The Joys of Being Julia Louis-Dreyfus
by kelly jane torrance
photography by robert ascroft
Raunch and fun aside, the subject matter is still politics, which any Beltway insider, or anyone who grew up here, will concede is a topic that can be a little touchy, if not completely drive one to the bowels of bitterness—but not Louis-Dreyfus. She doesn’t consider herself a cynic. “I am hopeful about the political future of our country, because I think the alternative of not being hopeful would be a bit of a drag,” she says after a beat.
Optimistic as she may be, Louis-Dreyfus is a busy modern woman, with a shooting schedule she describes as “completely nuts” (but “really fun”), a husband and two sons, and all of the demands of a hot Hollywood commodity—lest we forget, she’s not just a comic, she’s got the cred of a full-fledged brand. If she were cynical about “big picture” stuff, she likely wouldn’t have the insight to balance her life. “At this point, I have had a lot of experience doing it,” she says of her career and all of the additional trappings, adding, “I am a bit of a control freak, so I like to weigh in on all aspects of production.” It’s a business that she is comfortable engaging in on all levels—and she has earned the respect of an industry in the process. “I am not running for office,” she says. “I try to use my celebrity to support environmental issues in California. I am an activist back there,” she explains. “Norman Lear [creator of sitcoms such as All in the Family and founder of advocacy group People For the American Way] once said that celebrity is something that you can spend. If I can bring attention to environmental issues and concerns of mine in California and people I believe are doing the right thing environmentally, then I am happy to spend it on that.”
And, of course, she always makes time to come back home. Louis-Dreyfus reflects that the city has changed a lot since she left to become a star. “When I was growing up, it was a conservative political time,” she recalls, in a tone that is first reflective and then filled with unalloyed enthusiasm. “Of course, you can never really appreciate, to a certain extent, the city you grow up in until you come back to it. So it’s nice to return as an adult to Washington and its environs. You can really take in the fabulousness of this area. And it is indeed that. It is such a great city.”
Styling by Wendi & Nicole for The Wall Group
Hair by Daniel Howell at traceymattingly.com
Makeup by Karen Kawahara for Cloutier Remix for Dior Beauty
Manicure by Beth Fricke using OPI for Artists by Timothy Priano
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.