K A T I E   H O L M E S :
The Girl Next Door

Katie Holmes Loves Raising Daughter Suri in N.Y.C.: ‘There Is So Much At Your Fingertips’


Katie Holmes can’t help but rave about the wonders of New York City, calling the Big Apple the perfect place to raise her daughter Suri.

The actress spoke about the cultural advantages of Manhattan during the Target Pillowfort Launch Party at Highline Stages in New York’s hip Meatpacking district on Thursday, telling PEOPLE, “There is so much at your fingertips.”

“I love [the Museum of Modern Art],” she says. “We just saw the Picasso exhibit. And the Met, of course, I love the gallery district, the Natural History Museum.”

Nine-year-old Suri prefers the halls of the History Museum — namely, Holmes says, the fossilized dinosaur bones.

Suri’s childhood is a far cry from her own, however. For Holmes, more time was spent in the backyard and inside her suburban “creative household.”

“I did have a tent to camp in the back yard,” she says. “We would decorate that. My playroom when I was growing up was in the basement and was covered in Barbie dolls — art supplies and fabric, kind of like my house now, minus the Barbies.”

The star says she only hopes to emulate her mother, admitting, “My mom does everything great.”

“I’m the youngest of five, and my mom makes everything,” Holmes says. “She makes all the curtains, pillows, she cooks every night. She makes hats, dresses for the homeless. She’s a baker.”

Other celebrity mom attendees of the home decor launch included Maggie Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey‘s wife Camila Alves, who tells PEOPLE that she’s currently trying to immerse her young children in different cultures through travel.

“We just went to Thailand last year for six weeks,” Alves says. “We bathed elephants in the river with them. That was really neat.”

The family of five — including Levi, 7, Vida, 6, and Livingston, 3 — also recently gathered on McConaughey’s set in Cambodia, visiting local schools and orphanages.

“We went to one school and [Levi] got up in front of the class and introduced himself and sat and talked with them,” she says. “The kids were learning English. And we were giving out the school supplies that they need and, at the teacher’s suggestion, he showed them toothbrushes [that he had picked out], and the kids went crazy.”

Back home, though, the brood has the same interests as your typical American children: Levi “is all into reptiles,” while Vida “is all about glitter, sparkly, very girly stuff.”

“And my little guy,” Alves says, “is all about the school bus and ocean animals, a lot of killer whales.”

— Lindsay Kimble and Jeffrey Slonim