Monday, January 31, 2011

'Grazia’ magazine full interview with Taylor - 01/30/2011


Taylor Momsen’s Grazia photoshoot hasn’t even begun and the police are on their way. The flashing sirens aren’t here for Taylor, though – dispete the fact that 17-year-old musician and actress has spent the past year posing with guns, extolling the virtues of masturbation and wearing outfits so skimpy they would make Lady Gaga blush. Actually, they’re here for the paparazzi, who followed Taylor to the shoot, and are screaming her name and jumping over garden fences to ger near to her. Taylor scowls on the doorstep as the chaos unfurls, but can’t help but turn for half a second to give them the picture they want.

It’s difficult to believe, given her racoon-like black eyeliner, waist-length blong extensions, stocking and stripper shoes, but not long ago, Taylor was angelic child star. She did cutesy commercials and played the adorable Cindy Lou in ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’. In 2007, she won the role of ‘Gossip Girl’ sweetheart Jenny Humphrey and, as recently as 2008, her red-carpet style was all dimples and stonewashed denim – as shiny and wholesome as a Disney Mouseketeer.

Then something changed. Taylor sacked her ‘Gossip Girl’ provided stylist, cute her hair into ad edgy mullet (a sudden change that had to be written into the script) and look breaks from filming to tour with her band, The Pretty Reckless. Rumours circulated about brattish on-set behaviour: she told journalists she loved porn, she wrote songs about drugs and sex, and flashed her breasts on stage. In true spinal tap style, one of her band members claimed she set fire to her dog’s neutered testicles. So far, so rock’n'roll cliché. But given that she is just 17, it’s hard not to feel a wee bit Mary Whitehouse about Taylor. Where are her parents? Who is on-hand to stop her from becoming another Li-Lo-style casualty? And what about her growing army of tweenage fans – the 12-year-old girls who have started dressing like her heroine?

And yet, in the midst of the moralising, Taylor has received two of the biggest fashion compliments ever. Madonna chose her to model the teen line she designed with 14-year-old daughter Lourdes, while John Galliano made her the face of his perfume, hailing Taylor a ‘romantic young rock chick’ who could be ‘the new Kate Moss’. However, just after we meet, unconfirmed reports suggest Madonna is now on the hunt for a new face for the Material Girl brand – with sources suggesting Taylor might have been edgier than Madonna bargained for (Taylor’s spokesperson says the deal was only for six months and came naturally to an end).

With a characteristic roll of the eyes, Taylor tells me that most of the controversy surrounding her is ‘total bullsh*t’. She also insists the Gossip Girl set isn’t mired in rivalry and arguments. If anything she says, the producers have been incredibly supportive, allowing her to duck in and out to tour. Yes, she did flash her breasts at a gig, but that was just puttin’ on a show. And anyway, “The gig was for 21 years and over – i’m now the one who put it on YouTube for 12-year-olds to see”. But did she really set fire to her dog’s balls? “I have female dog. Yes, i am a bit of a pyromaniac – but my dog doesn’t have balls”. Well, that’s cleared that up.

Dry and laconic, wearing a vintage Nirvana t-shirt, skinny jeans, super-high platforms and, erm, a dog collar, Taylor doesn’t seem like any other teen star, nor does she come from a showbiz family. Hermother, a former air stewardess who is now a housewife, was inspired by her love of fashion to start Taylor modeling at the age of two – which she has since said ‘took away her childhood’.

Another problem, Taylor says, was her ‘super-repressed’ catholic school. “That was something i had to overcome, actually – they really f**king make you feel like sex is wrong, but i think it’s natural”. Indeed, in a very Madonna-esquemove, her most recent music video sees Taylor writhing in her underwear across a scene inspired by The Last Supper.

Although her mum used to chaperone her on set, these days Taylor admits she doesn’t see her family much. But the star insists her parents don’t worry about her outfits. “My style’s not for everyone – i’m an extremist. But my mum loves fashion, so she gets it. My dad is the one who introduced me to rock’n'roll, playing me The Beatles and The Who. They know that sex and rock’n'roll go together – you can’t have one without the other”.

Indeed, having exorcised her catholic school guilt, Taylor couldn’t be happier to talk about sex, a little smile playing around her lips, surely knowing her comments are bound to shock. “My best friend’s my vibrator” she says. “I don’t date anyone so why not? Guys can masturbate – why it makes people uncomfortable. Sex is a part of the life – it shouldn’t be so scandalous!”. Later, she tells me she gets her now infamous stripper shoes from stortes like Hustler, adding: “I’m a big fan of [porn baron] Larry Flynt”.

Perhaps it’s no surprise Madonna – a woman who truly understands the power of scandal – approached Taylor to be the face of the clothing line she launched with Lourdes. “Ha! What the F**k do you say to that?” smiles Taylor. “I don’t get startruck; i wasn’t nervous. But i’m now going to say it wasn’t totally cool. Madonna was so down to earth – the shot was very chilled and collaborative”. Lourdes, Taylor says, was very together, very involved with the clothes. She and Madonna would clash occasionally over the looks, and it was 50/50 over who would win. “Lourdes is super-talented – now she’s training to be a dancer at a school in New York City.”

At the time, there were concerns in the press that Taylor could be a bad influence on Lourdes – were they justified? “I probably am bad influence”, Taylor sighs. “The other day, this reporter brought his 12-year-old daughter to an interview. She was looking at me, open-mouthed, like: I want stripper shoes, daddy!. He hated me. But i’m now saying, “be like me.” I hope girls read what is say in interviews – they sould just be themselves.” She says matter-of-factly, “They wouldn’t want to be like me. I’m crazy. I’m f**king out of my mind. I’ve been told i’m out of my mind since i was 11.” This madness is why touring is so good for her. “I’m really shy and guarded – i’ve led a gypsy life, always working. I’ve never had friends and i don’t like to be around big groups of people. But the band are like a family – we get along so well it’s weird. Half of what i say is sarcastic, or bullsh*t – it doesn’t always translate. They get what i’m talking about”.

While it is undeniably weird to see this tiny girl strike provocative poses in front of her band (a bunch of bearded, grizzled muso types who look at least a decade older), i’s clear the band is the first place Taylor has felt comfortable and accepted – and a far cry from Hollywood auditions and Gossip Girl. Still, it’s difficult to know where the teenage bravado stops and the rock’n'roll behavior begins. She says her record is ‘totally honest’, but it’s packed with tales of sex and drugs. Has that really been her experience? Hornestly? At 17? ‘Well, she shifts, i’ve had a very different, interesting life. Still, she has been working non-stop since the age of two. Whe has she had time for hedonism? “You amazingly find the time” she says, enigmatically. Hmm.
So is Taylor Momsen a drug-addled wild child, heading for a Lindsay Lohan-style meltdown? Or is she a focused musician playing up a spot of teenage rebellion? After my day with Taylor, i think the reality is somewhere she’ll grow up to be Madonna or Courtney Love is anyone’s guess.

thanks to Taylor-Momsen.Net


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