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The Art of Being Irresistible

Esquire Mexico, August 2011. Scans by Edina, Translation by Jacqueline.

In the privacy of her favourite bar, she told us how she manages to be a model, mother and one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Sitting on a velvet chair, in the dim light of the bar, Liv Tyler appears to be a movie star, daughter of a mega rock star, a divorced mother of 33 years, and a symbol of beauty for Givenchy. She seems, rather, a pretty girl, simple and happy. The background music sounds like The Libertines and a hand brings a glass of champagne. Her voice is sweet, her face is perfect, and nothing catches more attention than her intense blue eyes , her mouth - a copy of her dad, but an improved version - that's painted red.

We're at Don Hill's bar in New York. It's a landmark and Liv's favourite, located on Greenwich Street, and she's come to talk about the latest campaign carried out with Givenchy. Tyler has always had a rock side, wearing tight, black pants and a tuxedo type jacket. Her hair is loose and she's wearing very little makeup. She seems a little shy, but when asked if the clothes are Riccardo Tisci's for Givenchy, she replied with a smile from ear to ear (literally) that yes, he's her favourite fashion designer at the moment.
"I'm obsessed with him. I thoroughly enjoyed working so closely and developing a friendship with Riccardo. He's doing something new, while still respecting the brand. I love his look, gothic and dark." she explains.

Seeing her smiling, comfortable and beautiful, it seems incredible that at some point in her life, she felt insecure,
"I was worried about my height and my weight. My midpoint is 1.78 and I wore size 10 shoes, I have big bones."

The resemblance to Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, is amazing. However, she didn't even know that he was her father. Liv grew up thinking her father was rocker Todd Rundgren, and her mother, Bebe Buell - model, muse and playmate - decided to shield her from the excesses of his biological father.
"I was born in New York, but shortly after my mother moved to Maine to live with my uncles. I actually grew up surrounded by my family from Maine to Virginia." And this woman is so sophisticated and cosmopolitan, she also enjoys outdoor sports: "I like being active, skiing, tennis, swimming."

However, her country life didn't last, since the resemblance to Tyler, whom she knew as a friend of her mother's, couldn't hide for long. After nine years, at a Rundgren concert, she finally noticed:
"I vividly remember the moment I realized." Liv questioned her mother. And she had no choice but to tell the truth. A couple of years later, the girl took Steven's name.

At age 14, in 1993, a photographer friend convinced her debut as a model. A year later, Liv appeared in the video "Crazy" by Aerosmith, with Alicia Silverstone. The short film catapulted the two and became the fantasy of thousands of men (young and old alike) in the world.

Then followed the several tapes that made Liv a superstar: Silent Fall, Heavy, Empire Records, That Thing You Do!, U Turn, Armageddon, among others. The first memory I have of her is precisely for her role as the rebellious girl in Empire Records. So I wonder if she was rebelious, like her character in the film or in her dad's video. She replied that not so much:
"As a kid I worked hard. So I probably go out more now than I did then. I spent a lot of time on movie sets, traveling or at school. Then in my twenties, I was in a relationship (with actor Joaquin Phoenix) and didn't really go out that much."

It was actually in the film Stealing Beauty (1996), by Bernardo Bertolucci, where her character had more in common with her real life: a girl who travels to Europe with the plan to lose her virginity, but once she's there, she meets her real father. During filming Liv told Time magazine:
"I tried not to think about my own situation, but after a shot, I began to mourn endlessly. I remembered the time when I learned who my father was." Perhaps it was through this connection that Liv could play a memorable role and was compared with the young Ava Gardener.

When she talks about her family life, it sounds like anyone else's:
"I have a big family that's scattered everywhere. We have meals every Sunday, although we see eachother as much as possible and I try to keep them involved in my son Milo's life."

However, I can hardly imagine that someone with that kind of physique, that her and her family have a quiet life. I then ask her how her relationship is with fame.
"When I was younger I was terrified of fame, but I had a lot of freedom growing up in New York. Before there were so many paparazzi following me, I used to come to Don Hill's all the time and then walk back to my house with my backpack and headphones. No one followed me. Now things have changed, but I decided to get used to it. I have a fantasy in which Milo and I are going to live in the country, and have an idyllic existence. But I can't do that and support my family at the same time, so I have to balance it."

In the past decade, life took many turns for Liv. She married and divorced rocker Royston Langdon, had a son with him, lived between Los Angeles and New York, and made great roles as the love interest of the Hulk, and the unforgettable elf Arwen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And all this time, Givenchy followed the young, sensual and sophisticated woman.

We finished our drinks and Liv even admits that she's a little dizzy as we get served another and talk about future projects.
"I'm always looking for good roles, something you feel a connection to. I'd love to do a musical, I often feel like I was born in the wrong film era." She continues: "I love music of many kinds. Actually I always thought I would be a singer, but for now I only do it with friends, sitting, smoking. I also enjoy concerts, seeing something happen in front of you and how people respond."

Given Liv's many talents - films ??of fantasy, action, comedy, drama - it wouldn't be surprising to see her singing and dancing in a musical at some point.

So what does the future hold?
"The truth is I feel overwhelmed, I have no time for all the things I want to do. Being a mother, working and driving home takes all the time in the world. So far I have a bit of cinema. Now I enjoy what I do with Givenchy because it's something rare for an actor, to have a working relationship for many years." For now, we'll see Liv on television, on the campaign posters for Givenchy's Very Irresistible L'Intense, and very soon, in the film The Ledge.

It's clear to me that Liv's charm will not end soon. And if we're lucky, we'll be there to witness it.

The original scans is Spanish (click to enralge):