Kelly McGillis: 'I Have a Very Quiet, Little Normal Life, and I Love It'
09/24/2013 AT 11:30 AM EDT
"It's like starting over because I've aged. I've changed," the actress, 56, tells Smashing Interviews magazine. "I have to reintroduce myself to people, so to speak. I don't want to try to recreate what kind of career I had before."
She adds: "I don't want to do plastic surgery. I don't want to try to look younger than what I am. I really want to do character roles."
She has found several of those thanks to director Jim Mickle, who cast her in 2010's Stake Land as well as the current horror-drama hybrid We Are What We Are.
It's been a fruitful partnership, especially since McGillis – who came out as a lesbian in 2009 and entered into a civil union with partner Melanie Leis in 2010 – no longer wants to live near New York or Los Angeles, where she could get more acting work.
"I'm really happy where I live," says McGillis, who has settled in Asheville, N.C. "I really feel spiritually fed by living in the country. I tried to move closer to Philadelphia so I could get to New York easier. I lived in the suburbs, and I just did not like it, not one bit."
She adds: "I'm exceedingly happy. I have a very quiet, little normal life, and I love it."
It's quite the change from the 1980s, when roles in Witness and Top Gun made her famous. "I certainly had no anonymity left whatsoever," she says. "If I walked into a restaurant, everybody knew who I was. That was really overwhelming … I never wanted that kind of recognition. I just wanted to be able to act. That was really difficult for me. It was very scary."
"I wasn't prepared for that psychologically. I don't know how one would prepare for that. I had a tough time dealing with being a household name."