The Girl Next Door
What Are You Looking At?
Amid a perpetual storm of attention, Katie Holmes stays almost preternaturally calm
New York Magazine
By Amy Larocca
Katie Holmes has not lived the typical Hollywood story. Shes a Catholic schoolgirl from Toledo, Ohio, who went to L.A. for the first time when she was 16; she arrived on a Sunday and was cast in Ang Lees "The Ice Storm" the very next day. "Dawsons Creek" came a year after that, and then there was "Batman Begins," and then there was perhaps the worlds most famous courtship, and then there was the birth of the worlds most famous baby, and then, three years ago, her marriage to Tom Cruise, arguably one of the worlds most famous men.
And so for a number of years now, shes been right at the center of our culture, the subject of an endless swirl of discussion and fantasy: Whats the deal with her marriage, does she really believe in Scientology, did Tom replace her innards with some kind of computer chip? And then theres Suri! Piercing blue eyes, princess dresses, and a perfect combination of her parents very good looks, Holmess daughter is 4-year-old tabloid candy. She still travels with a blanket, but already she cant move around the city without the company of someone very large and very well trained in the protective arts.
Its not, by any stretch, an ordinary life, which is perhaps not what anyone expected from the girl whose appeal was originally considered wholesome, or something youd find next door. Shes in a whole other rarefied neighborhood these days, so no wonder more people than like to admit it find themselves wondering what it must be like to be Katie Holmes.
Maybe all of this wonderful luck, good fortune, and circus-style mayhem that surrounds her every move is why Holmess demeanor is so calm. She speaks softly, choosing her words with care. When she smiles, though, she looks like a teenager: all round eyes and crinkly nose and that charmingly crooked Joey Potter grin.
In 2008, Holmes did Broadway, but this is the year of her return to film, and its happening in a very big way: Shes completed four new projects. She has a small role in Jonathan Amess "The Extra Man," out this month, and a starring role (as well as an executive-producer credit) in "The Romantics," a Big ChillmeetsRachel Getting Married indie that comes out in September. Next is "Dont Be Afraid of the Dark," which is a horror movie, and then the cop thriller "The Son of No One". And in the meantime, she is shooting a History Channel mini-series about Jackie Kennedyanother quiet brunette whose presence the universe found captivating, though for other reasonshence our homage on the cover of this issue to Ron Galellas "Windblown" Jackie photograph. Holmes is also, like other celebrities, now a designer as well. Shes 50 percent of Holmes & Yang, a small collection of luxuriously made basics that call to mind the wardrobe of Lauren Bacall. Given her bruiseless track record, it should come as no surprise that Barneys has had to reorder her fall collection.
You put your collection together with your stylist, Jeanne Yang. How did you get into designing?
I started making clothes for Suri when she was born, designing dresses, and then having seamstresses sew them, because I dont sew very well. As a child, I was always drawing clothes, and Ive always loved fabrics, and when Suri was born, I wanted to have certain things be from me and created just by me for her. And so that kind of got me into it, and then one day, Jeanne and I were getting ready for something and we thought, men have such beautiful tailored shirts, they have such a uniform, and we thought it would be nice to make things that are simple that you can have forever.
Were you always into fashion?
I always loved clothes growing up. My mother had a drapery business. And now, part of being in this business is that youre around really nice clothes. You do these photo shoots, you get exposed to Hermès and Chloé and Armani, and you start to feel the difference.
Is Suri into clothes, too?
I grew up the youngest of five, so there were a lot of hand-me-downs that I would sort of change up. And Suri and I do that now with her clothes. Or rather, she does it. She says, I want this sleeve cut, and its like, Okay, well cut it. She picks out all of her own clothes and has since she was 1½. Tom and I went to the Met ball a couple of years ago, and I had this beautiful red gown and these royal-blue shoes that I wasnt planning on wearing, but Suri made me put them on and so I was like, Okay, I trust you.
Shes often with you on set, right?
Her first set was "Lions for Lambs," when she was 9 months old, and now shes 4 and shes so creative and shes so bright and so special. Whatever she wants to do, I know shes going to be amazing at it. Ive already started my applause, and I will be applauding for the rest of my life.
Youre playing Jackie Kennedy now. Do you think about your experience in the public eye while doing the role?
Im just focused on creating a character as much as possible without knowing what was going on behind closed doors. In my own life, its just something thats there. We luckily have security so I can focus on motherhood and work and other things.
Is it complicated balancing your schedule with Toms?
We have quite a schedule, you know? We dont say, When Im working, you dont work, or anything like that. Last year he was shooting Knight and Day and I was shooting The Romantics, and wed just fly to see each other after we wrapped. And we homeschool Surishe has a teacher who is with her every day. We like the one-on-one education. Im happy that my daughter is strong-willed and determined. You really have to go with what the child is wanting.
Would you and Tom ever work together?
Well, we do collaborate on everything at home. But I mean, hes Tom Cruise! His body of work is incredible. Every movie hes done has done really well. I look back, and everythings a classic. I definitely come home and say to him, So, imagine a scene how would you play it? And hes helpful and sweet and gracious. Hes quite an incredible human being.
Do you read the various speculations about your marriage?
Its there, its one of those things. My big concern is what does he have going, what do I have going, what are we going to do this weekend. It must seem weird, I guess, having so many people watching. It is weird. I get it. But you just, you know, smile and nod.