Kate Hudson is no stranger to flaunting her toned body — in her physical comedies, hoofing it in musicals like “Nine,” or on her Instagram feed, not to mention as the cofounder and spokesperson of activewear brand Fabletics. So her first gig providing the voice for the nimble ribbon-dancing panda Mei Mei in “Kung Fu Panda 3” made for an easier day’s work, but the real payoff was the cool cred it earned her with her kids.
“Especially with my older son, Ryder,” she said, “because he kind of grew up with the ‘Kung Fu Pandas.’ He was about four when the first one came out, then three years later when the second one came out, seven, and then now, he’s 12.” She paused for a second to reflect. “I can’t believe I have a 12-year-old. What?!”
More than just young motherhood (she was 24 when her eldest son, with ex-husband Chris Robinson, was born), Hudson says she’s packed a lot of living into her 36 years. “I feel like the last 12 years, it’s been like three lifetimes, which is a really great feeling,” she said. “I feel like that means I’m living slowly, like I’m taking it in.”
In her twenties, she explained, “It was a lot of [acting] work and being a mom. All of my friends were single — and I was married with a kid and working constantly.” As a thirtysomething, even with the arrival of son Bingham, now four, with ex-fiancé Matthew Bellamy, “I actually slowed it all down. I feel like I’ve been in my thirties for 15 years.”
Like most parents, Hudson enjoys talking about her kids. “They are very much brothers, but they couldn’t be more opposite people,” she said with a grin. “Ryder’s a real dreamer, imaginative, very poetic. Bing is a doer, super-independent. Ryder was like momma’s boy, and he’s still snuggly. That makes me happy.”
Even with the success of Fabletics, she’s still caught a tad off-guard when referred to in conversation as a fitwear mogul. “Fitwear mogul? Whoo!” she cheered. “I’m really passionate about talking about health and fitness, but our approach to it as a company is really about more accessibility and reality — not everybody’s going to have the time, and not everybody’s going to have the serious, athlete mentality. It’s really about setting goals and motivating yourself to feel good. And then, we get to create these looks and these styles around it, which, as a girl, it’s always very fun for me to do.”
That philosophy carries forward into Hudson’s first book, “Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body,” due out Feb. 16, in which she looks beyond fad diets and workout trends. “I just feel like, especially with women, if you can motivate people to feel empowered by getting healthier, setting an attainable goal, it becomes a domino effect. That day when you wake up and go, ‘Ooh, wow — I feel really good. I feel a little bit different, a little bit stronger,’ you just keep wanting to go.”
Next up for Hudson is the film “Deep Water,” which offered a special treat: costarring with the man who raised her, Kurt Russell. “I admire him so much as an actor,” she said, adding, “And he was a great dad too.”