The Girl Next Door
After 16 years in the spotlight, Katie Holmes continues to turn heads
The Herald Sun - Australia
By Catherine Lambert
During her 16 years in the spotlight the 34-year-old has been a teen model, a high-school musical star, a TV sweetheart, a big-screen actor, a Hollywood wife, a mother, the world's most famous divorcee and now a burgeoning business woman.
Acting remains a core interest - Holmes is in South Africa working on the Phillip Noyce film The Giver alongside Meryl Streep, has wrapped three other films this year alone and worked on Broadway - but it is her business acumen as a leading beauty entrepreneur that is turning heads in New York.
"I am passionate about my work and all the projects I get involved in," Homes tells Weekend in an exclusive interview. "I think it's really important to really give it your all and I enjoy being part of the creative process."
She has a reported $3 million contract with Bobbi Brown, as the brand's first ever celebrity face (Brown herself has been the only other 'face' of her global cosmetics company in the past) and there is a clothing range with her stylist Jeanne Yang, which is now in its fourth year. Most recently, Holmes became the co-owner of hair care company Alterna. That deal is worth a reported $3 million but as part owner she will reap more benefits as she has a hands-on involvement with the $100 million company.
The post-divorce timing of the Alterna deal sees Holmes emerging as a strong, independent single mother who is gaining more respect and praise with every new accomplishment.
FOR many women, the emotional embers of divorce are a deep pit of failure, doubt, anguish and loss. But if Holmes suffered from her divorce last year, it was at a dignified distance from public glare, and seemingly long before the media and even, embarrassingly, her now ex-husband, Tom Cruise, realised.
The announcement on June 29, 2012 that Holmes had filed for divorce after six years of marriage was handled with elegant precision and, if there were any embers still burning they were of her strength, courage and adept management of a potential catastrophe.
This was not a woman who seemed a victim, powerless and broken. Instead, she was in charge and appeared to know exactly what she was doing. And the ensuing months have seen her emerge as a self-determined woman, stronger and more purposeful than ever.
Even her style has changed. At last month's appearance on Good Morning America the svelte Holmes was relaxed and confident as she stepped out in an ensemble of shorts with sheer polka-dot hosiery and heels. Heads turned and the fashion commentators were impressed.
Predictably there are media rumours of new relationships - one week it's with her Mania Days co-star Luke Kirby, the next it's Jamie Foxx and the next George Clooney. Everyone is looking for her new love interest but she has not confirmed any romantic involvements.
There is only one openly confirmed person who is of prime importance in her life - seven-year-old daughter Suri, who is at the heart of all of Holmes' decisions and their closeness is apparent in the hundreds of paparazzi shots taken of mother and daughter every other day in New York.
"My most amazing achievement is being a mom; my daughter is the most important thing in my life," Holmes says. "She keeps me going."
MAKING HER MARK
PERHAPS Suri is even the driving force behind Holmes' concentrated foray into the business world because she is, after all, a single mother wanting to put her daughter's concerns first.
Described as a "true partner" by Alterna's president Joan Malloy, not only does Holmes take an active role in the product inspiration and development, she chooses all the outfits for ad campaigns and video shoots. She takes a strong role in the decision making process, coming from the consumer's point of view and has become an integral part of the brand. She is particularly influential in fragrance choices.
Alterna's sales on major online beauty site Sephora have doubled since Holmes came on board and she is helping to build the brand's reach in Australia as well.
A year ago only 500,000 people were being exposed to Alterna but Malloy says "with Katie, we have over a billion".
Her effect on Bobbi Brown has been similar with a positive growth on retail sales reported since she became the face and muse of the brand earlier this year. A spokesman for Bobbi Brown said Brown's decision to align with Holmes was a big development for the brand and showed a strong affinity between the two women's core values.
Holmes was seen backstage at New York Fashion Week in September making cups of tea for the make-up artists and fashion teams and a Bobbi Brown source described her as being very down to earth without any diva moments.
A New York fashion source also confirmed her fine reputation, never hearing a bad word about her.
"She is a very normal, likable and decent - not weird - girl," the source says. "She's focused on work and not someone you feel sorry for. She's also a naturally cool girl who is nice and friendly to everyone. I know people may want to think she's odd because of the `Cruise' years but she's really just a nice girl."
Another theatre source confirmed Holmes is admired among her peers for her strong character. "She is perceived as being really brave and forthright," he says.
There seems to be an acceptance that Holmes' business involvements are not a passing folly. She says her commitment to Alterna will be longstanding, essentially because she saw benefits after using the chemical-free products just once.
"I will be working with Alterna for years to come because I believe in the brand promise - pure, proven, professional," Holmes says.
"That is why I signed on as a co-owner and not just a spokesperson. After I signed on as a co-owner, I worked with the team on the global ad campaign for both Bamboo and Caviar collections. Additionally, when I get my hair styled for award shows or events, I often use Alterna products. ''
Her commitment to the chemical-free approach of Alterna (it is free from sulfates, parabens, gluten, phthalates, sodium chloride, synthetic colour, diethanolamine, triethanolamine, paraffin, mineral oil, petrolatum and para-aminobenzoic acid) extends beyond herself, to include family and friends and she encourages them to steer clear of as many chemicals as possible.
Her lifestyle is clean, drinking tea to unwind and relax. She works out four times a week, rides her bike, runs, lifts weights and does yoga.
"And I really try to eat healthy," she says "You do have the meal of the week that's like French fries and cupcakes, and I think that's important. But I try to eat a lot of kale, salad with chicken, that kind of stuff. That just helps me keep up with life."
FOR emotional support she looks to her big, nurturing family and as the youngest of five growing up in Toledo, Ohio, she remains grounded in core family values.
"Family is very important to me," she admits. "I'm very close to them and because I am the youngest, I've always looked up to my sisters for everything, especially their beauty tips.
"Female support can help give you guidance to become, and be, beautiful women."
Her parents still live in Toledo but her mother, Kathleen, a proud homemaker, was recently in New York spending quality time with both Suri and Katie, who looked happier than ever.
Holmes is unreserved in her respect and admiration for her mother while her father,
a lawyer, reportedly helped her plan her departure from her marriage to Cruise.
"My mom - my true beauty icon - instilled in me early on that the most radiating beauty comes from the inside out," she says. "It builds your character and will last beyond your years.
"The way I was raised was about who we were, not what we looked like."
Her values did not make acting such an obvious direction. She achieved strong scores at school and her father apparently wanted her to become a doctor. But she fell in love with acting after performing in high-school musicals and, then, her talent took over.
Director Ang Lee saw her depths and nurtured one of her best performances in The Ice Storm in 1997, but she became famous for her role as Joey Potter on teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003.
She has also starred in several movies and received strong critical acclaim for her role in Wonder Boys in 2000 and as Jackie Kennedy in The Kennedys in 2011.
THE teenager whose bedroom wall featured a poster of Tom Cruise, and the tomboy star of Dawson's Creek is now a self-assured woman glowing with a new sensuality and maturity.
Holmes is far more than simply the woman who sent Tom Cruise into excited jumps on Oprah's couch and who reportedly gave birth to Suri in silence.
Since she announced she was turning her back on Hollywood's most high-profile marriage last year, her star has only continued to rise.
She has already said that as she looks towards turning 35 next month that she's feeling more comfortable in her skin and is starting to come into her own. She credits her friends with providing a lot of emotional support.
"Friendship comes in different shapes and sizes," she says. "I really appreciate the support I get from those that are close to me that I can trust."
Malloy describes her as authentic with a natural luxury and her commitment to Alterna was no accident.
"I felt she was inspirational in what she stood for; a young, single mom who was transforming her life," Malloy says.
"Stylish and discerning."