We had the pleasure of sitting down with movie star Amber Heard while she was in town for TIFF, to find out what really makes her tick.
By Caitlin Agnew
Choosing roles is not something that actress Amber Heard does lightly. As the star of high-profile films like 2011’s The Rum Diary, the 32-year-old has always used her Hollywood platform to expand the popular narrative of the female experience. “In my career so far, it’s been about finding that rare chance to participate in a film in a proactive way, and, if you’re lucky, imbue that character with some semblance of strength or nuance,” she says while visiting Toronto for the city’s annual film festival. For her latest starring role in Aquaman, for example, Heard plays Mera, a superhero who balks at being referred to as ‘Aquawoman’. “She’s a warrior queen, which I love,” Heard says of her amphibious character. “She’s a badass, empowered, self-sufficient, strong, powerful superhero.”
It’s a powerful approach that extends to her work with L’Oréal Paris. In May, Heard joined the likes of Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore, and Liya Kebede as a L’Oréal ambassador, where she works to spread her gospel on beauty. “I love to be aligned with a brand that is so much in line with what I stand for as a feminist, as an activist, as a humanitarian, as a person, as a woman,” Heard says. “I feel honoured to be a part of this family that cares so much about a woman’s worth.” According to Heard, her personal connection to cosmetics goes far beyond the makeup chair. “There have been times when all I needed was my matte red lipstick, and I felt a thousand times better, but if you ask me if I need lipstick to feel better – no. Am I thankful that I can celebrate beauty in whatever form or shape I see it or need it to be? Yes, and that’s what cosmetics really are about. It cannot take from your power. You make it what it is.”
Balancing the demands of being a Hollywood star often means protecting your own personal self-worth. To keep her sanity intact, Heard looks no further than her own home. “Family and friends are the most important thing to me,” she says. “I find that the only way to maintain sanity in a world like mine that thrives on chaos, the only way to feel grounded and stay grounded, is to surround yourself with good people who know you and really know you outside of this industry.”
Within that industry, much of Heard’s time is spent preparing for roles. To get in shape for Aquaman, her five-month regime included a detailed nutrition plan as well as about five hours a day of weights, cardio, and stunt training. She also practiced the martial art of Wushu to give a watery quality to her character. “It incorporates a lot of fluid motions, and, since my character is from Atlantis and lives under the sea, that was the most organic style of fighting,” she explains.
In the future, Heard is looking forward to finding more roles where portraying strong female characters is a given and not something that she has to seek out. “The female experience is a broad, vast, multifaceted spectrum of types of personalities and characters,” she says. “I want to be part of the new.”