Cameron Diaz is peering into my living room when I realize we’ve got this all wrong. For months, we’ve obsessed over celeb Zoom décor as a Microsoft window into a famous (and often, famously private) life. An actress goes live on her laptop, and suddenly we’re keeping score of her stuff: The revealing titles on the bookshelves. The casual Target vibes of the lamps. The wait-is-that-a-Picasso? on the wall.
But as much as we try to divine meaning from Hollywood living rooms (and Cameron Diaz’s appears to be airy and cream, but the expensive kind of cream that’s probably, like, ecru), I wonder if the big “tell” isn’t how a movie star showcases her space. It’s how she reacts to yours.
That’s why I can say, with less reservations than you need for a booth at Taco Bell, that Cameron Diaz is actually chill. The Charlie’s Angel doesn’t wince at my crooked East Village apartment—instead, she asks about the locals-only bar across the street. She doesn’t pause when a lowrider turns their bass up to eleven outside, because she knows busy women don’t get distracted by dudes showing off their hydraulics. And she looks amused, rather than concerned, that I’m wearing my Pendleton throw blanket as a sari… especially when I tell her it’s because I splashed a glass of her new Avaline Red on my T-shirt mere seconds before the interview, and this is my quick fix.
“Ok, but do you like the wine?” she grins. “Because we are so open to feedback.” We = Cameron and Katherine Power, the Who What Wear entrepreneur (and—full disclosure–ELLE alum) who co-founded Avaline earlier this year. “We would drink together often,” Cameron explains, “But once we started talking about what’s actually in wine, I got a little obsessed. Okay, a lot obsessed. My goal for Avaline is to make good wine accessible to everyone—wine with minimal intervention; wine that’s aligned with our values. I feel like you shouldn’t have to go to a specialty shop. You should be able to go to the supermarket.”
And while Diaz stops short of drinking her new vintage in the grocery store—“I can’t do that! I’ve got my face mask on!”—she fully cops to wining down while doing the laundry. “I also drink it when I’m in the bath, when I’m cooking—I’ve actually used Avaline Red in my beef stew recipe, and it worked so well—and when my husband is rubbing my feet.”
Which sounds pretty idyllic, especially with a 9-month-old (Diaz's daughter Raddix, who was born in December) gurgling about. Does that mean the Oscar nominee hasn’t been quite as freaked out by the hell house of 2020? “Oh no, I was freaked,” she sighs. “I was like, ‘This is some shit right here.’ And actually, in the beginning [of quarantine], I was drinking so much more. But alcohol can’t be a coping mechanism. If anything, we made Avaline to bring people together, because friends and family are some of the real coping mechanisms, right? You have to find that balance for yourself. I mean, we know a good bottle of wine is about getting together with your friends and sharing your stories, connecting, laughing, crying—even just over social media. which isn’t my main thing, obviously, but I’m learning!”
Ok, but “learning” might be modest. This summer, Diaz leaned hard into the #WineChallenge, a TikTok trend where two people share vino—ideally Avaline’s—while doing a tipsy Cirque du Soleil backbend to move the glass. Her video has more than 14 million plays along with copycat posts from stars like Dakota and Elle Fanning, who racked up over 500k comments for their (honestly impressive) performance. “We sent Avaline to Beyoncé, too!” Diaz laughs. “I hope she got it! I just want everybody to try it. When you make something, all you want is for others to feel as excited as you do, you know?”
It turns out, that feeling extends to her 50+ movies, including Shrek, Gangs of New York, and Bad Teacher, which leapt to the #1 Netflix spot when it started streaming this summer. “I laugh every time I see it come up on our [Netflix] feed,” she admits. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I used to make movies!' When I first started acting, I would hear this saying during production: ‘Celluloid lives forever.’ It’s a little different now because everything is digital, but the fact that movies remain in people’s lives is still true. As for Bad Teacher, listen, I’m glad everyone on Netflix liked it, but all I can think about is how that movie is over a decade old now! Which is crazy for all of us.”
I ask how Hollywood handles scenes with tons of wine and liquor, like when she famously belts out “Mr. Brightside” while clutching a glass of red wine (but miraculously, not spilling it on her #cottagecore sweater) during The Holiday. “That,” she winces, “was grape juice, and it was actually pretty terrible. I can do a green juice with pulp and fiber, and I can do a wine that’s jammy and fruity, like Avaline, but I cannot do sweet, sugary grape juice. And I had to drink it take after take. Doing shots on camera is easier, because it’s almost always water. Except when Leslie Mann and I were doing shots in my closet during The Other Woman. That was straight up tequila.” She grins into her laptop camera, we wave goodbye, and as I sip my own glass of red wine, a thought pops up in my head like a Slack message:
“Scoot over George Clooney and Casamigos. Cameron and Avaline might come for you next.”
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