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Jan. 19, 2011
Brooklyn Decker Esquire Magazine Interview Part II
Good job with the chicken! The process is clear and she is steady. She cooks this — chicken swaddled in leaves of cured pork — for Roddick, too. She works the skinless breasts in her hands till they are cylindrical, then finger-pinches the fat away, patiently rubs the spices (different areas of the flesh have different needs, it seems) as if she knew what formulation her guest needed. Her guest babbles as she works. He cannot stop talking. She invites this much, claims she wants to hear opinion, to understand experience. I have to admit it feels like a grift, like she’s beckoning me to bulldoze the night with my own stories, to fill my own recorder with stories I’ve heard myself tell a thousand times.
It is a kind of seduction, I suppose. She must know that beautiful women have always made men pour forth the dopey war stories of work and travel. Men speak to beauty, maybe too much, and Brooklyn Decker creates a little room for that. But she isn’t playing. She’s being pragmatic, not manipulative; it’s so she can work — check the oven temperature, wash and dry the two plates that live in her cabinets, top off the wine, check the music. At one point, needing more light on the cooking surface, she walks, palms up — as they are slathered with raw poultry — to the doorway and kicks the light switch with one pendulum swing of her glorious leg. A movement so easy, so thoughtless and accurate, that it says one thing clearly: The woman is young. She doesn’t remark on it, making the acrobatics a domestic gesture — easy, sweet, comforting. When she stands by the door, it feels as if she’ll never leave, though she’s standing next to a bag of her clothes. She sees it and laughs. “I should have never shown you that,” she says. “The bag on the floor makes me look bad, doesn’t it?”
That’s what she’d said earlier, in the hallway, before she unlocked the door, groceries bedangled from one gloved hand, keys pointing from the other: “Oh, man. The bag is right there on the floor. Right inside the door. That fact alone will reveal everything. You’ll see that I’m not all that good an adult yet. Remember, I dropped everything for you. This will prove it,” she’d said, turning the keys in the lock. “And you’ll think I’m a slob.”
She’s a slob. Not the foul kind, not the scary hoarder kind. She’s the careless kind, a drop-your-bag-on-the-floor-and-live-out-of-it slob. The young slob at rest, hiding nothing with the habit, hurting no one. She just returned from a movie shoot (Battleship) in Texas and is on her way to more filming in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She’s just checking in — returning the way a kid does, flopping her zippered duffel inside left of the front door, yanking it open to pull just one item from the guts of it. Bra straps, T-shirts piled on a couple pairs of jeans, little fists of underwear beneath that — it’s a snapshot of a cozy mess, private as the top dresser drawer of a person with nothing to stash, dropped and splayed open on faith. She gives it a kick as she walks past to hit the light. That Brooklyn Decker leaves her bag open, that her underwear remains somewhat visible all the while she cooks dinner, is undeniably prurient to note and inexplicably cool to observe.
On the bookshelf: a set of framed photos. Brooklyn Decker with her crew from home, pressed shoulder to shoulder, all five of them in a chin-lifted woot! to the world. “That’s really me,” she says. “These are my best friends. That’s who I am.” She nods at a photo of Roddick, standing near an arena exit with another man, seemingly out of earshot of anything like a woot. “This is my husband,” she says. Then she laughs. “Look, I’m with sorority girls, and look at him: He’s with, I don’t know, Woody Allen, or the Dalai Lama.”
I lean in for a look. “Is that Woody Allen?”
She turns away. She was illustrating a point. “Or Shaq. I don’t know. He meets people. He’s one of those people, you know?”
She’s walking away, drawing me with her. So much so that I fail to note whom Roddick is standing with in the photo. Not Shaq is all I can tell you. That’s what I put in my notes later that evening: “Not Shaq.” Such is the extent of my due diligence with her in the room. I do recall there was an unstrung tennis racket lying flat on the couch. Otherwise, I follow.
The chicken cooks, under the broiler now. She wants to teach me her tricks, which she says aren’t hers at all.
“Nicole Kidman taught me how to look into the sun while shooting.” Brooklyn lays her hands flat on the counter. If this is some mock seriousness, I cannot tell. “You close your eyes,” she says. She does this much and waits. After a moment, she opens her eyes for a quizzical look at me. “Close them.” She means my eyes. She’s teaching now. We’re supposed to be looking into the sun, though I am looking straight at her face.
She talks to me like a Pilates instructor: “Keep them closed, face the sun. Straight at it. Then, as soon as they call ‘rolling,’ right before ‘action,’ take your eyes down to the camera, line up your sight, and then open them.” She’s speaking to me. “Open them,” she says. “Really. Do it.” When I open my eyes, I find that she is leaning in a little, over the kitchen counter, arms folded under her breasts, smiling. “Open them like that,” she says, “and the dark of the camera should help your eyes adjust.” She is about two feet from my craggy face, staring right into my crusty, bloodshot eyes, smiling. There is no camera. And she’s right. My eyes adjust just fine, thanks.
She refills my wine. She wants to know if I like it.
“I’m not a wine person,” I say. “I’m a whiskey person.”
She looks around, behind her, then past me, as if trying to remember where things are. She’s not a drinker, and she hasn’t been home in a month. She and Roddick have a house in Texas, outside Austin. That is where she keeps her bulldog, she’s told me. There are several pictures of the bulldog on the shelf next to the one of Roddick and Not Shaq.
“All we have is vodka,” she says. There is a long pause, after which she fusses with the stove again.
“You want a drink?” I ask finally.
“I don’t want any,” she declares, just as plaintive and confident as a child who doesn’t like the parsnips. No way. No apology. No offer for me to go ahead without her. Somehow it’s charming.
Ask Brooklyn Decker what she knows, and she will laugh and winnow it down to very little. Like this one way to cook chicken. That’s something. But what about an essay question, something like: “What do you know about men?” I ask it when she serves the chicken, which looks pretty damned good, if a little spartan by itself on the plate. It’s hot to the touch. Hot as hell.
She thinks it over. “Men need to learn to put everything on the table,” she says. “Just put everything on the table. And when it comes to the game playing, enough.”
“I know. It doesn’t sound like anything real. You’re dealing with a college kid. I feel for you.” She cuts into the chicken, forks up a biteful, and thinks. “With females,” she says, then she starts again. “With women, when you’re in your twenties, it’s all about game playing. Men could get ahead of women if they’d just throw everything out on the table. Cut to the chase.”
The chicken is in my mouth. Too hot to eat, really. “What the — “I say, taking a mouthful of wine, shaking my head. “What is that supposed to mean?” I want to halt her progress up the platitude trail. So I point a fork and say, “That just sounds like total horseshit.”
She laughs, full out and hard, covering her mouth with one hand, spitting bits of chicken into her palm. “Try to be a little specific,” I say. “Start with young guys maybe. What do you know about them?”
She’s chewing her food, smiling. She looks up, out of the corner of her eye. “In their twenties men just want, want, want, want, want.” She puts a little salad on her plate with the chicken, just one leaf. “Don’t make everybody deal with your want all the time. It gets so old. You know?”
I know. I do. She makes a good point.
“I don’t want to change anybody,” she tells me. “But there is that.”
We eat for a while. What about a guy who’s Roddick’s age? I ask. Past twenty-five. What’s the issue then?
“After twenty-five,” she says, “it’s just throw the ego out the door.”
Then she glances from my eyes to my plate theatrically, emanating a little alarm. She chipmunks a bite in her cheek and Cagneys out another couple of questions: “So what’s it like eating the model’s chicken? That work for you?”
Stupid me. So rude. “Why, yes,” I say, trying to put an exclamation point on every word. “It does. Really.”
This seems a comfort to her. And she says it again: “Thank you,” low and sweet and in that way that says, I hear you. It’s a thank-you worth hearing. “You can tell me the truth,” she says, “but thank you.”
“Thank you,” I say, making a big show out of the next bite. “And, really, I am telling you the truth.”
But it isn’t the truth. The chicken was good when it came out of the oven. Just fine, juicy — piquant, even. Nice touch with the prosciutto, Brooklyn. But it was too hot, and so, when opened up by the knife, the meat dried out immediately. The salad couldn’t save it. By the time she asked, the chicken really was quite a chore.
No matter. A young cook’s mistake. She’s just starting out. I would have called it halfway decent. Exactly that. In fact, I wish I had. Not to disappoint her, but because I’m certain that it would have made her laugh. I think she might have even thanked me one more time.
Brooklyn Decker Lightens the Burden of Living in This World
Outside her apartment, on the cold and dusky streets down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, Brooklyn Decker, wrapped up just a bit too tight against the wind, gives a weak, unconvinced handshake. It has the feel of a first handshake, the kind you give early in your handshaking life, when you can’t figure why anyone would want to meet you. When we start walking the tilt of the hill down to the high-end grocery store near her place, she widens her eyes, so blue they seem backlit, and admits, “I’m not sure what you can say about me yet.”
Maybe it’s just the time and place, some play on the obvious trope. Like Brooklyn in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Decker lives inside her name. So much Brooklyn.
“Yeah, yeah,” she says. She’s heard it before. I can do better than that, I tell her. I don’t want to disappoint. Just give me some time. Half a block later, we’re at the market. The scale of Brooklyn surprises. She is so tall, for starters.
The starter is a salad. That’s the only starter Brooklyn makes. Green-leaf lettuce, avocados cut up like pats of butter, ground pepper, and dressing pulled mysteriously from her refrigerator. She whisks it from the door and back again.
To the doorway and back again, while cooking, for an adjustment to the lights. When Brooklyn Decker walks toward you, the world feels a little bit of all right. She brings promise with her. Light of heart and unexpectant, she gives the impression that being present is easy, that passing time talking with a man she doesn’t know is exactly what she wants to do on a Friday night in New York. She makes her little salad. What do I like? What do I not like? She even seems a little curious about my preferences. I’m cool with whatever, I say. I can handle anything she dishes up. But Brooklyn doesn’t cook like that. She doesn’t want to disappoint. She just wants me to like it. There is no protest or resistance in her voice. It’s just something she can do.
She cannot cook, she says, but she’s learning. This chicken thing, with its components handpicked at her grocery store — two organic breasts, five slices of prosciutto, two avocados not yet collapsed in ripeness, a nameless jar of spice — is her one thing, her one dinner. There’s no apology or excuse. She’d made an offer: this in lieu of a restaurant. She knows this one thing, one reliable ritual of assembly, leaving her free to stand and cook for a guest who sits schlumped on the other side of her kitchen island. This is so she can offer wine, tend to her guest without apology for the things she can’t do.
One thing she can’t do: She can’t explain how she got here, not clearly. The story of her childhood in North Carolina comes and goes — What does she miss? “Just my friends.” UNC or Duke? “It could have gone either way, but it can never go the other way. I’m a Tar Heel, pretty randomly.” Answers lost, threads dropped what with all the chopping, the tenderizing. Her mother named her after a horse. “I love the name,” she says. “Brook. Next time we meet, you’ll call me Brook. Almost everyone does.” The next time. Hah. Beauty always promises a return. The young always assume they’ll see you again.
The young. At twenty-two she married Andy Roddick, the only appealing American tennis player with gonads. Young, right? She was then merely a swimsuit model and may in fact be only that now: known for her frame, for her confident carriage in body paint, for the slope of the back of her legs, for eyes that issue the command Get over here. And the breasts, ah, yes, always the breasts. It’d be foolish, and a little dishonest, to mention her history of swimsuit modeling, to allude to the Sports Illustrated cover and to the myriad catalogs of her image on the Internet without mentioning her breasts. They are not much evident tonight, here in the kitchen. She plays smaller in her own space, in a sweater and jeans like a lonely college girl, the kind who keeps her body a secret. But there they are. Have a look. She does not mind — she can’t. Fill in your own simile. Just don’t make her less than her whole in so doing.
Brooklyn Decker’s sum of the whole of Brooklyn Decker? So far there’s very little, nothing lasting. Photo shoots don’t accrue in the inventory of experience; they pass by until you don’t notice them. She sees it this way: She is twenty-three, just starting out. “I feel for you,” she says. “I really do. People are going to come up to you and say, ‘What did she do for you?’ ”
“No, they won’t.”
“Oh, please! And I’m a model. Okay? What are you going to talk about?” Here she jams a piece of bread in one side of her mouth and affects a deep, slippery Scooby-Doo kind of male voice, pinching one eye, whistling the words in mock seriousness: “How does it feel to get your hair and makeup done every day? How does it feel to be Photoshopped?”
It’s supposed to be me, or Jimmy Cagney playing me.
“It’s difficult for you,” she says, plucking an avocado from the grocery bag. We are early in the evening here — not one leaf of lettuce has been broken, not an onion chopped. “I’m not a politician. I’m a model. I’m not sure what I bring to the table for you.”
“First off, you say ‘model.’ Aren’t you a model and an actress?”
She raises one shoulder in an incomprehensibly loose, over-yogaed shrug.
“Well, come on. How cheesy does that sound? I can’t say ‘actress’ unless someone says I’m halfway decent at it.”
Having just come from the screening of her new movie, the Adam Sandler phone-it-in wonder Just Go with It, I can declare this: “You are halfway decent at it.” I’m not lying, either. Exactly halfway, at this point.
And here, let me say: When a beautiful woman thanks you, voice all low with modest surprise and whispering tonal modulation, it gets a man past a lot of impossibility. For a minute, it seems as though she might really value the sentiment, which ups the ante on whatever is said next. What I do is I start talking — explaining and over-explaining what I thought of the rough cut of the film I just saw, as if my opinion mattered. About there, Brooklyn Decker starts the cutting of the avocado. She listens.
“The problem is, your character is likable and the people in the movie treat her in the most unethical way. They just kind of use her.”
Brooklyn looks right at me then. She can establish — and hold — a gaze without much effort. “So you hurt for her then?”
Not exactly. She was being conned. But I find myself nodding. My obligations to her beauty have become overwhelming. “Yeah.”
“That means I did a good job, right?”
“Good job” is something you tell a kid at soccer practice. And rhetorical questions, asked by a woman whose hair is the kind of blond that feels like the mother of everything blond, are generally not worth answering. But yes, good job, for what that’s worth. She plays a teacher, one who inexplicably dresses like a schoolgirl and somehow falls for Sandler’s muttering, closed-down, early-forties resignation routine. Brooklyn Decker: funny, unobligated, young. Right in there amongst Aniston, Kidman, and Sandler, each desperately tit-twisting the hell out of every laugh, Decker plays an honest-to-God clueless straight man. It’s a kind of good job, for sure. A first step, anyway. Add to that the fact that toward the end of the movie, she walks up out of the surf, rises from the surf, a towering monolith of slow-motioned, bikinied grace. Gratuitous, sure. But that really doesn’t hurt the case: good job.
Brooklyn: “Dad did an invervention to stop me obsessing over weight”
Here are some new notes about Brooklyn, that lead us to think that she might also be in the cover of Self Magazine this month.
Brooklyn Decker thanks her dad for her fantastic figure. She tells Self magazine’s new issue, “I was always with other aspiring models. There were bingers and purgers, and everyone watched each other eat. It freaked me out. I did juice fasts and crazy diets and ended up gaining weight. My father did an intervention and got me to stop obsessing about everyone else and wrecking my body.”
During the shoot, Decker, who stars with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler in “Just Go With It,” told the crew that when Aniston arrived for the first day of filming, Sandler whispered, “Try not to call her Rachel Green,” her “Friends” character.
Brooklyn Decker’s father staged an “intervention” to stop her worrying about her weight.
The 23-year-old Victoria’s Secret model admits she was “freaked out” when she first started modeling because of the extreme measures other catwalk beauties used to stay in shape and felt she also had to try strict diets.
She explained to Self magazine: “I was always with other aspiring models. There were bingers and purgers, and everyone watched each other eat. It freaked me out. I did juice fasts and crazy diets and ended up gaining weight. My father did an intervention and got me to stop obsessing about everyone else and wrecking my body.”
Brooklyn – who is married to tennis star Andy Roddick – recently made her movie debut in romantic comedy ‘Just Go With It’ and admits she surprised her co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler with her less-than-glamorous appearance.
She explained recently: “When people hear ‘bikini model’ they have one thing on their mind.
“Then they see you’re someone who shows up to the set in pajamas and no make-up, watches sports and belches.”
Brooklyn thinks the role in the romantic comedy is the perfect way for her to start off in the movie industry.
She said: “‘Just Go With It’ has just wrapped and it’s definitely the most exciting thing I’ve done. It was a big first for me. It really opened up a whole new field for me to go into, and I just felt really lucky to go to work on such a big movie. It was really cool to be a part of that and learn the process of acting.”
We just added scans from Esquire Magazine to our gallery, as we previously reported Brooklyn is on the cover looking amazing! So if you’re from the US go and get your copy now … For those who aren’t from the US check the scans in our gallery!