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Oprah: You seem like you're in a great place.

Julia: Absolutely. It's peaceful, and it's a relief. I always say you can't be in a bad mood here. I don't know if it's New Mexico or just the mountains, but you can't be silly in a negative way. You can be silly in a fun, whimsical way, but the petty, trite things that make you go, "Oh, God, it's not the right size" or "Why is this happening like this?"—that kind of stuff doesn't exist so much here. Everything is kind of clear.

Oprah: On my way over, I was reading articles about where you get burritos in town, where you buy cigarettes—and it aggravated me that people here are talking about those things. Does that bother you?

Julia: I get aggravated, because I don't smoke. But I feel like there have been so many times when this environment has protected me. So I look at the stories and think, "These people were bamboozled." Somebody confused them or lied to them to get them to say whatever it is they said, which is all pretty harmless. Around here, I come and go like it's nothing. Los Angeles is such a town of show business, and I'm a terrible celebrity. I find it difficult—it's the beast that must be fed. There's this big wheel of pictures and articles that goes around, and you get pinned on it.

Oprah: Especially now, when you have another great movie coming out, Mona Lisa Smile. You have to gear up for the marketing machine. You don't like doing that?

Julia: I don't dislike it. I just don't think I'm very good at it. I like everybody being nice to everybody. And there's an element that's so unkind, so mean-spirited. It used to be more polite. I couldn't be an ingenue today, because the business has changed. I remember when you could dress for a premiere just by putting on a cute top. Now you have to be perfect and fabulous in every way, or you're ridiculed.

Oprah: And it's no longer about the premiere. It's about what you wore and who designed it.

Julia: Yes!

Oprah: I remember our first interview, back in 1989—

Julia: And I wore the most embarrassing clothes on that show. If I'm not mistaken, I had on this vest that I thought was so cute.

Oprah: It was cute then.

Julia: It was the eighties, so I even had things on my vest. Just to say you wore a vest is bad enough, but to admit there were things on it is worse.

Oprah: Since then, you've maintained yourself as a very big star—America's sweetheart. Does that label mean anything to you?

Julia: No, because it's all a projection, and projection is very changeable. Projection comes not so much from what I'm doing but from the point of view of the person perceiving me. So it's like a joining of two things, one of which I have no control over or understanding of.

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