"I'm pretty intense."

By Samantha Simon
Sep 10, 2020 @ 9:00 am
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Credit: Courtesy Jane Fonda

Like many of us, Jane Fonda has spent the past few months adapting to a new normal. And although she may be spending more time at home than ever before, that doesn’t mean things have slowed down for the 82-year-old actress and activist. In fact, she’s been busier than ever, hosting weekly virtual climate protests, diving into important reading material, and even landing a new wellness gig as the face of the CBD and hemp brand Uncle Bud’s. We caught up with Fonda on all fronts for InStyle’s October issue — keep reading for our full conversation with the Hollywood icon.

How have you managed to stay calm throughout quarantine?

I go for walks. I meditate. I work out. I watch television at night and sleep nine hours. One day looks like the next. But I consider myself fortunate — my home is paid for, and I don’t have to worry about food, so I am very privileged. I do a lot of work on the Zoom and spend time having meetings and doing Fire Drill Fridays [climate-change rallies].

You’re now the face of the CBD and hemp brand Uncle Bud’s too. Would you describe yourself as chill?

I don’t think anybody who knows me well would say I am a chill kind of person. I’m pretty intense. But I do spend a chunk of every day reading on the couch, which I guess is chill! Right now I’m reading Dark Money, by Jane Mayer, which I should’ve read several years ago, but I didn’t get around to it.

Does incorporating CBD into your routine help you to relax?

I’m not ever tense, really, so I don’t use it for that. [laughs] I do have a dose pen with CBD oil in it. My doctor told me to get rid of all sleeping pills and use that instead, so I’ve been doing that for years. It’s great for sleep. People have given me jars of different CBD products to use on my joints because I have osteoarthritis, but they never worked. Then I tried the oils and rub-ons from Uncle Bud’s, which really help me with sore muscles. I’m also a fan of their overnight face mask and body lotion.

Credit: Courtesy

Do you think there’s a misconception that people who use CBD are stoners?

Yes. But I think using CBD will only become more common in the wellness industry and, hopefully, the manufacturing industry. I have clothes made of hemp from China, and there’s no reason we can’t grow hemp to make clothes here. A friend of mine, an indigenous leader named Winona LaDuke, is trying to make hemp a major part of the American materials production. It was a big deal early on—many of our founding fathers used it. Henry Ford even built a car out of hemp! It ran on hemp oil too.

You’ve continued to call for climate-change action, hosting weekly virtual rallies from home. What keeps you motivated?

The cause — making sure there is a livable future. We have barely 10 years to cut our fossil-fuel emissions in half. A catastrophe is looming, and I don’t need any more inspiration to do everything I can. I follow the news carefully, but it doesn’t get me down. Instead, I get angry, and that motivates me. I think we are going to make a difference and that, ultimately, we will win. So I don’t ever leave that mindset. It’s my life.

Has the pandemic shifted or expanded your priorities as an activist?

I’m doing all I can; I’m not sure I could do anymore! [laughs] Things I’ve been aware of for a long time have become more obvious, like the terrible inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. People are realizing how many workers can barely make ends meet in the best of times and are suffering now. I’ve also been studying racism for quite a while, so I’m pleased to see people of all races, age groups, and physical abilities at protests.

What are you hopeful for in the future?

It would excite me to see our factories churning out electric cars, to see former fossil-fuel workers building a smart grid across the country, and to see former oil-pipeline workers bringing decent pipelines to places like Flint, Mich., where the ability to get clean water is so compromised. I also get excited watching my grandson grow. He’s 1 year old, and I miss hugging him. We FaceTime a lot! I have grown-up grandkids too — one is in college and the other is a senior in high school.

With everything shut down now, do you miss getting dressed up for Hollywood events?

No. I don’t care if I ever do that again. I don’t enjoy it; I never have. Last fall, I vowed that I would never buy another article of clothing, and I haven’t.

What are you most excited to do when all of this is over?

Well, there’s a lot to protest right now, so I can’t wait to be able to protest in person. And also to get arrested! [laughs]

For more on Fonda’s partnership with Uncle Bud’s, go to unclebudshemp.com.

For more stories like this, pick up the October 2020 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Sept. 18.