||August 26, 2001 -- Jerry, Liz roll on sans Mick
WHILE Mick Jagger struggles through Cuban red tape to get his Che Guevara movie back on track, ex-wife Jerry Hall and daughter Elizabeth are both going full steam ahead on their own film careers.
Jerry, 45, has just been signed for a major role in Ismail Merchant's "Merci Dr. Ray," where she'll star with Diane Weiss, Jane Birkin and Simon Callow. And budding supermodel Elizabeth has wrapped that flick I told you about with Susan Sarandon.
"I love acting," Hall tells British Vogue's online magazine.
But she'd really like to put the catwalk behind her. "I feel quite embarrassed people still ask me to do modeling as I've been doing it for so long. But they pay me so much money, I'd be crazy not to [model] sometimes."
She's also doing stage work, following up on her famous nude debut last year in "The Graduate." Next month, she's due to appear in a London production of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues."
Jerry thinks her daughter will more than make up for mom's absence from the modeling scene. "Everyone wants to see her," she says, adding that "she gets a lot of people picking on her about who her parents are."
Mom is fiercely defensive of her girl, denying tabloid reports that the Manhattan-based Elizabeth is something of a wild child. "She doesn't drink, smoke or take drugs," Hall says.
||Independent - London
Publication date: 2001-08-27
Jerry Hall: Blonde Ambition
At 15, she fled a violent father to become a model in Paris. At 20, she got engaged to Bryan Ferry - and at 22, she left him for Mick Jagger. Now in her forties, Jerry Hall is facing up to a new set of challenges: divorce, a young child, and life as a serious actress. How is she getting on?
Jerry Hall - typical of a model - is an hour late. Pacing up and down outside the Groucho Club in Soho, the photographer and I have all but given up hope that the one-time muse to Bryan Ferry and Mick Jagger will turn up, when, suddenly, there she is. Ms Hall wafts past us with a flick of that trademark wavy hair and a whiff of patchouli oil. I sidle over and shake a cool, tanned hand.
"I am sorry I'm late," drawls the lithe, lone star as we make our way inside. "The traffic was bad all the way to the Piccadilly underpass." Her words are not so much spoken as rasped out in a sexy croak; it's as if she'd taken a drag on a joint and was permanently speaking through withheld smoke. Hers is not a voice tailor-made for apologising; hers is a voice made for phone sex and full-tar fags.
Surprise number one: far from being the cold, spoilt, hard-nosed, hard- bodied jet-setter I'd been expecting, Jerry Hall seems (at least in the daylight) positively human. Her red-lips/black-frock image may suggest a tough, Southern-Belle-type glamour-puss, but her manner is that of an excitable grad student. Sinking into one of the Groucho's tiny chairs, she giggles exuberantly to herself: joy overload seems imminent. Life without Mick Jagger is, it appears, much better than she dared imagine.
"I think it's having the attitude that you are in charge of how you react to things. LIFE IS GOOD!" she declares, throwing her arms wide in a show of Hollywood emotion and lifting her strong jaw to an imaginary sun. Yet despite this, and despite all the adventures that Ms Hall is having in her forties (young child, divorce, romance, acting, success), she still reckons, at 45, that some outside force is controlling her life and doesn't believe in making decisions.
"Ah've never had a plan," she says, trying to talk without giving the photographer a bad angle. "In fact, I've never instigated a good idea or a work project in ma life. I never wanted to go to Hollywood and be a movie star, and I still don't. People just ask me to do sumthin', and if I like them and the project - then I do it. It's fate, I guess."
In which case, fate is on her side. In 1971, at the age of just 15, she arrived in Paris, where without much effort her long limbs and strong features won her worldwide modelling contracts and many fashionable and wealthy admirers. In 1976, she announced her engagement to the reigning god of arty pop, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, who had spotted her in the pages of Vogue and chosen her for the cover of the band's hugely successful Siren LP. In this case, the course of true love did not run smooth, however - for, in 1978, she left Ferry for an even grander rock star, Mick Jagger, though old rubber lips was at the time technically still married to his then- spouse, Bianca. Then came 22 years spent as chief wife in Mick's harem, living the Rolling Stones life and bringing up four children, now aged between three and 17 and all "born the natural way".
And, somewhere along the line, cameo film roles began to be offered to her - by "close friends, usually" - gradually increasing in glamour as her circle of friends did the same. One such was the part of Jack Nicholson's disfigured girlfriend in Batman; followed, more recently, by parts in TV's Married with Children and her infamous stage appearance as Mrs Robinson in The Graduate. She is now appearing in the smash hit all-girl show, The Vagina Monologues, co- starring alongside far more experienced actresses, Pam Ferris and Josette Simon. She has already been asked to go to New York when it opens there.
I ask if she thinks she can act. "For me, it's a lotta work," she says. "It's like The Graduate. Before that I hadn't been on stage for 11 years, I was really just a housewife. To walk into a leading role was just ridiculous. They [the cast and director] were very patient and sweet with me and I kept on working, pushing. But you know, some of the scenes where you had to like, you know, be angry or hurt, those scenes where it took a lotta acting skills - I just didn't have it." But, she adds: "By the end of six months I thought I was pretty good."
She laughs her self-deprecating laugh again, and pours us both some mineral water. In the end, the critics made more of a fuss about her "two fried eggs" - as one wag called her breasts - than about her performance. For a middle-aged woman seeking approval from her peers, that must have hurt.
"It [going naked] was a nightmare. I lost a lotta weight working out with a trainer. Too much. It's a shame to be too skinny when you have to be naked."
More recently, there have been jibes in the media about her having cellulite, after a long-lens photo of her on holiday this summer appeared to reveal the dreaded orange peel.
"It's funny, in The Graduate I was too skinny. It was like security. I wasn't wearing clothes, but I was wearing muscles. I had an amazing six pack [a long laugh]. This summer I spent eating French fries on the beach with the kids and gained about 15 pounds [she points to imaginary thighs]. I look better now."
It's certainly true that, as a moderate, but not anorexic size 10, Jerry Hall remains surprisingly attractive in the flesh. In her latest role, however, she will confound critics by keeping her clothes on - and still, arguably, giving the best performance of her career to date. The Vagina Monologues seems tailor-made for her slow- drawl, comic delivery and may finally complete her real and longed- for "transformation" from ex-model, ex-rock chick and ex-wife, to serious, current actress.
Right now, the photographer is irritating her. "I wasn't expecting to do photographs today," she says, her face briefly hardening into a cold stare recognisable from countless glossy pages. "I usually dress up for that." And it's true that she hasn't "dressed up". In her thigh-hugging flares and flat, golden sandals, she looks disarmingly like a normal jobbing actress; and, indeed, behaves with more normality than many jobbing actresses would. When I suggest a cappuccino, she doesn't call a waiter, but jogs down the stairs towards the bar to get me one herself, leaving me in something close to awe of a sassy, warm and classy lady. The glamour thing is fine for movie premieres, but Jerry can put it on, and put it away, too. And, indeed, she admits to being tired of "the whole ex-Mrs Jagger thing, the St Tropez thing. After the divorce, I didn't want to just sit around and shop and spend my ex-husband's money."
"Are you done yet?" she asks the photographer, tightly but politely, scrunching and playing with her shiny blond mane. He mutters something like, "Do that again - it looked really beautiful." There's a bored pause, as she ignores him. The sweet-talking stuff doesn't wash with a middle- aged woman who has made her own millions.
"What do you think of the T-shirt?" she asks me, sucking on another cigarette. It has a V-neck and four letters above an irritatingly perky breast.
"It's cool, idn't it? CNUT - it kinda says it all."
This brings us, for some reason, on to the subject of her life with Jagger, and her mood changes from wild optimism to wry acceptance. He will always be in her life whether she likes it or not, she says. They finally divorced in 1999 after his highly publicised affair with the young Brazilian model Luciana Morad led to an unexpected son and an alimony claim.
"It's just that I don't want to be vindictive or a martyr..." starts Jerry. "It's hard to explain. Of course you feel angry about things, depressed about things that have gone wrong in a long relationship like that. I spent years waiting for `Mick's next scandal' to happen. When I went to drop the kids at school, the other mums at the gates wouldn't even say hello to me, they were too embarrassed. You feel embarrassed. Yes, I lived in dark glasses, day and night, for a long time. If someone told a joke I couldn't laugh, because I had switched off my natural feelings for so long."
It's difficult to understand why such an outwardly independent, cheerful and optimistic woman would end up in such a predictably shabby marriage. There is a sneaking, unkind, suspicion that she may have stuck it out because the "lifestyle" and the contacts that came with the title Mrs Jagger helped make the miserable reality of actually being Mrs Jagger worthwhile.
What's certain is that she has the face of a woman who's had some tough times. There are reassuring and very un-LA lines and crow's feet underneath the aqua-blue eyes and around the wide, wide mouth. (I looked for signs of plastic surgery, but there don't seem to be any.)
Life hasn't all been soft centres in Jerry Hall's box of chocolates. Why, for example, did she leave home at 15?
"My father was very violent," she says, the words coming out in a rush compared with the usual, measured pace of her speech. "He had a lot of anger in him and I really, really had to get out and there it was, it fell in my lap and allowed me to transform into this model."
This theme of "transformation" is one that comes up often over the afternoon. "I wanted to `transform' into someone else. It was just a way of getting away. And I can see that the acting came along at a time when, having been with Mick so long, I was very unhappy, feeling trapped, afraid. Afraid to stay, afraid to leave. It's another transformation."
Which has, of course, been the story of her life. The ever- transforming Jerry Hall turns out to be, after all, a woman of many parts - and not just the physical parts on which the media usually focus. Her appearance as a judge on the Whitbread panel last year led to allegations that the prize was "dumbing down". Yet although she has dyslexia (as does her model daughter, Elizabeth Scarlet), she has, she tells me, an IQ of 146. Not bad for a dumb blonde.
Her most passionate anecdote of the afternoon concerns, of all things, algae. "I like science, I find it really riveting. Did you know that when Mount Etna blew up and global temperature rose that these two huge pools of primitive algae rose up from the bottom of the ocean?" I didn't. "Well, each of them was the size of Great Britain, and they reflected back the Sun's heat and lowered global temperature. To me that was like [arms thrown wide and body thrust joyously forward] mother nature at work! I found that riveting. Absolutely riveting."
Nor, it turns out, has the most famous Texan export since JR Ewing quite finished transforming yet. Next term, working from her sprawling home in the millionaires' borough of Richmond, Surrey, she will be starting an Open University course in Humanities that could lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree.
It all adds up to an irritating afternoon: not because of any fault in Jerry Hall herself, but because she has made me realise how much I've enjoyed the patronising assumption that gorgeous women must be stupid and shallow. In fact, she is neither. Why should she be? This Texan doll is walking, talking, living proof that good-looking go-getters can be far more than the sum total of their ex-husband's private parts.
After our interview, she shuns a car and strolls the five minutes between the Groucho Club and the New Ambassadors theatre. I stroll with her. Stunned throngs of Londoners and tourists stare at her open- mouthed. She smiles serenely back. Then she mutters, more to herself than to me: "Isn't life amazing?"
[Edited by Jaxx]
||Jerry has a great attitude to life, letting fate lead the way.
Don't know about Jerry's famous nude scene in that play, but I saw a photo recently of Jade topless on the beach in a UK mag, and it wasn't a pretty sight. They also had photos of Jerry in a bikini playing with her kids; she looked in fine shape, especially at her age.
Nice photo of Brian at the top! Voodoo Chile is the best.
||Is that really a picture of Elizabeth? She looks so different from her other photos on this site (I mean that in a positive manner). She looks a bit like Andie MacDowell, a favourite of mine amongst the older generation.
|| funny you mention Elizabeth's likeness to Andie Mcdowell. i was thinking the exact same thing.
Story filed: 14:52 Wednesday 29th August 2001
Jerry Hall to Study Stones for Arts Degree
Jerry Hall will be studying the work of her ex-husband, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, as part of her university arts degree.
The Texan model and actress is taking a four-year course with the Open University, including modules on modern art and music.
Jerry was speaking at the launch of BT's sponsorship of Tate Online, at the Tate Modern Gallery, London.
Jerry, 45, says: "It's something I've always wanted to do, it's just for me. The children are in school and the youngest has started nursery school and when you are doing that you've got all day and it's great fun.
"Wanna play with maah laptop, sugaah?"
"I will be studying Andy Warhol and I think we will also be learning about the Rolling Stones, which is something I think I've got a good head start at."
She says: "I love hanging out with artists, going to their studios and seeing work in progress - I'm an art groupie."
She says she was good friends with Salvador Dali: "I went to Paris when I was 16 years old and I became friends with Salvador Dali. We were friends for about three years, I went to dinner with him and his wife Carla and hung out with him quite a lot.
"It was fabulous, he was great but as I was 16 and from Texas I didn't realise how famous he was."
Jerry, who bared all when she starred as Mrs Robinson in the West End production of The Graduate, says she turned down a role in one of Dali's films because it involved nudity.
Jerry says: "He asked me to appear in his film he wanted to do in Spain. He wanted me to run through his garden, where all the statues were, with a piece of white chiffon in the nude. But at that point I said I didn't do nude, which was really silly of me, I should have done it."