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Liv on French Grazia
Rock Angel

by Florence Willoert, French Grazia, April 2011. Photos by Rafael Stahelin. Scans by Sophie. Translation by Jacqueline.

Female Rock Star, muse of Givenchy, she is the queen of the mixture of genres: glam, cool, field, and green tea... A rare interview with the actress.

Simply put: Liv Tyler is beautiful. With all her smooth skin, her hair that shines and eyes that sparkle, this girl exudes natural. Besides, that day, in response to a large hotel in Paris, we learn that the selected designs for the new season of Very Irresistible Givenchy perfume she's been the face for for eight years, were originally pictures tests: Miss Tyler isn't even wearing makeup. It grows as it should, a cry of admiration. Liv rolling on the couch, laughing, burying her little head in a pillow. She welcomes compliments easily, finds herself as an ideal best friend, and is convicted of being a normal girl. Except that her genes would tend to contradict that. After the union ultra sexy singer (Steven Tyler of Aerosmith), mother (Bebe Buell, Queen groupies), and adopted at birth by one of the greatest songwriters of the 70s (Todd Rundgren, engineering its state), Miss Tyler grew up backstage of Rock royalty. Nevertheless, this lovely creature seems to be the image of balance and moderation. Her career is a quiet mix of blockbusters (Lord of the Rings, The Incredible Hulk) and pretty indie movies (Empire Records, Lonesome Jim). Her daily life is that of any single mothers at age 33. Side and privacy, there are no trace of lovers in the chain, but an ex-husband, Royston Langdon, a musician from Leeds, with whom she lived with for ten years. Liv boring? Not even. Because this girl is good in all respects as the epitome of cool in New York. Neither eccentric nor a control freak, chic yet relaxed, and hip but not too much in one word: Irresistible.

You were sublime last season in Very Irresistible by Givenchy, but there is a striking change...
Liv: Really? What?

Well, the pictures, your mischievous smile disappeared and you seem dark and furious with rock'n'roll.
Liv: In terms of style, yes, I changed. I dress a lot more rock. But mostly it's because it's a uniform: just having a nice pair of jeans, a cool T-shirt, and a nice leather jacket to look impeccably good. This avoids spending hours going crazy in front of my closet.

But beyond the look, you've always kind of preferred family life over glitter? Like Stella McCartney, you seem to belong to this generation of children of rock stars who lives tidy...
Liv: I've never been attracted by the "rock'n'roll way of life", simply because I was born into it. Having a life more or less square, maybe is my way of rebelling against myself... I know that from the outside, that kind of world is fascinating, and it was particularly at the time of my parents era in the 70s, when rock was at the center of a creative whirlwind. But I assure you that when you, like me, have actually lived on the other side of the mirror, you're somehow used to it and become immune to it.

You mean you've suffered from this unconventional childhood?
Liv: No, not really. When I was little, I was just a bit shy and introverted, because at school I saw that my parents were weird compared to other children's parents. They had a mom and a dad, the way it should be, and I, when I got home, found myself in the middle of a gang of punks covered with tattoos. At the time, I saw so many things, so many meteoric rises followed by terrible falls, so much brilliance but also madness and extremes... Every time I wanted to do something crazy in my life, I remembered what had happened to some of my parents friends, and I just said no, really, it wasn't for me... But beware, I still like to have fun sometimes!

How, for example?
Liv: Well, I go out a lot more than before. Now, when a friend calls in the evening to offer to go to a party, I'll say yes. And then I often go to concerts. Last week, I saw Salem live. This group is great! But I like to do lots, I'll also stay at home with my girlfriends for discussion sessions among girls.

So you have pyjama-parties with Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, and Stella McCartney?
Liv: It's really too funny! Everybody thinks these girls are my only friends in the world! I love them with all my heart, but in reality I never see them. (Laughter) You know, I love your hair.

Liv: I like your hair.

Not me, I love your hair.
Liv: Thank you, but I'm thinking to myself, while looking at you, that I'd love to have bangs again. But as long as it doesn't get tangled behind my ears, it's manageable.

For a girl, there's nothing worse than a hair problem! It happens to you, do you run crying out from the hairdressers?
Liv: It's very simple, I don't let anyone touch my hair, with a few exceptions of course. But for that reason, I don't take risks!

Aside from your hair, do you take a lot of risks?
Liv: The problem is that for all my decisions, I tend to spend hours weighing the pros and cons, it's a real torture. I doubt very much in general. And then I want to do well all the time, and I go through this just as much with my work, for example, the way I do the dishes! I've learned to tell myself that nobody is perfect. Sometimes I come across things like "This girl is gorgeous, she must be completely fulfilled." And then, immediately, I tell myself that these people certainly have faults, just like everyone else.

You're like this beautiful girl who's totally fulfilled, what are your faults?
Liv: There are lots of moments where I'm completely neurotic and hyper anxious. Just because it's hard becoming an adult, being a mother, building a career... But now, I can deal with this type of crisis in an hour on the phone with a girlfriend. Clearly, it's much better since I've reached my thirties. I feel freer, more relaxed, more sure of myself, and I'm less afraid of making mistakes. I force myself to listen to my instincts, and it works!

We'll see you this summer on French screens alongside Ellen Page in Super, an independent anti-hero film. So this is your comeback film, after three years of absence. Why have you kept away from the movie sets for so long?
Liv: I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Milo, my 6 year old son, especially since my split with Royston, the only thing I allowed myself to do was to work with Givenchy. It's been eight years since I worked with their house, so it's become a real family affair. Also, in this regard, I remember as a child, I always hung out around the bathroom at my grandmother's house putting my nose into her Givenchy perfume bottles! Anyways... What time is it?... Maybe it's time to have a glass of champagne, right?

You drink champagne? I thought you were more the type to drink gallons of green tea and organic fruit juice...
Liv: Well, I'm both! But I'll tell you something... It gets worse: I love beer. (Laughter.) (The press officer beckons us that the time-limit has expired...) Oh no, I wanted to talk about Riccardo Tisci and tell you how cool he is! Last night for the launch of the new Very Irresistible campaign, he gave me one of his T-shirts, I put the waders with couture collection. They were beautiful but the heels were very high, and I couldn't even bend my knees!

It's very new to you, to wear heels?
Liv: Before, I was always wearing flat shoes, but that's changing too. I'm rather tall (1.78 m) and when wearing high heels, I look huge. But that doesn't bother me anymore.

Why? You like it that you notice now?
Liv: No. But now I feel strong.

The original scans in French (click to enralge):