – whom she was chatting with on FaceTime. Inclusive and warm, Kelly is outspoken, exudes positivity and is utterly fascinating – in fact to describe her as vibrant would be a severe understatement.
With a long and lasting career as an actress (notably lauded for her role as Lily from Gossip Girl) and as an activist, Kelly’s energy seemingly knows no bounds – which is not what you’d expect considering what she’s been through. After a highly publicized custody case, she continues on as lovely as ever with a laser focus on her kids’ wellbeing. We caught up with this fierce female (between her travels) on channeling positive energy, her newly launched jewelry line, the evolution of marriage and celebrating women owning their independence. @kellyrutherford
Photos by: Vanessa Tierney On positive messages: My perspective is that you get what you focus on most of the time, so let’s focus on the good. I believe if the news were only to report on good things our society would shift rapidly away from our current fear based messaging into something more positive. The key is to take your focus off things that aren’t making you happy and instead to put your attention into how you want to reside energetically in your life and relationships. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a cry over a glass of wine with a friend, but then decide what you want out of a situation and get on with it. Ultimately it takes courage to be positive and to choose to look at the good in situations and focus on what’s important. And who knows really, perhaps if I was like all these young hot girls I’d probably just be posting bikini shots too but I’m older so I’ve decided to post positive quotes – I suppose both are uplifting in their own way.
On the changing state of marriage/relationships for women: Marriage is a contract and perhaps an outdated model for some. With the rate of divorce these days, I no longer think a successful relationship necessarily includes marriage. This is not to say that you can’t get married and that there aren’t successful marriages, because you can and there are, however I think statistically speaking we might be better off coming up with a different plan. I believe that for a lot of people the minute you sign a contract, for anything in life, the dynamic changes. Where as if you just remained engaged for the rest of your life, you can still have the the fantasy/fairy tale with a diamond and babies, minus the contract. After all, for me love isn’t about making someone stay when they don’t want to stay, it’s about wanting to be there and recommit to that every day. We can look at it so many ways and there are many view points on marriage but I think ultimately it’s about making it your own, a freedom I believe we have these days. It used to be that women essentially depended on marriage for survival because they didn’t work, but that really doesn’t apply anymore and as the structure of our society continues to evolve our perspective on marriage will too.
On empowering women: We all have to stand in that power for ourselves and be a reflection to other women because it’s happening and it’s unstoppable. Women are a force and really supporting each other now more than ever, so let’s embrace it! Young women especially have gotten the message and are taking it to a whole different level, faster than ever. They’re so savvy and focused, they know what they want from a young age and are looking at their relationships differently too – they’re empowered. I really love what Emma Watson is doing and I think she’s phenomenal as a role model.
On role models: I learn from my daughter everyday – if we just listen to our girls, they’re really smart. I also really admire Susan Sarandon – both as an activist and a woman. She’s incredibly open minded and so sexy for her age. I like her even though I don’t really know her outside of when we spoke together at the UN Women for Peace, but nevertheless I think she’s amazing. Also Elena Brower, author of Art of Attention, is wonderfully spiritual and her message really resonates with me.
On the UN Women for Peace Association: I spoke there with Naomi Campbell one year and Susan Sarandon another year plus I have marched. There are many fantastic women involved in this organization and I do what I can to support – I’m not always in town for it but if I am then I try to go.
On being a working mom:It’s about us prioritizing our desires, if you want to be with your kids all the time, then do your best to do that and if you want to focus on your career, then do that — there are no rules anymore. I love my kids, so it doesn’t matter how far I have to travel to be with them or what I have to do because that love is beyond anything and it’s my priority. Now, do I need to make a living? Yes. We all have to do certain things, but that doesn’t change how much love we have for our children.
On spending time with your kids: My kids live in France with their father and I see them all the time. Things seem to be progressing and getting a lot better thankfully. Most importantly the kids are doing really well.
Advice to other women going through custody challenges: It’s difficult because they’re all so unique and each of us is dealing with a different set of circumstances and systems. At the end of the day, I think our focus always has to be the kids. The more child focused we are, the better. I truly believe that it’s always about the kids and I hope that the courts at some point realize this too because I think it’s gone off track a bit with other distractions when instead it should be about them. With my own children I’ve tried to stay focused on them as much as I can and to be as honest with them as possible given their ages. Above all else, regardless of circumstances, the most important thing for kids is to know how much they’re loved.
On kids growing up: The beauty of children is that they know everything. They come in with so much information, more than we realize or give them credit for. It’s like a tree, it starts as a seed and although it’s tiny, that seed has a lot of information in it. The seed knows why it’s here and what kind of tree it’s supposed to be and how to grow. It’s the same with kids, they know what they’re supposed to do. It’s certainly our responsibility to guide them, keep them safe and teach them the ways of society, but other than that I look at my kids and ask them, ‘How can I be a better parent for you and your journey?’. It’s not about us, it’s about them because they’re the bringers – they bring in the new information.
On your kids’ interests: My daughter is leaning towards the arts even though she is super smart in school. My son is definitely interested in tech – this I suppose is kind of normal for his generation and so I try to have a progressive view on that.On meditation: My focus has been more on resting and checking in with myself frequently throughout the day. I meditate and believe in meditation, but resting has become part of this ritual. I like to take time to really be in my body and in the moment. Everyone can benefit from stretching, relaxing and taking time for creative play and art. I went to this wonderful healer recently that has me painting watercolors with my left hand and I’m right handed – it’s really fun and humbling.
On wellness and self-care: I travel so much that I mainly try to eat as healthy and organic as possible – I’m not super strict with myself because I believe in listening to my body. SO if I feel like I need something sweet than I have it and if I’m not craving it, than I don’t. I don’t really drink alcohol at all and I find that really helps my energy levels and clarity. I was gluten free for awhile, but then I realized that I was missing having a bagel from time to time, so I’ve added that back in. If we all just tune in and listen to our bodies everything aligns – if you’re tired, rest, if you’re hungry, eat, if you have a lot of energy or stress, go for a run or walk. Traveling as much as I do, forces me to maintain my center. I like to journal, make lists and time between places allows me to think – it can be very productive.
Where to next: I’m going to Philly for a new project that I’m working on and then to Rome to promote an Italian bag and accessories designer who created a bag inspired by me called The Rutherford. Then a friend just opened a new fitness studio in Hamberg, Germany – it’s like SoulCycle for Germany and I’m going to help her promote. I loop back to France to see my kids and then to LA.
On Kelly Rutherford Jewelry: It’s my namesake line andcan be found at Broken English plus it’ll be available online soon. The collection is super simple, affordable and mixes with everything that you already wear. Stars and moons made from 14K gold that can easily be worn to the beach, yoga or around town. The pieces are ideal for a mother/daughter duo as the bracelets and earrings come in three different sizes. It makes for a really nice gift.
New projects: Working on a new series – will let you know asap!
One Tip: Love and take care of yourself because I think we make better choices from that place. Sadly, we’ve been taught that it’s selfish and instead I think it’s selfish not to. I don’t mean this in an ego way but rather a genuine kindness towards oneself so that you can be that with others as well your children. I believe you must do your best in this moment because the next moment will require something else of you and if you’re being the best you can in this moment than you’re certainly going to be in a better place in the next. We’re all moving so fast and there are so many demands on us therefore it’s key is to keep love in our hearts so that kindness can come to the forefront – our kids will follow suit.