Cate Blanchett on Philanthropy and Beauty

Social activist and Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett tells us how we can give back and get gorgeous.

Body of water, Nature, Stream, Rock, Waterway, Stream bed, Fluvial landforms of streams, Watercourse, Creek, River,
(Image credit: Archive)

We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Oscar-winning actress and SK-II's global ambassador Cate Blanchett about her latest philanthropic project, Clear For Life. "It's an initiative to help people whose futures are being dominated by simple, basic problems. It helps the people in Asia who experience water shortages or are forced to consume contaminated water," says Cate.

Inspired by her personal donation of three million liters of clean, purified drinking water, the Japanese-based skincare brand pledged its own donation of 30 million liters through their partnership with P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program.

So far, the effort has empowered women in developing regions like China's Yunnan Province to improve their standard of living, as well as that of their communities. We got the 411 on this exciting humanitarian initiative, and or course, some awesome deets on the Aussie stunner's beauty routine.

How did the Clear For Life project come to be?

CB: Clean drinking water has been a concern of mine for a couple of years now, so when I learned about an amazing product called PUR that turns dirty, potentially harmful water into clean, drinkable water, I knew it would be a great fit for SK-II and my own personal interests. I couldn't believe something so simple and revolutionary already existed! So in honor of the brand's 30th anniversary, I donated three million liters of clear drinking water, then SK-II pledged a donation for 30 million liters of clear drinking water, and that's how the ball got rolling.

What kind of impact do you think this will make in the lives of women and children, and their communities?

CB: In the wake of such drastic climate change and natural disaster, I think this initiative showcases an extremely simple way to provide people with a better quality of life. Of course Japan is feeling so acutely at the moment and the irony being that SK-II is a Japanese-based brand, but we're hopeful that our efforts will inspire others to join in the cause. At the moment there are 1 in 8 people who have no access to clear drinking water (about a billion people worldwide!), which can make you feel quite overwhelmed. But the positive thing is that this genius technology already exists and it's easy for each of us to make a difference.

How can we get involved?

CB: It's simple. Just go to and click on "Share the Word". For every click, SK-II will donate one liter of water to communities in need.

Is there anything that we can do on a personal level to contribute to clear drinking water?

CB: I think we should stop drinking bottled water. There's no need to be drinking it if you're living in western communities. The other thing I would suggest — and I feel it particularly here in Australia, because we have very severe drought — is to be aware of how much you're actually consuming. Right now, it's very rainy, (thanks to La Niña), but that doesn't mean we can drink all the water we want. Conserving and constantly thinking, "how much do I really need?" should definitely be part of our vocabulary.

Now for the fun stuff. Describe your beauty routine?

CB: My everyday beauty routine is always rushed and pretty simple. I put on SK-II Skin Signature Moisturizing Cream, which is great under makeup as a base because it creates a dewy finish, without making you look powdery. I always apply the Facial Treatment Cream Foundation — I carry it around in my bag and put it on throughout the day — either with the little sponge that's in there or my fingers. I love it because it's a multi-tasker that gives you flawless coverage and anti-aging benefits that actually improve your skin! I just discovered the Cellumination Mask-In Lotion, which has a ton of Pitera in it, and that's what I use when I need a serious pick-me-up.

Are there any pro beauty tricks you've learned over the years?

CB: You have to be careful of trying this at home, but if your eyes are looking puffy and small, you get a white pencil eyeliner and put in on the inside of your eyes to open them up. Oh, and never over — pluck your eyebrows — you'll be paying the price for a long time.

What's in your beauty bag?

CB: Well, the Facial Treatment Cream Foundation is a staple, and I'm loving MAC Cosmetics Eye Kohl Liner in Smolder. I'm really just into putting a bit of blush on and bit of liner and that's it. NARS does a powder blush that's got a bit of a sparkle to it and it's kind of peachy, called Deep Throat. And, I use Sensai Total Lip Treatment to moisture and protect.

How do you find time to stay in shape and unwind?

CB: As far as working out, I haven't really since our baby — who is 3 now — was born. I've been trying to fit in at least a half an hour every other day, but it's definitely tough. I think Pilates is great, especially when you can do it with a trainer who keeps you on track. There's an expression in Australia that's called "Go Bush, " which means to get out of the city and relax. I try and "go bush" to places where there's no cell reception. But, I don't get to do that often, so for the most part, it's just a state of mind.

You're known as a style icon and for taking fashion risks. Describe your style in five words or less.

CB: Personal, practical, architectural. I like things that have great shapes and are tailored to fit just right. Guess that was more than five...

What has been your favorite movie look and what character has made you feel your most beautiful?

CB: The journey of Daisy in Benjamin Button was an amazing ride to go on because I was playing a character from birth to death and moving through different times in her life. I think the costumes were particularly special and unique and I loved seeing how her style — and her sense of self — evolved over time.