When I meet Celeste Barber for the first time in the foyer of Sydney’s hip QT hotel, I’m quite obviously pregnant. She bounds out of the elevator in a black minidress and pink sneakers, pulls me in for a hug and immediately grabs my belly. “Sorry, I’m a toucher!” she laughs, and it’s impossible not to be swept up in her infectious high spirits. A lot of celebrities I’ve interviewed are quite different in person from their public profile, but not this woman. She’s as bubbly and energetic as you’d expect from the Instagram star with millions of followers and a cult social media account beloved by Hollywood.
As we settle into a quiet corner to chat away from the wide-eyed stares and gasps of, “Oh my God, it’s Celeste Barber!” I ask the parody queen how she describes herself these days. “As an actor and comedian, like I’ve always said,” she responds simply. Because it’s true that while you may have only recently stumbled across Barber’s hilarious Instagram posts when a friend tagged you in on one with Bella Hadid or Jennifer Lopez, the 36-year-old has been honing her craft for more than 15 years. Today, she’s charmingly enthusiastic about appearing on the cover of InStyle, naming it as her “favourite magazine since forever”. She’s even devoted a passage to it in her recent book, Challenge Accepted!, so I know she’s not saying it just to flatter me. “The fact that my first cover, and maybe my only cover, is InStyle makes me feel a little bit emotional about the whole thing...look at me getting teary!”
On her relationship with #HotHusband Api Robin: "We were together 10 years, got married and now we’re great and it feels like it’s all locked in," she says. "He loves [being referred to as "Hot Husband"]. Not in a smug way - he's just so excited that I'm doing what I always said I'm going to do, working and feeling really fulfilled. He loves being a part of it - he's a great little sidekick, that guy."
On having open-heart surgery: “At the risk of sounding too dramatic, I nearly died —it was f***ing ridiculous,” Barber states. “And the recovery was like nothing else—they had literally pulled at my heartstrings. The idea that my heart had been cut open…really got to me. It took months to get over, and then Mark [All Saints co-star and best mate] died. I remember that time being in recovery, feeling heartbroken and [being] literally heartbroken, [as] a big, dark couple of years.”
On working with Tom Ford: "I really stepped into my power…I had complete creative freedom and control, [and] I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not just funny and dumb, I know what I’m doing.’ I sobbed like a child when I got home that night [after the shoot]. It was so satisfying.”
For more with Celeste Barber pick-up the March issue of InStyle Australia from February 14th. Available at your favourite newsagent or purchase a digital edition by searching ‘InStyle Australia’ on the App Store or Google Play.