10 minutes with Hollywood royalty Cate Blanchett

Here’s what we learned about the willowy actress during our quick touch-and-go session with Cate Blanchett – on her birthday

Cate Blanchett at a roundtable interview in Singapore

Video: Tay Yixuan

On a short layover to Singapore en route to the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, which opened yesterday, actress Cate Blanchett added a bit of Hollywood star power to the Singapore Fashion Week with a brief appearance at the SK-II press conference in Mandarin Orchard.  
Stepping out in a sleek tailored white suit that showed off her lanky frame, Cate sported a dewy, radiant glow which we suspect to be the work of a facial mask that she casually slapped on in the plane before she landed in Singapore – something she confessed to doing all the time, while 10,000 feet up in the air. “I used to wait for the lights to go out but now I don’t care,” she chuckled.

Apart from sharing beauty secrets and extolling the wonders of her skincare regime, Cate also briefly talked about her new lesbian film project Carol, which took “a long time in the making” (15 years to be exact, after “money fell” and a series of directors dropped out from it) and will open in Cannes this week.

At one point, she almost thought the film was “never going to get made” but then it all changed when director Todd Haynes took on the project and asked if she was still interested in being a part of it. A self-professed great fan of the Patricia Highsmith’s stories (Carol is based on her novel “The Price of Salt”), Cate also previously worked with Todd in a film about Bob Dylan (I’m Not There) and, of course, she said yes.

Explaining the impetus behind her decision, Cate quipped, “In the end you can get the best screenplay in the world, but it’s very very much – particularly, in film—about who’s looking down in the lens at you.”

Despite being a multiple award-winning actress, Cate, who coincidentally turned 46 yesterday, was personable and charming in the flesh.

Cate Blanchett at SK-II's launch of the new Miracle Essences

Every once in a while, she’d humour the press with little anecdotes about her private life, such as that one time her husband paid her a compliment for her improved skin texture. “When your husband notices the difference, you know ‘oh, it’s working!’ My husband noticed and he thought it was softer!”

Cate also gave insight to her struggles to find balance (or imbalance, in her words) between her roles as a mum and actress, and briefly spoke on the topic of sexism in the Hollywood industry.

Not one to sugarcoat her words, Cate pointedly said that questions about finding balance between work and family life are usually – more often than not – directed at mothers far more than fathers. In fact, she added, “They’ll never get asked the questions. And yes, there’s some guilt involved and the more you’re asked, the more you feel like you’re failing in both arenas.”

Fortunately for Cate, both she and her husband thrive on chaos and share a healthy partnership, which in turn helps ensure that things go well at home. “There’s always imbalance and I think once you accept that, it’s much easier to do,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone manages a balance between work and family life.”

So now that she’s in her mid-40s. what is her approach to aging?

Appearing mildly affronted by – in her books –another gender-skewed question that she says may never be posed to a 45-year-old man (because he’s more likely to be asked “how do you feel about playing this role at 45,” she said), Cate eventually replied: “I’m not particularly religious but there’s a serenity prayer that says to have the wisdom and courage to change the things you can and accept the things you can’t… and that’s probably a good attitude to have (to aging).”

WATCH: If Cate had to give her daughter a piece of advice. What would it be? 

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