Glenn Close and Annie Starke are the stars in our latest mother/daughter Double Act.
Wearing our signature Stella tailoring, actresses Glenn and Annie visit our downtown store in New York. Making it a family affair, the pair are joined by their dogs Pip the Havanese and Mr. Big the Labrador. We ask the duo more about their relationship, their adorable dogs and the inspiring dogs’ charity they support.
How was it working with Annie on the shoot?
Glenn: I LOVED doing the shoot with Annie! We both have a really silly side and bring out that silliness in each other. We also are extremely close (no pun intended) so didn’t have to pretend any of that aspect of the shoot. I have deep admiration for her as a woman and as a simply all around good human being. And we share a deep love for the natural world and all the creatures in it, with a special attachment to canines. My Havanese, Pip – better known as Sir Pippin of Beanfield – keeps me laughing and doesn’t allow me to become too reclusive and in my head.
Do you think fashion and style have the ability to empower women?
G: Absolutely! Personally speaking, I played Teddy Barnes in Jagged Edge, a breakout movie, at the time, in which the leading lady was a lawyer. Ann Roth designed some wonderful “power” suits for me, which helped define my character in the courtroom. I later played Patti Hughes, in Damages, and wore fabulous suits in that as well. Patti’s style was not as uptight as Teddy’s. Patti was her own boss and preferred deceptively casual open-collar shirts which played into Patti’s genius for keeping people off-balance. In my life, I always feel most powerful and relaxed in clothes that are basically classical, comfortable and made out of beautiful fabrics – nothing too “in”. I feel powerful when I feel true to myself. Learning what that means has been the challenge of a lifetime!
You have played powerful women on screen and stage like, Norma Desmond and Cruella Deville – do you learn from the characters you play?
G: Again…absolutely! I feel like a blank page or an empty vessel when I’m first confronted with a character. The more I’ve lived and the more I have learned about myself, the more I understand a character and can climb into their skin and look out onto the world with their eyes. I spend a lot of time just thinking, when creating a character. I try to peel the onion of a character, to get down to what basically motivates them – the “why” of their behaviour. That process has always taken me to a place where I can finally love them. If I don’t love them, I can’t do them justice. So each character I play represents a huge learning experience.
Theatre is where you began your career, and you recently returned to Broadway. What is it you love about performing on stage?
G: I love the immediacy of performing, in real time, before a live audience. There is nothing like it. Each audience is different. All of us – audience, crew and actors – bring that particular day with us into the theatre, which subtly affects how we play and how we are perceived. The goal is to forge a connected community by the end of the final curtain. We all long for and thrive on connection. If I feel I have connected emotionally to an audience, I know that they will never forget what they have just experienced. It is a thrilling equation. It demands everything of me – sinew, muscle, heart and soul. That connection is deeply cathartic and is at the very core of what it means to be a performing artist.
You brought your dog Pip along to the shoot and are a keen supporter of the charity, Puppies Behind Bars. Tell us more about the work they do and how people can show support?
G: I brought Pip to the shoot because I knew that he would be very well behaved and would basically do anything I asked him to do! He is a sweet, devoted and funny boy.
Puppies Behind Bars is a program in which strictly vetted prison inmates are taught how to train service dogs for returning veterans and for explosives detection. It is a sublime win/win situation which gives inmates a chance to give back, while experiencing the unconditional love of a dog, and for vets, suffering from TBI, PTSD and lost limbs to be able to re-join their families and have a chance at a fulfilled life. I am very proud to have sponsored two dogs. I plan to sponsor one every year. Growing up surrounded by dogs, I have known first hand, from a very early age, how much they enrich our lives, providing humor, companionship, comfort and…always…love.
Each dog-in-training also has a whole team of people outside the various correctional facilities who help to socialize them. That is another way someone can help.
Acting clearly runs in the family. Did you grow up on film sets and did that inspire you from an early age?
Annie: Yes, I lived a lot of my childhood on various sets, which certainly exposed me to many unique experiences and slews of wonderful people… tons of whom I still consider family. A movie set and its crew thrive on two things… camaraderie and creativity… so from a young age, I’ve always had a strong sense of love and respect for my fellow human, and without creativity and artistic expression, I would simply cease to be myself.
What was your childhood like and where did you grow up?
A: My childhood in Bedford Hills, New York was beautiful, happy and filled with endless laughter… and I have my two parents to thank for that. Both my Mom and my Dad grew up in country settings– my Mom in Greenwich, CT and my Dad on Long Island– so my love of nature, animals and adventure is certainly genetic.
How do you see the role of women in today’s acting community?
A: In regards to today’s acting community, I’m proud, emboldened and thrilled to see that women are fighting for, and engaging in, strong (and funny!) roles that were usually reserved for men. I think the entertainment industry as a whole will benefit infinitely if women achieve a level playing field, and I hope members of the LGBTQ community have increased screen presence as well. When everyone is included, everyone wins… period.
Like your mom, you brought your dog, Mr Big, onto the set. Do Pip and Mr. Big make a bit of a double act themselves?
A: Yes, Mr. Big was thrilled to be included in the STELLA shoot. He’s always been an avid fan and vocal supporter… especially since Stella only uses cruelty-free materials! In terms of their doggy dynamic, Pip is certainly the life of the party, but let’s be honest… Big brings the class.
What projects do you have coming up?
A: NY theatre… here I come.
To find out more about the Puppies Behind Bars charity, click here to visit their website and show your support >