Ashley Judd on the Craziest Thing She's Done For Love

The actress, U.N. goodwill ambassador, and Time’s Up activist candidly answers our questionnaire.

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1. If I weren’t an actor, I’d be: An anthropologist.

2. Best career advice I’ve gotten: Live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.

3. Most gracious response to rejection/career setback: Trusting the job was right for the other person, praying for their wellbeing and happiness.

4. Least gracious response to rejection/career setback: Fuck 'em.

5The three qualities that got me where I am today: My gift, which I believe is from God and that I am not responsible for, although I am responsible to it; empathy; and a willingness to “go there” emotionally, wherever that may be.

6. Moment I felt I made it: Sitting in a limo on my way to the Chateau Marmont, while also knowing that had little to do with making it.

7. Most agonizing career decision: Not bothering to read the script for Cold Mountain, as I had just married.

8. Easiest career decision I’ve ever made: Many of them! Ruby in ParadiseDouble Jeopardy, it's a long list.

9. Kind of work I’d do for free: Follow the endangered bonobos in the Congolese rain forest from 3 a.m. until the bonobos build their treetop nests at night. Oh, wait, I already do that.

10. Favorite perk of the job: Being able to negotiate standards that are good for both me and other people.

11. Worst pitfall of the job: Being indoors.

12. Change I’d like to see in my industry: Equal and diverse representation of all sorts of
folks on screen and in every position in our business.


13. How did you make your first dollar? At a travel agency, filing colorful brochures for exotic destinations like Tahiti.

14. Who do you admire and why? Mary Pickford! She was a great talent, she cofounded two studios, people loved and admired her.

15. Last thing I binge-watched: Kentucky basketball.

16Book that left a lasting impression on you? All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr). On the Road (Gloria Steinem). Revolution of the Soul (Seane Corn). Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck). House of Mirth (Edith Wharton).

17. Song that always makes me cry: “Come Some Rainy Day,” by my sister [Wynonna Judd].

18. Movie with the greatest ending? It's so painful, but Roman Holiday.

19. Songs I’d want played at my funeral: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto; “Pretty Bird,” by Hazel Dickens; and “How Great Thou Art.”

20. First album you bought? Lordie. Bee Gees. Slow danced with the cover clutched to my chest.

21: Food I’m not ashamed to admit I love: Grater's Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream and my own four layer chocolate pie.

22. On my bucket list: Now that I've spent time in the rain forest with bonobos and gone on a solo hike in the Smokies, my bucket list is shorter. It would definitely include months in the wilderness with my beloved and that great role that hasn’t come to me yet.

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Ashley Judd during a press conference on Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in New Delhi, India.

(Image credit: Hindustan Times)

23. If I could live in a foreign country, it would be: Uh, said with a smile, Leipzig,
Germany, where I have been living.… Switzerland would work too.

24. What every woman should try once in her lifetime: Backpacking alone for at least three weeks.

25. My perfect day would begin: How today began. Holding, kissing, the promise of another beautiful day, spiritual readings, journaling, meditation, and dragon well tea.

26. My perfect day would end with: Sex and reading.

27. I’m exceptionally good at: Sex and reading. (And public speaking and being a student of my own life, learning, growth, and healing.)

28. Superhero power I’d want to have: Motivation to do 90 minutes of Asana (yoga) every day.

29. Something better in theory than in practice: Taking communion every single day. I love Jesus and all but the ritual does get boring. Sorry, Jesus.

30. I’m epically bad at: Reading the directions to electronics.

31. If I could compete in an Olympic sport, I’d like it to be: Equestrian, three day eventing.

32. Something nice I did for myself recently, because hey, why not: Fell in love.

33. How do you clear your mind after a crappy day? Walk in the woods, process with my beloved, ask to be held.

34. My first kiss: Chris Price, 5th Grade. He gets a lot of glory for that.

35. The three qualities I thought I wanted in a partner: Beautiful, devoted, brillant.

36. The three qualities I know now matter: Same as above, plus emotional, intelligent, feminist, wild.

37. Advice to a woman with a broken heart: Let someone hold you when you cry it out.

38. Relationship advice to my younger self: Get away from him.

39. Moment I knew I was in love: When I saw the back of his neck.

40. The craziest thing I did for love: Bad: hire a plane. Good: move into a communal house in Europe.

41. The last time I felt beautiful was: Naked in a creek.

42. What my high school boyfriend/girlfriend would say about me: She was a really wounded kid who was alone all the time, which made drinking at her house easy.

Follow Ashley at @AshleyJudd.

A condensed version of this article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Marie Claire.



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