It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Jennifer Lawrence is the mayor of New York’s Greenwich Hotel. Sure, Robert De Niro owns it, but Lawrence owns it. Sitting on a corner couch, with her tiny dog, Pippi, running around the room, she is as at home as is possible when you’re an Oscar-winning movie star orbited by guests at a Manhattan hotel.
As is now legend, Lawrence is a talker. “I was thinking we should start in silence,” I say, presenting her with the challenge of a lifetime. “No!” she yelps. “That would make me want to talk more than anything. All of a sudden a million words would flood into my head.” She looks genuinely panicked.
Lawrence is in town for a few days before heading to Montreal to finish shooting X-Men: Apocalypse, out this month. She tries to be a low-key presence in New York, but the city finds her anyway. A couple of nights earlier, on Valentine’s Day, she went out for dinner in Brooklyn with her friend comic Aziz Ansari. Lawrence’s dinners—Adele! Emma Stone!—and friends—Amy Schumer! Lena Dunham!—are manna for media heaven, but this one was special order. According to breathless tabloid reports, Lawrence ate a “sandwich dipped in ketchup.” (“Um, a sandwich dipped in ketchup is a cheeseburger,” she observes.) “It was the one night I could see Aziz. For Valentine’s he got me a stuffed animal, and I got him a ‘That’s So Raven’ Valentine’s Day card.”
That, it would seem, is the extent of Lawrence’s “romantic” life at present. However, ask if she’s having a frisson with anyone and she goes pink, and is suddenly, strugglingly, silent. “There’s frisson all over my face,” she jokes. “I can’t! Anything I say about boys gets picked up.” She will admit that she doesn’t have a type. “I don’t think so because patterns are the work of the devil.” She lets out her bellowing laugh. “If I think about all of my ex-boyfriends, they are all so uncomparable.” Lawrence has been single for a while, although from her demeanor perhaps this will be short-lived. But as of now: “Sex? Someone explain to me what it is.”
Lawrence doesn’t need anything explained to her—she is at the peak of her powers. Her confidence is palpable, her conversation both bantering and impatient. You can understand why her friends are so famed, such ballers, because to be Lawrence’s friend, balls are a requirement. “I can feel people sometimes are intimidated by me, but I try to do the best I can to offset that,” she says. “There is zero reason to be intimidated by me. At all. But I also understand it.”
Lawrence’s outspokenness reached a crescendo with her essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter last year about equal pay in Hollywood. “I had no idea it was going to blow up like that,” she recalls. “And I obviously only absorbed the negative. I didn’t pay any attention to the positive feedback. My parents get really upset. They do not like me speaking out about anything political because it’s hard to see your kid take criticism. But, really, people who criticized it are people who think women should not be paid the same as men. So I don’t really care what those people think.” At the Golden Globes, host Ricky Gervais cracked, “Jennifer Lawrence … demanded equal pay for women in Hollywood, and she received overwhelming support from people everywhere. There were marches … with nurses and factory workers saying, ‘How the hell can a 25-year-old live on 52 million?’ ” The camera switched to Lawrence laughing appropriately. “I try not to be too sensitive to the ‘poor rich girl’ jokes,” she explains. “I was saying my reality is absolutely fabulous, but it is not the reality of a lot of women in America. That’s what I’m talking about.”
“There is zero reason to be intimidated by me. At all. But I also understand it.” Lawrence wrote in Lenny, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable.” That said, she doesn’t think being a pleaser equals being weak. “There’s nothing wrong with being a pleaser if you’re smart about it,” she says. “As long as you’re getting what’s fair. You know, I want my employers to be happy. I want to please anyone I’m working for as long as they pay me the appropriate amount. I’ll make them as happy as they want.”
On feminism, she argues, “I don’t know why that word is so scary to people; it shouldn’t be, because it just means equality. If we are moving forward in a society, you are feeling stronger as a woman, and you want to be taken more seriously. You don’t have to take away the wonderful traits that come with being a woman: We are sensitive. We are pleasers. We’re empathetic. All those things that can keep you from asking for what you want or making mistakes.”
Lawrence will readily admit to making a mistake or two, although her stories have more of a bawdy, good-time flavor. Everyone, you see, wants to hang out with J.Law. In what ways, though, is she a social disappointment? “Ha! That’s good.” She grins. “I don’t really stay out late. I’m kind of a bummer. I’m a nana. It’s hard to get me out, and when I do go out I don’t really stay out late. If I do stay out late and I’m partying hard, I will throw up. I don’t have the tolerance to black out; I just start puking.”
By way of a witness, she adds, “Ask Emma Stone. It was the night we saw Adele in L.A. She just started rubbing my back. She was really sweet. I was like, ‘Get out of here. It’s so gross.’ ” Add to that party compadre Woody Harrelson. “Woody cut his foot. He stayed over in one of my guest bedrooms, but that’s where I started puking. I broke a candle because I can’t just puke like a normal person—I flay my arms everywhere. And I didn’t clean it up because I’m an asshole. The next day he cut his foot open. I was like, ‘Fuck, am I going to get sued?’ And he’s like, ‘Are you going to ask if I’m okay?’ ” She demurely sips her tea. “That night got crazy.” I suggest that the next time Lawrence embraces the porcelain, Adele should be in the corner singing as a distraction. “Yeah!” She laughs. “She would be totally up for it.”
Lawrence has a technical term for such behavior: “Mis-drinking. Mixing ‘time with Woody’ [insert wink] with time at the bar.” She shakes her head. “And I’d gone so long without making a mistake.”
Even though she is a huge, megaton celebrity, Lawrence says she makes new friends easily. “Yeah, I do, which is actually surprising. There were a few years where I had to get used to everything, but now I am. I don’t have to be wary of people; it’s fine.”
A typical day for Lawrence when she’s not working entails the following: “Wake up. I take Pippi on a running hike. I’ll probably do Pilates or something. Then I’ll hang out with a friend to count down the hours of my wasteful life. Then I watch TV, and then I’ll go to bed. There’s my day.” What makes her laugh? “The Onion headlines. Get me every time. The last one that made me laugh was ‘Ugly Girl Killed.’ ”
“I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight that when you are a normal weight it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.'”
Thankfully for her survival on an Onion-ruled earth, Lawrence has become a real beauty. She has eased into a streamlined style—trousers and heels for day, and clean, feminine pieces for the red carpet. “I think I started paying attention to fashion as soon as paparazzi started happening a few years ago,” she recalls. “I was not ready. I was like, ‘What do I wear?’ I had to start paying attention. When I turned 25 it got easier because I know, ‘This is you, this is not you.’ ” The last thing Lawrence bought for herself was a “pair of earrings. I don’t have a boyfriend, so I have to do that shit on my own.”
A great aid to her fashion ascension has been Lawrence’s relationship with Dior. “I could not believe it when they signed me [to be in their campaigns],” she says. “They fly me to Paris and get me hotel rooms, and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? You don’t have to be so nice!’ ” She adds, as an aside, “I couldn’t renew my contract quickly enough.”
On the red carpet, Lawrence has been a veritable Dior show, her most successful looks being, like Lawrence herself, bold and no-frills. Like the red cutout gown she wore to the Golden Globes in January. “That was my plan-B dress,” she says. “Plan A was a dress that I couldn’t wear because awards season is synced with my menstrual cycle, and it has been for years.” The red won because “it was loose at the front. And I didn’t have to worry about sucking anything in. The other dress was really tight, and I’m not going to suck in my uterus. I don’t have to do that.”
Aesthetics are also an element of the film industry that Lawrence would like to change. “I would like us to make a new normal-body type,” she says. “Everybody says, ‘We love that there is somebody with a normal body!’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like I have a normal body.’ I do Pilates every day. I eat, but I work out a lot more than a normal person. I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight that when you are a normal weight it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.’ Which is crazy. The bare minimum, just for me, would be to up the ante.” That earthy laugh returns. “At least so I don’t feel like the fattest one.”
The May 2016 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR is available on newsstands April 19.