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Really beautiful

By Sonja Niemann, German Brigitte, July 2009, Photos by James White, Translation by M L

She's always made up, but she can hardly pretty up other people. A shame, Liv Tyler thinks. She would have a made a first-class makeup artist, she says. On the other hand, she's useless as a celeb.

Brigitte: You've said your dream would be to open a spa where you could offer highly personal facials. That was a joke, wasn't it?
Liv: Absolutely not. I'm often asked what I'd like to do beside acting and modeling, and that is my answer. Simply to have a place where women can come together, do a little sport, let themselves be pampered and prettied up. I was something of a tomboy when I was a child, always with scratched knees - really not a "girly girl." But my mother and my grandmother were very feminine. And I used to love watching them go about their beauty routine in front of the mirror. So when I was twelve, I've got a whole lot of beauty tricks in store, some of which I've shown to my girlfriends. And I still like that. When my best friend Victoria comes to visit and goes "Oh, my skin!" I put her in the bathroom, make her a facial and even press her pimples myself...

Brigitte: Really?
Liv: ...I take care of her whole face. I don't know why, but it seems to help.

Brigitte: But mostly you're the one whose face is really being taken care of, since you're the face of Givenchy Make-up and Fragrances. What kind of relationship do you have with the man who always does your make-up? It becomes a truly intimate act, when someone comes so close to you.
Liv: Yes, it's true, it's very intimate. I've been working with Nicolas Degennes, Givenchy's make-up artist, for seven years now. Although I only meet him four or five times a year. He's very friendly and he can have a lot of empathy with women. I think that's an amazing quality in a man. There's nothing superficial about beauty for him. You can see he loves women - real women too, not just models.

Brigitte: It's been said that you like to swap beauty tricks with your father. What kind of tricks does Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler have in store?
Liv: I've once said that my father and I did facials together. Ever since, journalists keep asking me about it, because they'd like me to talk about my father. But of course I've learned everything about beauty from my mother. Though my father really takes care of his skin. He looks good, don't you think ? And that is, without ever having something done.

Brigitte: It's not just that your father is a rockstar, you too can sing very well. But except for a short passage in Jersey Girl, you don't sing. Many much less talented fellow actresses have recorded albums. Why not you?
Liv: I've just recorded a duet with my friend Evan Dando...

Brigitte: ...the singer in American indie band the Lemonheads.
Liv: Yes. We were in a film together, Heavy, when I was 16. He's been one of my best of friends since then. He was recording an covers album (Varshons, out in June) and he asked Kate Moss and me whether we'd like to record a duet with him. So I sing a Leonard Cohen cover with him on the CD. I really enjoyed doing it. But recording a full album? I don't know. I really like acting. What I would love best of all would be to do a musical, a film in which I could dance and sing.

Brigitte: You began modeling when you were 14 but went on to act very quickly afterwards. Film critics weren't very nice to you in the beginning. Do you sometimes have the feeling that beauty can also be a burden?
Liv: I've never really found myself beautiful. I was a teenager when I began working. The only thing I felt at the time was uncertainty, because I was so tall. Even when I was 11 or 12, I was almost as tall as I am now (ie 1.78 meters.) The boys in my class only reached as high as my breasts, and I surely wasn't to their taste. I felt very self-conscious and I wished I was smaller, more like other women. As I grew up, I learned to accept it, I even enjoyed wearing high heels. But I've never gotten rid of that little complex. I always feel most beautiful when I'm in a group and don't really stand out. But your question was about acting. I never get told: you're too good-looking to play this role. Maybe they'll say: you don't have the right look. But it's not a big deal, I'll never let something like that discourage me.

Brigitte: You've played in very different films. There were blockbusters, like Hulk, Armageddon, The Lord of the Rings but also smaller, small-budget films in between. How do you choose your roles? Do you have a strategy?
Liv: No. I have no fixed plan. I know some girls are very good at this, for instance often playing in rom coms so it becomes their hallmark. But that doesn't work for me. I have to say I don't live in California among film stars, I only mingle with musicians. Musicians record an album, they're much focused, then they go on tour, then they go home and stay there for a year or two. Actors on the other hand always have to be 'there', to be on the red carpet, to be present. That doesn't suit me. When I'm on a project I work very hard, but when it's over, I want to take a break and lead a normal life and just be a mother. I'm a "crap celebrity" as it was, really useless as a celeb.

Brigitte: One more question about beauty. You were never scrawny, you always were a little bit curvy, which we found great. That is, you'd eat cheeseburgers, and you wouldn't care too much about sport. And then you went through this really tough diet and sport program with famous personal trainer David Kirsch.
Liv: There was a time in my life, when I was married, I had a baby, I had founded a family, and I didn't necessarily want to focus on my body. But now that I'm a little bit older, I really enjoy being fit again, and I really enjoy eating too! though I must say it's almost never cheeseburgers. I like running, swimming, riding a bike. And I have a son! Each morning, while I make breakfast in the kitchen, he comes on his tiny bicycle and goes around me, trying to make me ride it too. Have you ever tried doing that on such a tiny thing? That's the hardest training in the world!

The original scans in German (click to enralge):