The biggest problem with Kate Hudson is that she’s completely joyless. She vibrates with bitterness and cynicism, her moods as dark as a Scandinavian winter. It’s ironic that she lives in Los Angeles, on a sunny street, in her childhood home, with a husband-to-be and two charming children. It’s an against-all-odds success story.
No, it’s not, she’s Kate Hudson. If Sunny Delight came in human form, this would be your girl. It’s not like she’s exempt from the ebb and flow of feeling (or highly medicated)—she’s just generally a happy, relaxed kind of camper. She greets me at the front door with her two-year-old son, Bing, a blond scamp who barrels through the front yard, doing skateboard tricks on a board in the grass (he will later do a drum solo, complete with headphones and sunglasses). Hudson is in a very floaty Hudsonesque dress, bare feet, and no makeup. And not the “no makeup” makeup of your typical actress but none whatsoever. Her fiancé, Muse front man Matthew Bellamy, is out of town. “He’s really good,” she says with a three-years-of-love beam. “We’re wonderful, he’s in Boston, and we’re going to meet him in a couple of days.” The last of the set, nine-year-old Ryder (Hudson’s son with ex-husband Chris Robinson), is currently at a pizza-making party, from which he will return triumphant. “Excellent!” Hudson replies to an inquiry about the clan. “Family is excellent.”
She plops down in a cushion-covered seating area in the backyard and talks about getting back to work: “Finally!” The past year saw Hudson appear opposite Larry David and Jon Hamm in the HBO movie Clear History, and after that, she filmed Good People in London (her other home), opposite James Franco. Most recently was Zach Braff ’s Wish I Was Here, in which, she says, she was thrilled to work with Homeland’s human acting master class Mandy Patinkin. “With someone like that,” she explains, “you have to be at the top of your game.”
Another thing Hudson is most accomplished at: smiling. (Her nickname among Bazaar crews:“Cover gold.”) She recently cofounded a line of athleticwear called Fabletics and can be seen grinning joyfully in a Web video in the Cobra pose, when anyone else would be in a grimace. “Well,” she says, smiling at the thought of smiling,“I do have the work ethic, of when you show up to something, you do it.” Exercise doesn’t hurt either. “It really is a vital part of my day in terms of energy. And I mean just by putting a sports bra on.” She starts to laugh. “Then maybe you’ll do something! Even if it’s a few squats in the backyard and back to the couch.” She doesn’t have a strict routine—sometimes SoulCycle, dance, hot yoga. “I wish I was more structured than I am. I could probably be better at that in life.”
But at 34, Hudson is doing okay. She is delighted to be the cover of Bazaar’s Best-Dressed issue, and will spend half an hour girling out looking at the recent spring shows online. “I’m not mad at that,” she says of a Saint Laurent pink-and-black-striped tube top worn with a gold leopard-print miniskirt. “Balmain too. That stuff is good.” She wore a beaded denim Balmain minidress to this past summer’s premiere of Clear History. “It was a bit intimidating,” she recalls. “The workmanship is amazing. It brought me back to being a little girl looking at anything sparkly.” Her favorite red-carpet look this year is the black-and-gold Alexander McQueen dress she wore to the Golden Globes, “and a red Stella McCartney and a red Prabal Gurung. I haven’t really done Valentino yet,” she adds,“but I want to.”
There is something that privileged movie star Kate Hudson would like girls to know, though. “People think we own all these dresses,” she says, “but we borrow them! I can’t afford to buy that stuff. There are certain things I splurge on, but it’s very rare, especially when you have two kids and school tuition. I’m not a big high-end fashion shopper. I wish I could but the truth is things are just so expensive. Before Isabel Marant was a million dollars and famous, I used to go to her store in Paris and go crazy, it was so affordable.”
This pragmatism was born from Hudson and her brother Oliver’s upbringing with their mother, Goldie Hawn, and her longtime partner, Kurt Russell. “My mom wasn’t a big shopper for us,” says Hudson.“I think they wanted to instill that in us even though we grew up in a really privileged and lucky lifestyle. As for Ryder, all he wants is a cell phone. “I see his friends texting people, and I just can’t do it,” Hudson says. “The first device I got was a pager!” She bursts out laughing. “I was 13, and it was hot pink.”
Family is key to everything in Hudson’s universe. “I’m loving becoming an adult,” she says. In terms of work-life balance, she credits the CEO of Ann Taylor (which Hudson has represented for two years), Kay Krill, as a great influence. “She’s a huge advocate for women—and for realizing we are capable of whatever we put our minds to.” With that in mind, she’s thinking more about Kate Hudson the brand. “I really think that if I’m going to put my effort into something, I want to reach a larger amount of women, where they can afford the things I’m selling. Especially with the economy, it doesn’t make sense to me anymore.” Getting her on social media is more of a challenge: “I’m scared!” When it comes to her movie-star tribe, though, Hudson tips her hat to the authentic girls. “I like people who are true to themselves: Rooney Mara, I always look forward to seeing; I like her style. Carey Mulligan always wears interesting things, Kerry Washington …” Ask her about pop stars and the undressing thereof, and she replies, “Eh, I don’t care. I like little clothes actually.” Even though Hudson’s a mother, she still likes to rock it. “No clothes?” She laughs. “I like that too.”