This month's cover star, Cate Blanchett, proves that it's possible to be glamorous and green.
Cate Blanchett embodies everything that ‘Fashion With Heart’ stands for. She proves that it’s possible to be glamorous and green and have a stunning career while still caring for the planet. By Melissa Field. Photographs by Mark Abrahams.
‘As I see it, there’s no greater challenge we face as a species than dealing with climate change and its effects.’
Cate Blanchett is fast becoming as well known for her environmental campaigning as she is for her acting career. ‘This is so important to me because, in ten years, my children will be 16, 14, and this one in here will be ten,’ says the 38-year-old, who, at the time of our meeting, is still heavily pregnant. ‘It’s not for us to think, “Someone else will deal with this.”‘
I meet Blanchett in the cluttered office she shares with her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, inside the former warehouse now inhabited by the Sydney Theatre Company (STC). I’d heard that the couple, who have been married for 11 years, are so close, they share not just an office, but a desk and computer. ‘We’re unnaturally close,’ she admits. ‘I get support in all its forms from my husband.’
Last year, the pair moved back to Australia after spending most of the last decade based in London and Brighton. Returning to Sydney with their two sons, Dashiell, six, and Roman, four, in tow, the couple have taken up a three-year contract as co-artistic directors of Australia’s most prestigious theatre company – a building she and her husband are in the process of ‘greening’. Blanchett assures me that the ecological views she and her husband share mean they are planning on executing not only an artistic transformation of the theatre, but an aesthetic one as well.
‘We would have greened the internal offices anyway,’ she says as we stroll along the balcony outside the building, the harbour waters sparkling in the sunlight below. ‘But then Andrew said, “This place is perfect to put solar panels on and take it off the grid completely.”‘ If they manage it, theirs will be the first public building on Sydney Harbour to do so.
Clearly, Blanchett and Upton are no dilettantes when it comes to living an ecologically sound lifestyle. Currently, they’re also in the process of ‘greenovating’ the new family home, a waterfront, sandstone mansion situated in the prestigious old-money Sydney suburb of Hunter’s Hill.
‘Our house is progressing now,’ says Blanchett. ‘But I was horrified to see how uncommon greening practices for the home are. We’ve had solar panels installed, but they’re still seen as a left-field idea. We’ve also got rainwater tanks and we’re using natural air flow to cool the house.’
While Blanchett’s concern is sincere, she’s a realist, too. ‘Look, I live in the modern world as much as anyone else. I use a car and, in the last two years, I’ve been flying far more than I’m comfortable with. So it’s been really important for me to offset my flights, which I do.’
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This is an edited version of the full interview, which features in the eco-chic June issue of Marie Claire