ELLE - October 2006
Pages 411 & 412
photographs: Michael Thompson
Mac's latest Viva Glam campaign sees Dita, Debbie, Lisa Marie and Eve working their celebrated looks to fight HIV/Aids
dita Von Teese is fantasising about riding a giant lipstick. Blondie legend Debbie Harry is playing dress-up, grabbing berets and bowler hats to complement those cheekbones. Her Japanese Chin dog, Kisuki, looks on, wide eyed, as hip-hop goddess Eve slicks by in a Barbarella leotard, sky-high Louboutins and out-there hair. Meanwhile, rock royal Lisa Marie Presley lolls, louchly, in the make-up chair, nails done, lashes on, waiting for the show to begin.
The show - or shoot - in question is being hosted by New York make-up giants Mac. The venue: hotshot photographer Michael Thompson's Manhattan studio. The reason for the iconic cast? Phase six of Mac's Viva Glam campaign, which fights HIV
and Aids via a lipstick; every penny from the sale of a Viva Glam shade goes to the Mac Aids Fund. Drag icon RuPaul fronted the first campaign in 1994 and, since then, more than £35 million has been raised, with the help of stars such as Elton John, Mary J Blige, Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott. And it's not just A-list lip-service. Viva Glam V in 2004 saw Linda Evangelista visiting India's red-light districts, talking to HIV-affected women and handing out condoms.
So what of the new fab four? 'We want to rattle some cages,' declares Mac's global president John Demsey. 'Our Viva Glam VI spokeswomen are all incredibly talented and have strong and distinct perspectives on this crisis.' Let's hear from them...
What does Mac's Viva Glam campaign mean to you?
A lot of my friends had Aids and didn't survive. It would be terrific if there was a cure, and more education, too. The [HIV/Aids] problems in third-world countries are serious.
Is it ever a burden being an icon?
There was a period in the mid-1980s when I wasn't working. When I started working again, all of a sudden, I realised people were looking at me like an icon and I thought, 'Oh my God, this is preposterous. I am such a f**k-up. If they only knew.'
We're loving the red hair...
I haven't had blonde hair for a couple of years now and it's a lot easier for me to take care of. I actually like it much better for my skin tone, too.
Are you a tomboy or a girlie girl?
Both. I love beauty products - I like to experiment. But when I get ready, everything's done in under an hour.
What about fashion - do you have any favourite designers?
I love Marc Jacobs and Comme des Garçon. I also like making things from stuff I find in junk shops.
What do you miss?
The 1970s. It was such a great period. New York City was a cultural wasteland. There was room to grow.
Do you have any regrets?
Everybody has regrets. If you don't have regrets, you haven't lived.
And what about vices?
I hope so...