Interview with Laetitia Casta in OHLA September 29, 1999


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Q : As a teenager, were you interested in photographs, in fashion magazines?
LC : Not at all. When I was 15, like all girls, I dreamt a little of these things, but I couldn't have been less interested in it as a career. In fact, to be honest, I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Q : Previously, when you have talked about your first photo shoot, you used the expression 'it was terrible'.
LC : Terrible, no. But frankly, I did ask myself what I was doing there. I wasn't used to seeing all these pretty girls in the same place. There were 30, 40 of them, I don't know… All of them were amazing, incredible.

Q : You found them prettier than you?
LC: And the rest! In fact, I had never been described as beautiful. My parents never told me that I was the most beautiful. Never, at school, had anyone said to me 'you are very pretty' or something like that. So, with me amongst all those 30 girls. To me, it was obvious that I never had a chance. And so, again, I really asked myself what I was doing there.

Q : And how was the modelling session?
LC : Everybody was surprised by my size, and that I had arrived straight from school, with my satchel on my back. They said 'look at her over there, she's funny' And then, I didn't have a book showing previous modelling photos. I just had a little booklet with a few Polaroid's, and everybody died laughing. But I began to talk to them. I told myself 'even though they are laughing, I will stay as I am', with my character and personality, rather than just trying to be perfect. This is important. Beauty, it comes from inside, something that's in us all.

Q : You are ravishing, practically perfect. Isn't it easier for you to say this, than for many other women?
LC : Perfection, what is it exactly? Amongst all the many flowers, is one more perfect than all the others? No, one of them perhaps has a shape and colour that gives pleasure to some people, but that's not to say it is perfect. For me, you can't believe that everything happened easily. Once I began working, people said my bust was too big, that I was nice, but too short. Not perfect, in other words. Women you pass in the street aren't perfect, either. But it is this conception of beauty that I will always defend. When I started, people wanted me to change my teeth, and they wanted me to diet. But I refused. I said no, you don't understand me. I am going to stay just as I am, keeping my identity right by my side.

Q : Do you think that you owe this force of character and this determination you are describing, to the education your parents gave you?
LC: My mother, she is kind and generous. She gave us, and she continues to give us a great deal of love. A true mother, someone you can always count on. My father, he is very strong and determined, also very protective. I adore them both. They taught me to respect others, to stay as I am, and above all to give priority to the family and those that I love. These are the anchors in the Corsican character, and which give me the most help in my life. In this way, I don't think about my physical appearance. I think about what I am doing with my life, that's the difference.

Q : You're born in Normandy but you seem to be closer to Corsican people, which manifestly, you stand up for their values and their art of living.
LC : My father is Corsican, and I come here every year since I was very young; for Christmas, for summer holidays, etc. As soon as we have free time, it's quite simple, we come here to refresh. And it's true that I consider myself more as a Corsican than a Norman. To be Corsican, it's in the blood.

Q : You've talked about having a true passion for the mountain rivers. The rapport that you have with nature seems to be physical, emotional, almost sensual…
LC : I believe in having a rapport with the soil and the water, which others can get through religion. I don't need luxury to be happy. These are things that I believe in profoundly. They give me the opportunity to live life as I wish. Its enough for me to be in the mountains with some cheese, some bread.

Q : But the luxury that come from things around you, you know how to appreciate them.
LC : No. On the contrary, for me to know the things I really love, this is really important for me. And luxury puts me rather ill at ease, I feel like I'm a cat being given some shoes! Sometimes when I'm working I surprise, even shock, the make-up artist or the hairdresser when I insist on not having any lipstick or a complicated hairstyle. For me, all these things are like telling lies to yourself.

Q : Are you happy ?
LC: Yes

Q : Would you be as much happy as now if you hadn't that success you are living, and without the material comfort that comes with?
LC : Yes

Q : You have an older brother, Jean-Baptiste, and a younger sister, Marie-Ange. How did they live through your fame, and the mediatization of any of your doings?
LC: My parents make no distinction between us. Between the 3 of us, there is a very big complicity, we are very close. My sister, 9 years old, is a very intelligent little girl. She perfectly knows that my parents love her as much as my brother and me. From her birth, I looked after her a lot. So, it's a bit as if she has 2 moms. I think that Marie-Ange couldn't live without me, and me I couldn't imagine a life without her. Moreover, I told her that the day I'll leave the house, I'll leave her my bedroom. And she is very happy of it and now she just can't wait for me to go !

Q : You started very young. Your parents have never said they were afraid for you, fearing the consequences of sudden fame, fearing for your balance?
LC : Both my parents were afraid. It was an area none of us knew, a different planet. They feared that I would be unhappy, that someone would harm me, would tell me lies, would do stupid things. But you know, I was a little afraid too. I thought everyday of those girls who were unhappy, and I didn't want to suffer myself. I ended up making it a kind of personal battle: they wouldn't get me, I would remain as I am, no matter what.

Q : Do you think that you have often been compelled to say "No" ?
LC: Yes, naturally. No to everything false, no to all these men who think they can get everything with power and money, no when I'm asked to part from my family or to break with my roots, and no to those who would like to change what I am in reality.

Q : The image that you have today is of the ideal woman, but which goes against the stick-like models that the fashion world and the magazines tend to want to impose onto women of all ages.
LC : But even if I desperately wanted to be anorexic, I couldn't do it. I love everything, I am a gourmet of everything, a gourmet of life. I eat life. Besides, as a general rule, I don't pay any attention to my body. But I watch my head, because I work with my head.

Q : Do you feel of being a sort of role-model for lots of young girls?
LC : No, no. I absolutely don't want to be a role-model. It would deprive me of a little of my freedom.

Q : You matured very quickly, and you grew up amongst many adults. Have you kept up links with others of your own age, particularly with your school friends?
LC: I didn't have many friends at school.

Q : Why?
LC : I don't know, I was in a world of my own. I had a friend, my best friend in fact, and I still know him. He came to see me recently, and I realised, while talking to him, that at school he had been my only true friend. And he told me: 'that's because at school, you were just as you are now'.

Q : And why was this?
LC : At that time, it didn't interest me to be with the other girls, discussing girly things. I preferred to be quiet, to be alone. I don't want to say that I was different, but I had my family, this friend. That was sufficient for me, to be like that. There are people who need to be with others all the time, not me.

Q : But your choice of career means that all the time, loads of people are around you.
LC : Yes, but once I've finished my work, and it's truly finished, I don't see anyone. Lots of people need to go out at night, to be followed by their courtiers. Me, I'm not afraid to be on my own. On the contrary. In fact, I love to be alone.

Q : You have a very romantic concept of a family, of marriage. Is this exactly the example that your parents have given you?
LC : Of course! My parents met at the age of 16, and they will never part. It was the first love for both of them. Me, I see that everything around me is normal. But its true that it would have been much more difficult to believe in all that with divorced parents. I think that their example has given me great strength.

Q : Your beauty, your career, doesn't it make things a little difficult in relationships with men?
LC : I think that these relationships are difficult for all women.

Q : And what are the difficulties?
LC : Generally, it isn't easy to respect someone for what they are, rather than for what they represent. And then, it isn't always straightforward, I think, to find someone who is totally sincere, someone who will love you with the same strength throughout all the stages of your life, even when you aren't as young as you used to be, and your skin isn't quite so soft, for example. We all have the same problems, and we all have the same dreams, it seems to me. In my work, I meet many men who have money, who have power. But none of them have ever managed to move me.

Q : Which qualities will you require from the man who, one day, will share your life ?
LC : He'll have to be unlike me.

Q : Why ?
LC : Because it's precisely for that reason that I will love him. Because he will be different, because he will be able to teach me different things than those I already know.

Q : And did you ever feel embarrassed, sometimes, when some men stare at you ?
LC : Frankly, I don't give a damn. If they want to stare, they stare. Me, I am in my world, I don't even see them. The only important thing for me, is to be with sincere persons, with people who touch me. It's like ordinary life. I'm always looking for different things, beautiful, little and real different things. There is a certain number of values which are important for me, that's all.

Q : Do you think you'll be able to stop everything just for a big love with a man ?
LC : Don't you think that precisely, it wouldn't mean really loving him ? I'll stop that job only when I need it or when I am pleased to stop it. How can I tell you ? What I'm living now doesn't suit at all to the life that I imagine, that I want. I rather feel it like an experience which will allow me to become a strong woman, bloom, sure to have done what she had to do. I don't worry about it, I'm not scared. I'm preparing myself a new life which will start sooner or later, with a man, with children.

Q : As a teenager, you already looked very feminine. Did you take to the physical changes easily while you were still so young?
LC : I was a little fearful. I began to change when I was 12 years old. At school, my bust was a little bigger than the others, and I didn't accept the fact of having breasts, because in my head, I was still a little girl. I didn't think I was beautiful at all. When I saw myself naked in a mirror, I was almost ashamed. I wanted to hide all that. And that has remained in me. I have an almost morbid decency. For instance, when I'm doing photos for swimsuits or when I have to change my clothes between shots, I want nobody around me. I have the same sense of decency towards men than towards money or material things. I think it scares me.

Q : Are you afraid of time which is flying, of marks that will appear on your face or on your body, in 10, 15 or 20 years ?
LC : No, not at all, because I don't have the impression to work with my face or my body.

Q : But rather with your mind, your heart ?
LC: Yes, that's it. I always worked with my heart, honestly, I'm like that. So, the rest.

Q : Don't you get pleasure from looking at the photos taken of you?
LC : I look at them once, usually at the time they are taken. But afterwards, never.

Q : How did you react when you learnt that the American magazine "Rolling Stone" awarded you as the sexiest woman in the world ?
LC : It made me laugh, because it's not the truth, in my eyes.

 From Guenther, THANKS!


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