Sandra Bullock's Essentials

If you had to pick 12 things you could take to a desert island, what would you choose? We challenged Hollywood's favorite girl-next-door to name life's essentials.

1. My Sister

My sister, Gesine, is five years younger than me. She runs my company. She's my arms, my ears. She's my light. We have a unique and amazing relationship; we've survived enough stuff that I just think, Wow. Of course, when we were little, I apparently tried to kill her -- several times! I remember abusing her a bit, but I really didn't understand her, because she was just a demure, sweet, smart little girl who was well-behaved. And I, of course, was none of the above. I was the wild child. We became close as she got older and stopped being such a narc. We would get in fights, and she would tell me, "Don't be so condescending." And she was looking up at me! Once she got to the end of high school, we just grew closer. When something goes wrong or right, she's the first person I call.

2. A Photo of Me and My Mom at the Beach

The picture I treasure most was taken in Alligator Point, FL. I'm about two, and my mother is wearing a pink and white checkered bikini and these black and white checkered Jackie O. sunglasses. My mom was such a hottie. She's got the white frosted lipstick, and she just looks amazing. I'm looking at the camera like, What is this? It used to drive me crazy as a kid: I wanted her to be preppy, to be conservative, and she would have none of it. In my eyes, she was too sexy to be a mother.

But this photo captures her so well, and she's so relaxed. I love that her hair is in curlers! Not those big pink ones, but the clips that gave you that sort of flowy, '70s hair. I think they made her more beautiful.

3. My CD Player, Because Music Is Everything

My parents are musicians, and my mom always wanted us to be involved with some form of music or movement. We could switch around and pick and choose, and believe me, I did. I once switched from piano and said, "I am going to play the cello!" That lasted a month.

But music is probably still the biggest part of my life. To me, it's the most brilliant of the arts, the force that is the most influential in all cultures. You feel music.

As a child, I loved Motown, soul, and R&B. It has to have that funk flavor. I can appreciate all kinds, but I think I am really lyric-oriented. It drives me crazy when I buy a CD and there are no lyrics inside! It's like, "What do you think -- people don't listen to the words anymore?" Music is the only thing that heals or fixes, and it's the only thing that allows you to remember things. You can listen to an old song, like "Brick House," and you say, "Oh, God, I know exactly where I was when I first heard that song." Certain songs remind you of who you loved at that time. It's like a drug. And it's the best drug.

4. La Perla Thongs

I think the thong is the greatest invention. The day the thong was invented, sunshine broke through the clouds. Look, I love the all-cotton grannies. They're great. But you can wear them with only so many things, because they cut your butt cheeks into four pieces and you go, "Oh my God, everyone is seeing my panty lines." Everyone is so hypersensitive to visible panty lines! It's weird. There's a scene in a movie I'm doing where I wake up in bed, and all I have on is a thong and a T-shirt, and another character says, "I don't understand how you can wear those strings up your ass crack!" But the thong has to be cut right. Now there's the band kind, which is very cutting and uncomfortable, but the key there is in the material, the quality. La Perla is for special occasions. I mean, you don't want to wear that all the time, because you want to feel special when you put it on. And if a man buys you La Perla? That's pretty sexy.

5. Haagen-Dazs

Vanilla chocolate chip and dark chocolate peanut butter are my favorites, but you cannot mix them. You have to have a little bite of this and then a little bite of that. It's the ultimate. A friend of mine and I were at a flea market a couple of weeks ago in New York, and it was freezing. But weather has no impact on my love for the cream. I was like, "I must have Haagen-Dazs now." It's like cocaine. We called information to get the address of the closest store, and it was no longer there! So we went to the next location. Not there. I was frothing at the mouth. Finally, we found one. Heaven!

6. My Diamond Ring

It's a ring I was going to buy for myself -- I don't wait for people to buy me things. If I love it, I buy it and wrap it and go, "Oh, for me?" And then I unwrap it. "I love it!" I'll say. This ring is a little band of diamonds all the way around. I fell in love with it, then forgot about it, and months later, there it was. Someone had given it to me "just because." I was so moved, because I love remembering what people want, and then buying it and putting it in a gift closet and waiting. But it's always a surprise when you get it. I am not going to tell who got it for me. Let's just say it was somebody who has superb taste -- because it was my taste!

7. My Childhood Relics

The first toy in my crib was this clown that now looks like Satan's clown: The eyes are falling off, and he's this burnt-tobacco color. At some point, he was white. He's in a red and white polka-dot outfit, and his eyes are crossed, and he looks sick. I am a big lover of toys. I love the idea of being able to say, "This is me from when I lived in Germany, this is Mommy when she was dating and writing bad poetry..." All of those little things that show who the person was at the time, it's humanizing. I'm attached to them because they're mine, and because they remind me that I was once a little person, which I still find shocking. I still have a little bunny I had when I was about four, and it's got one ear left and the stuffing coming
out of the top.

I was also a great artist at four. I had a smock and an easel, and my mother framed my pictures. There's one I call "Elephant in a Fire." It's basically a big smear of red and a smear of black, with a gray blob in it. She put it in a gilded frame and hung it on a wall. People come into the house and ask, "Who did that? It's beautiful!" And on the back it says, "Sandra. Age 4." If the acting thing doesn't work out, I can always go back to my art!

8. Cheap Men's Cologne

I think I love this because of my dad; he used to wear Old Spice and Brut. Any boyfriend who wears something like it drives me crazy! I could be totally unattracted to a guy, but the minute I get a whiff, I don't know ... it's like, "I'm following around somebody who's wearing Aqua Velva!"

9. Fast Food

My favorite birthday meal was when a friend took me to the drive-through at KFC, and we ate it all in the car -- the extra crispy, the biscuits, the gravy. Then we hit the drive-through at Dairy Queen and got the big dip. By the end, we were about to vomit. But going down, it was the best meal I've ever had. If only I'd had a Heineken!

10. Bubble Baths

Baths, baths, baths! Whether I feel safe, sad or want to relax, it's all about the tub for me. Sometimes I get music and candles, too, and it's like, "aaah," but it's the act of getting in that's so comforting to me. If I start the day with a hot bath, not much can go wrong. Those first seven minutes fix everything. And if you have a tub big enough for two ...

11. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The main character, Howard Roark, being safe and strong enough to be the outsider, to be the lone voice, is such a great metaphor for what, in one way, the [movie] business promotes and looks for, and in another way, doesn't allow. When somebody breaks out and completely shatters the mold, it's inspiring. It's scary to set off by yourself like that. But there are so many great books that I have yet to tap into. I think it's so unfortunate that they force you to read all the classics when you're a kid. I couldn't have cared less about Moby Dick when I had to read it. All I could think was, Look at the size of that book! These books are written by people who have experienced life, which, at that age, you have not yet experienced. Honestly? I think there should be required reading for adults.

12. The Letter I Got the Day My Mom Died

My mom had been sick, and the friend who sent the letter obviously didn't know yet that she had died. It's just one of the sweetest notes, an inspiring observation. It's someone saying, "I love how brave you can be sometimes." I've never thought of myself as brave. I always think of myself as a big chicken, because so much scares me, but I'll face my fears just to say, "You're not going to beat me." The note is in my wallet. And when I'm thinking I am a big chickenshit, I see it and think, No, I am brave. The note reminds me that life is ups and downs, but I get something out of all of it.

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