Actress. Wife. Mother. And CoverGirl. Paula Patton seems to be a master juggler at it all. But it’s something about her infectious grace and humility—even over a fuzzy phoner—that seems to best explain her ascend and steady standing. It was just a shy six years ago we saw the Los Angeles native floor us in the jazz-hip hop musical Idlewild. Starring alongside Andre 3000, Patton carried soulful tunes, and played one of the fiercest corpses while a love-struck mortician Andre 3000 painted her fare face. Call it a shooting anti-gradual climb—Patton starred opposite Denzel Washington in the thriller Déjà Vu. I distinctively recall screaming at the height of my lungs with girlfriends in the movie theater when Patton earned the coveted and rather irregular on-screen kiss with the super sexy actor. Since then, it’s been movie after movie, and project after umm baby with super sexy hubby, R&B crooner Robin Thicke. And just when we thought things couldn’t any hotter, and more fly —the 36 year-old actress becomes one of few African-American women— on the heels of Queen Latifah— to become a spokesperson with the iconic Covergirl Queens Collection. It wasn’t long after, the mega-actress inked another deal with the hard-to-get Pespi Co brand.
We caught up with the star over the phone —who’s giddy, girl’s girl voice oozed a genuine happiness for her full life—to chat being a CoverGirl, balancing life and family, and the possibility of playing the late Whitney Houston.
EBONY.com: Everyone is very excited about you being the new face of CoverGirl! How has your experience with this iconic brand been so far?
Paula Patton: First I want to say, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me, I’m honored. Well, the experience has been incredible, a dream come true. As a little girl I always dreamed of having a cosmetics contract, which was the cherry o top of ‘making it’ in my opinion. Queen Latifah has truly been an inspiration to me, even before we were friends. She is truly beautiful, and to see her on the cover of magazines and in campaigns is amazing. Working with CoverGirl—I have recognized their appreciation for women in general. Sofia Vergara is also a perfect example of someone who not only is beautiful, but who also has the ability to make people laugh and smile through her inner beauty. CoverGirl has been a trail blazer in making all women of any ethnicity could find make up that is right for them, and that can make them feel beautiful. I remember when I was in high school, and I was breaking out with pimples and blemished, it was very difficult to find great makeup to help me cover that up. CoverGirl, and especially the Queen Collection, is a simple way to find these shades that represent all people.
EBONY: What product do you find yourself using the most form CoverGirl?
PP: I am obsessed with the Lash Fanatic, and it’s so easy to make my lashes look extremely long without all the fuss. I love fake eyelashes, but I can never figure out how to put them on by myself, so Lash Fanatic is great for that. Even when I do go on the red carpet, and my makeup team put on the false eyelashes, we still use a few coats of the Lash Fanatic to make my eyes stand out, and look bold. I also love the Queen Collection’s lipsticks. They are so clean, but they also stain your lips—which is great. I always eat with my lipstick on—and I know that after I finish eating I still have a little color on my lips, until I am ready to reapply. My favorite color is “Powder Puff Pink”, I have always been a girl that likes a red lip, but the hot pink is cool, because it’s not too bright—so I can where it in the day and in the night.
EBONY: You looked amazing at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, we loved the look! What are your must have product to carry in your clutch when you are on the red carpet?
PP: Thank you so much! Those clutches are gorgeous, but I hate them because you can only put about two things in them. I need dental floss, for when I eat, I always get food stuck in my teeth, the lipstick that I started the night out with. I also need gum to freshen the breath really quickly. I only chew the gum for a little bit, because my mother always told me to not chew gum in public. Everyone also needs a good lasting press powder, and gum, and a good press powder. The Queen Collection has a really long lasting press powder that last a really long time. My clutch is always bursting open.
EBONY: Can you tell us about any new film projects that you’re working on?
PP: Right now, I am working on a new project called Disconnect, with Alex Skarsgard, and I also just signed on to do an independent movie called Broken, that I am also really excited about. It’s a romance between two people that are very broken and then come together to heal each other. Also that another thing that is really important to me is to produce my own films, not just for myself—but for other actresses. So I have two other movies that I am developing right now, and I am really excited about that for the future. I will be producing these films, and although I respect directors, I do not feel that I am ready for that yet. I really just have so many ideas, and also coming from film school, I just love being a part of the creative process.
EBONY: Your husband Robin Thicke mentioned that you should play Whitney Houston in a movie? How do you feel about that?
PP: He is so sweet to say that. Just thinking about that really shakes me up. Whitney is irreplaceable, and I would be honored to play her, but I think it is a bit early to talk about a movie right now. Her life was so incredible, and it would be a challenge to play that role, and I love a challenge. I have tremendous respect for Whitney, and her passing is still very saddening to me.
EBONY: You are such a busy women, but you are also a great mother. What advice do you have for mothers out there with a lot on their plates?
PP: Sleeplessness is really the key to everything. Everyday is a new journey, and when I start to think about the future, I get a little overwhelmed, and then I realize that my son is what is most important. Everyday I just wake up and say I am just going to do the best I can for everybody— but most importantly my son. Some days are rough, but others are like, ‘Hey I did all right.’ It’s all a working progress.
Geneva S. Thomas is the style and pop culture editor for EBONY.com. Follow her on Twitter @genevasthomas.