Cate Blanchett. Photo: Mike Flokis for Getty Images


Insecure is not a word one normally associates with Cate Blanchett.

The Australian actress -- who'll be seen next in the action thriller Hanna, set for release in April, 2011 -- exudes confidence thanks to an impeccably adventurous sense of style, a mega-career highlighted by brave and daring roles and a happy home life with her playwright husband Andrew Upton and three young sons.

Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton launching the 2011 season for the Sydney Theater Company, which they run. Photo: Brendon Thorne for Getty Images

But there was a time when she felt uneasy about her appearance, particularly about her skin, which by the way, is most frequently described as luminous. "The media frenzy around theater is less than there is around film, so when we move into a close up, you can get very self conscious," said Blanchett, 41. "It took me a long time to get comfortable with the idea of being photographed by a moving or still camera."

Years later, Blanchett doesn't fret about seeing her imperfections magnified on the big screen, and she credits it all to SK-II. She discovered the Pitera-based products, which help stimulate skin renewal, when she was pregnant with her first son, now nine years old, and suffering from melasma, a skin discoloration, and pigmentation. After two weeks of using SK-II she noticed a difference, and became a devotee. "I now spend less time worrying about my skin than I did in my 20s because I've been using it consistently," she said. "I've found what works for me and I stick with it.

"I feel very comfortable – literally and metaphorically – in my skin."

On a recent trip to Beijing in support of SK-II's charitable initiative "Clear for Life" (the project pledges to supply 30 million liters of clean water to communities across Asia in the form of PUR packets, sachets of a powdered mixture that acts as a "dirt magnet" when mixed in water), Blanchett talked to StyleList about being a global brand ambassador for the product – and traveling solo with her husband for the first time. After taking a break from interviews to call her boys, Dashiell, 9, Roman, 6, and Ignatius, 2, to say goodnight, Blanchett told us she felt "a combination of incredibly excited and a little nervous," about this first trip away from them. "It's important that they see us as a couple, because you can forget that."

Blanchett's most recent advertisement for SK-II. Photo: Courtesy of SK-II

Upton, who Blanchett married in 1997, has also had a transformative effect on her. "I'm a much healthier person through my relationship with my husband," she told StyleList. "I've become a more fulfilled person -- it's a great partnership." With Upton, Blanchett is co-director of the Sydney Theater Company, an experience she calls "utterly life-changing." "It's raised the bar of our expectations of ourselves, of our responsibility. We're no longer cultural tourists, and that's been a profound shift."

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Blanchett is that, like many working moms, she struggles with trying to please everyone at the cost of her own happiness. When asked what has recently made a difference in her life, she cited a decision that seems utterly simple, until one tries to put it in effect: learning to say no.

"I get excited by things and suddenly I realize I've committed to too much, and then you don't do anything well," Blanchett said. "My focus has simplified, so I'm a lot happier. The more you can remove the obstacles between you and the world as a woman, the easier and simpler life becomes."

And by concentrating on the things that are important to her – family, work, living an eco-friendly life (she reuses her Ziplocs!) – Blanchett is loving the skin she's in.

"I'm no longer trying to be someone I'm not," she said. "Part of being an actor is you get to try out different ways of being, and it's quite cathartic in that way.

"I'm not backward-looking. I've really loved my 30s, but I'm completely happy with being where I am."

For more celebrity skincare tips, check out our interview with Cindy Crawford.