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Madonna Interviews Mario Testino : Vogue

Madonna - Vogue / October 1998

T: In general I’ve always admired elegance. Elegant women. My parents weren’t rich, they were comfortable. My father worked very hard. He managed to make money. There were six children; he gave everything to his children so that we had the best schools, the best this, the best that, maybe beyond his means even. I remember him not buying for himself but buying everything for us. So I grew up in an environment of very chic, beautiful women. I guess I admired this sense of elegance and beauty and …

M: Style.

T: Style … a lot of that comes from my mother. She has always been a very stylish woman. She paid a lot of attention to her presence, her “look.” She’s not a vain woman; she’s a very kind woman. and she has fabulous charisma. People adore her. So, one didn’t take from the other. I was always fascinated by that. People have a tendency to believe that style comes with frivolity. I didn’t go into fashion photography because of photography; it was because of fashion, the idea of elegance. the looks. I haven’t had a role model as such. I admire you because, well, in a way you work like me. you work like a maniac. I admire people with a vision.

M: That’s passion.

T: I’ve never had that thing for watching a film star and going, “Oh, God!”

M: No! No! Me neither. That question always stumps me. People always ask me who was my role model and I always think, Well, it wasn’t anyone famous. … My Russian teacher because she was so stylish and she was so passionate and she would talk about things in class and her teeth would chatter and she was such an amazing force of nature — that’s the sort of thing that inspires me. Are there personalities that you haven’t photographed that you are dying to photograph?

T: You know, I would love to photograph Princess Diana’s elder son.

M: Oh. he’s gorg—

T: He’s very good-looking, and I …

M: There’s something about him.

T: I think he’s kept the wonderful side of her within him. He has a purity. I would like to capture that.

M: Well, I hope you get to photograph him. Do you think you’ll have to ask Prince Charles for permission?

T: No, I’ll wait until he’s older.

M: How old does he have to be to make his own decisions?

T: I think it’s eighteen. no?

M: That’s any minute now.

© Vogue