My earliest memory is my mother’s voice telling me that we were going to an outdoor swimming-pool near where we lived which was like a kind of paradise to me. I guess no childhood is without inner turmoil sometimes, but mine was more or less happy.
It’s a struggle for me to stay tidy, to keep things in order. I really admire people who don’t need to live surrounded by lots of stuff. My bedroom is piled up with clothes and books, papers and photographs. I like to collect things, anything I can grab from wherever I’m travelling. I think it’s the sign of slight anxiety to always want something around you to represent a good moment you had, to hang on to the leftovers. But then they’re a pleasure to look at too, so it’s not all negative.
I don’t feel old and asking women about ageing is very negative. It doesn’t concern me; it’s other people’s problem, not mine.
I cry very easily. I may have cried last night or this morning. I cried when I read about the woman throwing her baby out of the window in the Grenfell Tower fire. I felt horrified, angry at the complete injustice.
I am claustrophobic. It’s my big phobia, a fear I’ve always had for as long as I can remember. I avoid the Paris Metro and just the idea of the London Underground is impossible for me. Sometimes I am scared to go out in the street but when I do get out there, I feel fine. The world scares me right now, but I have to fight that and find more confidence.
You can’t go against someone’s passion and will. I’ve always supported my daughter [Lolita Chammah] going into acting in the same way my mother was a great support to me. She was the first to make me apply for a theatre course when I was still at school. My parents always encouraged me and I never felt restrained.
I’m naive enough to stay optimistic. There are lots of reasons to be pessimistic but we must resist. If you lose all hope in human nature, you might as well kill yourself right away.
Impatience is a weakness of mine; maybe it’s a fear of always running out of time. I can get cross very easily when things don’t happen quickly enough.
From the very beginning I thought acting was about stating your differences, not trying to resemble someone else.
I love being alone. When you are younger there is more reason to feel depressed; you resent loneliness more than you do later on. When it’s a choice and you’re not lonely, it feels like a gift.
I like to be either horizontal or vertical. I am far too lazy to exercise. I hear yoga is good and I may try it one day but I prefer to sleep.
Elle starring Isabelle Huppert is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10 July
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