I catch up with Kate Hudson in the aftermath of the 95th Academy Awards, as she’s winding down from hitting red carpets on behalf of her latest feature, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Released in late 2022, the star-packed romp has proved to be hugely successful and Netflix’s 4th most-watched movie of all time. But perhaps that’s no surprise. Twenty-two years after her own Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Almost Famous, Hudson has built her charming breakout role into solid box office bankability. From 200 Cigarettes and Bride Wars to How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days or Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, and Fools Gold to Kung-Fu Panda 3, Hudson’s involvement in any project is an elevating force. Today, she’s most definitely, bonafide-ly Famous. No ‘almost’ about it.
Unaffected and fresh, Hudson radiates a bright, breezy approachability in a soft-toned green-gray shirt with her longhair free and casually tousled. There’s a melodic trill in her ‘Hiiiiii’ and ‘How are you?’ as she greets me with a smile from her home in LA.
How are you feeling post-Oscars week?
Well, the whole awards season was really fun for us. Glass Onion got some really wonderful love, and so we attended many of the shows, won some fun ensemble awards. I loved the energy in the room. There was this great feeling that our community was really back, finally, after COVID, that there was no anxiety. When you love a movie that you did as much as I did Knives Out, and loved everyone involved in it, like Rian Johnson, who is such a master, by doing all the events you get to see everyone again, you get to reminisce and create new memories. Like the movie still ‘lives.’ Janelle [Monaé, presenting for Best Sound] and I going out and presenting together felt emotional for both of us because we had such a wonderful journey together. Now we have to make the plans happen and not expect that we are going to see each other, ‘Oh, I’ll see you in two weeks.’ So for me the night after the Oscars was my final goodbye to that era of making a movie. The final curtain.
Your Knives Out character, Birdie, is such a fun character, and at the same time she can be... a little, well, obnoxious. Do you think she’s a commentary on today’s social media-obsession society?
Oh my God. We all know a Birdie! They’re all out there. The Birdies of the world provide for a great dinner table conversation. Part of what makes her fun to play, and hopefully what translated, was her deep desire for validation, her absolute ignorance and privilege. Her need to survive, based on the circumstances that she’s in. Because I think that deep down, Birdie’s just a very sweet girl, looking to be loved. And it kind of manifested in this ‘being,’ this persona she plays. ‘Birdie’ is my nickname in real life, my Dad has called me Birdie since I was a little girl. So Birdiewill always be with me, just notthatBirdie[laughs]***‘Dad’ is legendary actor Kurt Russell, (Escape From New York, Big Trouble in Little China, Death Proof) and ‘Mom’ is of course the beyond-iconic Goldie Hawn (Overboard, Death Becomes Her, The First Wives Club). Any way you slice it, that’s a pretty cool household to spring from. However, Kate’s upbringing was decidedly the opposite vibe to the so-called ‘nepo babies’ of the contemporary Hollywood scene
Did you go to the Oscars with your parents growing up?
No... We weren’t attending the Oscars with my parents! My parents would never have allowed that to happen. That’s not their style. I had a very different up bringing. When they met on Swing Shift, I was about three, and by the time I was four, we were living in Colorado. They were really more interested in getting out of Los Angeles, and making sure we had a very wholesome, more normal foundation growing up. Then my mom relocated us back to LA around the time when I was in High School because my grandmother got sick and she couldn’t come up to the altitude anymore. And you know... growing up in this town is a funny thing. For me, I wasn’t really involved in it. All my friends laugh—when they were going to clubs, I was at bars down in Manhattan Beach hanging out with surfers [laughs].
Which makes you... a Colorado-California Girl?
Yes. I live a very balanced life between the mountains and the sea. I don’t know how to live without either of them. They both are where I meet God, ya know.
Another memory bubbles up—one that demonstrates both Hudson and her mother’s epically nonchalant attitude towards the industry.’ “I do remember one year my Mom going to the Vanity Fair Oscar party,” she says, “and she didn’t have anything to wear. I was maybe 17 or 18. I gave her one of my dresses, this really pretty simple black halter gown, it was BCBG or something. And she was like, ‘Oh, great I’ll just wear that.’ Then she wore it and had a wardrobe malfunction... I remember her calling me later on my flip phone, and she was like, ‘Oh my God, the dress did this...[laughs].
So what would be your first Oscars memory?
My first Oscars were my first Oscars... I was so young when I got nominated. I always watched the Oscars. I watched people that I really admired win. Like any aspiring actress, you know... Seeing people that I really respect and looked up to, I remember looking at that, and being like. You know when you love to act, it’s a very specific thing. And when you really really really love it, there are not that many people who understand why, except if they doit, too. Everybody in that room has done something that I look up to, you know? I felt that way the first time in the room. I remember looking around at all these amazing actors. I remember seeing Ed Harris! And just being like.... I worship him. That’s what I take from the Oscars
Tell me about your looks this year—first, the long, silver, sequined super-glam gown?
I loved that dress. It was so fun. And I love the girls—Laura and Kate [Mulleavy] are so amazing, they’re so talented. I’ve never had a Rodarte ‘moment’ with them, and so when we saw the dress, we were like, ‘This is so great and fun.’ It felt ethereal... It felt exactly how I wanted to feel that night
[NB: Hudson might be a fashion-world queen, but her ‘we’ is not royal; rather, it is indicative of her including her long-time stylist Sophie Lopez in the crucial dress selection process]
That’s certainly a major Rodarte moment to have. And the pink gown with the voluminous shoulders?
That’s by Tamara Ralph, from Ralph and Russo. She just started with her own couture. And I just loved that one, too! We had these two beautiful dresses, and when we were doing the Oscar fitting, they were really both for the Oscars, but because I was presenting we wanted to go with some sparkle, and I wanted cleaner lines... I didn’t want to be too extra. But that pink dress needed its moment, too, so I was like, ‘You know what, let’s wear it to the Vanity Fair party!’
I’ve noticed you like to wear a lot of color.
I don’t over think it. I just do with what I’m feeling. I do love color, but I also love black and white... And I love...you!
At that, daughter Rani Rose, 4, comes on the screen for a hug and some comfort from Mom. “Aah!” Says Hudson, “She’s dropped her St. Patrick’s Day coin.” Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but Hudson played Irish in an early role shot in Dublin, About Adam, and her extended Kurt Russell family who do boast Irish blood make a big deal of the celebration as per her Instagram. (Hudson’s own heritage is listed as a swirl of Hungarian Jewish, Italian, English and German; Rani’s father, her fiancé musician Danny Fujikawa, adds Japanese-American heritage to their daughter’s international mix.) Rani sweetly tells me about the coin, a gift from a real leprechaun that came to her school, and a wishing fountain, where she made a wish. An adorable domestic scene ensues. Hudson is a caring, concerned and very present parent. “[Kate to Rani:] When I’m done with this we’ll go do some fun stuff... It’s also my Dad’s birthday. It’s Grandpa’s birthday. [Back to the screen:] Life is happening!
Ever professional, she’s back again in a flash. Hudson’s all about family. She’s co-hosted popular podcast Sibling Revelry with her just slightly older brother Oliver Hudson since late 2019. Their third season comes out in April, available on Apple Music and Spotify. With their friendly access to rock-n-roll royalty, to cool creatives across the board, guests welcomed by the Hudsons range from Matthew and his brother ‘Rooster’ McConaughey, Andra Day and Nadea Guillory, the Haim sisters, Chad and Rob Lowe, to Jim Henson’s children to Ron and Clint Howard or Stella and Mary McCartney, alternating with top psychology and sociology experts. Who would say ‘no’ to these self-described ‘goofy and crazy’ pair? But the subject matter is not goofy at all. Instead, serious emotional stuff; the boisterous Oliver openly discusses his battles with addiction and infidelity, and the sensitive Kate Hudson has shed tears over the touching letters that readers send in. Reconciliation, ‘clinging,’ dealing with the collateral damage of divorce; difficult issues are dissected every session
How did Sibling Revelry come about?
It was really Oliver’s idea. He just said, ‘You know, no one really explores sibling relationships. Let’s do a podcast where we interview other siblings and talk about things that we are interested in as a family, but have it centered around our relationship. So I thought, ‘Easy enough, great.’ We found a wonderful producer, and started off with a couple of episodes... Next thing we knew, we had a very successful podcast, and we had all of these people writing in and talking about the impact it was having on them. We were surprised by it, even for ourselves. There was a lot that we had to cut away, [laughs] because even he and I had some ironing out to do in our own relationship... Talking about our own experiences, realizing that you can grow up together, in exactly the same circumstances, and come out with a totally different perspective. We realized that it was maybe the most rewarding project that we’d ever done because we were learning so much about each other and learning about other people at the same time.
In the lead up to speaking to Kate Hudson, I had sampled a smorgasbord of Sibling Revelry episodes and was quite fascinated by Dr. Mark Epstein’s two shows. A Buddhist psychiatrist with 40 years of work in psychotherapy and meditation, Epstein has spoken with Oliver and Kate twice, [April 2021 & 2022.] He knew Ram Dass and John Cage and has written several books including The Trauma of Everyday Life (2014) (where he interprets the Buddha’s spiritual journey as grounded in Buddha’s childhood trauma) and The Zen of Therapy (2022).
Dr. Epstein was amazing.
Dr. Epstein is the best. He’s such a wonderful therapist. I loved talking with him. And it’s just so wonderful how he incorporates Buddhism with real Western psychology. I love what he’s been able to offer us and to any listener to soak in. He’s so wise. I think the best way for therapy to really work is to understand the science of the brain, to have an understanding of why we continuously have patterns that might not be serving us, where does this come from? And from what I’ve learned from people who have had real transformative experiences with therapists, it’s usually coupled with some kind of spiritual path as well. We talk a lot on the podcast about how much Oliver and I really believe in the therapeutic process, and how it should be available to everyone. There are so many different ways to look deeper into yourself. For me personally, I’ll just try anything, because I like exploring and I’m very adventurous in that department. Getting a better understanding of yourself helps you to understand human behavior and others better.”
When you spoke with Dr. Karl Pillemer on the “Familial Estrangement” episode, neither of you shied away from the issues that had affected your own family.
When you look at how many relationships in families—brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers—where there is some level of estrangement, it’s plentiful. It’s wild how common it is. One of the most powerful things that I realized that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how you were raised, when it comes to family dynamics, we are all speaking a very similar language. Some people are different than others, some more relatable than others, but the desire is always the same. We all long for closeness. And sometimes, we can’t have that closeness; sometimes you have to eliminate the toxicity of a sibling relationship, if that is the case. It’s always something that people wish they had, or love that they had if they did have it. We have all of these listeners that love to hear about and to embrace others having good relationships with their siblings.
How has being a parent yourself changed your thinking about these things?
Well, for any parent... if being a parent hasn’t changed you, then I think you need to look deeper into your life. I think for everybody, the second you have children, it completely changes everything. If you look at your life like a pendulum, when you have a child, it just swings the pendulum in a completely different direction. Even if you’re trying to hang on to your old life, it just doesn’t work that way. You’re still hanging on that pendulum, and then it has to balance itself out. You learn to get her with your first child. I always say, becoming a mother so young, I didn’t really have many years as an adult alone, I always had Ryder [her now 19-year-old son with ex-husband Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.] I’ve been a mom my entire adult life, and I’ve had a child almost every decade [laughs]. In my twenties, early thirties, and in my late thirties... So not only do you learn, but I was also in a very different place in my life with each of my kids; my relationship to parenting does feel different, each time. Not good or bad, just different
That Kate Hudson has boundless adoration for her three off-spring (which also includes Bing, 11, her son with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy), I had already discovered through her frequent Instagram posts about them that sparkle with maternal praise. I also learned that not only does Hudson have a super active Instagram, but she also loves to TikTok, going live at a pace that keeps up with any teenfluencer. Her @thekatehudson handle has 1.4 million followers and 9.5 million likes at the time of writing. She shares it all, getting ready, having her hair done, brightly including the audience in all the fun as the belle gets ready for the ball, along with witty fashion commentary and can-did OOTD throwbacks.
Would you say that you’re tech-savvy?
I’d say savvy... In that I’m savvy, but I also want to throw it all in the ocean you know what I mean? I love it then I don’t love it...I’m really contemplating getting rid of email from my life. I just feel like people reply on things that they shouldn’t. People send an email and behave like that’s a confirmation they did what they’re supposed to do. Like ‘but I sent you an email,’—but you didn’t call me, you didn’t text me, you didn’t leave a message—you didn’t actually try to connect with me. And then even on Saturdays, you’re supposed to be responsible... I feel like I would prefer talking on the phone, I prefer really actually connecting, and using email more as the ‘backup.’
Ahh. I often think I’d like to go back to a time before it all, a time that I never even experienced—the early 1970s era replicated in Almost Famous, before cellphones, with only vinyl records... An era that was beautifully nostalgic when the film was made in the late 90s and now we’re doubly nostalgic for the freedoms we had in the 90s, too. How do you feel about Penny Lane today?
I’m just grateful. Again, that movie changed my life. Roles like that for a 19 to 20-year-old girl just don’t come around very often. She was complicated, she was magical... gave me so much to play with. I connected to her love of music because it’s my first love. Music has always been everything to me. So for me to be able to embody that person ‘Penny Lane’ really felt like, and was, just a life-changing event. Working with Cameron Crowe, such a great writer, working with such an amazing group of people. Getting that experience so young will forever and always stay with me.
For those unfortunately unfamiliar, Almost Famous sees an autobiographic treatment of director Cameron Crowe’s experiences as a young journalist which follows prodigy William Miller (Patrick Fugit) on the ride of his lifetime tailing Billy Crudup as enigmatic, callous guitarist Russell Hammond for a Rolling Stone story, woven through with a perfectly-pitched soundtrack. Everyone whose ever seen the movie would agree that Hudson’s Penny is the beating heart of the film. With her wise eyes and her clever Beatles-inspired pseudonym adding to her aura of mystery and magnetism, the glowing presence that is Penny Lane —real name ‘Lady Goodman’—truly steals the show. And it’s impossible to imagine her played by anyone else but Kate Hudson. A huge hit at the time, it’s now a universally adored film that inspires tributes to this day. Afghan coats + tousled blonde hair = an instantly recognized trope
She’s the ultimate rock-n-roll chick—Penny Lane knew how to party... and so do you. Would agree that’s a fair thing to say?
Penny Lane knew how to party, but she knew how to leave the party. And that’s what I loved about her. She never got caught up with any kind of ‘riff raff,’ you know what I mean? She was above it all. I think that the great moment with Penny is when she watches the other girls gather around William... she’s watching him about to become a man, and watching him about to have this first experience with the girls—it’s very free, and it really embodies that time—but she’s not a part of it. That’s really how she was with everything. I loved that about Penny Lane—that she was actually quite wholesome.
Hudson, too, is an observer of the world around her—a wholesome, soulful spirit on a permanent quest to find answers...and she’s done the research.
I read an article about an 85-year-long study on longevity and happiness done by Harvard University. The main question they were asking was what is the thing, what is the one key factor to living a happier and longer life? And what they discovered was that ‘that thing’ was your social life. It was the quality of your relationships that you have with people. They called it ‘social fitness,’ and I love that concept. They broke it down into seven sectors. Every friend of yours might provide something different that is needed for us to be safe and to feel loved and supported. And then you have to ask yourself: are you providing those things for your friends? Are you putting time into them as equally as the other person? We’re finding that part of the research that is happening is about the negative effects of loneliness on people who don’t have community or social circles. When we have a cocktail with our girlfriends, and laugh our butts off, it’s as beneficial as a thirty-minute walk. All of those things really do play a part in cultivating our happiness, our joy. They’re going to lower our cortisol level, encourage better endorphins, create less stress, and provide community, which we all need.
Your INBLOOM dietary products have such carefully com-posed ingredients—nothing synthetic, enzymes, minerals, adaptogens, aminos... It’s great that rather than just putting cream on your face, you’re behind something that is designed to help your body on a cellular level, from the inside out.
I feel really strongly about the ways in which I want to use my platform, who I’m speaking to and why, and what the purpose is behind it. The things that I want to speak to are things that hopefully bring people a sense of how they can find a little more joy or peace or fun in their life. INBLOOM for me is about that, how we support our health with our nutrition, our food. I’m like, down for the balance of life. I love a good time, and sometimes a good time means a really rough morning. [She casts her eyes behind her] As I sit with my very stocked bar behind me and talk about health products. [laughs] It’s about sharing and talking about what foods are actually beneficial—when you ‘boil them down’, certain ones can literally change your life. Like...Vodka. Come have a drink with me!
And thus we effortlessly segue into Hudson’s literally spirited approach to longevity and personal happiness.
Your brand, King St. Vodka, hails from Santa Barbara, rather than Poland or Russia. And it’s made from corn? Can you tell me a little bit about how this alchemy came about?
Vodka is a really simple thing actually. I’m a martini girl. I was intrigued that all the girls I know were all into Tito’s because it’s ‘gluten-free’... I was like–‘Wait, all Vodka is gluten-free, there’s no non-gluten-free vodka!’ So I started looking into how to create a vodka that I would like, a vodka that you could make the best martini with, but still mix with it too. Something special that was premium, that was refined, that was smooth, at Tito’s price-point. I really got into the different flavors and tastes. I like the vodkas that have a little more of a flavor profile, feel a little bit more like gin, but they aren’t so juniper-y.
Gin has always tasted a bit like drinking perfume to me.
I wanted to make sure that my vodka had a little bit of that, but it was still vodka, that it felt like there was a little bit more for a mixologist to have fun with. And then for me, it was like, how do I make it so that it’s the cleanest, so that in the morning —if you decide to have two—you don’t feel it, because you’re drinking the purest you can be. It’s distilled 7 times, which basically means it’s super smooth. We use pH-balanced alkaline water, and that was when I saw the biggest shift; I realized that the water that we use is a big indicator of how good it is. And then obviously, it’s made from a non-GMO corn, and we make sure of who we are getting our corn from, the way we’re farming, that practices are sustainable and aligned with my mission with food.
What’s your go-to martini recipe of the moment?
I’m like a dirty dirty dirty martini girl. I did a TikTok... I’m the dirtiest martini girl. I’m not like filthy... just really dirty, not like filthy filthy. I like a two-ounce vodka + a one-ounce olive juice ratio, which is a lot. With three olives in there. In LA and in Boston (and in London, but we’re not stocked in London yet) there’s a restaurant called ‘Saltie Girl.’ And they have a martini called ‘The Saltie Girl’ and you can really taste my vodka. It’s an awesome cocktail. Have you had it?
[I smile and shake my head] Perhaps I’ll go and write the article there?
Order a Saltie Girl and write the article, and you’re going to be so happy! They do a martini that’s served together with olives and an onion with caviar... It’s just so good, and so pretty. It’s the number one selling drink there.”
Done. I’m going. So what’s next for Kate Hudson? Taking a rest, or trekking the Himalayas?
You know, there’s always so much. I’m always working on my businesses. More creatively, I’ve got a ton of things in development. Probably making movies this summer and this fall... I can’t say what they are yet. I’ve been making music... After Knives Out, I started to make a record. I’ve put a lot into it. I’m at that point now, I’m a year-and-a-half in, getting to that place where it’s almost done, and I just can’t wait to finally share it. Because it’s fun, but also it’s very personal for me; I’m very proud of it. It’s the first thing that I’ve ever done that’s fully mine, from beginning to end. There was no compromise on it, it is a pure expression of what I want to put out there, musically. So yeah! I’m just happy that I did it, because I would regret it if I didn’t
Ah. The musician’s symbolic Musehas crossed over, picked up the guitar, and become the Musician herself. A natural, perfect cycle of things, and another circle of life completed for theGolden Girl of Hollywood who flits from success to success. Along the way, she’s found her own balance, and she’s on a mission to share it with as many people as she can. The takeaway from talking to her is that because of her attitude of keen curiosity and fearless,problem-solving positivity, everything seems to be working for Hudson right now. So I decided to take her advice. About everything. To seize the day. Find my balance. Be more ‘socially fit.’To attempt rapprochement with my own family unit. But first things first. A few days later, I’m sitting at a bar overlooking the infamous Sunset Boulevard for the multi-sensorial Kate Hudson vodka experience I had promised her I would take. Hudson’s got taste. The tagline on the back of her chic curlicued gold and floral bottle reads ‘Best served with good company.’ The martini itself arrives in a chilled, etched crystal glass with a cut-crystal side-car in a bed of crushed ice. Fresh and clean withjust-a-hint-of-citrus, she’s right: it’s 43% proof but smooth as the proverbial silk. It’s a rainy night, the streets are almost deserted. Not even a side-burn-shaped shadow left of the wild 1973 or even the late 90s scene. ‘The Riot House’ aka the Continental Hyatt House has refined itself into a rather more sedate and functional hotel. In our much less hedonistic moment, there’s zero risk of a TV set being thrown out of the windows above to crash onto the pavement at my feet. Looking up, the same billboards that broke every band from theBeatlestoThe Doorsnow commemorate current Oscar season winners. Perhaps in a few months, one of Hudson’s new movies—or her album—will be up there too. It’s not hard to imagine. As the exceptionally, unseasonably strange LA raindrops fall to earth like rockstars on acid, washing the Sunset Strip clean, I raise my glass to all its past and future memories, joys, and hangovers. Cheers to you.
Photographed by Amanda de Cadenet
Written by Hannah Bhuiya
Styled by Sophie Lopez
Manicurist: Ashlie Johnson
Flaunt Film: Nathan Presley
Photo Assistant: Todd Stone
Digital Tech: Milan DeLeo
Assistant Stylist: Thanda Gibson
Production Assistant: McKenna Matus
Location: The Forge