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  JERRY HALL
STEPHANIE SEYMORE
MARC JACOBS
  ASIA ARGENTO
DENNIS HOPPER
ABEL FERRARA
BRIAN WILSON
WILL OLDHAM
DJ SPOOKY

Jerry Hall,2005

WITH STEVE LAFRENIERE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY WOLFGANG TILLMANS






From a Texas town to Studio 54 to the London Stage, this rock'n'roll muse has seen it all. Steve Lafreniere chatted with Jerry at her home in London.








STEVE: For many years, you were in the absolute thick of the rock scene. Do you still follow pop music nowadays?
JERRY: Noooo. I have very old-fashioned tastes. I love good rock'n'roll, blues and jazz, gospel, and a little reggae. I love Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, and Ella Fitzgerald. Of course I love the Stones. And Bob Dylan. My kids have similar tastes — they love all the good old stuff. My son James even has a rock'n'roll band — they perform locally in London.

STEVE: What are they called?
JERRY: They're incognito — they don't want any publicity yet. They play low-key gigs at pubs, just to practice. But it sounds gooood.

STEVE: And you've got a twenty-one-year-old daughter who's a model.
JERRY: Yes. Elizabeth has an eight-year contract with Lancôme. She's also starring in Sofia Coppola's new movie about Marie Antoinette. It's a very creative household.

STEVE: All four of your kids live at home. And Mick still lives next door?
JERRY: He does! And it's a little too close for comfort. But it's convenient for the kids. Actually, Mick and I are quite friendly. We talk regularly and see each other from time to time. He's a good dad.

STEVE: You do loads of charity work in the U.K. for breast cancer and for abused children. I think you've become a pillar of the community, Jerry!
JERRY: [laughs] Well, I married an Englishman and I've lived in London a long time, but I still feel very Texan — I go home at least once a year. When I got divorced, I thought about moving back home. But my kids didn't want to leave — two are still in school. I think about moving back to America one day. I do miss it.

STEVE: As a showbiz Texan, what's your take on our president?
JERRY: [whispers] I have absolutely zero interest in politics. I'm a very bad citizen. I've never even voted. I realize that's a very immature attitude. I'd be very interested if there was a woman president.

STEVE: You and Mick were involved with the Kabbalah Centre...
JERRY: We had a fantastic time with the Kabbalah Centre for about a year. They give very practical advice on day-to-day stuff, like how to be a better parent. But we couldn't go through the Door of Miracles unless we gave the Kabbalah people ten percent of our money, so we couldn't study it any more. It's not like we fell out big-time with them — they're very nice people. I love mysticism — it's such fun. I've dabbled in several different religions. Now I'm learning about Sufism.

STEVE: The one with the dervishes?
JERRY: I love the spinning. I think it's good to remind yourself that you've got a spiritual side.

STEVE: Are you very involved in the London fashion world?
JERRY: I follow my daughter's career. And I'm an editor at Tatler magazine.

STEVE: What does that involve?
JERRY: Not much — turning up at a few parties, telling them when I hear of a hot new photographer. Of course, I'm a big fan of clothes. John Galliano's so talented. And I love Vivienne Westwood — she's a genius. They're both so sexy.

STEVE: Vivienne's come a long way from Sex in the King's Road.
JERRY: I know! I used to go to that store when I was dating Bryan Ferry.

STEVE: You met him when you were, what, nineteen? You posed for the cover of Roxy Music's album, Siren.
JERRY: Yeah, we did the shoot on the edge of a cliff in Wales. It was a very, very hot day, and Bryan held an umbrella over my head. I was painted entirely blue, and when we were finished, the makeup wouldn't come off. Bryan helped me wash it off. We had a long train ride back to London... and love blossomed. Bryan is a gooorgeous man. Very elegant.

STEVE: I hear he's available.
JERRY: I never go back, darling.
STEVE: Are most of your friends from the music world?
JERRY: I am very friendly with lots of people in rock'n'roll, because I spent so much time with them over the years through Mick's work. But I have a lot of friends in fashion as well. One of my best friends is the photographer David Bailey. He came over for lunch last Sunday. I love him dearly.

STEVE: Did you ever go on tour with the Stones?
JERRY: I did. Had I not been busy with my own work, I'd have been on tour with them the whole time. I really loved the music, plus I liked staying in all those fancy hotels. I'm a bit of a groupie.

STEVE: Music is your passion?
JERRY: Music, art, theater. I'm just a big fan of beauty. [laughs] I love ballet too. My favorite dancer is Sylvie Guillem.

STEVE: She's really something, isn't she?
JERRY: She's divine. I think she's the greatest dancer at the moment. It's one thing to possess the technical know-how, but another to have her incredible drama and star appeal. She's unbelievable — watching her gives me goosebumps. I have tickets to see her at the American Ballet for the week I'm in New York promoting my new reality show on VH1. I'm very excited.

STEVE: What's the concept for the show?
JERRY: It's half reality, half comedy. I dated twelve young guys and chose one to be "keptî for me by VH1. The winner receives a sports car and a six-figure allowance for a year. In return he's available to me any time I want to go out on a date — to a premiere, or something.

STEVE: Sweet. Where did VH1 find the guys?
JERRY: They were from small towns across America. We shot the show in London, and none of them had been to Europe before. I had to turn them all into gentlemen. I did a lot of etiquette training, and taught them about art appreciation and the art of conversation — all the things needed to make them into perfect, sophisticated... escorts. I was a bit diva-ish. [laughs] I made them do all these difficult things, like model in a Vivienne Westwood fashion show. And each week my girlfriends helped me decide which one to lose.

STEVE: Who helped you choose?
JERRY: My best girlfriends are all rock chicks I've known forever — two of the Stones' wives, Joan Wood and Suzanne Wyman, and Bob Geldof's girlfriend, Jeanne Marine. Pete Townshend lives across the street from me, so his girlfriend Rachel Fuller joined in, too.

STEVE: Were the guys quick studies, or was it Eliza Doolittle all the way?
JERRY: Some of them were fabulous — it was really difficult deciding which one to pick toward the end. I'm sworn to secrecy, but he was the brightest and the funniest, and very attractive.

STEVE: Have you seen any of the finished episodes?
JERRY: I watched the first three and laughed my head off! And the guys are all goooorgeous — they're forever walking around with hardly any clothes on. But I wear lots of beautiful clothes in the show — Westwood, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana.

STEVE: You have your own line of stockings in collaboration with Charnos. I have a friend who buys the seamed ones practically in bulk.
JERRY: Oh, that's so nice! I did some modeling work for Charnos, and I've always thought they make great stockings. I was happy to do the line — it's been a success. But I was approached by them — I never instigate anything myself. I'm a very lazy, stay-at-home kind of girl.

STEVE: Stay at home? What about your exploding stage career?
JERRY: I have done a lot of theater. I've done five-hundred-and-fifty-five stage performances in the last three-and-a-half years. And I begin a run of High Society at the Haymarket in August.

STEVE: The Philip Barry play?
JERRY: Yeah. I have to sing Cole Porter songs. I'm not a stage singer, but the producers seem to think I can do it because Cole Porter songs only demand speak-singing. It's not opera or anything. [laughs]

STEVE: I've heard that you're making music yourself.
JERRY: Well, my girlfriend Rachel and I went to the South by Southwest Music Festival back in March to perform a song she wrote for her next album called "Around this Table." I do a "country recitation" in it. It's a little bit of a dig at Mick — light-hearted revenge.

STEVE: There's such a thing?
JERRY: Every now and then, yeah!

STEVE: Let's get back to the exploding stage career. How did that all begin?
JERRY: I appeared in Bus Stop ten years ago, both in America and here in the West End. Then, in 2000, John Reid, Elton John's former manager, asked me to audition for the stage version of The Graduate he was producing. So I worked on it, got the part, and after three weeks' rehearsal I was on stage! Being nude in front of an audience was scary, but I kind of got into it towards the end, after doing it for eleven months.

STEVE: Who played the Dustin Hoffman role?
JERRY: A couple of different actors. I starred opposite Rider Strong in the American production. He was very good. But what a funny name! It's sounds like a porn star.

STEVE: Not many people know that you studied acting when you were younger.
JERRY: I started at The Actors Studio in New York when I was eighteen. I studied off-and-on for several years. I'd always enjoyed acting, but modeling was so time-consuming — and lucrative — that I didn't pursue it. I loved modeling, but I thought it was going to be a short-term thing that I'd get out of the way first!

STEVE: And now you've returned to acting.
JERRY: I love doing theater so much — being in front of an audience and seeing how a character grows and develops with every performance. You always find new things in the character, no matter how many times you do it. And I recently made it into The Guinness Book of World Records for being in six West End plays in one night.

STEVE: How did you manage that?
JERRY: On the back of a motorcycle. And it was exhilarating. It was part of a publicity drive to encourage people to go to the theater.

STEVE: You're good with an audience. I remember seeing you on Andy Warhol TV.
JERRY: I used to host that show! You're one of the few people to have ever seen it — how did you find it?

STEVE: Like everything else, it's available as a bootleg.
JERRY: That was so much fun to work on. Andy was one of my best friends. We hung out together several nights a week for over ten years. We used to go to Studio 54 — an amazing place.

STEVE: That must have been murder on your modeling career. Up all night at Studio, then on top of the PanAm Building at 8 a.m. in full makeup!
JERRY: Yes! Eileen Ford was always furious with me. She thought Mick was a very bad influence! I did go through a short period when I would turn up late to shoots, but it didn't last very long. But there were always the weekends — a whole gang of us would go to Studio then.

STEVE: Did you dance a lot?
JERRY: I liked to dance, but mostly I liked to sit with Andy and watch and discuss everyone. I've always gotten along best with artists. I used to hang out with Salvador Dali a lot. He was such a nice man. I really liked his wife Gala, too. People say that she was tricky, but she was never difficult with me.

STEVE: New York doesn't have anything like Studio 54 anymore. We're in a real lull, Jerry.
JERRY: Everything comes back, baby.

© index magazinetobias
Jerry Hall by Wolfgang Tillmans, 2005
 

 

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