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American Woman

by Eva Mendes, for Violet Grey, July 2014. Photos by Guy Aroch.

By year's end, America may have a female presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, and actress Liv Tyler is an unabashed supporter of this kind of progress. Tyler embraced the role of unofficial campaign poster girl for VIOLET GREY's July cover story when she slipped on this cheeky t-shirt in support of Hillary, in support of women. Politics and beliefs aside, Tyler champions fellow women- whether they reside in the White House or Hollywood- and manages to assuage any controversy with her genuinely kind heart. Photographed in upstate New York on an afternoon by a quiet lake, Tyler traded her all-black Manhattan wardrobe for a pair of her "lover's" vintage Levi's, all the while projecting the serene aura and charm that has captivated her fans since Empire Records.

The easygoing attitude on set may have been due, in part, to Tyler's relationship with makeup artist Genevieve Herr, who has been responsible for Liv's makeup since Tyler first appeared in Hollywood. (Tyler affectionately refers to her work as the "Genevieve special," the kind of self-esteem-boosting artistry no one can match.) Or it could be that Liv will always just be Liv, the free-spirited girl in the convertible first seen alongside Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith's Crazy music video. It's her giggly, hands-in-the-air attitude that first entranced fellow actress and friend, Eva Mendes, who at the time of the video's release was just another Liv Tyler fan.

Though they have only known each other for six years, Eva and Liv share a close relationship that is as loving and comfortable as it gets. Connecting over the phone, as two girlfriends with wildly busy schedules often do, Eva posed a series of questions to her friend and allowed VIOLET GREY to listen in on their intimate conversation as they discussed Liv's journey from film to television (HBO's The Leftovers), to the competitive nature of Hollywood, to her beauty essentials.



LIV TYLER: Hi my love! Are we alone? This call is kind of like our life, acting like no one is watching but there are paparazzi hiding behind the mailbox.
EVA MENDES: I just Googled you in anticipation, which is something I've never done before. I'm sorry, but I had to...
I have totally Googled you!


You have?! Well, I Googled you and I felt a little dirty about it. I came across all these funny headlinesóbecause it's hilarious that these are even considered headlinesóthat say things like 'single mother Liv Tyler dashes out of her New York apartment with wet hair and no makeup.' Isn't that a stretch?
I was dashing, for once they got it right! Especially since I'm doing this show now [HBO's The Leftovers]; I wear all white and no makeup. In the morning I get in the shower, wash my hair and do all my crazy beauty things, and throw on a hoodie and some sweatpants. The paparazzi get me when I'm running across the street to get in the van. But what they don't see is that I put my Bliss eye patches on in the car and wear them all the way to set.


I have been seeing all these amazing posters for your show [The Leftovers] lately. I think that the best roles for women right now are on television, but I've had this old-fashioned idea that you can get stuck in a rut [on T.V.], going to the same place every day. You've totally changed my mind.
Television is totally different than film. You basically sign onto a show for years, but they might kill you off. You're basically committing to the idea of not knowing anything. It was difficult to wrap my head around it at first. I love movies and cinema, but the kind of movies I like to make are so bizarre and artistic and weird that they're making them less and less. David Lynch isn't making movies anymore, Robert Altman isn't alive...


I was at this intimate dinner party a few years ago and I met this beautiful Italian actress, Dorotea Mercuri. She was telling me about the challenges of being an actress in Italy and I was telling her about Hollywood. We were sort of commiserating about the lack of films we like to do, when she very glamorously took a puff from her cigarette and said, 'Eva, what are we gonna do, huh? Fellini's dead.'"
I've had moments like that the past couple of years! I've realized the business I came up in doesn't really exist anymore. I got to work with all these amazing people and then I pushed it away for a while because I wanted to have a family and stability. Then when I came back I had a lot of trouble connecting to the roles [available]. I have always liked weird things and what I love about The Leftovers is that it's sort of like The Twilight Zone.


So the way you describe [your character's] looks, she wouldn't be shopping The Shelves on VIOLET GREY?
Nuh uh, girl. I go to work with no makeup and they still take me down, make me a little dirty, it's been really liberating actually. But you know I'm shopping The Shelves all the time.


So what are all these 'crazy beauty things' you do in the morning?
I do really hot baths with different salts and oils a few times a week and exfoliate. I also believe in going to We Care, doing a week of fasting, colonics, and sleeping a lot.


You're so good with your cleanses, I wish I was that dedicated.
It's so hard. I could never be like that all the time. To not have a glass of wine and eat my little chicken nuggets? You have to live a little. I believe that beauty comes from the inside out. There's no cream that can fix you if you're not beautiful on the inside.


Being such a 'girl's girl,' how do you feel about the age we live in now? I call it the 'who wore it best' time. I feel like women are still competing with each other in the business, for what, I don't know, because we can do it all now.
That's not my experience, just because all my friends are people I've known forever, like you, or Kate [Hudson], and we love and support each other. It's a competitive world I guess, but all we can do is feel our best. I'm not a competitive person, I love women, I'm intrigued by them. I think women are fascinating and complex.


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