Elizabeth Banks wears many hats as an actress, filmmaker and most recently, celebrity ambassador of beauty brand No. 7. But her biggest role of all is being a mom to her two young sons, Felix, 12, and Magnus, 11.
The Pitch Perfect star and Cocaine Bear director, 49, has worked hard to ensure that her children are kept out of the spotlight, despite her career in the public eye, and has a strict - and some might say divisive - parenting rule she follows in order to protect them.
Chatting to HELLO! at the No. 7 Reversal Lounge event held in New York City on Thursday October 26, the brand's new beauty ambassador gave some rare insight into her private life.
While discussing the benefits of growing up without social media Elizabeth divulged that her sons, per her mandate, have no online presence at all - in fact, the tweens don't even have phones.
"I don't let them on social media, absolutely not. They don't even have phones yet. And that's something I tell people, I know Matthew McConaughey has been doing this a lot right now too, it's totally possible. You are actually in control of your child's life as parents. You do not have to give in," she said.
"If you feel they need to have a phone to track them or have access to them, I understand, but they don't need to be on social media. I'm also like "guys, you don't need to be on this before 13, and maybe not until you're 16.
"I'm so sensitive to the developing brain and puberty, which is hard enough for every single person who goes through it. Doing it without the pressure of social media - I'm all for it."
Elizabeth continued: "I didn't grow up with social media and I really wish nobody was. My number one advice is get off of it as much as we can. We all have a business reason to be on it and I think young people are developing skill sets from it and developing mechanisms for their online life that has taken ten years to figure this out, but there is no doubt that it can be problematic to their mental health.
"I am a mom of young people and I'm very focused on that aspect of social media in my own family and trying to protect my kids. And knowing that I can't, I just have to make them understand what these dangers are so they can have a safer relationship with it."
Elizabeth shares her sons with husband Max Handelman, who she wed in 2003. The Cocaine Bear director revealed that their sons are showing signs of following in her footsteps as artists.
"They are very musical, they love music. I would love for them to create art. I think it's such a privilege to create joy for people. It's something I take very seriously. I love being a storyteller, I love getting to engage with people and entertain people. I think it's very noble. I won't be mad if they decide to go down this path. But it's very difficult. It's hard," she said.
"When you're an artist, you have to wake up every single day and figure out how to make something, be creative, make an opportunity for yourself. I don't have a boss! I have to figure out how to do this life and create for myself. That's not for everybody. I don't know whether my kids are that type of person, you have to be really self-motivated to stick with it."
The Hunger Games star is balancing a lot of role right now: actor, director, mother, wife, and now the new face of No. 7. A household brand in the UK for decades, No.7 has just launched Stateside, and Elizabeth is thrilled. “I feel I've spent a career building trust with my audience as an accessible, no BS, not particularly overly fancy person. I'm just trying to be down-to-earth and relatable and that's what I love about this brand.
"It's really for everybody and everyone. The quality is super high and the years of consumers loving it in the UK has given me the confidence to be the face of this brand." As if this wasn't enough to keep Elizabeth occupied, the multi-hyphenate is also getting ready to turn the big 5-0.
"I like how everyone is calling it a 'milestone birthday'. There must have been a talking point that went out saying, 'don't say 50, call it a milestone birthday!'" she said laughing.
Elizabeth isn't afraid of entering a new decade either. Instead, she's ready to embrace it head on. "I feel so much better than 40. I think that I'm thinking about 50 as the midpoint. We live to 100 - well I do at least! I am just looking at this as starting an entire second life. And I have some incredible knowledge for this. I've spent the first few years learning everything and building a foundation for my life that I can be proud of. Nurturing relationships with my family and friends, husband and children, nurturing a career. And now I get to bring all my knowledge to the next half. I truly believe that my best days are ahead of me," she said.
The future is certainly bright for the star, who is living proof that positivity — and gratitude — go a long way. "I'm really lucky that I have both my parents, my husband has both his parents, and that's not going to be true for the next 50 years," she reflected.
"And I know that's going to be incredibly hard, but I also know that there's an appreciation for every day that comes with that knowledge, this makes me very settled and sane. I am so appreciative for everything. The gratitude in my life has just grown and grown."
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