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Liv Tyler - 100% charm

French ELLE, September 2003
Scans & translation by Janine, NenyaUndomiel, Starlight & Ithill

At age 25, the young actress, Lord of the Rings' princess, becomes the image of the new Givenchy fragrance: Very Irresistible. An angel's smile, an ultra-fresh beauty, and a great, rare, natural presence: the seduction that we love. The most magical American actress strikes the pose and confides herself to us.

"Look! My room is incredible!" with this exclamation the sublime Liv Tyler opens the door of her presidential suite at the George V. Surprise. The star, stars' daughter (her father Steven Tyler is Aerosmith's leader and her mum Bebe Buell is a model) and star's wife (she just got married to Royston Langdon from the group Spacehog) does not restrain herself over the luxury that surrounds her. "When I arrived here I was so happy I jumped on my bed like a kid!" The princess of the rings has been actually placed at the very last moment. Not very uptight guided visitors follow after the star and the two journalist. Certainly there is something magical about Liv. From the top of her height (1.78m), with stars in the eyes, the beauty comes before us and makes us discover:

1. Her dressing room, as big as an F2 (a small hotel room). As we go by we make a review of her wardrobe: multicoloured caftans signed Ghost, gathered fifties skirt printed with flowers, Marc Jacobs pair of ballet shoes in technicolor.

2. The bathroom, all in marble, perfectly aligned to the edge of the washbasin. Her beauty products: some Sundari beauty care, a tube of Baume des familles by Nuxe, and a tiny jar of Carmex lipbalm. A small indiscretion (she blushes about it anyway): a pair of fluorescent micro-panties, meticulously folded one on the other, as if waiting for their turn.

3. Her private drawer, ultimate extravagance ... Going back to serious things, we settle down on a king size sofa for the interview. The tone has been set: it will be cool between us.

You are the image of the new Givenchy fragrance Very Irresistible ...
I'm very happy, it's one the most exciting things that ever happened to me. At the beginning, I hesitated because I knew it required so much work and personal investment, but I have no regrets, because the pleasure exceeds all my expectations. Even though I wear jeans and converse all day long, the fashion universe is familiar to me: my grandmother is a very elegant woman who has an extremly sophisticated wardrobe, and my parents have always had a very personal vision about fashion. On the other hand, I've just started to experience the Haute Couture world, I've never owned or worn such clothes, I've never modeled at a fashion show. It's fascinating to work for this Couture house but its quite frightening to follow the steps of Audrey Hepburn.

Two American actresses for the same French label: a strange coincidence ?
Yes. I remember that for my first job as a model, I had to act Audrey Hepburn in a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" atmosphere, with bananas chignon and pearls necklace. Anyway, I wonder if it's because of these photos that the Givenchy staff chose me ...

What kinds of perfumes do you like ?
Usually I prefer floral and fresh perfume and I adore baby's care. In fact, it all depends on my mood at the moment. If the sun is shining, I want lightness and freshness - so I turn toward lemon-scented. If the weather is grey, I feel more nostalgic and prefer musky smell. It's strange because when I was 15 years old, my best friend's mother wore Ysatis by Givenchy, I had a crush on this perfume and I started using it. I love this influence, so powerful and memorable.

Working for a Drench perfume label require some adjustement, no ?
Yes! Correcting and improving my French. The only things I can say are: "je suis fatiguee" (I'm tired) and some slang words from Gainsbourg's songs!

Speaking about Gainsbourg, you seem very close to his clan, joining Lou Doillon in the Givenchy staff ... (NB: Lou Doillon is a French actress and a model. Her mother Jane Birking was Gainsbourg's ex-wife: she sing always the songs he write for her)
I adore this family. I admire especially Charlotte's style (Charlotte is the daughter of the late singer and Jane Birking: she is a famous actress in France and she is also well known in UK and USA cause she played in Jane Eyre by Zeffirelli with William Hurt). My best friend is crazy about her, she even got a pic of her in her pocketbook! I just discovered in a fashion mag a series of pics with Jane Birking as a model, she is amazingly much fresher than the 20 years old girls on the followings pages!

The fashion and you: a love affair ?
I'm an absolute serial-shopper, and it became even worse ever since I stopped smoking. I adore clothes to an irrational degree. My favourite game: going to a big shop, submerging myself between the clothes and letting my sensible eye locate what would fit well on me. My favourite styles: vintage, basic (Petit Bateau's T-shirt among others), mixing and diversion, like choosing a scarf to be coordinated with the belt. I'm very eclectic in my choice: like Cindirella I can go from a jeans to a dressy outfit on the same day. Even if comfort is my first priority - I always try to be sexy, I love low-cut for example. In fact, I'm above all things a collector. I buy designer fashion pieces that I never wear. It's the same thing with my shoes, I had a crazy amount of them, all most beautiful, but I always take my Converses when I go out in the morning. I have to behave myself, because the "so chic" Parisian women will end up judging me!

Do you prefer to be in front of a movie-camera or in the front of a photo-camera ?
I tend to say that I prefer photo-shoots because I can count on the airbrush (laughs)! Actually, I love both, and I used to pretend being in front of them till I was 14 years old! I have a real passion for photos. When I work with a photographer, I'm interested in his sensibility, I feel his light and I like to play with it. You get such a consciousness of the camera that you direct yourself. During film shooting it's the opposite, you have to completely forget about the camera to personify the character in the most natural way. But at the end of the take, I always need to watch the scene on the monitor to see all the details, this is something that Bernardo Bertolucci taught me.

You seem to be very confident about yourself, even though you don't stick to the stereotype of Hollywood actress - blonde, very slim ...
We all feel sometimes insecure about our body, our breast, our waist or our bottom. Of course I feel better when I'm slim but I don't want to disown my real nature. I don't like these actresses who transform themselves in order to be the physical image of the time. They're not aware that they lose all their charm. There are so many people who are afraid of being themselves, maybe because they are not self-confident or because they suffered from lack of love in their childhood. This is not my situation! My weight change depends of my activity: while shooting a movie, I become thin. Otherwise I make the most of it. I tend to gain weight very easily. I'm a real voluptuous woman. I control that by doing sports, I have a massive amount of energy to expend and it balances myself physically and mentally. I love yoga but I prefer to exhaust myself during a kick-boxing session or by doing squats or swimming. I also love powerful massages - when I'm in L.A, I go to the Beverly Hot, they have the best shiatsu in the city.

You recently got married, your image of a child-woman doesn't hold anymore ?
Absolutely! I have definitely become a woman. This year has been incredible for me, I just got married, we have bought ourselves a house in Greenwich Village in New York and got a puppy! An adorable King Charles spaniel! I did the decor myself! I took advantage of my staying here to go to the flea markets of Saint Ouen to buy some antiques, but I quickly changed my mind when I saw the prices ...

Does the international success of the LOtr films make you feel calm ?
No, I have an anguished nature. I admire people who know how to appreciate life as it is. Me, I always worry about people around me. Since I was a very small child I'm like that. I always want to take care of everything and everybody.

You love to act, but do you love Hollywood ?
I have to confess that I'm very intimidated by Hollywood. I never lived there, only worked. I cannot merge into the Hollywood scenery. I feel like an atypical tall jig. But because cinema is my passion I force myself.

Is it difficult to be famous ?
I settled in New-York because people let me remain peaceful. Nowadays, the media has an obsession about celebs and it exceeds all proportions. When I see photographers getting closer to me in an intimate moment, I feel stressed; My private life is my freedom.

You possess a rare, fresh beauty. Are you aware of the power it brings to you ?
Certainly, it opens doors, but you shouldn't count on that too much, 'cause beauty fades. Regarding that, I saw Bernardo Bertolucci recently, he knew me since I was very young and he said that my mouth got thinner! For a girl who bases her reputation on her mouth it's the last straw! It makes me laugh and it puts things back into perspective!

If you weren't an actress what would you like to be ?
An Orchestra conductor.

What is your favorite meal ?
Dorritos and a glass of red wine.

What is your favorite book ?
The Giving Tree by Shel Shilverstien.

What is your favorite film ?
Les 400 coups by Francois Truffaut and The Three Amigos by John Landis.

Your favorite singers ?
Serge Gainsbourg (Melody Nelson), Marilyn Monroe, U2 (All That You Can't Leave Behind) and Iggy Pop.

What is your biggest dream ?
A baby.

Your favorite place ?
A tropical island.

If you had magical powers what would you do ?
Clear the world from all the garbage.

Favorite quote?
"Live a little" (Kate Jones).

The best advice you've ever got ?
"Relax and stop thinking all the time" (Robert Altman).

Your best memory ?
My wedding day.

In the wings of her new job
Reading a Jardin des Plantes newspaper with the cover of herself, scarf in the wind while driving her car with the elevated railway in the background, or elegant visiting the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution (great galery of evolution) ... Shooting for the Givenchy's Very Irresistible commercial, Vincent Jerome, the director, transformed Liv into the perfect "so chic" Parisian woman. Shootings took two days in the end of May ... "I adore the atmosphere, it was also an opportunity to meet again the head-operator Darius Khonji, whom I worked with in Steeling Beauty by Bertolucci", comments Liv.

Making up of a beauty
Jet-black hair, milky skin and fruity mouth: Liv wins the lottery of a rare beauty. Not forgetting her sapphire eyes, exploited by black lashes and eyesbrow. An impression of purity and freshness which sticks perfectly to the new Givenchy fragrance: an original floral aromatic, full of roses, a flower that Liv adores. Her sparkling beauty also seduces Nicolas Degenne, Givenchy's make-up creator: "Liv is a charming person. I want to see her with a strong look, underlined by black eyeshadow and several coats of mascara, pale skin, unified by a veil of foundation and powder, and above all a touch of satin blusher, to make a dolly's cheekbone effect, and a pink mouth, very sweet."

The original scans (in French):