Let’s not mince words: Jenny Slate’s life goals are so good, they’re worth co-opting for yourself. The Gifted actor sat down with SheKnows to discuss her new film, but also spoke about how empowered she feels right now to take her life and career by the horns. “I feel a beautiful change within myself,” Slate related, “I’ll tell you that. I feel so free.”
Slate stated that this freedom comes not only from working hard, but from the fact that the hard work has given her a level of independence that leaves her excited by what’s to come. “A part of that does come from being able to work enough that you have savings and you feel more financially independent, but also a lot of that — a lot of the way that I feel — is this exciting feeling of ‘Whoa, I have so much more to learn. I have so many more skills to gather.’ As a woman, I am so proud of what I’ve become. I feel really glad to be myself. It’s like a new, interesting feeling. That’s where I’m at right now,” she noted.
Slate has had a busy couple of years recently, popping up nearly everywhere: Parks & Recreation, Obvious Child, Bob’s Burger’s, The Lego Batman Movie and Zootopia are just a handful of the notable hot projects she’s been a part of. She’s been able to not only break out of whatever mold you may have thought she’d let Hollywood settle her into, but in the process found that she is willing to take a chance turning down “hot” material in favor of choosing work that satisfies her soul. The way she sees it, “it’s that, like, a lot of times it’s a job you don’t get paid a lot of money for and [the project is] just perpetuating this really degrading set of assertions about women. So it’s not that great out there. There’s still just so much garbage material. Enough people are hungry to work, so that material floats. But it’s just, like, I’m 35. I know what I like; I know what I want. I just don’t want to feel bad. I don’t want to feel like a shithead.” Amen to that.
That confidence in knowing what she wants stems in part from the fact that this work, acting, is what she has always wanted to do. “I wanted to be an actress forever. It is my true love. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to be an American film actress. So, in a way, it’s like I’ve been gunning for this forever. I’ve described it as a game that I’ve played until it became real. I just feel like it’s unfolding.” For Slate, the unfolding sensation refers to the increased momentum in her career, but in a way we should all hope to feel that kind of momentum in our own lives, right? That ability to feel good about the line of work you’re in and feel like you are on the right track is precious.
For Slate, age and experience brings not only the confidence to go forward without worry, but a new feeling of wholeness. It would appear that the worries of small things don’t get to her quite the way they used to and her life goals emerge as something simple: Love yourself always.
“I feel like I have a very specific nature and that will never change. I will always need connection with people,” Slate explains. “I will always need to feel kind of a large amount of love, coming from myself and coming to myself. I think I’ve learned to accept that and to satisfy myself in useful and healthy ways. I think I am learning to do away with shame. I am celebrating being straightforward. I just don’t think you can go wrong,” she says, implying that there is another level of freedom that can be achieved in living your truth. “I think I’m learning to trust myself and why I want to be in this world and not think that any part of my life is embarrassing or secret. The more I think about it that way, the more I live that way.”
Slate’s life goals aren’t merely a checklist of to-dos, nor are they simple. Loving yourself, embracing confidence over self-doubt and living in your truth so much so that you trust yourself to go out and get what you want? Those are huge, but if we can at least take on one of Slate’s life goals, we’ll be more than OK.
Additional reporting by SheKnows entertainment manager Lauren Kelly