Brooke Shields took the entertainment world by storm. Since having children, her perspective changed dramatically. The balance Shields has to strike between her professional life and motherhood is a continually evolving struggle, exactly like the experience of most moms. “It’s something that is constantly being negotiated,” Shields said.
Shields came to prominence in the 1970s as a model, then actress in such films as Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon. She has since carved out a successful career in Hollywood, from her starring turns in the recent Lipstick Jungle to her own starring vehicle, Suddenly Susan.
After initially heading back to work after her first child, Shields was concerned Hollywood would forget her if she didn’t immediately get back in front of the camera. What she discovered was that when she takes the time to be the mom she desires to be, her performances increase in their quality.
Now she’s back on the big screen in the recently released Furry Vengeance opposite Brendan Fraser and sat down with SheKnows to talk about the environmentally conscious movie and how her children are more eco-aware than she is — and continually badger her about it!
Brooke Shields shares
SheKnows: You have your pick of roles you could take. Especially given your schedule as a mom, what was it about Furry Vengeance that made it a must-do for Brooke Shields?
Brooke Shields: First of all, I did the film because it was an opportunity to work with Brendan (Fraser). I’m a huge, huge fan of his — I’d like to think. Making a kids movie, it’s really nice to make a movie that you can bring your family to, you know? You can also entertain the adults, which as a parent, I truly appreciate in a film.
SheKnows: Your mother character in this film is a little more than window dressing, that had to appeal to you as well?
Brooke Shields: It is. Usually the female character is there to service the story. What was really great about this was he (director Roger Kumble) gathers some of the best comics around and literally put me in with them and allowed me to really mold this character as something truly unique. I knew it was going to be fun.
SheKnows: What are your opinions about raising an environmentally conscious child? Can films such as Furry Vengeance play a role in that effort?
Brooke Shields: I think it matters on the film. Some movies can be preachy about it at times. With Furry Vengeance, it still feels like a fun family film while simultaneously giving the audience a good environmental message. The message is also not condescending or hitting you over the head. I think it allows children to feel powerful in it, and able to do something about the issue once they leave the theater. The idea of respecting mother nature and our environment is absolutely imperative. My kids have gotten to this now. They feel empowered to have the ability to make a difference.
SheKnows: Are they one step ahead of you when it comes to environmental issues?
Brooke Shields: They yell at me if I leave the water on while I’m brushing my teeth (laughs)! I think we’ve got to allow them to feel that they have the power to make a difference. Movies like this are a good way to do it because it’s subtle, but kids and the message, are an integral part of it.
Shields: Mom first, superstar second
SheKnows: One of the most appealing things about you, Brooke, is despite the lure of a huge Hollywood career, you have first and foremost, been a mom. Your kids are the priority. When you first entered the entertainment industry through modeling up until now, have you had a shift in your perspective because of having children?
Brooke Shields: So much of my life, all my life prior to having children really, I was incredibly focused on the mission of being a performer. No matter the medium, that dictated my everything. I was happy doing it. I would choose work over a personal life. Having children shifted my focus in such a way that, and it’s not just a cliche that it is no longer about me, it actually became more about the entirety of my life. It had previously been really one-sided. There was nothing that was going to stop me — I was going to reach down and be an amazing actress. Then, I had children. The desire to enjoy my life was all of a sudden and was right in front of my face. It was an interesting thing.
SheKnows: Did you feel that Hollywood would forget you after having children?
Brooke Shields: When I first had a child, I took a job very quickly because I was terrified that I was going to be erased because now I was a mother. I remember being on set of this miniseries or something and I remember thinking, “I wish I was back with my child.” It was a revelation to me. Then, I got scared because I thought it was just the challenge of being a working mom, or maybe I thought I had lost my talent. It’s taken a while now to realize that I still am able to be as passionate about my work. It is not the most important thing in the world. But, I also realize I’m a better mom when I have the opportunity to have challenging work.