Brooke Shields on Her Mom & Aging

She talks about her mother’s health, her wrinkles and more.

By Jancee Dunn
Photograph: Photo by: Ruven Afanador

She points to her stage work as an example of “something that in your right mind you really shouldn’t do.” Almost every role she stepped into had yielded a Tony award or nomination for the first actress who played it. As she contemplated taking her own turn, says Shields, “I just had to weigh it and think, well, no, I’m not going to be that person, but I can be the best version of me in that. The confidence I gained—to me that was a win.”

“Brooke is fearless,” says Kathleen Marshall, who directed her in Wonderful Town. “She played one of two sisters, and her character was the less outgoing one, more sarcastic, more uncomfortable in her own skin. And she was completely convincing. It was fascinating that this glamorous woman could make herself seem awkward.”

Marshall, like so many of Shields’s colleagues, extols her professionalism: “When you star in a show, you’re leading the company onstage and off, and she’s wonderful that way, because she’s kind and gracious and hard-working. The wardrobe department loved her so much that they made a replica of one of her costumes for Rowan for Halloween.”

Shields’s latest endeavor is her just-published second children’s book, It’s The Best Day Ever, Dad!, the lighthearted tale of two little girls who have a day out with their father. She was surprised to discover that writing for kids—a dream harbored by seemingly every other person in America—was quite difficult. “It took me more time, relatively, to write my first children’s book [last year’s Welcome to Your World, Baby] than it did Down Came the Rain,” she says. Every sentence had to be simple, crystal clear and short, which is harder than it looks. “For me, it’s much easier to be verbose,” she says. “I was like, ‘god, it’s easier writing about depression.’ ”

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