Oscar-winners usually like to separate themselves from the big-business juggernaut that is Wal-mart. They also try to steer clear of Nazi-supporting mistresses with tattoos on their foreheads.
Sandra Bullock, the most recent Best Actress winner, hasn’t been so lucky in avoiding either.
Just days before news broke of her husband Jesse James and his cornucopia of mistresses that make Tiger Woods’s Perkin’s waitresses look like Victoria’s Secret models, Bullock made a stop at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to promote the release of “The Blind Side” and talk about her career.
As astonishing as it may seem, I was at Wal-Mart headquarters that day and was given the opportunity to speak with Bullock one-on-one.
Just one week after her Oscar win, Bullock was living a hazy, fast-paced life, one she wouldn’t trade in for anything.
“It’s literally been a blur. I’ve only been getting two to three hours of sleep a night, but that’s a good thing,” Bullock said. “I’m working a lot and going lots of places, but I’ll look back and savor it.”
Her least favorite part about the Oscars? The competition.
“All of the girls were so talented, and any one of us could have won,” Bullock said. “There is so much media fluff you can’t control. I don’t like the competition of it all.”
Bullock compared her hectic post-Oscar schedule to constantly being on a treadmill, but with excitement.
Though certainly less prestigious, Bullock appeared at a different awards show the night before the Oscars, the Razzies.
The Razzies are handed out each year to honor the worst in film, and they are one awards show that most celebrities avoid like the plague. Bullock, however, embraced the opportunity to connect with her fans, have a good time and not take things so seriously.
“What we do is performance art. You have to play ball and have a great sense of humor. Don’t take it personally, ever,” she said.
Her genuine gratefulness makes Bullock a welcomed rarity in Hollywood, and it’s exemplified even more by her desire to help others.
After the earthquake in Haiti, Bullock donated $1 million. She’s also a big force in New Orleans, somewhere she felt the need to give back to following Hurricane Katrina.
With her donations, a high school was able to renovate and repair damages, start a scholarship program and refit the band with new uniforms.
For all the good she’s done with her fame, she’s also had some bad encounters with charity scams and cautiously warns those who want to follow in her goodhearted footsteps.
“You can have a generous heart, but the money doesn’t always go where you need it to go. You need to check out where money is going,” Bullock said. “Ask for credentials and make sure they have the right heart, too.”
This giving attitude isn’t a facade to boost her public persona. Long before she was a bankable, award-winning actress, Bullock learned how to stay grounded from her parents, a lesson many in Hollywood seem to abandon after their first paycheck.
“I got into this business later on, it hasn’t been my whole life,” Bullock said. “It’s art and I’m passionate about it. I know how lucky I am. Work comes first, and everyone is equal. My parents made sure I knew that from a young age – equality, that just because you might have something you’re no better than anyone else.”
With an attitude like that, Bullock seems poised to make it through whatever is thrown at her – disgruntled mistress and all.