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“I’m drawn to playing women who make their mark on the world”

Two-time Oscar nominee, Jessica Chastain, talks about hope, humility and kindness, and her new film The Zookeeper’s Wife

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain is as enthusiastic an actress today as she was 10 years ago, when she was struggling to get auditions. She’s also just as open, engaging and unjaded as ever, despite having established herself in the past five years as one of Hollywood’s top stars. She greets you with the same electric smile and self-effacing presence that has always been her trademark. Chastain will never forget how hard she worked to get this far and how, as a child, she watched as her mother struggled to put food on the table for her family.

Her story, in fact, is the kind you’d see in the fabled films of old Hollywood, as she fought to overcome numerous challenges before finding success. Born in a small town near Sonoma, in northern California, to teenage parents, her mother Jerri, a vegan chef, and her father, Michael Monasterio, a musician, separated when Chastain was young. Soon after the split, Jerri relocated to Sacramento with Jessica and her younger sister, Juliet, where she remarried and went on to have three more children with Michael Hastey, a firefighter. Notoriously tight-lipped about her past, Chastain speaks highly of her childhood, and sees their relative poverty as a positive, rather than a misfortune. ‘I think growing up in a situation where money wasn’t necessary for happiness helped me,’ says Chastain. ‘I realised, when pursuing an acting career, that it’s not something you do for money. I did it knowing I could live without it. I grew up without it.’

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The latest issue of Psychologies is now available. Featuring: Revent your career, Jessica Chastain, Mini breaks, One for the road?, Be who you're meant to be plus much more. Download your copy today!