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The globe-trotting PAULA PATTON gets meta in her new film, Baggage Claim

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … Paula Patton! With a career that has taken her around the globe, the 37-year-old L.A. native is no stranger to the skies. No, she’s not a flight attendant — though she plays one in her new movie, Baggage Claim, which is about a perennial bridesmaid looking for love. But by this point, the Precious and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol actress — and wife of singer Robin Thicke — jokes, “I’m kind of a professional air traveler. I think I’ve got it figured out.” American Way chatted with Patton about her new film and her flying must-haves.

American Way: You film all over the world. How do you pass the time on a flight?
Paula Patton: Well, first off, I read the stellar in-flight magazine! After that, I love my iPad. I didn’t get it at first, but now I do. All my books, all my scripts, all my magazines, my movies — they’re all right there. But being a mom now to a 3-year-old, I’m always tired. So when I have five hours of quiet on a plane, I’m out like a light.

AW: What can audiences expect from Baggage Claim?
PP: It’s going to make you laugh. It’s going to take you away. It’s going to show you wonderful places around the world. And before you know it, it’s over, and you’ve had the best ride and you’ll be feeling so much love in your heart.

AW: Is it true that you went to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and spent some time making documentaries?
PP: I always wanted to be an actress, even when I was a little girl. But then I saw Do the Right Thing, and I became inspired by the idea of the director as the auteur. I begged my mom to let me go to USC film school. Years later, after working as a production assistant on a number of projects and making sure that everyone’s walkie-talkie had fresh batteries, I realized I like making films but I don’t love making films, so I decided instead to focus on acting. I went back to what I loved.

AW: You write, you act, you’re a mom — is there anything you can’t do?
PP: Yes, a lot. The real truth is I’m not a great singer. I love to sing, but I’m not really gifted with a voice. I’m more like the Lucille Ball of my family, always trying to let the guys get me up on stage.