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Why Actress Patricia Clarkson Loves Her Life

The Cairo Time star talks about shooting nude scenes, her best and worst health habits, and life as a single, 50-something woman.

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What's the one thing concerning your health you wish you'd done as a child?

I probably shouldn't have been in the sun so much as a child. I realize that now. I grew up in New Orleans. I grew up in the water, I went to camp. I never used sunscreen as a child.

What's your best health habit? Your worst?

Eating breakfast religiously. It's so good for the body and I never, ever, ever go without breakfast. Ever. I can't function without breakfast. [It's usually] organic cereals and rice milk. Sometimes oatmeal. [My worst is] French fries. I dip them in mayonnaise. And bourbon! I try to eat and drink both in moderation. But, you know.

You've been in a few movies with nude scenes. As a woman in her 50s, how do you stay comfortable with your body in the midst of the perfect-body craze of Hollywood?

I am comfortable in my body. I think I look pretty good. If the scene is integral to the movie, I don't think of [it] as a nude scene, I think of it as an extension of the scene or the character.

How do you feel about aging? Is 50 the new 40?

I don't know if I think of 50 as the new 40 … But I think I'm comfortable with my age. I think women do struggle with age and maybe I have tried not to. I don't think I have a career that's based on my looks, even though I've had to play some very, very attractive women.

When do you feel the most beautiful?

When I'm laughing with people I love. Whether it's one person or a group. 

Are you a health nut, in a health rut, or do you fall somewhere in between?

I think most people probably think of me as a health nut. I really, truly believe in eating organic whenever you can. I don't really have any vices … I love healthy food. I really do. It's actually the food I crave. I don't eat dairy. I walk a lot every day … I work out occasionally [laughs] … and yeah, I don't eat bad things. I'm good about that.

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