#AskHerMore is crucial on the red carpet, where incredibly talented actresses are too often asked only about their gowns, their hair, their mani-cam-ready nails. But how about during New York Fashion Week, where clothes-and shoes, and glitter tears-are the whole point?
We did a test run last night with Liv Tyler, the actress who parlayed her Belstaff "brand ambassador" gig into a behind-the-scenes job producing its video campaigns.
Now 38-year-old Tyler is producing her first feature film-Wildling, with Sundance breakout Bel Powley-while expecting a third child, astonishing viewers on The Leftovers, and zooming between New York and London. Oh, and she's still a model for Belstaff, because: multitasking/heroics/caffeine.
We spoke with Tyler about being David Beckham's boss, using Kate Moss's makeup, and the hardest part about being a '90s Bongo Jeans model. (Why ask her more when you can ask her everything?)
You're a very experienced actress, but you asked Belstaff to go behind the camera for this project. Now you've produced two of its films, plus a feature film. Why become a producer, on top of all your success? Because I wanted to put all my experience from the years I've been working into a job I never knew I could do. I wanted that challenge. I don't want to say I was bored, but I was ready for more in my work life.
How was the transition? It was actually so fun! I didn't realize how much knowledge I already had from being on-set for so long. And it turns out I loved being behind the camera, because there was a lot of self discovery—certain parts of myself I didn't know I had.
Like what? Like learning how to articulate, clearly but also very openly, that I wanted something to change on-set. A lot of times when I'm reading a script, I'll have ideas about things. But as an actress, I don't usually have the courage to go [to the director] and ask to change the scene, or rewrite the lines. I might just do a take one way where I sub in my idea, by "accident." Like, "Oh, I was just trying something!" But now, I have the courage to say, "Can we work on this together and see if something can change that helps us both?"
What's your advice for women who want to speak up more at work, especially in a collaborative setting, but they feel stuck? Framing it like that—like it's not a suggestion for just you, it's something that can make both people's jobs easier and better—that's an easy way to ask for things to change. And also knowing that sometimes, your suggestions will make the end product better, and it'll flourish. And sometimes, you know, your ideas might make it worse! [Laughing] But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep having ideas and talking about them. At some point, they will work.
Your first producing project was Belstaff's short film with David Beckham. How was it being his boss? It was a dream! He is the most hardworking actor I've ever worked with. He is a dream on set. Besides being gorgeous, he is so nice, and he tries very hard to be good at everything he does. But I don't think people understand his talent; he's a very good actor. I pushed for him to have more lines, and more things to do, on camera. Have you seen his [H&M] commercials with Kevin Hart? He's fantastic. He has excellent timing. He needs to act more. That's what I told him after the project.
Like hundreds of girls in New York for fashion week, your first job was modeling. What's the most challenging thing about it? Well, when I was a teenager in the Bongo Jeans campaign, we went to Angel Falls in Venezuela, which is the largest waterfall in the world. So we're wet, we're standing on very slippery rocks and logs, and as a model—not just on this campaign, but all campaigns—your job, more often than not, is to look like you're warm when you're actually freezing....You have to look really pretty when you feel like you're going to die. That's the job.
Kate Moss is one of your best friends. Did you meet while modeling? Well, Kate and I have been friends since we were 13. And we're both godmothers to Ella [Richards], who's our friend Lucie de la Falaise's daughter. So we were friends as teens and we're also friends as adults!
You have consistently perfect black eyeliner. Kate Moss does, too. Who nailed it first, her or you? Oh, you know, I rarely do my eyeliner myself. But I don't think she does hers either, so I don't know! [Laughing]