Jerry Hall recalls lunches with philosophers in Paris, the pageantry of Studio 54 - and turning down Salvador Dalí

 

Which photographer do you think took the best pictures of you?

I've been really lucky. I've worked with the greatest photographers of our time: Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Irving Penn. But I think my favourite photos were with Norman Parkinson. He took wonderful pictures.

Do you have any of your modelling shots on display at home?

No, I avoid having pictures of myself on the wall. I have lots of pictures of my children everywhere: I like looking at them.

And you have quite the art collection...

I've always loved art and I've had a lot of friends who are artists. I'm a big fan of Tracey Emin; I love her work. I like old things, too. I've got bits of old Roman mosaic tiles and photographs of the Indians by [Edward S] Curtis and some of David Bailey's iconic images. I just love beautiful things.

You've sat for Lucian Freud and Ed Ruscha, among other painters. Is it a different skill to be painted than it is to be photographed?

Well, that's interesting. It's similar in the beginning because you're finding what it is the artist wants you to do; you're finding the pose. But the thing about a painting is that it takes so much longer. You develop a much more intimate relationship with the artist. I've been painted by Andy Warhol six times, and I loved him.

What happened to those paintings?

One is in the Andy Warhol Museum and one is in [Roman] Abramovich's dining room, which is exciting. I have no idea where the others are.

So you watch over Roman as he eats; fantastic. Was Studio 54 as crazy as they say it was?

It was great fun. It was very fashion-orientated, we spent hours getting our looks right. It was spectacular; a pageantry of amazing fashion. And it was a wonderful period – people from all over the world going to this one place.

So when was the last time you found yourself in a club?

Too long ago to remember.

What attracted you to the Cancer Research UK campaign?

I'm quite keen on recycling and I do have an awful lot of clothes, as do both of my daughters. We're always having to recycle them, and to be able to give them up for a good cause makes you feel that little bit less guilty the next time you go shopping.

I read that you once had lunch with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir?

Yes, I did when I was younger in Paris. They were fascinating. They loved hearing about my small town in Texas and going to the rodeo and all that. I used to love Paris, you'd run into all sorts of amazing people. But it was a smaller world then. I also used to hang out with Salvador Dalí.

And did he ever paint you?

He didn't paint me, but he did want to film me nude running through his garden wrapped in white chiffon. I didn't feel comfortable doing it, but I wish I had.

You were signed as a model while sunbathing on the beach in St Tropez, aged 16. If you could go back and give that young Jerry one piece of life advice, what would it be?

I wouldn't change a thing; it's been fabulous.

Biography

Jerry Hall, 57, was born in Texas and began modelling at the age of 16. She was married to Mick Jagger, has four children, and is currently fronting TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK’s Give Up Clothes For Good campaign; tkmaxx.com

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