Are you aware that you aren’t treated like other people?
“Yes, I am. Very. I’m always aware of that. I’ve developed mechanisms, I guess. It’s funny, like the way my father seems to be unaware of my fame and fortune and place in the world, I sometimes am too. Because of that I often get taken advantage of. Let me explain myself: I’ll meet someone and think they’re great and then I’ll go to Alek (Keshishian) who directed the film and who’s a good friend of mine, and tell him, and he’ll say, Oh come on, they just want to know you because you are who you are. And I’ll go, (she affects an expression of dumb innocence) “Really? No! Do you think so? I have to keep telling myself, That’s right, I’m not like everyone else. I have to go around looking for the ulterior motive all the time.”
Does that make you overly suspicious of peopie?
“Sometimes, but I really believe that I’m more accessible than most people in my position. And you have to remember that I really didn’t get any of this until I was 25 so I got to be a normal human being until then. I’m not like Michael Jackson, you know, hiding from people since he was a child.”
Does it make it difficult for you to find new friends?
“0h …” she stops and looks terribly sad for a moment. “I guess. I haven’t really thought about that much. I tend to go to social occasions and hang around people who are celebrities as well. Celebrities kind of flock together. It’s like, I’m OK, what can they get from me?”
Do you discuss being famous?
“No!” she finds this enormously funny. “No, we don’t. God, what a boring thing to talk about!”
Recently in Q, Lenny Kravitz talked about the paintings in your house. He described you as having “taste up the ass.”
“Oh really?” she chuckles throatily. “He said that? In Q Magazine? I love Lenny, he’s a good guy. And oh yes, I have got taste: there, and elsewhere…”
Have you ever been tempted to paint?
“No. I hate the idea that I might be awful at it. I prefer not to do it and imagine that I’m this incredible painter.”
What’s a failsafe seduction album?
“Oh God,” she laughs, putting her hands to her mouth. “I don’t know if I have that! I don’t think it could be just one whole album but you’d have to have one Frank Sinatra song, one Billie Holiday, an Elvis Presley ballad. You have to use bits and pieces that I can hear in my head. But never a whole record.”
Do you think men are afraid of you on a one-to-one basis?
“There’s two different fears. There’s the superficial fear that they would have just because they’d read all these things about me. And if they’ve had the bad fortune to believe everything, then they would have a lot of preconceptions about me and probably be afraid and be very guarded. Then there is the fear that they would have once they’d gotten to know me, which is that I am very much in charge of my life and a dominating and demanding person and a very independent person. A lot of men aren’t ready to deal with that.”
Are they not daunted by this image of the Olympian sexual athlete? They might imagine that it would be terrifying to sleep with you.
“I think that’s something a lot of men feel about me. They’re shocked when they find out I’m not. Everybody has their image that precedes them. My sexual image is looming out there in front of me. Everyone probably thinks that I’m a raving nymphomaniac, that I have an insatiable sexual appetite, when the truth is I’d rather read a book.”
Do you lecture boyfriends about condoms?
“I will lecture them if they refuse to wear them.”
Would you prefer an alternative to condoms?
“If there was one, hell yeah!” she enthuses excitedly. “They’re a drag. Such a drag. They interrupt everything. It’s like, Wait a second, wait a second. Do you have a rubber? I think I’ve left them in my coat! Aaargh! Then, the worst thing, they say no! And it’s, Oh God! Well … well now what! And then it’s, Well, sorry. You know the best people of them are ones who jusl have them, that are thinking and aware enough to have them. Preferably within easy reach but just to have them tells you a lot about somebody. But you’d he surprised how many men don’t carry them. Very surprised. There are a lot of stupid men and the thought just doesn’t occur to them because apparently a lot of women don’t demand that they wear them. They’re not great but they make sense. They’ve saved my life.”
What are you like when you’re in love?
“What am I like?” she says, opening her eyes wide in feigned disbelief. “Well, I’m … happy.”
Do you find it difficult to fall in love with people who aren’t famous or powerful?
“Well,” she thinks for a moment, “power is attracted to power and power threatens power. And certainly people in a similar position to me understand better what I have to do. So I think that’s probably a benefit. And anyway … I have. I’ve fallen in love with people who aren’t famous. The question is, can you maintain it? As long as the person has a sense of their own identity, that’s what’s important. What they do is irrelevant.”