Thursday night in Naperville, international film star Cameron Diaz was looking to add to her body of work.
But Diaz’s appearance at North Central College, which was offered by Anderson’s Bookshop, wasn’t about making movies, but rather about her own body and the connections she has made with nutrition, exercise and her mind as presented in her first book, “The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body.”
Wentz Hall was packed for the 7 p.m. appearance for fans who purchased a copy of Diaz’s book before entering the auditorium. The 41-year old actress, who has appeared in more than 40 films, spoke for 15 minutes about her life’s journey to discover the connection between nutrition and health which included discussions with health experts.
“This is a science book, a how-to book, and each of us is responsible for our own bodies,” Diaz told an audience of about 600. “I wrote this book to explain to women how their bodies work and I wanted to write information that would allow women to have the body they were meant to have.”
Diaz also spoke about the writing process and said it was a challenge to sit and write and still be as active as she usually is in her job as an actress. She said she also learned about how “everything is connected” and that the body’s strongest instinct “is to survive.”
“Your body is your responsibility as well as your own health, and only you can know how to do it,” she said. “But you can’t do anything if you don’t know how it works.”
Fans who came to hear Diaz spoke of being interested in the book for the information they believe it provides as well as because Diaz has “star quality.”
“I don’t think people are buying this book and thinking if they read it and do certain things that they’ll look like she does,” said Bridget Doyle of Chicago. “I think when celebrities write books people are interested and I think her ‘star quality’ helps get the message out to women.”
Barbara Kaurin of Naperville said she bought two copies of Diaz’s book — one for herself and another for her daughter, and that she has admired the actress for a long time and the “vitality of her movies.”
“She is a person who has obviously taken care of herself, and works hard as an actress,” Kaurin said. “I heard her speak on the morning talk show ‘Good Morning America’ and I’m interested in learning more about how the body works.”
Another Naperville resident, Ann Gerding, said Diaz’s movies are among her favorites and that she wanted to read her book, which she called “a special interest book.”
“I want to learn more about eating healthy, and the fact that she talked to a number of health experts while writing this means she can be a spokesperson about some of these things,” Gerding said.
While the audience was dominated by women, Naperville resident Slobodan Blagojevic said he came Thursday night because he wanted his daughter to be more informed about a healthy living style. He also said he believed Diaz’s book “wasn’t about image, but about taking care of yourself.”
“I don’t feel there is enough information out there about how a healthy image is important,” he said. “There’s too much today about ‘photoshop’ and being skinny and making girls be a certain type. A healthy image is important, and I’m not sure there enough information out there about it.”
Diaz herself was emphatic about the book’s audience and what she hoped readers would learn.
“I care deeply that all people live a vital, thriving life,” she said.