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Kate Winslet finally comfortable in her own skin

Oscar-nominated actress Kate Winslet is getting used to walking the red carpet, but whatever you do, don't call her a movie star.
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Thirty-three-year-old mother of two Kate Winslet is self-aware, funny and frank. She is also one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actresses, whose roles have ranged from Marianne Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility” (1995) to the punk-haired Clementine who so memorably tortured Jim Carrey in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004). Even further proof of her talents is now onscreen in two incredible Golden Globe–winning performances, in “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader.” “The Reader” could yield a long-overdue Oscar win (she has been nominated six times, a record for someone her age) …

But in spite of being able to tap into this uncommon talent, Winslet does not hold herself apart, like some creature living in the Garbosphere; she's famously down-to-earth … And she is so adamant about keeping her head screwed on, that one of the few things that irritate her is to be referred to as a movie star.

“Please don't call me that,” she says. “I don't feel like a movie star in my life at all, and I don't particularly think I behave like one. I don't have my own plane. I don't have a chef or a trainer. To me, you're a movie star only during the time when you're at the Academy Awards or at an important glamorous event. It's very much a hat that you wear, and as soon as the event's over, the hat comes off. I'm back to being me and being Mummy, and that's my priority.”

Not that Winslet is totally averse to glamour. “I know that stepping out on the red carpet is something a lot of people in the world would give their right arm to experience,” she says, “and I'm always very aware of that feeling of, How lucky am I?”

Winslet's protestations that she's not “a movie star” are marked enough that they could almost be read as reverse snobbery. But it's more that Winslet feels like she doesn't quite belong in that glamour world she only strolls into from time to time. Studying a picture of herself and her fellow actress Cate Blanchett, both of them ravishing in blue gowns at the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival, Winslet says drily, “I look and I think, Yeah, Cate's a glamorous movie star, and then I see me and I think, Well, I'm sort of nearly there, I'm playing the part.”

Image: Kate Winslet

It's a feeling of long standing. “I think our own perception of ourselves is really formed to its fullest extent in the teenage years,” Winslet says. “For me that time was great, but I was overweight till I was about 16, and I was teased for it. I was very physically insecure for a really long time, so stepping out of that as an adult has been a really big deal.”

Now, with a figure many women would die (or at least diet) for, Winslet says she doesn't work much at it and, more important, doesn't think much about it, which in itself is a greater achievement than her sinuous curves. “I am comfortable in my own skin,” she says. “It really isn't even an issue.”

Still, she does wish that other people could get over it as well. Photographed nearly naked and looking quite lovely for a recent magazine cover story, Winslet came in for a bout of unkind treatment from the Fleet Street wolf pack. “There was some speculation in the British press — ‘Has she been under the airbrush again?’ It really kind of got to me,” she says. “What's the big deal? If I'm looking good at the moment, just let me look good already! Don't have a go at me just because I'm not the fat person you always thought I was going to be.”