For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series – which sees stars from a range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way – we’re posing some of the big questions to Kevin Bacon.
The actor has been in the business for more than 40 years, and while he’ll always be most loved for his role as Ren in ‘Footloose’, more recently he’s been sending himself up fronting EE’s various ad campaigns.
Following the launch of the latest in the series, we sat down with Kevin for a chat about why he considers himself to be a “vagabond”, why he will never be making a bucket list for himself, and why he considers the world of celebrity to be “99% great”…
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I do a lot of meditation and some hypnosis meditation. I have some apps that I use to help. Some are more geared towards sleep, and they are pretty effective but I like to move on to new ones, otherwise I know what is being said.
If I’m doing some hiking or running, my head switches off too.
How do you deal with negativity?
If you’re feeling negative or resentful or down on yourself or jealous of someone else, it really doesn’t do any good to beat yourself up for feeling this way, because then you’re into a double negative. So what I try to do is to say, ‘alright, a bad morning doesn’t mean a bad afternoon necessarily.’ We know that people have varying degrees of ability to do that, and sometimes it is hard.
I am very grateful that in hard times, I am able to look to my family and friends to move past it and get out the other side, but for some people that is easier said than done.
When and where are you happiest?
It’s not so much about the actual location because, while I love and adore being at home, my wife and I are also vagabonds. That’s our life – we literally have suitcases so that we are ready to go. Our children have a pretty healthy dose of that as well.
But I would say the happiest times are when our family is together, like for Thanksgiving. I love my extended family, but I also really relish the time as just the four of us too.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I think in the course of a life, when you feel overwhelmed by a moment where things are so difficult and challenging and you think you’re always going to feel that way, you have to think that they will one day pass.
I don’t know who said it to me, but it really resonated.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
I didn’t seek advice for whatever reason – from my parents, my older siblings, my agent, my mentor, other actors. I was so hellbent on doing it on my own and there was a combination of being incredibly cocky and feeling like I knew everything there was to know about everything, whether that acting, life, love.
The truth is that you should open yourself up to the wisdom of people who have been through it before – you can take it or leave it, but it’s worth hearing what they have to say.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
First off, that it’s going to be OK, and keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t react to the extent out of fear. Fear is what creates prejudice and hatred in the States and all those kinds of things. Fear is always going to eat you alive. I would always encourage myself in believe in himself and to be open to advice.
What three things are at the top of your to-do list?
I don’t really have a bucket list. I feel like the experiences I’ve had are so varied and incredible, and where this career has taken me in my life and the world is remarkable. Making one of those lists is like making New Years Resolutions and I don’t want to set myself to fail. There’s things I’d like to accomplish, but day-to-day, I just focus on chipping away at life.
What do you think happens when we die?
I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife because I’m an atheist.
When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
We are small in the sense of when you look at the universe, and nature is incredible in the way it functions, but I don’t feel I am operating in something from a higher power. I have absolutely no issue with people who do believe that, though.
What keeps you grounded?
I dunno, am I grounded? I’m just trying to go to work and get good at what I’ve chosen to do with my life.
What do you try to bring to your relationships?
I think respect and honesty.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
Nothing pops into my mind, but people are nice to me all day long. It’s one of the amazing benefits of this career that people are constantly sweet and supportive. We speak a lot about how difficult it is as a celebrity, but the truth is, it is 99% great. People say, ‘I love you’, and if you get told that, it is something I don’t take for granted.
Kevin Bacon stars in the latest EE campaign promoting the Apple Watch Series 3 with in-built cellular, which only EE customers can use to stream music on the go. ee.co.uk/applewatch