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Royal Flush

ELLE Canada, October 2003.

At 26, Liv Tyler has played an Elf princess, married her rocker boyfriend and was recently crowned the face of Givenchy's perfume Very Irresistible. Indeed!

Opening the door to her presidential suite in the George V Hotel in Paris, Liv Tyler exclaims, "Look! My room is something else!" At the last moment, Tyler got upgraded to her luxurious room and she admits to being so excited that she "jumped up and down on the bed like a tramp!" Tyler graciously offers a guided tour of this minipalace. The dressing room is as big as a yacht. Hanging in her closet: multicoloured caftans by Ghost, fringed '50s Prada skirts with flower patterns and masses of Mark Jacobs' technicolour ballet slippers. In the all-marble bathroom, perfectly aligned along the lip of the sink, are a neat row of Sundari creams, a tube of Nuxe Family Balm and Carmex lip balm. Tyler blushes when she catches me noticing the neatly folded pile of her miniunderpants in Day-Glo colours. Last on the tour, her private hamman, the ultimate luxury. Tour over, Tyler settles her voluptuous five-foot 10-inch frame into one of the nearby king-size sofas for the interview.

What's it like to be the face for the new Givenchy perfume Very Irresistible?

I'm so happy that Givenchy chose me for this campaign. I hesitated at first because I knew that doing the job would demand a lot of work and personal investment - the pleasure of the job surpasses all my expectations. My grandmother was an elegant woman with a sophisticated wardrobe. And my parents have an intensely personal vision of fashion. On the other hand, I'm just entering the haute-couture world. I had never even seen a runway show! It's fascinating to work for Givenchy, and frightening to walk in the footsteps of someone as extraordinary as Audrey Hepburn.

Two American actresses for the French label?

Yes, all the more so since my first gig as a model involved impersonating Audrey Hepburn in a Breakfast at Tiffany's - style yellow wrap and pearl necklace. I wonder if that shoot motivated Givenchy to choose me?

Do you wear perfume?

In general I prefer light, floral perfumes. I adore baby products. Everything depends on my mood at any given moment. If it's sunny out, I want something airy and fresh, so I gravitate toward citrus smells. If it's overcast and gloomy, I prefer musk scents. When I was 15, my best friend's mother wore Ysatis by Givenchy. I loved it from the moment I smelled it and I started wearing it too.

You and fashion: is this a relationship of passion or reason?

I'm a serial shopper. I've gotten worse since I quit smoking. I love clothes, almost insanely so. I'm a collector. I buy designer pieces that I never wear. The same goes for shoes. I have a ton of shoes, one pair more beautiful than the next, but I always end up wearing my Converse runners. My preferred styles include vintage and basics and mixing up things, like using scarves as belts. Like Cinderella, I go from jeans to formal attire in the same day. Even though comfort is my priority, I always try to be sexy, so I go for low-cut necklines.

Are you more at ease in front of a movie or photographer's camera?

Photos are better because I can count on touch-ups! Actually, I like both and I've been doing both since the age of 14. During a photo shoot, I'm so conscious of the camera that I start to act immediately. During a movie shoot, it's the opposite. I have to forget the camera completely to fall into the role as naturally as possible. At the end of the take, I always need to see the rushes to get a sense of the framing. Bernardo Bertolucci taught me to do this and it's become a habit.

Speaking of images, you seem quite comfortable with yours. Youíre far removed from the stereotype of the blond, ultra-thin Hollywood actress.

We all have a feeling of insecurity about our bodies: stomach, breasts, thighs. Clearly, I feel better being thin, but I also cannot deny my true nature. I don't like actresses who transform themselves to fit in with the physical standards that rule at any given moment. These women don't realize that they lose their appeal. A lot of people are afraid to be themselves, selves maybe because they lack confidence; maybe they suffered from a lack of love during their childhood, which is not at all my case. My weight varies with different activities: while shooting, I lose weight. Between films, I easily gain a few pounds. I'm a sensualist and like to eat. Sports control my excesses. I have energy to burn, and sports balance me physically and mentally. I like yoga, but I prefer to wear myself out with a good kick-boxing session, squats or swimming. I also love a good massage. When I'm in L.A., I go to the Beverly Hot Springs because they have the best shiatsu in town.

With a recent marriage and this new promotional contract, your image as a child-woman is changing.

Absolutely. I'm becoming a woman. This year was incredible. I just got married. We [Tyler married boyfriend Royston Langdon] bought a house in Greenwich Village, as well as a sweet King Charles puppy.

With the international success of The Lord of the Rings, does that make you feel secure?

No, I'm anxious by nature. I admire people who take life as it comes. Me, I worry about the people around me. I want to take care of everything and everyone.

You like acting, but do you like Hollywood?

I have to admit that I'm very intimidated by Hollywood. I've never lived there, just worked there. I can't blend into the scene. I feel like a round peg in a square hole. Since film is my passion, however, I adapt.

How has being beautiful helped your career?

It opens doors, no question. But you can't count on beauty forever. I saw Bernardo Bertolucci recently. He knew me when I was young and he was amazed that my mouth bad shrunk! "For a girl who built her reputation with her mouth, that beats everything!" That made me laugh. It also reminded me to keep things in perspective.


1. if you hadn't become an actress, what would you like to have been?
An orchestral conductor.

2. What's your favourite meal?
Doritos and a glass of red wine.

3. What's your favourite book?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

4. Your favourite movies?
The 400 Blows by Francois Truffaut and Three Amigos.

5. Your favourite singers?
Serge Gainsbourg (Histoire de Melody Nelson), Marilyn Monroe. U2 (All That You Can't Leave Behind) and everything by Iggy Pop.

6. Something you dream about but don't yet have?
A baby.

7. Your favourite place on the planet?
A tropical beach.

8. If you had magic powers, what would you do with them?
Rid the earth of garbage.

9. Your favourite quotation?
"Live a little," as Kate Jones says.

10. The best advice you ever received?
Robert Altman told me to "keep quiet and stop thinking."

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