She’s world famous yet incredibly private; effortlessly cool but secretly down-to-earth. Stylist meets the actress to discover what makes her tick.
Of all the things Stylist expected Scarlett Johansson to be into, RuPaul’s Drag Race was not one of them. See also cooking meatloaf and fan-girling over Clive Owen. But then, how much do we really know about the Hollywood star? She’s beguiled critics, audiences and co-stars alike since her big breakout in the late Nineties in The Horse Whisperer. Career-defining roles in Lost In Translation and Vicky Cristina Barcelona followed, leading to her current straddling of both the blockbuster world – starring in the Marvel franchise – and the arthouse with films like Under The Skin.
Yet she has managed to keep her private world just that. We know little of the life she shares with her French husband Romain Dauriac, a creative advertising exec, and their baby Rose Dorothy, living between Paris and New York. But the career choices she makes and her political advocacy – she’s campaigned for the Democrats in three elections now – suggest a smart, cultured and passionate mind. One that we wanted to know more about.
When Stylist meets 30-year-old Johansson she’s dressed in a sharp black trouser suit, her short crop swished to the side, New Romantic style. She wears a cluster of rings and a charm bracelet tattoo on her wrist – you have to squint to see the slogan it bears: ‘I Heart NY’. It’s a discreet declaration, but one that offers a tantalising glimpse behind the scenes.
In conversation. Johansson is equal parts fun and serious. Particularly striking is how she concentrates on you; studying your mannerisms as much as you do hers. This observational skill is one of the qualities that marks out every part she takes on, not least in her current role as Black Widow in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which she has built up into a truly three dimensional character since joining the Marvel family in 2010.
So, what lies behind the on-screen heroics? What are Johansson’s real life passions? Here, she tells Stylist what really makes her happy.
My TV Obsessions: I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show is delightful. That’s the guilty pleasure. I love [US chef] Anthony Bourdain. He has a great travel show called Parts Unknown. He’s my favourite. What else is on my ‘to watch’ list? I’m waiting for the second season of [historic drama] The Knick. Clive Owen is amazing. I totally geeked out when I saw him at a party recently. I was over-zealous. I’d met him before but this time I was like [frantically], “I just have to tell you I love you, oh my god.” I was talking about the season and what’s going to happen next. He must think I’m a freak.
My happy place: I love New Orleans. It’s such a great city, it’s magical. The people are warm, unique and artistic and the food is delicious. Walking around the French Quarter is like being in a Tennessee Williams play. Magazine Street is great; there are so many cool stores and you can stop and get a po’ boy [laughs] – it’s a huge sandwich, it’s local food. The most surprising place I’ve ever visited is Moscow. I never expected it to look the way that it did.