French Elle Interview

As promised, after the jump you can find the English translation of Natalie’s French Elle interview.

Thanks to Carlotto, Anne-Sohpie and Iza.

She is sublime in the movie of the beginning of the year “Black Swan”, she expects her first child and she embodies the lovely muse of the new perfume Miss Dior Chérie in front of Sofia Coppola’s camera. Natalie Portman, more radiant than ever, tells us her engaged eco-freak’s beauty routine.

After the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, she could well win her first Oscar in Hollywood. And she is expecting, sublimely fulfilled (*almost “in full bloom”, it clearly refers to her baby bump), her first child with her fiancé, the French choreographer Benjamin Millepied. In spring, she will be the new muse of Miss Dior Chérie campaign. Natalie is already THE woman of the year : the revelation of “Black Swan”- Darren Aronofsky ultra-black masterpiece in which she plays a double ballerina haunted by the demons of perfection – and the quintessence of elegance for Dior : she embodies the Parisian chic and romanticism.

In the advert, directed by Sofia Coppola, she plays the romantic in a very Nouvelle Vague set to the tempo of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s sweet words (*love words softly whispered)… This fan of our national firemen ball (*French reference to Bastille Day) that she discovered in Paris last summer, eco-freak down to her vegan leather shoes, poses for the first time for a luxury brand. Meeting with a super-talented 29 years old actress (she is a graduate of the prestigious university of Harvard) who dreams to make a movie one day with the Coen brothers.”

Did Nina’s role –an over-perfectionist and anorexic dancer– in Black Swan change your attitude toward physique and beauty?

This role is without a doubt the most demanding, both physically and emotionally, of my whole career. When I was little, from 5 to 13, I took dance lessons every day after school as well as on Saturday afternoons. I had thus a basic grounding, my knowledge of classical music in particular was very helpful [she did most of the dance scenes of the film, ed.]. Although it had been fifteen years since my body had to work that hard!

I started training a year before shooting, three hours a day, then five hours for the last six months, and up to eight hours each day in the end: floor barre, running, swimming! I lived like any other dancer. I had never tried such a transformation before. This crazy discipline was necessary in order to become engrossed in Nina’s character and understand her neurotic world. This is an obsessional world where beauty is worth any pain. The scene at the osteopath is true, these unremitting trainings did hurt me. Ballerinas dance in pain, I am the direct opposite of that! This utter quest for perfection, for beauty and supernatural bodies –no eating, no sleeping–, is nothing like me.

Speaking of which, what kind of girl are you in your everyday life?

I am much nicer to myself! [Burst out laughing.] I don’t punish myself: if I ache somewhere, I get a massage or an acupuncture session… And I am not a perfectionist at all. I’m rather relaxed and hedonistic. I like enjoying life, pleasing myself, having a good time with my friends. I am fond of music, hip-hop and rap music in particular. I listen to a lot of tracks to become engrossed in my characters’ life. In short, I love letting myself go!

Yet, is there any beauty tips from the training you did for Black Swan which you still applied afterward?

Mary Helen Bowers –who trained me– explained to me that tiredness is actually often a sign of dehydration. Now I drink at least three litres of water a day! No coffee. I drink mint tea in the morning. I am not very athletic and I would be incapable of carrying on following such a training! In Los Angeles, I run at the Griffith Park, near my house. I also swim three times a week. I’ve always been eating healthily, that’s my way of remaining fit.

You’re a vegetarian since your childhood. Have you been raised in a very healthy family?

“I’ve been a vegetarian since this age of 9 when I understood we killed animals to eat them. That they didn’t naturally die. Last year I read the book of Froer “Should we eat animals?” and it moved me deeply. This is how I became a vegan. It’s a very hard diet and difficult to live it outside my home. That’s why I’m anew vegetarian. When I’m in Paris I love to go to Guen Mai (a vegetarian restaurant in Saint Germain des Prés). In L.A I have my own vegetable garden and I make my own compost. I have not been raised in a strict family, as a child I could eat chocolate, sugar….but in the Israelite tradition you eat vegetables (crudités) at each meal. My mother is a very good cooker.”

You are an ecologist. Do you consider yourself as an “eco-beautista”?

I read books -such as The future of Life of Wilson- which had great impact on me and how I live. I often go to the Treehugger website to find alternative ways to live. I try to apply the less consuming process and the recycling process to beauty. I consume bio products such as Joëlle Ciocco’s make-up remover and the moisturizing cream of the English brand Pai. My last discovery is the non toxic polish nails. Outside the red carpet I don’t make up a lot. My girl friends will tell you I’m a very cool chick, kind of girl to stay at home dressed with a shirt and jeans. And with wet hair (I don’t use the hair-dryer). I’m the opposite of my grandma who is always very well-dressed and have a lot of make up. But when I’m on stage/red carpet I’m just like her: that’s my Spiderman side!

Do you feel that your beauty gives you some power?

I don’t see things like that. I don’t wake up in the morning and say to myself “I’m beautiful!”. But it’s true that I’m more comfortable with myself than before. I accept myself as I am. I remember when my cheek beauty spot was photoshopped as if it was defect!. Now I ask it to not be removed in the pictures. That’s a huge difference between the US and the french beauty standards. I Hollywood beauty rhymes with “slick”. You have to be the same as the others. French girls, on the contrary, know how to make her singularity an advantage. I feel like the European way of thinking. I can’t bare eternal things. I love evolution. That’s why I love having fun with my hair, I love trying new things. As a teenage girl I dyed it in pink to be like the girl in “Run, Lola run”. I shaved it for V for Vendetta. Hair is the best way to become someone else in a short-lived time.

How did you solve the dilemma to be an ecologist and the muse of a luxury brand?

“For me Dior is the extreme luxury, it embodies the parisian chic. Who is not dreaming of being this french beauty both natural and sexy? We, American girls, we all have in mind beauties such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve…But it’s true that I thought a lot before saying yes to Dior. I couldn’t have signed with a brand which didn’t share the same values as mine. I did some research of how Dior grows its flowers without destroying the local ecosystem. And as I don’t wear leather nor fur, Dior drew just for me leather tanned shoes. So I’m totally okay with myself. We already have done a Finca project together. It’s very important engagement for me. We also have the idea of a partnership with an association fighting for the education of underprivileged children.