It feels like we’ve been talking about it almost as long as people were waiting for this last season of Game of Thrones, but we are now on the doorstep of Big Little Lies season 2, and accordingly InStyle gave all five of the leads their own covers and Q&As with Laura Brown. She uses a similar framework for all of them — she opens with discussing what ambition means to them; she turns the conversation toward their relationships with each other — but there’s movement in between that makes them each feel individual. Here’s a bit from each, along with a link:

From Nicole Kidman’s:

“Gosh, I always align [ambition] with passion because if you’re passionate, then that’s the pull. […] I love having my artistic path, and then my other passion is my family. That’s probably all I need in my life… Other people are off doing things like having a girls’ weekend. I don’t have that because I go home. I want to be with my children and my husband [singer-songwriter Keith Urban]. I will sort of get lost in a character or whatever I’m doing, but I’m constantly working to keep that balance.

I feel compelled to point out to Nicole, even if it’s not quite what she meant, that women who take time for girls’ weekends are also fully capable of enjoying time with their children and husbands. Self-care comes in many ways, and friendships are a profoundly enriching form of family.

From Reese Witherspoon’s:

Well, I think “ambition” is a fabulous word. In my mind it has a lot to do with leadership. Right now a lot of our systems are broken, and I wish some key people were more ambitious. We need a new kind of leadership in the world. It’s time for people to step into these positions without being asked and cajoled. Women, in particular, are very thoughtful about things and never say, “Oh, me first.” But we have to start thinking that way a little bit more; otherwise, nothing will change — systems, politics, finance, education. Female leadership is often less about ego and more about resolving conflicts… It’s more about doing for the greater good and seeing what the big picture is. You think about what women accomplish every day in their families, communities, and workplaces. Those are leadership skills a lot of people don’t even recognize.

The notion of ambition in women has been something of a theme for her over the years — yonks ago, we went to the Glamour Women of the Year awards when she got one, and it was a huge peg of her speech. Side note: The infamous Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos — which makes her sound like an alien — also got one that year. IF ONLY WE’D KNOWN.

From Zoe Kravitz’s, off a question about what gets her “juices flowing, politically”:

There are people all over the world who are dying, so the most important thing to me right now is gun laws. I fear for my own life; I fear for the lives of my family and friends. And just look at New Zealand. They’ve already passed gun-reform laws. For one shooting. What are we doing? We’re choosing some old document that was written before we had semiautomatic weapons. We have to update everything, you know? And have a president who cares about that.

And here’s the goddess Laura Dern with a story about her mom that I love:

I live in a constant state of multitasking, and it’s very stressful. I have a lot to learn from women who do it with such grace, like my mom. She recently saw a talented young actress at a university play. When she went backstage and told her how good she was, the young girl said a filmmaker had sent her a script after seeing the play and wanted to meet. My mom said, “Great. I’m your manager. I’m going with you.” [When she told me this] I said, “You’re Diane Ladd. They’re going to know who you are when you get there.” She’s like, “I don’t care. I can say I’m managing a few people now. She ain’t going alone.” And I just thought, “That’s what we’re [supposed to be] doing for each other: lifting up other voices, giving women shots they haven’t had, and protecting them in the room.” It’s one thing to say, “Young actors should always protect themselves.” But here is what you never do: Don’t go to a hotel room by yourself. Make sure a casting director is always in the room. We’ve learned what we learned. Now we have to educate others.

Finally, we’ve got Shailene Woodley:

The word “ambition” has so many negative connotations for me because I feel like it can be cruel in a lot of ways. I think of people using other people. Oftentimes ambition can easily be “Get out of my way because I have a goal, and anything standing in front of me is going to be completely eradicated.” But every word has a polarity, and we can all define things differently. People always talk about ambition in terms of dreams and goals and success, but ambition can also be humble. […] I’ve always been driven. But I’ve been driven by … Listen, I have to be careful about the words I choose because it’s easy for people to call me a hippie. [laughs]

Now, onto the covers.

[Photos: InStyle]