“For me at work, it’s all about not fearing the word ‘no’ and being OK with that,” she states. Aniston also talks fitness, health, politics, fame and what it’s like to google herself.
How did the show come about?
It was a book called Top of the Morning and we decided to partner up, because Reese and I have been wanting to re-team again. Behind the scenes of the morning talk shows always was just so fascinating. It always seemed to have sort of a cutthroat quality about it and that seemed like an interesting world to navigate. Then we sold the show and then #MeToo happened, so we had to go back to the drawing board in a way because you couldn’t not address what was going on.
And it kind of beautifully wrote itself in a strange way.
Why did you decide it was time to do a TV show again?
Well, I haven’t done TV for so long [so I thought] why not try something completely out of left field and be a part of creating something that’s literally coming up out of the ground for the first time?
That felt really exciting to me as opposed to just going into an already working machine.
How did you prepare to play a journalist?
Diane Sawyer was a big help to me and also a dear friend for many years, so it was just a lot of collecting stories and information about these experiences over the years and how it’s changed from the time [she] began to how it is now.
I also had to learn how to talk into a camera as though you are talking to one person and one person alone, and I have to say, that’s the hardest job I’ve had because of the density of the material and the emotions that had to be dug up and also just the workload.
It was seven months of pretty intense work, but the best time I’ve had at work since Friends.
Have you had to face any workplace bullies during your career?
I have been very lucky that I haven’t experienced that kind of behaviour, of people exploiting me or taking advantage of me.
But the few times [people have tried], especially over the last 10, 15 years, it’s just about having the confidence to know that you are 100 per cent right and you won’t allow it.
What is your relationship to power and why do you think it is so attractive to people?
I think it depends on what your intention is with that power, because a lot of people have power and, as we’ve been seeing lately in the entertainment industry, there was also a lot of abuse of power.
It’s been on lots of shows, like Roger Ailes [in The Loudest Voice] and our show, and it’s great to see lately that those people are going down and they’re not going to get away with it anymore.
Do you worry you are in the spotlight so much that people sometimes don’t take your work seriously?
Oh, my gosh, where do I begin? I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I have been under the microscope for all of it, whether [it’s about] the quality of work or how [I do] this or that. At a certain point I have to – and it’s not always easy to do this – turn the noise down and do my work and just be as honest as I can be in what I’m doing.
But, of course, there are moments when you are like the belle of the ball and there are moments when you’re not up to par.
When did you last google yourself?
I usually do it when someone says [I’ve] just had a hundred-million-dollar makeover. And then I’m like, “Really? That’s a lot of money, I must have got an entirely new skeletal system!” But no, it’s always actually entertaining. I don’t do it on the regular, but it’s sort of interesting, the stories that come out. I must just not leave my house enough, because I think the last time there was something 100 per cent truthful that was stated was when our teaser dropped online.
These days journalism in America is a mix of entertainment and hard news. How do you cope with the onslaught of information we all face daily?
I’m still not used to it. I long for the days where we didn’t have iPhones and the internet – it was such a simpler and more peaceful time. There were a lot of things happening in the world, but you could tune into it. It wasn’t bombarding you every second of the day. Now, people have power in the way they access those phones with the touch of a button and it’s just horrible.
How much will we see of today’s politics on the show?
You’ll see divorce, you will see mother/daughter relationships, you’ll see conflicted emotions about making choices behind people’s backs … there’s a lot this show covers in 10 episodes.
We don’t get too political, but we do focus on corporate power and the abuse of it, and people turning a blind eye and being complicitand the guilt that comes with that.
With this world after #MeToo, we have a whole new rule book and everybody’s trying to figure out how we manoeuvre through this new world.
There’s a big swing of the pendulum where everyone is bumping elbows, and that’s about as far as we will go these days. But it’s fun exploring that as we navigate through the new landscape.
What do your own mornings look like in real life?
I am a night owl, first of all, because it’s so quiet. Early birds love the morning because it’s so quiet, but I’m the opposite, maybe it’s because I was born at night. So, yes, like my character, my life is very similar to that but without drinking the Red Bull!
Usually, there’s an interaction with my dogs and there’s a meditation and then there’s coffee and a workout and the day starts.
What about breakfast?
No, I haven’t been doing breakfast lately. Intermittent fasting. We’ll see. It’s healthier, it turns out.
For years you said you had to break a sweat every day to be in a good mood. Do you still feel that way?
I think physical activity and working out and getting my blood pumping is extremely important for my day. My happiness doesn’t depend on it, but it sure does feel better when you do it.
Has your exercise program changed?
It always changes. It was boxing and then it was yoga and then it was circuit training and then it was power Pilates, so I just like to keep it interesting.
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