You Magazine - 10th September 2006
UK Magazine that came with The Mail On Sunday newspaper
Pages 28, 29, 30, 31
As Mac cosmetics prepares to launch its sixth version of Viva Glam lipstick and lipgloss - whose sales have so far raised over £35 million in support of Aids victims - Lisa Grainger meets the stars who are paying far more than just lip service to the fund.
Photographs Michael Thompson
Deborah Harry, 61, was lead singer with the new wave band Blondie. Based in New York, she is still performing and recording, both independently and with the band, which reformed in 1998.
'Would I have more plastic surgery?' Deborah ponders, her wide lips curling naughtily at the corners as she looks through half-closed, heavily lidded eyes. 'Yeaaaaaahhhh! It just depends what people come up with next. Botox, no. It makes your face go like this [she pulls her eyebrows up into terrifyingly high arches] and then freeze, which isn't a pretty look. But when the necessity arises, you gotta do something.'
In the 1970s, pop's ultimate blond pin-up, with her peroxide locks, cutesy nose, wide cut-glass cheekbones and pumped-up lips, was as adored by women as she was desired by men.
Thirty years later, the strawberryish blonde has lost little of her youthful allure, still speaking in a breathy little-girl voice, and sporting a petite figure and taut alabaster skin. 'Yeah, my skin is good - but it's nothing to do with me,' she says. 'It's down to genes. And a great plastic surgeon.'
While her neck and hands hint at her age, Deborah's lifestyle is far from that of a pensioner. 'I'm still in and out of hotels,' she says wearily, before admitting that life isn't quite as rock'n'roll as it could be. Drugs and binge-drinking are off the menu. 'You've tried stuff and don't do it again,' she says. 'I don't regret it. But it was a waste of time.'
Now she's a bit more careful about what she puts into her body. 'It's kinda boring, but I drink lots of water now, especially when I'm on tour, because I get dehydrated. I'm getting better at healthy food. But I'm not so good at exercise.'
Herself adopted at three months old, Deborah now feels she has enough 'generosity of spirit and peace within myself' to consider adopting a child. She is still very close to her long-term partner and fellow Blondie band member Chris Stein, whom she nursed through a life-threatening disease (a rare autoimmune condition called pemphigus), but he has since married and become a father, and Deborah admits to moments when it might be nice to have her own partner or child around. 'And I guess adopting might also be helpful to someone,' she adds.
If she doesn't, though, she's content to hole up alone in her New York apartment, with her dogs and cat, meet up with friends, occasionally go on dates ('although, at my age, the good ones are few and far between') and work with Mac to raise money for its Aids Fund. 'The days of sexual freedom are long behind us,' she says nostalgically, remembering the 70s as 'a wonderful, naive bubble where nothing seemed real.
'But we've all got to learn that nutrition, healthy living and safe sex are ways to stay alive. If I can help in that fight, I'm happy to do so. I've seen a lot of my friends die. It would be kinda nice not to see any more...'
Dita Von Teese, 34, is a burlesque artist, actress and fetish model. She lives in Hollywood with her husband, the rock musician Marilyn Manson.
It's rare to find a woman who has deliberately created her own persona from scratch and who still manages to come across as genuine, but Dita Von Teese could not be more natural if she tried.
Sitting on the edge of a cream silk sofa, her long seamed-stockinged legs entwined round each other, she oozes the star quality of the Hollywood goddesses she adored as a girl. At the same time she's self-deprecating, sweet and funny and clearly her own woman, quick to defend her career as a burlesque performer and her right to sell sex as entertainment. 'For goodness' sake, people have been doing it for hundreds of years.'
This attitude has won her thousands of fans, including designers Marc Jacobs, Roland Mouret and Jean Paul Gaultier, for whom she's become a modern muse.
Born Heather Sweet in small-town Michigan, she set about remaking herself after overhearing her sisters say she was plain. She changed her name (the first came from silent movie star Dita Parlo, the second from the phone book), dyed her hair, started dressing in vintage curve-hugging clothes, and developed a burlesque show to create the glamorous life she craved.
'I wanted to be Rita Hayworth or Marlene Dietrich,' she says. 'I loved the feminine beauty of the artifice.' Today, performing tassel-twisting, boa-throwing shows in giant champagne glasses and romping on carousel horses at private events, Dita has become a new Hollywood icon.
'Being sexy is not about creating yourself in a certain way to appeal to men,' she says, in a tone that's an odd mix of politeness and sexiness. 'It's about being happy with yourself. When I get into beautiful lingerie, it isn't to please men. It is because I love the femininity of it. When you do things for yourself, it shines through to people and that in turn becomes sexy.'
Becoming an Aids campaigner, she says, felt completely natural. 'I'm not afraid of talking about sex; my shows revolve around it. So it's not difficult for me to say to women, "You have to carry condoms," and to men, "If you are not using a condom then I am not having sex." It's vital that women do what is best for them.'
Though her husband may look the scary rocker, in reality, she says, he's 'the most charming, endearing, romantic gentleman', who write poetry for her and paints watercolours.
She and Manson married last December, but seem to have no baby plans for now - or later. 'Neither of us is ready,' she says firmly. 'I don't feel that we need to have children to validate our marriage and I don't need children to claim I'm a fulfilled woman.'
Dita does plan to carry on performing for a lot longer. 'I have a good sense of what's right for me and what's appropriate. Gypsy Rose Lee stripped till she was in her 70s, just showing a bit of shoulder, a flash of knee or flesh beneath her gloves. I think it's interesting that she found a way to evolve.'
Eve (born Eve Jihan Jeffers), 27, is an award-winning rap artist, singer and actress. She lives in Los Angeles and is about to release her fourth album.
Seven years ago, Eve was an unknown Philadelphian who admits that in high school she had tried everything to get noticed: tap-dancing, singing, acting. 'I just wanted attention,' she says. She even worked as a stripper for two months to earn the rent for her apartment.
Today, the petite, almond-eyed beauty has become one of the best-known female rap artists in America. Not only was her 1999 album Let There Be Eve the first by a female rapper to enter the charts at number one, she's also won a Grammy, appeared in five films and her own TV drama, and won a Vogue style award.
Curled up on a sofa in a plush New York hotel suite, she says that she sometimes can't quite believe how much her life has changed. 'When my mum goes to a restaurant and I order foie gras, she's like, "Where the hell did you learn about foie gras, girl?" But I was the kind of child who always gravitated towards finer things - even in the projects, where I grew up.'
Success has brought her not just foie gras but a swanky home, exotic holidays and enough money to indulge her mother, her younger brother and herself. 'I'm a real shopaholic,' she admits. Though she relishes her fame and fortune, what she'd really like is to have children ('I can't wait - kids are the ultimate blessing') and what she calls an 'ultimate partnership'.
A more immediate ambition is to make her mark in the campaign against violence. Although she describes herself as 'the meanest pit bull in a skirt' at the beginning of her career (and she still has a rather alarming dog's paw tattoo on each breast), these says she feels a moral duty to tone down the violence in her lyrics. 'I hate angry music now,' she says passionately. 'I feel we have a responsibility to the people who watch us. And a lot of them think our music is a real message about how to live.'
Eve hates the hypocrisy of rappers who espouse violence, and then live like millionaires in mansions. 'It's so stupid. These are grown men with wives and children, nice cars and jets and all this money. And then they go on as if they're still part of the hood.'
She particularly hopes her new Mac role will help children with Aids in Africa. 'When you hear the numbers you can't imagine what it's like for all those children to have no mum and dad,' she says. 'It's very upsetting. I would love to go and see for myself - I don't intend just to be a face and voice quoting statistics, I wanna help.'
Lisa Marie Presley, 38, singer, Scientologist and daughter of Elvis, recently married the guitarist Michael Lockwood. They live in San Fernando Valley, California, with her children, Danielle, 17, and Benjamin, 13.
There are so many things I have been told I can't ask Lisa Marie Presley that I'm panicking I might forget what's off limits. 'Just to remind you that if you mention her father the interview will be over,' I am instructed (for the fifth time) as I enter her New York hotel suite. 'Ditto Gracelands,' I remind myself silently, as I am introduced to the singer, who eyes me suspiciously. And ditto her first husband (Danny Keough, the father of her children); her second and third husbands (Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage), and her religion.
She married Michael, her fourth husband, in January in Japan. After an extraordinarily public childhood, it's not surprising that Lisa Marie now prefers to stay out of the limelight, 'living a kind of hermit life', as she puts it. She recently considered buying a house in Japan because, as well as 'being real clean and having a great work ethic, it's a whole other world that hasn't been contaminated. There is not one tabloid there. That to me was so refreshing.'
In spite of all of this, she has agreed to be a face of the Mac Aids campaign, to be photographed (which she loathes), made up ('which I get sick of') and interviewed about it. Having been involved in many charities, Lisa Marie clearly believes in Mac's Aids Fund.
'Unlike many others, this is the real deal,' she says, 'One hundred per cent of the proceeds of the lipsticks they sell will go to people who need it and it is something so worthwhile. I mean, who could refuse to pay £11 for a lipstick that can buy baby formula for children in Africa?'
As a mother, she believes educating teenagers about the disease has become particularly pertinent. 'When we were growing up, there wasn't Aids. Now it affects everyone.' Not that she worries about her daughter. 'She has such a level head,' she says, explaining how Danielle is determined to create her own career as a model and survive on her own money. 'I understand and respect that she's doing her own thing. I think it's amazing.'
When she's not working, Lisa Marie says she's 'a real homebody - a domestic goddess, I guess'. She runs or walks daily on her ranch, 'to get the lungs and blood going, rather than to try and achieve some body shape'. She hasn't eaten red meat for 17 years or chicken for three, and she's started growing organic vegetables.
At 38, life has, she says, 'started to make more sense'. She has made three albums, with a fourth about to be recorded and her new husband, she told Oprah, is her 'friend and soul mate'. Yes, there are things she would change about her path so far. 'Some of the obvious mistakes I made, I regret. But I became stronger and less fluffy as a result. Nothing much gets by me any more. So it all needed to happen for a reason.'
Viva Glam VI Lipstick, £11, and Lipglass, "10.50, will be available from October. For stockists, tel: 020 7534 9222; macaidsfund.org
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: JAMES GAGER. STYLIST: CHARLOTTE STOCKDALE. MAKE-UP: CHARLOTTE TILBURY