How Susan Sarandon Makes Time Count
by roberta naas
Whether it concerns her career or charitable causes, actress Susan Sarandon makes her minutes count.
Susan Sarandon, who has played many controversial roles on screen, has never been afraid to speak her mind in real life. Actress and activist in equal parts, Sarandon is known for her support of progressive political and charitable causes. She is an advocate for victims of hunger globally and has been named, among other titles, a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador. She not only vocalizes her support for global peace and justice, but also travels extensively to underscore the importance of these issues. Sarandon, who is a fan of luxury watch brand IWC because of its support and commitment to philanthropy, recently spoke to us about her charity initiatives.
How do you make time for all your philanthropic interests?
SUSAN SARANDON: I feel like I never have enough time for charity and causes, so I have to triage. I think in terms of how I can make time and where I can do the most good. If there is an emergency that is time-sensitive, something that people don’t have enough information about, and I can help by being a little flashlight and making a difference so people get the information, then I get involved. It is very rewarding.
How does time play a role in your life?
SS: I try always to be on time, but I think time is arbitrary. I would love to live a life where time was irrelevant, where I could just focus on being in the present and not look toward the future or be influenced by the past. I think we make our own time. If you see the great athletes when they are in the zone—they make time count, they are in the moment. It would be great if, as ordinary people, we could do the same thing, be in the zone, present, and make time our own like that. I was recently at Burning Man in the desert and I was inspired by the way time felt there. It gave me a great appreciation of measuring time by the sun—when it goes up and down. You become much more aware of the ebb and flow of life than when you are going by a clock, and you’re without all the media devices. If you’re very present, your time is exactly what you want it to be and you are not a slave to it. But this is hard since we are all over-scheduled and very time conscious.
Sarandon wears the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Day ($20,200). It has an eight-day power reserve displayed between eight and nine o’clock.
Why do you prefer to wear IWC, and which watch do you wear?
SS: IWC is active in conservation efforts, like supporting the Charles Darwin Foundation, and that is important to me. I really like watches; they are the perfect accessories. I especially like wearing men’s watches because they are bigger and make a statement. [Sarandon wears a large IWC Portofino watch.]
Does time get away from you when you are working?
SS: When I’m in a film, I need to not be aware of time. I have someone else that keeps track of it for me because if I was worried about time, I couldn’t do my job. Besides, when you are making films, you are doing the same thing over and over again, so your sense of reality is completely warped. You can be doing something all day long that will only be a minute and a half in a movie, so you suspend time when you are making a film.
Which have been the longest and shortest moments of your life?
SS: Giving birth is interesting. It’s one time when you are really focused. Time goes by, but it seems like one continuous minute. You are in the zone, and then suddenly you realize it has been 10 hours and you are still focusing on getting that baby out, so birthing is a very interesting time frame. On the other side, I remember the year at the Academy Awards when I mentioned the Haitians held at Guantanamo. That seemed like it was hours, and it was actually just 26 seconds. But that’s what makes time so funny, so distorted.
What made you decide to become an actress?
SS: I never studied acting, and I never wanted to be an actor, I just kind of fell into it. That’s probably what made it easier for me, because I didn’t take it that seriously. After I did it for a while and paid off all my school debts, I thought, “Well, I guess this is what I do.” I find acting curious and amusing. I love the process of working in films and TV, because it’s a very collaborative, non-gender-designated workplace, and I love that. You get to travel; you get to know people at their very best—and at their very worst. It is always surprising, like going to a different country. Every film has a different power structure, a different language, and a different destination, and when you get there you are always surprised, so it keeps you questioning and interested.
photography by PHOTOPRESS/IWC Schaffhausen/Chris Jackson (Sarandon); PHOTOPR ESS/IWC (watch)