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Liv it up

by Ashley Heath, The Face, April 1993. Photo by Dewey Nicks.

When the papers were doing their best to get maximum column inches out of Evangelista, Turlington and Schiffer "boycotting" the New York shows last year, the surprising "new face" tipped as replacement by fashion industry bible Women's Wear Daily was Liv Tyler.

After closer inspection, the apparently daring, off-the-wall choice of a 14-year-old eighth grader with a couple of dodgy, very American magazine pictures in her portfolio started to make a lot more sense. Liv had "super" - as in star, model or burger - running through her like a stick of rock. Her father is Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith and perhaps the best lips in American rawk since Jagger got off the plane. Mum, meanwhile, is Bebe Buell, a Seventies cover-girl (Vogue, Harpers) in the days when models got on and off a lot of planes but didn't race the paparazzi through duty free. Bebe's a bit of a rock chick to boot. While Liv's childhood puppy fat was being caught on camera backstage, hanging out with dad and Axl Rose, mum was out front playing in bands (the B-Sides, the Gargoyles), having dated Todd Rundgren, New York Doll David Johannson and Elvis Costello in her time.

When the time came for Liv to take her turn in the spotlight, the previously awkward-looking schoolgirl played a blinder. "She is the ugly duckling who suddenly turned into a swan," comments one insider involved in handling her carefully orchestrated, fledging career. "Basically, she's [wait for it now] the next supermodel." Which is a shame. Because right now the last thing we want or need is another frighteningly well-paid, over-hyped model careering around the tabloids. Especially when she's as funky as Liv, who, if truth be told, is unlikely to be another "supermodel" (she's got at least three years of school to finish first), but has the potential to make some pretty fine pictures.

Arriving in Britain for her first professional visit in the week this magazine is published, expect to see Liv's face during April everywhere from the Daily Express to The Big Breakfast (Paula and Bob are old friends of mum). Just ignore the "super" nonsense. Because this is one American schoolgirl who deserves a lot better.

The original scans (click to enralge):