On her role in Annie: "It's not very often you get to do a musical. Even though I was terrified of doing it, I kind of had to. The two things I'm most terrified of are heights and singing in front of people. I've jumped out of airplanes and scaled sides of cliffs—not to get over my fears, but to address them. I just felt like this is something that needed to be addressed. I cried uncontrollably. Everybody was so supportive and having fun with it because I was so pathetic, but the only way to get through scary things is to have a sense of humor about it."
On appearing fully nude for a film: "People have seen my butt. I've shown the top of my butt, the bottom of my butt. I'm not opposed to doing nudity, as long as it's part of the story. I'll do whatever has to get done if it's the right thing."
On having children: "We live in a society where everyone has kids, so they want other people to have kids. There is this culture that says celebrities are supposed to be just like us, so people think,'I have children, why doesn't she?' But I'm not going to do something because it's expected. If a family happens, then it happens. If children come to me, then I would do that, but I'm not someone who feels like she has to do something because it's expected."
On dating: "I'm not looking for a husband or marriage or not not looking for that stuff. I'm living, not thinking what I should or shouldn't be doing with my life."
On modeling: "I hated school. I wasn't going to get a scholarship. My parents didn't have the money to send me to college. I heard 'money' and 'travel,' and I'm thinking, 'I'm getting out!'"
Read the read the full story with Cameron Diaz in the November issue of Marie Claire on sale October 21, 2014.
Photographs by Michael Thompson