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Liv on the cover of French ELLE
Joyful Liv

by Lauren Bastide, French ELLE, July 2008, Photographs by Matt Jones, Translation by Anna

Disarming spontaneous, exuberant, energetic, happy, a real pro, Liv Tyler is the star of Absolutely Irresistible as the new perfume from Givenchy that she represents.

As soon as Liv Tyler appears on the hotel's beach at Touessrok, on the Isle Maurice, the assembly of people can't restrain themselves: "Cute!" "Sweet!" "Lovely!" Barefoot, without makeup, glossy hair twisted over her shoulders, she looks amazing in a flowered Dries van Noten dress that's trailing in the white sand. She laughs, confesses she's "very honored" to be here for the launching of Givenchy's Absolutely Irresistible perfume, and shakes everyone's hand while making a little curtsey.

Liv Tyler is exactly how you imagine her, a tall girl who is direct, fresh and spontaneous. And yet, says Isabelle Gex, the general marketing director for Givenchy's makeup line, who chose her to be the face of the brand: "If you knew how she hesitated! She tried 30 different hairstyles, then different shoes, and then finally, it all came together." And there, with that, the mystery of Liv Tyler resumes. Is it possible this amazing naturalness is the product of a lot self-doubt?

In her defence, it can't be easy to the daughter of two rockstars – Steven Tyler, the emblematic leader of Aerosmith and her natural father, and Todd Rundgren, the '70s rockstar who raised her. Not to mention a mother like Bebe Buell, top model and muse of rock's golden age, girlfriend of Mick Jagger and Elvis Costello, who educated her daughter behind the scenes at concerts. And then discovering at age eleven that Todd Rundgren was not in fact her biological father. And forget having been at the centre of a media frenzy since her adolescence and her first appearance in an Aerosmith video.

The pressure hasn't decreased since she's become a Hollywood name. She became a Boho star with her urban, eco-chic life: Ugg boots and a clutch filled with high-tech gadgets. Not a day passes without the paparazzi lying in wait outside the door of her house in New York's Greenwich Village hoping for a snap of her, now with her 3-year-old son Milo, instead of with her husband, Royston Langdon, singer of the group Spacehog, from whom she is separating.

How can she not be anxious, since she is forever being thrown to the wolves in magazines worldwide? Two days later when she turns up at a large villa by the sea for the "Elle" photoshoot, she's gloomy. She's wearing a short knit dress that shows off her slender legs and Havianas that emphasize her perfectly manicured toes. The night before paparazzi had taken her by surprise during a morning stroll on the beach.
"There are pictures all over the web," she grouses.

Her good humour returns when she discovers the immaculate beach and swaying palms by the turquoise sea. Then, pointing to the Mauritian fishermen tending their lines a few metres away she jokes:
"I bet those guys have cameras planted on their fishing rods!" She's establishing a mental truce between jokes and paranoia about the photographers. She reviews the maxi dresses, transparent blouses and two-piece bathing suits that have been chosen for the shoot. "It's all me!" she declares, clapping her hands like a little girl, and eliciting a sigh of relief from the stylist. Liv has a reputation for being difficult during fittings. "I'm crazy about clothes, but for daily life I'm always wearing Uggs and plaid shirts. I don't recognize myself in magazine editorials," she admits. Liv concentrates on her makeup and hair, placing them under great scrutiny. Although in the expert hands of Nicolas Degennes, the artistic director of Givenchy makeup, she pays attention to every ounce of color applied to her skin. "I have makeup in my blood. My grandmother gave me a love of beauty products. I've moisturized my skin religiously every night since I was eleven. And one of my favorite things is to give masks to my friends!"

A sprinkle of bronzer, and Liv's makeup is au naturel, as she prefers. Now she can relax a bit. She tries to describe her New York paradise.
"I'm lucky. I have a huge house. I was twenty-three when I bought it. Maybe that's a bit young," she sighs, suddenly thoughtful. "But I've been working since I was thirteen! I really wanted to have a husband, a house, a baby." She proudly tells us that Milo is taking his first music and art classes. "I miss him. I like to go on vacation with him, make sandcastles, dance on the beach, run around. My ideal vacation spot? Somewhere where there are no telephones, computers or cameras." All of a sudden Albinoni's "L'Adagio" starts coming out of the speakers of her iPod, which is sitting on the dressing tale. "I love this song," she exclaims as she moves into the villa's garden to start the photo shoot.

Gone, slightly sulky Liv the diva. Arrived, Liv the wave of freshness. She's sensual in a Bardot-esque hairstyle, ing�nue as she swings in the hammock like a kid, playful as she grabs a hat and laughs, and a truly fun person as she starts to sing a Missy Elliot song whilst dancing some hip-hop steps. In short, Liv is grace incarnate. At mid-day, the photoshoot team gets on a boat to continue the shoot on the islet of Mang�nie. Liv goes to the prow, her white dress flying, the sun kissing her face and a rainbow in the distance. Conscious of the splendour of the moment and the galnces her way, she begins to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," her voice crystalline. It's a winner -- the photographer starts shooting madly.

The day comes to an end by the shore. Once again, Liv dances between kid-like innocence (
"Wait! I want to collect some seashells!") and impeccable professionalism. She finishes by taking a dive into the ocean in her Dolce & Gabbana dress when the entire photoshoot team, grumbling about the sea breeze, has already put on sweaters. The photographer is thrilled.

Suddenly the weather changes. (It's monsoon season). The hotel staff appears with umbrellas and move towards Liv. She gently moves aside and starts to run under the torrential downpour.
"It reminds me of my childhood in Maine, when we'd spend the day at the beach and be surprised by a storm," she says, panting. She spent eight hours posing, changed outfits twenty times, had her hair re-done four times, took a freezing dip in the ocean, and yet, there she runs, beaming, free, her hair dripping water on her shoulders. Lovely. You have to admit it. Being irresistible is a job.

What movies!
Whether a sublime, romantic elf in Lord of the Rings, sensual Lolita in Stealing Beauty by Bertolucci, or a sexy nurse in Lonesome Jim, Liv Tyler frequently plays girl-woman roles that are both determined and fragile. Acting since age seventeen, she has played in both blockbusters and independents. She plays the cellular biologist Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk, the girlfriend of the green superhero.

She accepted the role without having read the script.
"Playing opposite Ed Norton was always a dream of mine. After Louis Letterier, the movie's director -- called me, I took the first plane to LA." To play the role, she immersed herself in '70s comic books, and repeatedly watched the TV show, which she had been a fan of as a child. "It was a ritual with my mom." Liv Tyler remembers having grown up in an off-beat cultural framework, more Pee-Wee than Donald Duck. Her favorite childhood films? Frankenstein, Nosferatu, and above all, The Fly, which she watched for the first time when she was nine.

She admires Meryl Streep, Gena Rowlands and Cher. While she admits to having only one superhero at the moment, her son, Milo, she does have one great dream: to act in a musical. A childlike grin lights up her face as she thinks of singing and tap dancing.

Her Beauty Checklist
  • A large glass of water with lemon every day after getting up. And lots of kisses from my son and my dog.
  • Careful face-washing in the bath, and then exfoliation twice a week. Plus a hydrating cream that I doctor with drops of Vitamin-C.
  • Every night I wash my face with a cleansing milk and wipe it off using a sponge dipped in hot water.
  • I hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more!
  • I sometimes take a hot bath with eucalyptus, lavender and rose oils.
  • I'm bad about finishing bottles of water, so I compensate by drinking green tea with mint.
  • I always make sure that products weren't tested on animals.
  • For my hair, I use the conditioner from Terax and finish with a spray of cold water.
  • Every time I go by duty free I buy huge jars of Cr�me de Mer.
  • I never go out without my perfume: Very Irresistible by Givenchy.
  • My makeup kit is always composed only of Givenchy products. I chose the lengthening mascara in black, Eye Fly. I find it more natural. The pink lipstick Candy Shine Rouge Interdit, it looks "healthy." And for my cheeks, I love the petal-like effect of Blush Prisim Again! in Impertient Rose.
  • My little pleasures are: the soap and cleaning milk from L'Occitane, the Baume des Familles from Nuxe and L'Eau de Beaut� from Caudalie.

    Her Ideal Suitcase

  • Blue or red check shirts from Steve Allen
  • Dark blue skinny jeans from Seven
  • Floral lingerie from Stella McCartney
  • Knit-dress from Zadig & Voltaire
  • Black satin ballet flats from Lanvin
  • Dark blue Converses
  • Gladiator sandals from Balenciaga
  • Bag from Mulberry
  • Silk pyjamas
  • Cashmere cardigan
  • Underwear from Huit
  • Lots of brightly-colored two-piece bathing suits
  • Lots and lots of sundresses
  • And, for Milo, she favours LAMB, Gwen Stefani's line

    Liv's Vacation Diet

  • My summer cocktail: fresh pear juice, a dash of vodka and lime. Yummy!
  • My energizing breakfast: fresh smoothie with mangoes, blueberries and coco nut oil. I make tons of it, and then share with my son, Milo.
  • My magic detox: over the course of three days I don't eat anything except for soup and fresh fruit juice, and I take a detoxifying bath every night.
  • My weight-loss trick: when I need to lose weight quickly, I follow the advise of my coach David Kirsch for two weeks. The results are unbelievable, but you really have to be motivated!

    The original scans in French (click to enralge):