The actress made a return to series television starring in and co-exec producing The Morning Show: "It was exhilarating and terrifying. But at the same time, unbelievably rewarding"

By Julie Jordan
December 04, 2019 08:30 AM

Jennifer Aniston is proving there isn’t much she can’t conquer.

After shattering records at Netflix this summer with her Adam Sandler comedy Murder Mystery, the megastar, who turned 50 in February, marked her return to series television with Apple TV+’s The Morning Show by crashing Instagram as well.

So what has 2019 taught her about herself? “How much I’m capable of,” Aniston tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, where she and three other cover stars are celebrated as People of the Year. “The words, ‘I dare you’ or ‘No’ always make me kind of go, ‘Oh, okay. Well, let’s just see.'”

Portraying a beloved host caught up in the #MeToo movement on The Morning Show, the actress is “thrilled because the reaction to it is so incredible and there’s so much appreciation for it,” says Aniston, who also serves as co-executive producer on the drama.

For more of Aniston’s interview, check out this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.

“Doing it, I mean we were really flying by the seat of our pants. Apple itself was building a streaming service so everyone was like, we’re all in this together and this is exhilarating and terrifying. But at the same time, it was unbelievably rewarding,” she adds. “Just to be that involved. To really take on a subject that could be touchy and obviously taboo—and also necessary during this time that we’re in. I feel like I’ve got wind burn, let’s just say that.”

RELATED: Jennifer Aniston’s Incredible 2019, from Turning 50 to (Literally) Breaking Instagram

As for working with close friend Reese Witherspoon on the series, “it sort of just fell into place because she’s so damn good and there was sort of an unspoken language,” Aniston says. “We were really a good yin-yang to each other.”

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon
Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

While the Friends icon is used to being in front of the camera, she has also relished wearing a producer hat behind the scenes.

“Being a leader, being someone that people look up to for guidance, you have a lot of people to answer and take care of on many levels,” she adds. “Multi-tasking creatively and as a producer. And personal as well. It’s all very fulfilling to me.”

Looking back, Aniston says she first started to believe in herself in her 20s.

“By getting honest with myself in terms of my relationship with my family,” she recalls. “Speaking my truth to them without fear and therefore my work reflected that. And then Friends came. If there were any naysayers in my family, ‘This will never… you’ll never make a dime.’ Just watch me. Don’t threaten me that way. God knows now I’m going to make a couple of dimes.”

Despite fevered reports of a cast reunion for the hit series, Aniston insists she knows “nothing. And I will just continue with… we’re trying,” she adds. “It’s a never ending question, isn’t it? What else could make a group of six actors feel more proud. It’s bringing people joy on a daily basis.”

The actress credits her own tight-knit tribe of friends for helping her stay grounded over the years.

“My friendships keep me true and they keep me real… And vice versa,” she says. “It’s a beautiful exchange.”

Though she admits she typically doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, Aniston is already looking forward to the New Year. “I’m ready to get back to work on the show. I’m ready to see what 2020 brings me,” she says. “I’m just so excited for the unknown.”

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