Minnie Driver on success, surfing and why celebrity is ‘pretty useless’

  • What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
    I always wanted to be standing up in front of people doing something, whether music or reciting.

  • Private school or state school? University or straight into work?
    Bedales, an independent school. It’s a very progressive education and had a huge amount to do with why I have the confidence to do something it’s difficult to be successful in.

  • How physically fit are you?
    I do an enormous amount of physical activity: it makes me feel so good and is very much part of my mental health too.

  • Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
    In terms of career progression in what I do for a living, I would always say talent, but that might not lead to a Hollywood understanding of success. I think of success in terms of people being rooted and content in what they do.

  • How politically committed are you?
    I’ve always been involved in issues surrounding the development and protection of women and children. Celebrity is pretty useless in itself, but can be useful in drawing attention to issues.

  • What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
    My first book [a memoir] is coming out – and I’d also like to complete and own my first novel.

  • What’s your biggest extravagance?
    Travelling to places where I can surf – I go where the waves are.

  • In what place are you happiest?
    By the ocean, with my son.

  • What ambitions do you still have?
    To direct, and to carry on writing.

  • What drives you on?
    I don’t feel there’s any time to waste. I wake up every day with a sense of urgency.

  • What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
    My son. I feel I’ve had a hand in putting something good into the world.

  • What do you find most irritating in other people?
    Superiority of any kind. Along with entitlement – and they often go hand in hand.

  • If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?
    She’d be really stoked. She’d be so happy that I figured out our hair, and that I’ve got a lovely, clever, kind boyfriend and a funny, awesome child who I’m sure would remind her of herself.

  • Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
    When I left school, one of my favorite teachers gave me a beautiful compendium of books that I should read. I lost it when we moved recently.

  • What is the greatest challenge of our time?
    The climate crisis. There are things that we can do. All the other stuff is immaterial if our planet dies.

  • Do you believe in an afterlife?
    I do. Largely because there is no evidence of energy ever ending. Our biological bodies die, but the kinetic electrical energy that is also part of us, our spirit, our soul – I don’t know where it goes, but I believe there’s an expression of it after our biological lives have ended.

  • If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
    Ten. It’s my beautiful life. I only get one – as far as I know. It’s been full of shitty stuff, full of amazing stuff, but it’s always a gift – even the really hard stuff, which is balanced out by the extraordinary joy.

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