Allure editor in chief Michelle Lee feels like she’s practically grown up with Drew Barrymore. Although they didn’t meet until adulthood, the two were born mere months apart, and thanks to a prolific career in entertainment that started before she could form full sentences, the world has had an unusually accessible window to Barrymore’s entire life. But as Lee found out when the beloved actor and founder of Flower Beauty joined her for The Allure Podcast, there’s still so much to discover about Drew Barrymore, and so much she’s still generously willing to share about her outlook on life and beauty, her childhood, and how that childhood has impacted the way she hopes her own children see the world.
By the time Barrymore was a tween, she was already a burgeoning style icon, and her look took dramatic twists over the years — something she learned from the fashion and beauty icons of her childhood. “I loved Madonna. I loved Elton John. I always was drawn to people who … Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda. You never knew what they were going to look like as a character or in a movie or the way they were wearing their hair and makeup, the style. Cher. This was what inspired me growing up,” Barrymore tells Lee of her biggest influences. “I loved the theatrics, but I really loved the curiosity, the burning question of what are they going to do next, and then when they present that.”
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In fact, Barrymore says she was just recently explaining these kinds of versatile, ever-redefining types of style stars to her daughters. “I was teaching my daughters that that’s the term — chameleon — that they change their colors,” she says, giving them a contemporary example. “[Lady] Gaga is the epitome of that. And she really reminds me of David Bowie, and there was a moment where she did his tribute at the Grammys and was him, and I thought it was just the perfect alignment of the stars.”
Beyond instilling an appreciation for their creativity, Barrymore hopes her daughters can take something even more profound from the “chameleons” she admires so much. “The Gagas of the world and the David Bowies are just so important because they just tell everybody to be who they are with such celebration,” she says.
But Barrymore confesses to Lee, she still sometimes struggles with celebrating herself. In fact, she has found herself becoming increasingly critical of her appearance. “It gets harder as you get older,” she tells Lee. “I will see the monitor all the time at photoshoots and just think, ‘Holy hell. I hate what I’m seeing. I don’t feel good about myself. Where did my chin go? Why is it inside my neck? Why are my two eyes so different? Why does the hair not look right? Oh my god! My puffiness, my dark circles. I will literally eviscerate myself.’ And I just think, ‘You know what? Eventually, I don’t want to do this anymore because I don’t want to look at myself that way.'”
And despite the incredible success of her Flower brands, the relatable self-criticism pours over into her work. “All I do is like beat myself up and expect and demand more. I’m really hard on myself,” Barrymore says. “I never kick back, put up my feet, and go, “You did a good job on that.” It’s like Da Vinci Code self-flagellation 24/7.”