LOS ANGELES – If Kelly Clarkson had a fragrance, it should be called “Confidence.”
On Friday, the 37-year-old star voices a chipper, factory-rejected toy hoping to be loved by a child (just as the perfect dolls are) in the animated film “UglyDolls.” But it’s just so on brand: The superstar mom bursts out laughing when it’s noted how effusively sure-footed she is, no matter the question levied.
“I literally have this conversation with my husband and my assistant all the time. I’m like, should I be less confident? Should I worry about this?” Clarkson says. “Here’s the reason: I think once we let our ego go, (we) just get over the fact that everybody’s not going to like us – and that’s OK.
“Because there will be people who do dig it. And even if they don’t, do you? You get one life. Who the hell cares what everyone else thinks?”
In “UglyDolls,” the star voices an adorable if discarded pink doll named Moxy, who lives in a toy town called Uglyville and wakes up cheering that each day is hers for the taking.
“It just so happens that she’s very similar to me,” says Clarkson, who released a new track for the film, “Broken & Beautiful,” which appears on the soundtrack alongside artists like Blake Shelton, Janelle Monae and Nick Jonas (who also voice dolls). “That was super-easy, and I didn’t have to act, really.”
At home a few miles away, Clarkson is still in unpacking mode, having moved to Los Angeles a week ago from her farm in Tennessee with her husband, Brandon Blackstock, and their kids, River Rose, 4, and Remington, 3. (She also has two stepchildren from Blackstock’s first marriage, Seth and Savannah.)
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The truth is, traversing the country for work had become too much. “Everyone we know is still shocked,” says the Texas-born star, who plots to escape to the mountains in Colorado with her brood “on weekends if we can.”
Clarkson’s least favorite room to unpack? That would be her formal living room.
“First of all, who uses your fricking formal living room anyway? And I was spending so much damn time on it. But it’s real cute now. And my closet has been a total turd,” she sighs. “But I love decorating, honestly. So I don’t mind moving. I love a fresh start.”
Getting kids into good schools in a metropolis like L.A. can be tricky, but Clarkson quickly makes clear she didn’t partake in celebrity behavior, as seen in the recent college admissions scandal. “I will lead with we didn’t pay an exorbitant amount of money to do it,” she laughs. “We did it the right way, like all the other parents.”
Clarkson, who has released eight albums and earned three Grammy Awards since winning the first season of “American Idol” in 2002, is the kind of star who knows how to deal with fame – and how to avoid it when she wants. Take early April, when she was at Disneyland with her family. As it happens, so was fellow “Voice” coach John Legend, whose wife, Chrissy Teigen, Clarkson adores.
Though she spotted them from afar, she chose privacy over a group hang.
“Chrissy and I were texting each other,” she says. “And I was like, ‘Uh-oh, wait, I see a lot of photographers around them.’ So we didn’t go over. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, we actually saw y’all, but I was like, no thanks!’ ‘Cause I didn’t want to get caught up in all that.”
How many irons does she have in the fire? On this Sunday alone, Clarkson, who recently wrapped her 27-city Meaning of Life tour, juggled “UglyDolls” duties with a morning shoot for “The Voice.” She’s also returning as host of Wednesday’s Billboard Music Awards (NBC, 8 ET/PT), working on a new album and is readying “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” her music-infused syndicated talk show that premieres this fall.
“I just had this conversation with Blake, actually,” she says. “We had a little minute and he was like, ‘Man, you’re so busy right now.’ And I was like, ‘Honestly, though, you know me. I like to be busy.’ Even if I have off days, I’m generally organizing something or starting some project or learning a language.”