As a little girl, you’d often find me talking to myself, pretending to answer interview questions with the likes of Oprah or Arsenio. I imagined one day I”d be a film star, media obsessed kid that I was, so practicing my interview skills seemed like a no-brainer. As much as I aspired to movie stardom, looking back I think I just liked answering questions. Maybe I had a hunch adulthood would be riddled with idle small talk. Maybe I believed my imaginary interviews were the only way I’d ever get to answer big questions. Little did I know I’d end up studying philosophy in college and get to play with all the questions!
In honor of that little girl, and because I still love answering questions, I’m sharing my answers to the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire below. Indulge me while I pretend I’m lying on my fainting couch while Orpah asks me these, ok?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A day at the beach that turns into an evening at the beach around a fire
What is your greatest fear?
Getting stuck in routine and losing sight of what I’m capable of.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I often default to being nice at the expense of what I really want or deserve. I’m working on it. Divorce has made me much better at not being nice.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance, showing off, self-centered-ness…they’re kind of in the same family, I suppose. An inability to see beyond yourself might be the category these all fall under.
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
I live a pretty simple life by choice so dinner out or taking the family to the movie is it these days. On an unlimited budget it would be travel.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being stylish – that counts as a virtue, right?
On what occasion do you lie?
When my kids lose a tooth and all through December (only in regards to the man in the red suit)
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My nails – I grew up around women who got manicures/pedicures regularly. They’d either go get them done or settle in for the night in front of the TV to do it themselves. And before nail art became a thing, they were doing reverse French manicures. I always loved watching their hands as a kid. They always seemed so elegant. They still do.
What living person do you most despise?
He who shall not be named and who will no longer be in the spotlight come November 9th.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
I love when a man has a balance of both masculine and feminine energy, at the risk of sounding kinky, equal parts hard and soft. Oh, and a deep respect and awe for women…is there a word for that? The complete opposite of a misogynist? Let’s make one up.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
An inclination towards sisterhood, with an eye always on “how can I lift you up “
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Did you hear me?” Because I’m with my daughters all the time.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My daughters and my abuelo…and stories.
When and where were you happiest?
After the 1st Listen To Your Mother Providence, the cast and their families gathered at a local restaurant. I had the husband of one of the speakers come up to me and thank me (and my co-producer/director) for doing the show. He said his wife had come alive in a way she hadn’t in a long time and it made him so happy. It was beautiful the way I felt in that moment, that something I did had made someone light up and tap into their own magic. I’m still very proud of that moment.
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to sing. I’d like big pipes so I could belt out tunes or a raspy, jazzy voice.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to conjure up good comebacks on the spot. I suck at it now. I always think of the perfect thing to say hours, days, years later.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising daughters who are kind and brave.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A female version of Wolverine just so I could heal from anything and live longer.
Where would you most like to live?
By the sea
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t put a lot of value on things. But it would have to be a toss up between my mom’s ring that has a giant blue stone set in silver that looks like it dripped into place. It reminds me of my childhood and the parties we always went to. The other would be keepsake boxes I have from my own childhood and from my daughters’ early years plus some photo albums of my family when they were young in Cuba.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A world with no books or movies
What is your favorite occupation?
I found a woman online who is a family historian. She talks to people and captures their family story. Then she creates a book out of their stories. I didn’t even know this was a thing and now I just want to do what she does. That and being a minister who marries people and leads special ceremonies. I have friend who does it and I’m in awe that she gets to do that work. Both seem like the perfect way to marry my love of stories, words, and ritual.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’ve been told I have an expressive face, especially my eyebrows. It takes a great deal of self-control to not let my face do the talking.
What do you most value in your friends?
Their loyalty despite the distance and time that goes by.
Who are your favorite writers?
I don’t tend to stick to authors. I follow the stories. But I did recently notice the books I haven’t been able to put down in recent years were all written by women, in particular women of color. Most recently Brit Bennett, Cynthia Bond, Jung Yun, Anita Diamant.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Bethsheba Everdine because I’m a romantic.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Frida Kahlo, there’s something about her search for depth and her wild spirit that resonates with me.
Who are your heroes in real life?
I’m still fangirling the Final Five and Leslie Jones
What are your favorite names?
I have a small obsession with names. I keep a running list, I’m not sure for what, but just in case. For boys, Balthazar and Ezra always win me over. And for girls, Allegra and Anais. My list is much longer but these are tops for me.
What is it that you most dislike?
Complaining without offering solutions
What is your greatest regret?
I used to be one of those people who said I didn’t have regrets, only lessons I’d learned. Call it what you want, today I regret/have learned a lot from my first marriage.
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
It’s all love. You either choose love or you don’t. You either step towards it or away from it.