The actress, activist and mom of 3 graces PEOPLE's 2019 The Beautiful Issue
She’s known for her roles in beloved hits like Alias and 13 Going on 30 — not to mention her popular Pretend Cooking Show on Instagram — but the compliment Jennifer Garner most often gets from fans just might surprise you.
“They tell me I’m prettier in person than I am on screen,” the actress, 47, tells PEOPLE good-naturedly in this week’s cover story. “You might as well see it for the compliment that they mean it to be. That happens, if I’m out and about, every day at some point. I don’t know what it is, but that is by far what I hear the most.”
Garner insists she feels “really lucky” because the fans she typically meets “tend to feel like I’m the girl they grew up next to or an old friend, and they want to continue a conversation that I didn’t know we were having,” she says, laughing.
As for the Internet, the actress never pays attention to anything about herself in the media. “Zero. Not only do I not read comments, I work very hard to not see the pictures, to not read articles or to know what’s out there at all,” she says. “And it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much. Instagram is a different story because I don’t get a lot of people being mean.”
While her Pretend Cooking Show on Instagram has become a fan fave, Garner has no intention of ever changing the format. “My mom made every meal growing up,” says the actress. “So my sisters and I have always known how to bake and do basic cooking. But I’m never really that good at it. I mean sometimes I’ll do a meal or bake something and it’s like ‘Tada!’ And then sometimes it’s not. But rarely is it pretty.”
So what’s next for the actress? With several acting projects in development, Garner is also focusing on her thriving company Once Upon a Farm, which produces organic cold-pressed baby food, and she continues to be a strong advocate and ambassador to Save the Children, which provides relief and support for kids in rural America and developing countries.
“I want to just keep doing what I’m doing,” Garner says. “I mean my bucket list is really to see in the next presidential debates—to have them talk about poor kids in America and have that be part of the conversation. I would be beside myself. If we are talking about how to make life better for kids in our country, who are struggling the most? That’d be good stuff.”
For more of our exclusive interview with Garner, pick up this week’s The Beautiful People issue on newsstands Friday and check out all of our coverage on PEOPLE.com