Sharon Stone Bares All: How Her Outlook On Life Has Shifted And Her Pursuit To Find A Cure For HIV/AIDS

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Sharon Stone
Godl top and skirt: Michael Kors, Shoe: Dolce & Gabbana, Ring: Kimberly MacDonald, Earring: Jacquie Aiche, Watch: Hublot

Photo Credit: Frederic Auerbach

Photography by Frederic Auerbach

Styling by Lindsey Dupuis 

Hair: Clyde Haygood •  Makeup: Jo Baker 

Shot on location at beverly hills private estate

Sharon Stone is a force to be reckoned with: bold, fearless, brilliant, challenging, determined, persistent and of course, sexy, are all traits that can be attributed to the renowned actress. She shot to fame as a universal sex symbol following her breakout role in Basic Instinct in 1992, where she stunned audiences worldwide as her vivacious character Catherine Tramell rocked the societal status quo with a revealing nude scene that secured her role in the prestigious Hollywood circle. Thereafter, Stone was considered one of the sexiest women on the planet—and for good reason. With all of this considered, “weak” or “fragile” are two characterizations that would never hold much correlation with the star. However, as she sat down with Haute Living for an exclusive cover shoot in Los Angeles, this is in fact how she revealed her more vulnerable self.

Sharon Stone has dealt with her share of adversity over the years, specifically when she faced a tragic near-death experience after suffering from a stroke and subsequent cerebral hemorrhage that lasted for nine days in 2001. Although she was able to miraculously walk out of the hospital alive, she also came out a new, changed woman.

“This experience caused me to become a more fragile individual in many ways. I’m a bit of a daffodil,” she explains. While her startling intelligence still remains, her day-to-day life and outlook on things shifted. “Because I’m clear-minded and honest, it is sometimes hard for others to get out of themselves long enough to notice that I’m actually kind of tiny and fragile,” she notes.

Never one to shy away from a challenge or opportunity, Stone explains that the hardest part of her recovery was learning to say no. “Sometimes, I have to say no to people because I can’t be everything to everyone,” she says, “which can be hard to hear.” Thus, she’s learned to prioritize what matters most to her.

“I realized that I exist for a reason,” she recalls as she looks back at this trying time in her life.

 

Sharon Stone
Dress: Ungaro, Ring: Lana Jewelry, Pinky Ring: Jacquie Aiche

Photo Credit: Frederic Auerbach

And one of those reasons is to help others. An avid philanthropist, Stone serves as the Global Campaign Chair for amfAR, the official global foundation for AIDS research. With her sister Kelly, Stone also co-founded Planet Hope, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to provide resources for the homeless and abused mothers and children, as well as reaching out to terminally ill children.

Stone recalls that some of her most profound memories over the years of working with amfAR and Planet Hope were her firsthand experiences. “The best times are those spent in the laboratories with scientists or studying with the doctors, or on the other end, in hospice care with ill mothers talking about our kids. I spent a Thanksgiving once in a hospital orphanage for HIV/AIDS babies, and I sat there holding very ill, tiny babies,” she says. Some may not have the courage to take this level of direct interaction with the scientists or the patients, but Stone has fostered a fearless attitude over the years. Rather, her persistent determination to serve this purpose keeps her committed to see the cause through.

Through amfAR and Planet Hope, remarkable progress has been made. Stone and her sister have worked with the government to change laws that allow them to refuse children being returned to homes where they were being abused. And as we are currently in a wave of life-threatening natural disasters across the globe from hurricanes to earthquakes, volcano eruptions, wildfires and more, Stone points out that it is crucial to serve families in need in light of these global devastations. “With the onset of increasing issues of natural disasters, we are needed more and more—we hope to have the funds to help the increasing amount of homeless families,” she says.

Sharon StonePhoto Credit: Frederic Auerbach

Stone’s quest to end the AIDS epidemic with amfAR has continued for more than 20 years, and she has persistently worked with everyone from scientists to the victims themselves to learn all sides of the disease. She vowed to continue with due diligence until a safe and effective AIDS vaccine is developed.

And she has kept true to her word. Stone has proven herself one of the most successful fundraisers for the foundation, traveling around the world serving as the chair for various events in destinations including Dubai, Milan, Mumbai, Sao Paolo, New York and Los Angeles, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars across the globe to fund the continuous research and development to cure AIDS. Perhaps one of the highest moments of Stone’s history with the organization was in 2013 when she was honored with the Nobel Peace Summit Award at the Nobel Peace Summit in Warsaw, Poland, for her unfaltering determination and hard work on curing AIDS—presented by none other than the Dalai Lama.

But according to Stone, there is still a long way to go before we can truly find a cure to this disease. The biggest challenge? “Malaise. The belief that somehow it will simply go away if we ignore it or condemn it or shame those with it,” Stone explains. “To pretend that somewhere, somehow, someone wrong caused this bad and supposedly shameful thing—this type of ludicrous behavior over an illness has caused millions of deaths and underfunding. Ignorance and fear is the most daunting challenge.”

Her strongest belief is not to fight, but to educate. Education, she feels, is what will bring us to our ultimate goal of finding a cure to this terrible disease. Educating others on the actual statistics of the disease, how it spreads, why people have it, how we can alleviate the symptoms and what we can do to help are all crucial messages to spread worldwide. Stone revels in the progress that the talented team has made, but points out that what she most often experiences are underfunding and overwork, which call for attention. Nevertheless, “we continue to believe in science and the brave scientists and doctors who dedicate themselves to the art of healing,” she says.

Sharon Stone
Top and underpinnings: Dolce & Gabbana, Shoe: Roger Vivier, Earring: Jacquier Aiche, Ring: Kimberly MacDonald, Watch: Hublot

Photo Credit: Frederic Auerbach

Looking forward in the next few months, Stone has the opulent St. Moritz’s Soul Charity Gala approaching in Switzerland on December 28th where she will be the guest of honor, which celebrates her philanthropic endeavors with Planet Hope. With coveted tickets running at 1’500 CHF-3.200 CHF and $293K per couple for the experience that includes a luxe 10-day stay at the Kempinski Grand Hotel, the gala is poised to be one of the highest-grossing benefits for Planet Hope. Aside from the success the high-profile event is anticipated to achieve, Stone is also thrilled to be heading to St. Moritz for another reason. What is she most looking forward to? “The snow,” she answers. “I know it sounds simple, but my kids just love the snow and skiing, and it’s so beautiful.”

This answer is telling of Stone’s character. As someone who’s lived a life surrounded by the glitz and glam of Hollywood and the spotlight that globally renowned fame such as hers draws, she genuinely prides herself on living life just like anyone else. A single mom to three growing boys, Stone shares that she “wakes up running.”

One thing she does try to maintain in her daily routine is physical activity, although she doesn’t stay strict to one sort of exercise. At 59 years old and having openly refused going under the knife, Stone has continued to defy ageism naturally and has maintained her enviable physique. Her secret? There’s really not much to it. She laughs as we discuss this. “Oh my God. I barely have time to bathe,” she says. “I use great creams and try to shave my legs when I remember. And I love to exercise and work out, which I think is the key to good health. And of course I eat healthily. . . I dance, do yoga, pilates, swim, play with my kids, ride horses, go to the beach, whatever it is going on—I like to move. I don’t do classes or anything, just whatever it is in front of me.”

As she poses sprawled across the bed flaunting her toned, long legs and taut physique in a Dolce & Gabbana lingerie set, we can safely say that whatever she’s doing is working. Some 25 years later, Stone is just as sexy and confident, radiating the same bold, intimidating energy as she did when she sat before audiences as Catherine Tramell.

And although Stone’s philanthropic side has ushered its way to the forefront to her life in recent years, we can still speculate that the star’s on-screen days are not yet past. To this day, there are still plenty of actors and actresses she hopes to collaborate with. Tom Hanks, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin are just a few that she finds particularly inspirational. “Of course, I still want to play Leo [DiCaprio’s] mom,” she quips. Wouldn’t that be an astounding duo?

For a woman who focuses so much of her life on others, it’s astonishing to think she focuses so little on herself. But she seems at ease with her current situation. Single and open to finding love once again, Stone doesn’t yet have anything to reveal on her romantic life, but she does seem to know exactly the type of partner she desires: “someone with a solid sense of self, a person defined by their core values,” she shares. However, she seems in no rush to find this special someone. “I’m pretty happy with the day I’m in,” she says. “I suppose it’s best to say now that I simply follow my heart …. I enjoy life and believe that it is rich, and there is wonder in each and every day.” •

Sharon Stonw
Dress: Ungaro, Shoes: Chiara Ferragni, Jewelry: Personal

Photo Credit: Frederic Auerbach

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