Kate Hudson is standing by the window on the second floor of Capella Singapore’s two-storey manor. The morning sky is coloured in a light shade of grey, overcast, with the occasional ray of sunshine escaping from the breaks in the cloud cover above. It’s a chilly start to the day by Singapore’s standards, thanks to an early bout of heavy rain that seems to have washed away the tropical heat.
Hudson is on a whirlwind tour to Singapore as a guest of Michael Kors. The effervescent American designer is in town to officiate the opening of his first flagship boutique, and Hudson has been specially flown in to lend star wattage to the event. “We’ve known each other for years. I adore him,” she says of their friendship. “Michael loves women and the female form. His clothes are so appealing because he celebrates both in his designs.”
The traces of yesterday’s glamorous shindig — think wisps of fringe framing the face, smoky eyes and a wide-legged white trouser suit — have been removed. Instead, Hudson’s hair is swept back and looks as if she has just stepped out of the shower; her face is almost bare and only shows the slightest hint of makeup. The French cuffs on the 37-year-old’s crisp white shirt are tastefully undone, and the pleats on her tailored shorts crease beautifully as she leans on the windowsill and looks into the clear waters of the pool below.
Simon Upton, Harper’s BAZAAR’s photographer for the shoot, moves stealthily around her, each click of the camera preserving this pensive moment.It’s a contemplative portrayal of Hudson that’s different from the one we’re used to seeing. Often described as a “sunny delight” and noted within the film industry for her knack to “light up the room,” Hudson is normally all smiles and all-American.
When Upton announces he’s got his shot, Hudson breaks character and immediately fills the entire place with her rich voice and throaty laughter. Hudson requests for Alicia Keys to be played on set and readily sings along (Fact: she’s got an impressive set of pipes, which she only showcased a decade into her career in the movie, Nine). She’s also game to try new things-she orders an organic meal for lunch but ends up eating a piping hot bowl of wanton noodles instead. Her eyes widen with excitement at the sight of kueh lapis and she devours every layer of the dessert treat with relish.
“Anyone who follows me [on social media] knows I love food and I’m literally up for anything. I’m lucky to travel the world and food experiences are my favourite thing about travelling,” she muses. An Instagram post of her culinary adventure at Maxwell Food Centre (with almost 200,000 likes and over 1,000 comments) posted a day before the Michael Kors party is further proof of that.
Whether she’s checking out local delicacies incognito or not, there are some things Hudson simply can’t hide. She’s beautiful. She’s unpretentious and earnest. She’s friendly and has a way about her that makes you want to listen to her. And if she tells you to “just go to the record store and visit your friends” when you get lonely — a piece of advice she famously dispensed in Almost Famous — you make a mental note to do exactly that the next time loneliness hits you.
Those familiar with Hudson’s filmography will know that the 2000 flick, written and directed by Cameron Crowe, is credited as the film that introduced Hudson’s talent to the world. Before that, she had starred in films such as Desert Blue, 200 Cigarettes and Gossip, but it was her heartfelt portrayal of Penny Lane, a free-spirited rock band groupie, that made her a bona fide star. The role earned her 19 award nominations, of which she won eight, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
Over the next few years, Hudson quickly rose to prominence in Tinseltown, becoming one of the highest profile proponents of the romantic comedy genre. Dressed in a slinky gold column gown, her back leaning on Matthew McConaughey on the poster of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Hudson embodied the archetype of an easy-to-root-for heroine who unwittingly ends up navigating love’s minefield. “That movie will always hold a special place in me,” she says of her time playing Andie Anderson, a magazine writer who pens the movie’s titular column but finds her plans backfiring when McConaughey’s character enters her life. “So many people love it, and that’s the reason why we make movies.”
In a market now dominated by book-to-screen adaptations of superheroes saving the world from apocalypse, the rom-coms of yesteryear hold special meaning for those who wish to immerse themselves in the possibility that someday, a love that’ll stand the test of time — maybe even an alien invasion — will also come knocking on their doors. Of her own personal must-watch, Hudson offers: “Whether it’s romantic or not, I love comedy — period. I can’t choose one favourite rom-com, but Overboard would definitely be at the top of that list. Terms of Endearment gets me every time I need a good cry. And you only have to go as far as any Garry Marshall movie to bring a smile to your face.”
For someone who has spent more than a decade slipping into a character’s skin, what is it about standing before the lens that Hudson’s still afraid of? “I fear not being honest in front of the camera,” she muses introspectively. Her point? Acting demands the baring of one’s soul to achieve a convincing performance. Which means no façades, no hiding.
Quizzed about her favourite onscreen partner, Hudson finds it an “impossible” task to narrow down the selection. However, she naturally gravitates towards someone very dear and familiar to her: “I’ll say that just sharing the tiniest, briefest moment onscreen with my pa, Kurt Russell, at the end of Deepwater Horizon just made me want more. It’ll happen.”
Family plays an important part in Hudson’s life, grounding her with reality and humility. The younger of two children, she is the daughter of actor Bill Hudson and award-winning actress Goldie Hawn, which means acting has always been in Hudson’s blood. Hudson considers Russell, Hawn’s longtime partner, more of a father figure after her parents divorced. Having grown up around movie sets, Hudson acknowledges their “privileged and lucky lifestyle,” but adds that she was brought up in a nurturing environment that put the values of preparation, hard work and the importance of treating people with respect at the forefront. She also doesn’t feel the pressure to live up to Hawn’s and Russell’s reputations. “Not at all,” she emphasises, “we’re all on our own journeys, regardless of where we come from or what we choose to do with it.”
Hudson has diversified her portfolio by taking on supporting parts in films such as Wish I Was Here and Good People. Her last film project was 2016’s Mother’s Day, starring alongside Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts, though we’ll see her on screens once again when Marshall (a movie about the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall) hits theatres later this year. Hudson has further put her comedic timing to good use on TV by appearing on the hit series, Glee. She once dipped her hands into directing with a short, Cutlass, and has made the transition from actress to designer with Fabletics, an athleisure line imbued with the values of beauty and functionality, crafted with top-notch quality and available at affordable prices. She also added author to her resume when she launched the book, Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body last year.
But Hudson’s biggest role to date is that of playing mother to her two sons, 13-year-old Ryder Russell Robinson and six-year-old Bingham Hawn Bellamy. It’s a role she relishes. Hudson often talks about her boys in interviews; and it’s easy to tell they are a stabilising force in her life. How would Hudson want her children to describe her in interviews, many years down the road? “Tough but fair,” she says, “But lots of fun, present and loving.” Her last public relationship was with Bingham’s father, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, in 2014. Love doesn’t seem like a focus in Hudson’s life right now. She’s gone on The Ellen DeGeneres Show recently to say she will not consider using dating apps, describing her approach as “old school”. She added: “I’m alright.” Life, it seems, is good for Hudson. And that’s one happy ending we truly believe in.
By Gerald Tan
Photographed by Simon Upton
Styled by Windy Aulia
Makeup: Toni Tan
Hair: Marc Teng/Atelier using Sebastian Professional
Manicure: Audrey Wee
Digital imaging: Kiki Sjöberg
Producer: Ashly Mileski/The Artist Group
Production: Stills Network
Assistant stylist: Debby Kwong
Special thanks to Capella Singapore