KRISTEN STEWART, The rebel.
At 24, she has already known a huge amount of fame by being the star of blockbusters.She’s had her first loves under the spotlight of paparazzi. And she’s discovered the curse that Hollywood gives to those who do whatever they want. After two years of not speaking to the media, the sullen actress is making a come back – obviously – where we weren’t expecting her, in a French film by Olivier Assayas, and she takes the opportunity to discuss with Ingrid Sischy, the confusing similarities between this fiction and her reality.
How many people can brag about having wolves hybrid as pets? It’s the case of Kristen Stewart, troubling premonition for the one who was Bella Swan in the “Twilight” series, the old-fashioned teenager but romantic, the laughing stock of her high school who falls in loves with a buff vampire and whose best-friend turns into a werewolf on occasion…
Actresses who have the guts of breaking the Hollywood mold don’t grow on trees in the United States. When you’re lucky enough to croth paths with them, you’ve got to jump at the opportunity. Particularly when this actress grew up in Los Angeles, with two parents working in the cinema and television industry – because that’s how Kristen Stewart ended up on the big screen. She’s not a “little rich kid”, protected by the cocoon of celebrity and/or a huge amount of fortune, enclosed in a Beverly Hills mansion, surrounded by a perfect high hedge. Kristen Stewart’s childhood, in the substantially less glamourous San Fernando Valley, was the complete contrary. Her parents, Jules Mann-Stewart and John Stewart were employed by celebrities. And they knew very well how some of them can make your life a living hell.
When their daughter Kristen, who was wearing the exact same clothes as her brother Cameron, in other words, was dressed like a boy, as in wearing tracksuits, even in class, said she wanted to go to auditions, her mother warned her: “I work with those kids – they are crazy. You are not like them.” But as she won’t stop doing it after that, Kristen held onto her dream, and, at 11, she gets the role of Jodie Foster’s daughter in “Panic Room”, the thriller by David Fincher. An inspiring cast. Stewart isn’t pretending to be cute, she’s more like the kind of kid that you would bring with yourself in adventures. I talked to Jodie Foster about Kristen – who also survived through the tricks of getting famous at a young age – a few years ago, and she defines her with those few words: “Kristen doesn’t have the usual personality of an actress. She doesn’t want to dance on her grandmother’s table with a lampshade on her head.”
To say that the “Twilight” films didn’t bring in a lot of money would be a euphemism [400 million of dollars worldwide only for the first one]. Needless to say, these films weren’t the best. But Stewart never despised them, just like the millions of fans of the books. It would have been so easy for a hipster like her. But Robert Pattinson – her lover off and on screen at the time – and her seemed to have a real respect for the fans of the sage. And for one another as well.
Contrary to France, the United States never hesitate to get on their high horse when it comes to morality, but it went even farther than that. The public was disappointed. And I think that the most interesting part is that Stewart herself was the most disappointed in herself. No one would have ever expected her to end up in that kind of common situation. But the truth is, it’s precisely this burning humanity that sets her apart from this other horde of falsely cheerful actresses, and incredibly redone that obstruct the pages of magazines. Even if “On The Road”, the adaptation of Kerouac’s novel, that she loved a lot, came out in the US around the same time, she has more or less disappeared from radars since. In the interview that you’re about to read, she remembers: “I came down from this giant wave and I wanted to shelter myself a little bit. That I would come back later.”
The moment has come. After not less than five films shot that will come out in the next few months, beginning with “Sils Maria”, the mediation of Olivier Assayas on the cinema industry and the ultra modern celebrity, the actress was more than busy. In Assayas’ film, she proves that she can make fun of herself. The fact that it’s a French film isn’t a coincidence. As many Americans before her – From Gertrude Steing to James Baldwin, stopping by Nina Simone, who chose France to find the road to freedom -, Stewart found her own on the other side of the Atlantic. While we’re at it, you might realize that something is different in this articlle: it’s an interview, in the tradition of those like “Playboy”, or the conversations that Andy Warhol used to love so much when he launched the magazine “Interview” and that he wanted to “remember everything from the horse’s mouth”, as he said. That’s how I met Kristen Stewart for the first time. She was barely 12 years old, she was just starting and I was the redactor in chef of “Interview”. I remember thinking: “This kid really has things to say.” It hasn’t changed. And while this interview isn’t like the usual Vanity Fair France interview, rules are meant to be broken. Kristen Stewart is a real rebel. To describe this rebellion, she uses an image that I find funny: “I put my boxing gloves on with ‘no’ written on them.” So we broke the rules, we put on our gloves with ‘yes’ on them and we went on the boxing ring to cross swords, laugh and talk.
Kristen Stewart: What’s up?
Vanity Fair: You first! I know how much you love ‘red carpet’ questions. What are you wearing for this interview?
Kristen: I’m not wearing my pajamas. I’m proud of myself. What time is it, noon?
VF: It’s time to talk! You know that we’ve changed the usual way we do interviews just for you?
KS: Cool. I love reading interviews of people that I find interesting. When they play the game for real. You can’t cheat. I know that you love it! Go ahead, it’s your thing!
VF: We haven’t seen you much these past two years. But you’re going to make a lot of noise with all these movies to come. I’ve seen the first yesterday, “Sils Maria” by Olivier Assayas. Frankly, I didn’t think I’d love it so much. I thought I would get bored and it’s the total opposite. I was transported. It’s a real reflexion the limitations on Art and life with one another. Sometimes I even wondered if you had inspired the screenplay.
KS: It’s kind of crazy. Sometimes you have to look for the character. This one was on my knees, I had a lot of fun playing it.
VF: There is also an aspect “America against Europe” in the film. Past againt present. The values of the old world against the new digital one, where everything ends up on Twitter, Instagram… But it’s the way the film reflects real life which is fascinating. What did you think when you read the script?
KS: I was terrified at the idea of not getting the role, because Olivier had already given it to someone else. But it wasn’t even even possible for me not to get this one. Thank God, the planetes got aligned.
VF: It’s funny because the role of the young actress [Played by CGM] seems written for you, but for someone to know you for real, the character of the working assistant that you play seems destined to be played by you. Did everything go well right away with Olivier Assayas?
KS; We first met in a restaurant in Paris. It’s the first time he talked about the project, not exactly in silence because even if he doesn’t say much, he says a lot of meaningful things. But we didn’t speak much. We stayed like this, sitting down, and I immediately thought that we would work together on this film. We just exchanged a few words and it was a done thing.
VF: Talk to me about your character…
KS: I play Valentine, the personal assistant of Maria Enders, a famous actress [Played by Juliette Binoche]. In the film, these two women are at different stages of their lives. Their point of views are totally different, yet they are almost the same and they have a lot to share. At the same time, everything that brings them together, divides them. It’s that fucking emotional thing on which they can’t put their fingers one. They aren’t friends. They aren’t colleagues. They’re not lovers. They’re not mother and daughter. They’re all that at once and it’s strange. That’s why I wanted the role. I’m her partner in every sense of the term.
VF: All this personal assistant thing, it’s a mine field. Yourself, you’ve got to see relationships between assistants and celebrities?
KS: As an actor, we tend to end up isolated, we’re on edge and it limits the exchange with people. It seems normal to me to hire friends or people to support us. But the line can be very blurry, because they work for you. You hire them, but they are also your friends or creative partners. After, you can become dependant or obsessive. It’s a really destabilizing and unhealthy relationship, unique and quite common. I know that by heart.
VF: Juliette Binoche really go into your roles, and the film really shows the complication of this relationship between celebrities and their assistants. Because there’s no clear limit. Show-business is a real cultural stock for this kind of situation because it’s often 24/7, far from home, family, friends.
KS: It’s interesting because one person has to want to be at the service of someone else. And when lines are blurred, you can feel like you were used, or that you ended up being duped way too easily. In the film, Valentine arrives at the breaking up. The fact that we know nothing about her pleased me a lot.
VF: Because the Inherent narcissism of this relationship makes it so we know everything about the famous actress but nothing about the anonymous assistant?
KS: Exactly. It was wanted. We really wanted it to happen that way. I just wanted to drop hints without saying the rest, like the tattoos for example. She comes from somewhere, no one knows where. She has interests, but we don’t know them.
VF: And aside from that, how is it to play with Juliette Binoche? Were you intimidated? Excited? Nothing at all?
KS: I was beyond stressful at the idea of meeting her for the first time. She has this crazy ability of pushing others, of revealing things about yourself that you didn’t even know you had. She looks like what I imagined, some kind of fucking eccentric philosopher, open, a little bit cuckoo. Like Juliette Binoche, you know. [We suddenly hear dogs barking] What’s happening, guys?
KS: Bear, Bernie and Cole. My true security, it’s them (Kind of weird to translate this)
VF: DId you just use the word “cuckoo” to describe Juliette Binoche, just now?
KS: Yeah. I don’t think it’s totally because of the fact that she’s European, because it would be disminishing this huge merit that she has, but she is just like I wanted her to be. Instead of saying: “Fuck, I’m so hungry.” which is what I would say, she will say: “I’m feeling this need to eat, deep within myself, in the most profound…” You see what I mean? She can’t say something as simple as “I’m hungry.” She isn’t hungry. She has this profound need to eat.
VF: Let’s talk about your thirst to work with hard working people. From the start, you’ve been working with directors and actors who matter. You were only 11 when you filmed with Jodie Foster in ‘Panic Room’ (2002), 16 when you Sean Penn directed you in “Into The Wild” (2007) and 21 when you did “On The Road” by Walter Salles (2012)… At first, we can think that it’s luck, even if there’s a real guideline and it’s not an accident. Even in “Twilight”, your partner Robert Pattinson was an actor already established, and there are a lot of rumours about how you two fought hard against the studio to keep some part of risk, of melancholy, emotion, authenticity to the story. It’s like you choose carefuly how to pick your enemies.
KS: Oh yeah. Totally. I’m not the kind of actress who can play without a mirror. Everyone knows you’re so much better with actors who are really there, with whom you can share something, and whether it works or not, it makes me stronger or makes me weaker. If I have to work with someone, someone who doesn’t thrill me, or with someone I have to fake things, it’s sad and I act badly.
VF: Has it ever happened?
KS: Absolutely. I haven’t totally fucked things up, but I’ve had to force myself to do it. I just had to think: “Thank God, we only have a small number of scenes together.” As you said, I’ve been very lucky and I’ve had way more good experiences than ones less euphoric., but yeah, I know the difference. Fuck, it’s so good, it’s like a drug.
VF: What do you do when it’s bad? What happens to you?
KS: It’s really uncomfortable. It takes a few days, or a few scenes. At first, you tell yourself that it’s just because there’s a problem or rhythm. But once you’ve exhausted yourself trying to find out why, you put yourself in default mode and you act like shit. It’s not funny. And it’s not good. When I looked back at those scenes, I’m juste like “ew”. I don’t like to see this.
VF: It reminds me of what Elizabeth Taylor told me one day. I’ve had the chance to interview her a few times before she died. We were talking about “Butterfield 8” (1960), a film for which she received the Oscar for Best actress, she said something like: “I thought this director was such an asshole and I hated him so much that we ended up not talking and I ended up directing myself.” Crazy, huh?
KS: Wow. It really says a lot. It’s crazy when stuff like that happens on a set, and us, the public know nothing about it.
VF: Elizabeth was someone so uncontrollable. Actresses today are monuments of calm next to her. Because of Internet, scandals have lost all of their glamour. In Sils Maria, you do everything against that. In fact, you defend the young actress whose life is a complete mess and that people can’t help but look at, like a car accident. Tell us about this character played by Chloë Moretz.
KS: Chloë plays a young actress, Jo-Ann Ellis, on the edge of something huge but also in the middle of a scandal. She has this freshness, a desire and a naive courage that attracts people. In Chloë’s character, there’s something raw, a juvenile honesty. It’s a young girl with a different point of view.
VF: This role might not be based on a particular person but it looks like a portrait from the present. This character could be the summary of all these American actresse who end up in the eye of the storm in the media for whatever reason. One of the strong point of the film is when you run to defend her. You say something like: “She’s young, but at least she’s brave enough to be herself. At her age, it’s courageous, in fact, I think it’s pretty fucking cool. Right now, she’s probably my favourite actress.” Myself, being American and who has followed what happened these past few years, I can’t help but think that, in a way, this dialogue that Assayas gave you describes your career. Not in an self-absorbed way, but as a nod to the public. I mean, how many times have you heard; “Oh, Kristen Stewart never smiles” or, “Kristen Stewart is never happy” It makes me laugh that these words come out of your mouth. I’ve heard them so much about you!
KS: I have to admit that in certain parts, I had to calm myself down because I was so happy about saying those words. Olivier didn’t write them for me. But it was like destiny that I was pushed to do this role. I’ve reacting to this in a more familiar way than I should have, but it’s like that. It’s crazy. It’s a strange and funny coincidence.
VF: It brings us back, not only to the rumours, which have always been part of the star-system, but also to the impact of Internet, of tabloids and online gossip sites, bloggers, of twitter, the millions of people who complain on the Worldwide web, you know. The film shows what happens when all those entangle themselves, when the young actress shows up in a restaurant with a married writer and that you, the personal assistant who knows a lot of things, you predict that “when it will get out, it will be like a tsunami”.
KS: The best is when the character of Juliette says: “Oh yes, on what planete?” and I reply: “This planet has a name, it’s called the real world.” It made me feel good. Everything says that it doesn’t matter, it’s a really easy thing to say.
VF: It’s compelling..
KS: No one wants to hear someone like me continuously repeat how hard it can be.
VF: You mean, repeat how much fame is hard to handle?
KS: Yes, exactly.
VF: Yes, it’s really annoying to hear people whine about this subject. It’s why people go crazy when Gwyneth Paltrow says how hard it is for her to reconcile her job and taking care of her children, because it forces her to take her children on set. It’s no easy to sympathize with her when you compare her life to those of the usual women who go to work everyday.
KS: I know that. Believe me. There’s no problem if you talk about it lightly. That people decide to say that it’s not important or that it has nothing to do with reality, it doesn’t bother me. I agree that all this media stuff, when you’re in it, it shouldn’t affect you physically or bother you and all that. Yet, technically, it has an impact on your life. Like in a dream. But in other people’s minds, it’s just stupid and that’s how it should be perceived by everyone.
VF: You have found yourself on the other side of the tsunami a couple times. I remember that the last time I interviewed you, we were in Paris, at “Le Duc”. When we opened the door of the restaurant to leave, shit. It was in the middle of the “Twilight” craziness, right before the 5th film came out and a huge amount of paparazzi were just standing there. We ran back into the restaurant. There were still there a few hours after. It’s like a huge wave just fell on you. And when those pictures of you came out a while ago, it was absolutely crazy. So you’re in the right place to know what it’s like and that it is a real thing.
KS: Yes, that’s true. i have obligations to maintain connections with the media, because no one forced me to become an actress. But it would be crazy to deny that this demon is different, nobody would sign up to live that way.
VF: It’s a beast whose face is not the same as the one from the past. Let’s say the 1930s or 1940s, when studios were controlling the press.
KS: I never fixed a plan of career for myself. I never tried to influence the opinion of people on myself, which is what a lot of other people do. Some artists, some actors, they do everything to fit into the image of a certain type of actor or artist, and I’m really not like that. I’ve lived through a lot of situations, a lot of experiences more or les creative, with instinct. So I can’t let myself get overwhelmed by regret.
When it comes to what people take of you and remember of you to forge an opinion on you, nothing is ever totally wrong. It’s some kind of collection of flavors that they grabbed in stores, theatres or online. I didn’t make up that mix myself and it doesn’t bother me more than that. But i’m not going to add anything to this pile of shit that is made up about me and that has nothing to do with reality. Ending up in the middle of all this is already weird enough without me making comments about it. But strangely, I feel capable of taking myself out of it and saying: “Isn’t it a little too easy?” I mean, it’s “funny”, as Valentine says in “Sils Maria”, the stories are funny, but you know that all of them, these contain people who play roles fabricated by the media and people who have their share of weekly gossip to post. It’s nothing more than soap-opera. I’m trying really hard to not let it affect me, to preserve my real life. People might believe that they know everything, but fuck, who knows the truth? No one. You’re going to die. You’ll be lying down next to the person you know the most in the world, the person you’re going to grow old with. And you’ll be next to this person in the middle of the night and you’ll be asking yourself a ton of questions because, shit, no one ever knows the fucking truth.
VF: What you just said reminds me of an extract from “Pastorale américaine” by Phillip Roth. The subject is “the others”, he writes: “We are mistaken even before we meet people, when me imagine ourselves meeting them; we’re fooling ourselves when we are with them; and then when we come back home, and we tell the encounter to somebody else, we’re mistaken again. (…) The thing is that, understanding others is not the rule, in life. The story of life, it’s to be wrong about them, again and again, again and always, with relentlessness and, after thinking about it, to be wrong again. It’s even like that that we know we are alive: we are wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to meet one another and to be right or wrong about the other, and to keep going just for the ride.” But let’s go back to moment when you did those first auditions, a child, with your mother. I remember what you told me a few years ago, that the people who were making you audition for commericials were trying to make you smiley and that it felt overplayed for you. Or that they were complaining that you looked a little boy-ish. What do you think those first experiences taught you?
KS: I attribute those first steps to my ability to do this job. It’s asking you to be at ease despite the excessive attention. If I hadn’t started that young, I don’t think I could have done it after. It’s not really my thing to just stand in the middle of a room. But I really wanted to be an actress and I wanted to be in movies. I wanted to do like my parents.
VF: There were working in the cinema industry, right? Your mother was a screenwriter and your father a producer, they sometimes brought you on set If I remember correctly.
KS: I used to look at them and think that they were doing the coolest thing that one can do in their lives. And as I wasn’t really fitting the mould of the child star, that I didn’t want to be famous or make the general public happy, I was cast by an incredible young director, Rose Troche, in a film called “The Safety of Objects”, exactly for what I was, a tomboy. You could hardly tell me apart from my brother.
As a child, I was quite confident with myself, but in school, when you’re not accepted as a girl who is supposed to look like a girl, it’s hard. I hated when people told me: “Hum, you now, you don’t really look like…” I was being called a boy and all that. For a short moment, it really affected me. And then it stopped because when I started working, I didn’t think of it as weird anymore. I was cool. I was liking myself. I thought I was really lucky to be known in that industry as a child, because, if you’re on the right path, it’s the most open and welcome environment that I know. It’s a magnetic field which attract the most diverse personalities. Tons of progressive and subversive agitators who love asking questions and express themselves. Shit, that’s beautiful. It’s incredible, I love it. I’m so happy and proud to be a part of this. Actors are strange people with a curious nature. They want to live other lives than theirs, even if it hurts, just for the pleasure of telling a story.
VF: Why do you think that starting acting at a young age mattered that much for you?
KS: The root of everything, as I said before, is that I loves the state my parents were in when they came back home after working sixteen hours on a set.
VF: Didn’t you say one that you liked to smell them?
KS: Yeah. If I find a bag that I had on a set and that I havent used in a long time, I can smell the scent of the place or the smell of the set. I can literally smell all the olfactory fragments of this experience. My mom is a screenwriter and puts all her scripts in some sort of pack that always smelled of manual labor, coffee spilled on it and the smoke because of the special effects like the dust from an explosion. It’s what attracted me at first. It’s as if you had walked miles and miles all day. Where did you go, what made you get up in the morning and leave the house. I knew that it had to be interesting. I knew that if my parents got up and went to work for sixteen hours, that it had to be cool and enthralling. And then I knew what it was like to feel it and to share it. You don’t fin it just like that, it’s a feeling that you have to dig very deep to find, and then you can share it; it’s fucking hard job and it’s an act of faith. You have to make yourself available for something that won’t necessarily happen immediately. And when it happens, it’s the most exciting thing I know, and that’s what keeps me going. I will never stop looking for that. I love this quest. It’s what I love the most, Searching, finding, digging, digging and digging even more.
VF: What’s funny, is that people who work with you never describe you as someone anxious who is always sitting down and standing up. But most portraits describe you like that.
KS: On set, there are actually moment where I’m vibrating, and I love that feeling. It’s a different sensation. It’s at ease with this awkwardness.
VF: You haven’t worked in two years..
KS: Yes, an eternity.
VF: Sils Maria is your first film after this long break?
KS: No, there was “Camp X-Ray” first [By Peter Sattler, out soon]
VF: And before “Camp X-Ray”, what did you do?
KS: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 [Last film of the Twilight Saga, the second part of the first Breaking Dawn film]
VF: Why did you wait so long before filming again?
KS: I was looking around myself. There was one or two projects that were supposed to happen, and then they stopped and never took off again, and I spent a lot of time on those projects that never saw the light of day, it happens. And after, and it says a lot about the state I was in, there had to be a spark. Who knows what would happen if I was reading now all the scripts I read during that time? I wonder if I wouldn’t find things that would make me go “How could I let this one slip through my fingers?” Seriously, I think that after Twilight and Snow White, that where huge films, I didn’t want to run to the next blockbuster. People who have known two huge successes think that it’s their thing now: Make successful blockbusters and surf on that wave. I came down from this huge wave and I told myself that I would shelter myself a little bit. That I would come back later. It was a good thing in the end. I needed time for myself. To come back to my own life. To stay home, surrounded by my own mess, to play the guitar and write.
VF: It must have been a relief for you to go back on set and film “Sils Maria” in a bucolic environment, in Switzerland and in Germany… far from crowds. Even if the film talks about crows and other things, it’s what makes it so modern. I want to go back to a certain scene: You, Valentine and Juliette Binoche/Maria Enders are in the mountaines. You’re talking as you’re taking a walk, you end up at a lake, you go in it. Something totally unexpected happens, right? Juliette runs in it butt-naked. You, Valentine, the exemple of perfect youth, you modestly keep your panties on.
KS: In fact, I’m wearing two pair of panties.
VF: Is it because, you, Kristen, your wear this hat of the puritan American, and that you wouldn’t shoot a naked “European” scene or is it because the role asked for it?
KS: It’s another example of Life imitating Art/Art imitating Life. We never talked about it with Olivier, he works a little by orchestration. Once he cast us, we had a very vague preliminary discussion on the film and he gave us our dialogues only when we started shooting the film. Everytime I asked a question, he always replie to me. He said: “It’s really just depending on how you’re feeling it.” I was going to him with an important question and he was all: “Whatever you want” as in “That’s why I hired you”. He wasn’t very at ease when he told us to throw ourselves into the water. He is like that. He started filming and he just said: “Do whatever you want. You’ll see once you’re going down towards the lake, go in it, don’t go in it, talk to each other, shut up, everything is fine with me. Do what you have to do.” Of course we were going to throw ourselves into the water. I knew while I was going down that I would do whatever she did. When she started taking her clothes off, and me too, I told myself: “My God. Fuck, I can’t get naked in front of her.” I felt uncomfortable, as Valentine. I was embodying this Puritan, American awkwardness perfectly. and she breathed freedom one hundred percent. I decided to assume completely and said: “Fuck it, I’m keeping the panties on.”
VF: The sexual tension could be cut with a knife.
KS: When she takes her clothes off, it’s a challenge that Valentine can’t rise up to. When you work with someone who lets a lot of room for freedom, to fluidity, to improvisation, it’s so interesting to watch and play: there are only surprises.
VF: Well, you’re just as full of surprises when it comes to wearing – or not wearing – clothes. I’m going to seize the opportunity to talk about clothes with you. You’ve never stopped making up your own rules to define yourself as an actress in Hollywood. We can’t really say that you’ve played the game on the red carpet. When you got closer to a certain fashion brand, it had to make sense. A few years ago, you were the face of the Balenciaga fragrance, when Nicolas Ghesquière was the designer. A year ago, when we learned that you were going to be the face of the Métiers D’Art collection by Chanel, I remember that i was sitting behind you in Dallas, where the fashion show was taking place and I told myself, “How did it happen?”
KS: I have a certain relationship with fashion by default, because as a young actress, You have to bend to the rules of the red carpet, and I’ve been doing it since I was little. As you remember certainly, I met Nicolas Ghesquière on a photoshoot that I was doing for you at Montauk with Bruce Weber. It was the first time I was seeing for myself, the inspiration that surrounds an artist whose work has nothing to do with mine. By then, I had only seen this inspiration with directors or actors. With Nicolas, it was beyond everything. It was: “My God, I understand everything.” I knew what I liked. Before, I was annoyed just by having to wear heels to please people that wanted me to talk about said heels… Suddenly, it turned into: “It’s cool, arty, fun and amazing!”. That awakening to fashion was really exciting. And I started wearing Chanel very young. It’s a whole other thing than wearing simple clothes. When it’s exciting, it reveals hidden treasures of your personality that you would have kept on ignoring if you hadn’t put those clothes on.
VF: Thankfully, there are still brands like Chanel who don’t treat celebrities like a piece of meat, a live publicity that you sell at every price.
KS: Yes, it’s disgusting, I wouldn’t want that to ever happen to me. The difference is striking. I had the chance to meet the family which possesses Chanel, and Chanel is really like a family. I’m not saying this as if i were their publicist. You could expect them to be haughty and pretentious, but they’re calm with no particular demands. I met the girls who are working there. They were looking for someone who could represent this Métiers d’Art collection that was surrounded around America and she told me: “Girl, why not you?”
VF: And then you got the job and met Karl Lagerfeld. You’re both workaholics. I can imagine that it made you tighter.
KS: This man is incredible. When you say Karl Lagerfeld, you almost see the silhouette before the man. He’s like a a shadow. But what really shocked me, is his productivity. He’s a huge mine of information. It’s crazy. He told me: “The girls here are very excited to be working with you.” I found that really cute. Everything happened in a very natural way, very old-fashioned. And he made me so much cooler in one second.
VF: So it’s a new era for you. In fact, the sun went down on Twilight. What do you remember of this experience now that it’s far behind you? Can people see you in another way?
KS: I got the chance to say, while I was in the middle of it, that it wouldn’t last forever. That it would calm down. But I wasn’t really believing it [laughing]. I thought that it would last forever. Now, it seems far behind me. It’s only been two or three years and in reality, I’m at the bottom of these huge stairs. I’ve barely gone into the building.