Drew Barrymore on Launching a Magazine, Handling Advertisers and Her Return to Acting

Kicking off Flower Press at Beautycon

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Drew Barrymore knows how to work a room. The actress was armed with copies of Flower Press, a new print magazine that she’ll be putting out semi-annually, while she walked around the Beautycon festival at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal this past Saturday. If any of the roughly 9,000 attendees saw Barrymore and wanted a selfie with the star of films like Never Been Kissed and Charlie’s Angels she was game—if you held up a copy of Flower Press.

Using the beauty-focused festival makes sense. Barrymore founded Flower Beauty, her makeup company, in 2013. And while there were roughly 70 beauty brands on-site, including Maybelline and Revlon, few have founders as famous as Barrymore. An event like Beautycon “proves the power of young women,” said Moj Mahdara, Beautycon CEO. “When they like something and when they communicate about the things they like—the average user here posts [on social media] three times while [at Beautycon] so when you think about it, this is the most powerful audience you can have today.”

Adweek caught up with Barrymore—her hands were still stained with newspaper ink, having spent the past hour handing out Flower Press—to find out why she’s getting into print media, what she’ll do with advertisers and what it’s like to get back into acting.

Adweek: So how did you get the idea to launch a print magazine?
Drew Barrymore: Luca Stoppini, the art director for Italian Vogue for 25 years, and I had a meeting. I dug up this old photo of my 12-year-old bedroom. It was always lined with magazines. I don’t get technology. I can work an iPhone but I’m an analog girl. My camera that I have here is a camera.

Having children and stepping away from a lot of creativity that I have inside and having to put that on pause was really wonderful because I was all-in with my daughters. It’s funny, you think you’ll never be the same person again but then it starts to creep back in but in an even more exciting way.

I’ve always loved working on Flower Beauty, especially having two girls, because it’s beauty, messaging, empowerment, creative and all about girls so that’s been very romantic. I wanted to step away from movies to do different things and have more time to be with my kids. Now I feel like I’m getting back to an old self that is inspired and collected globes and wrote on typewriters. I read the New York Times every day. I’m a paper girl. I can’t do a website or an online magazine. I don’t look at them and I don’t know how to navigate them.

What will Flower Press be?
I simply fail at technology so I’m going analog and I’m going paper. It’s going to be really large format. I love magazines like Egoïste and The Manipulator. I’m going to make something like that.

How will you work with brands and advertisers?
Egoïste used to accept ad dollars from companies, everyone from Chanel to Lancôme to Tiffany, and they would say that they’re going to shoot [the brand’s] the ad. What you get from marketing is people’s takes and ideas of what a brand is, and [we want] to do that in an artistic way. I think that you see such great expression and exploration [that way]. If anyone will advertise in our issue, we would like to [be the ones] to shoot your ad and create something different, respectful and cool but with a different take on things.

When will we see the first issue?
I’m hoping the first issue will come out before the end of the year. We’re going to be semi-annual—sounds like a fucking car salesman—but twice a year is what we’re thinking.

When do you get to work on the second season of your Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet?
I start it this summer. I finally went back to acting and by the grace of God I love it. I took a long break to raise my kids so going back to it was confusing and intimidating. It turned out to be one of the funnest, most liberating parts I’ve gotten to play.

There’s a lot of projectile vomiting on that show. That must’ve been pretty gross.
I remember telling the producer Victor that the soup in my mouth was pretty good. He was like, ‘I don’t think soup is supposed to be in your mouth for five hours straight,’ because it was an all day long shoot. So [what you see] is some actual and some effects enhancements. All of the vomit that you see in the room is real and it was the most disgusting smell. It was worse than vomit because [the soup] had like curdled in the vats in the trucks the night before. It was really rough but we had the best time.

I was like, ‘More vomit, more vomit, more blood.’ I was super game to play Sheila Hammond. I love her. She woke me up. She was a part of this glooming that I feel was happening inside … I’ve been doing a lot of writing, I wrote a couple of books over the last couple years—those are the mediums I really love. It’s nice to get back.

There are ads for Flower Beauty in this copy of Flower Press that you’ve been passing out here. Did you write the copy for the ads?
This was all me and my girlfriends. My girlfriends are graphic artists and copywriters. I’m a writer and a photographer. That’s me taking the picture on the cover. I was on the set of Charlie’s Angels.

We’re rebranding ourselves. Everyone thinks you have [to have] a graphics department and a boss and that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. It is about breaking the fucking box. You know, I love sunshine but if I see another image of a palm tree and a sun I’m going to freak out. How about we bring in interpretive lemons, great collaging, colors and then neon spray paint stencil? I think in advertising you’ve got to keep pushing yourself.

Will you ever get back to directing? Your debut film, Whip It, was great.
Oh my god. There might be some news about Whip It but I can’t tell you now. It’s exciting.

Directing is so all-in and it consumes you and I want to be consumed with my children but when they’re like, ‘Mom, I want to go hang out with my friends,’ I’ll be like, ‘Great, I’m going back to directing now.’