Dwayne Johnson: ‘If you’ve ever been hungry, then you’ll never be full’


Dwayne Johnson is on the cover of November’s Vanity Fair. The editorial is great, although when does DJ not turn in a good editorial? The first shot on the site is him in the garden at Yusuian, a tearoom in Malibu . It’s such a gorgeous shot, it lowered my blood pressure just looking at it (I couldn’t find it anywhere to post it. I only have the link.) The interview is long and DJ is, as always, open, honest and emotional about his career, family and roots. The piece is to promote Red Notice, his new Netflix film with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. But the interviewer, who’d met DJ 20 years ago during press for The Scorpion King, delved far more into his past and what made him the man he is. As a result, DJ spoke on many things he’s addressed before, but with a lot more depth. One of the things that stood out for me was when he spoke of all of his companies and projects. DJ and his mom were evicted when he was 14. It comes up a lot in the article and it’s apparent it’s a defining moment in his life. What becomes much clearer in this interview is that DJ’s hustle is not based on greed, but because of those times he lived without anything and he wants to makes sure he never goes back there again.

On rolling down his window for star-tour busses: It’s one of the joys. It’s one of the best parts of fame, you know, to make people feel good. Oh, it’s the best. I do that all the time. There was a time when no one knew who I was, nor gave a shit. I roll the windows down as a reminder. What an incredible position to be in. You got a chance to make somebody’s day.

On Vin Diesel: (We are) philosophically two different people, and we approach the business of moviemaking in two very different ways. It’s the philosophy of going into work every day. Looking at everybody as equal partners. And looking at the studio as equal partners. And looking at the crew, regardless of where you’re at, either on the call sheet or otherwise, as equal partners—with respect and with humility, and being respectful of the process and every other human being who is putting in just as much time, just as much hard work and sweat equity, if not more. And I think it’s always been important to me to always be straight up and look somebody in the eye. And if you say you’re going to do something, do it.

On his drive: I think these days there could be a tendency for people to think that things come easy. It does not. No, it’s actually quite the opposite. You know, I stay up at night, putting in the work, but also really deeply contemplating the next move, and the multiple moves, and the impact and effect that this one thing will have. If you’ve ever been hungry, then you’ll never be full.

[From Vanity Fair]

There’s a lot of contexts for each of these quotes that gives them more weight. He talks about his childhood struggles, what he and his mom went through and how being evicted and having to leave Hawaii affected him. It really made me see all his affirmations on Instagram differently. When I first read the quote in the title, I thought it was another Rockism. But fitting that comment into his larger story about when he was truly hungry, it makes so much sense. It also explains why he spoils his mother so much, because of how hard she worked when he was a kid. She also put up with his delinquency and his father’s philandering.

I’m a little tired of rehashing the whole Vin Diesel bit but the interviewer did ask DJ about it. I was interested in this quote from him on it, though, because it offered something I hadn’t heard before. If Vin was acting superior to the crew or lesser-known actors, I could see that being a real problem for DJ. I don’t think DJ is a saint by any stretch, but he does not see himself as better than anyone else who works hard. And he would have a problem with someone who did.



Photo credit: Mark Seliger/Vanity Fair and Instagram

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14 Responses to “Dwayne Johnson: ‘If you’ve ever been hungry, then you’ll never be full’”

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  1. Jezz says:

    Wow he sounds sweet and smart and really great. I had no idea!

  2. Becks1 says:

    I had no idea about his background. He’s obviously come a long way.

    I just love how genuine he is and how he seems so humble and appreciative of his success, even at this point.

  3. Southern Fried says:

    That cover photo… I’ve never thought of him as particularly handsome but mind changed! Also never knew anything about him but sounds like a great colleague. What makes me want that issue is my hero Katie Porter, love her like crazy.

  4. Yup, Me says:

    I really like Dwayne Johnson, have done for years. I love the setting of that tearoom photo, but all I can see, when I look at DJ in it, is that he needs to stretch more. My husband is about his size and is also a weightlifter and I recognize that high kneed cross legged posture.

    • Yup, Me says:

      Coming back to say – that was an excellent article. Well worth the time to read.

    • dawnchild says:

      Yes…hips are really tight! It’s amazing how flexibility is overlooked while strength training and cardio are religiously followed, and yet it is one of the key drivers of comfort, especially for aging well.

  5. SarahCS says:

    He really is delightful and I love that his life and philosophy are getting airtime, we see so much greed, narcism, consumerism, etc. that this is so refreshing. I’m not saying that he’s the only person out there like this but he’s high profile and clearly so genuine. We need to role models.

    I totally agree with what he’s saying about success. My mother and I went through some extremely rough times and while I am a long way from his level of security I can’t deny that a driving force in my life has been to avoid any chance of ending up back there and to help her live a more comfortable and secure life too. That’s why I push myself as hard as I do.

  6. Savannah says:

    He is a breath of fresh air and at the end of the day, just seems like a true professional no matter what he’s doing.

  7. TisMe says:

    I just came here to say I love the realness of the ‘organized chaos’ of the playroom. And how cute his daughter is!

  8. Myjobistoprincess says:

    This excerpt to me highlights how Vin Diesel was possibly the mean guy on set, an egocentric with more power with his little clique. There’s probably a reason why we keep seeing the Rock everywhere but not VD.

  9. Kizzy says:

    Listen poverty trauma is real, that’s why I always appreciate when he discusses it. I may never be in his financial bracket but I definitely understand what it’s like for my behavior to be driven by memories of what I didn’t have growing up.

    He’s not a saint by any means but I really do love how much he tries to make others feel good through simple human interactions. I remember meeting him at the taping of Lip Sync battle, I made some random joke and he came over to talk to me because I made him laugh. My grandmother and I were huge fans of him from his wrestling days and for years she had his playing card in her wallet (he was her celebrity crush lol). Before we ended our short chat, he told me to say hi to my grandma for him.

    My grandma freaked out when I told her and said “why did you tell him I’m your grandma, he is going to think I’m old!! “(*cough which she was lol). That was one of the last lucid interactions I had with her before she passed away a year later, it’s one of my all time favorite memories.

  10. JJ says:

    I’ve never been hungry in the sense he means, but I can totally relate to the idea. If you’ve had kids make you feel ugly then you might always tend to feel ugly not matter how much you change. If you’ve ever had a long period where you’ve been isolated or had no friends then you might always feel like your friends don’t really like you. I grew up in a house with a depressed alcoholic and in my case our house was always dirty and kids made fun of us, and now no matter how much I put into my spaces or how many times someone compliments my designs, I don’t trust them. It’s the kind of feelings I’m working on just sitting with and accepting that they might always be there and just trying to meditate to work on it…

  11. Meg says:

    This is always something i thought of drew barrymore, she always has multiple irons in the fire because she was never really a kid and able to rely on her parents for her tangible and intangible needs to be met so she doesn’t feel safe to ‘sit still’- like a trauma response