The 35-year-old actress, who poses seductively on the cover in a curve-hugging, strapless Calvin Klein black leather dress, Urstadt.Swan mesh cuffs, and black nail polish, tells the magazine she's got a new outlook on life -- and brother, she means business!
"For three years straight, I've been burning the candle at both ends, and as of last December, I just didn't have anything left," says Barrymore, who besides acting in films, also produces and directs them.
"I've been so aggressive about living life to the fullest and being plugged into everything, but now I've ripped the plug out of the wall and put it on the floor for a while. I'm thinking about the same things as when I was 15, about spirituality and who I am, who I want to be. It's cocoon, pupa, larva, and f--k, I'm reborn!"
Sounds hippie-dippy, right? Well, sure her production company is called Flower Films, and she speaks in the pattern of a Valley Girl/flower child, but don't be fooled, Barrymore warns. "I make movies. I have a passion," she tells Elle. "Puppies and daisies don't accomplish anything. That's not me at all."
Who she is, in fact, is someone who knows who she is. Barrymore, who's in an on-off relationship with Justin Long, her co-star in the Aug. 27 romantic comedy "Going the Distance," says she doesn't need a partner to feel complete. "If you're 35 and single and it's a choice, it feels fine," says the twice-divorced star. "So I didn't settle with the wrong person yet. Big deal!"
In one shot, a reclining Barrymore caresses her black Donna Karan New York jersey bodysuit with Urstadt.Swan leather Edwardian gloves.
Another photograph shows her reaching for a set of gymnasium rings in a Dolce & Gabbana wool tank top; Louise Goldin stingray, wool, and Swarovski crystal skirt; and matte Alexis Bittar bangles.
The pictures prove that the former "E.T." star is only getting better with age. And, in fact, growing older is something she looks forward to.
"I don't want to be vain or fearful, and I don't think I'll do anything [in terms of plastic surgery], but if I want to do something, I will," Barrymore says.
"From my perspective, there's no reason to be afraid of aging, because if you age, you're lucky! The alternative is death." (Um, where have we heard that before?)
For more Barrymore, pick up the August issue of Elle, on newsstands July 14, and visit their Web site for a quiz about the star and galleries of her changing fashions and hairstyles
In related news, read what Barrymore's "Charlie's Angel" co-star/pal Cameron Diaz has to say about growing older.