Hall seems to have the world firmly by the uh, tail. She’s still controversial, yet her Texas beauty is still legendary by anyone’s yardstick, and she’s a gracious reminder that living well is indeed the best revenge. Just looking at her, she is living proof that 49 is indeed the new 32. She’s lived a heck of a life so far and the fact that there’s not much distance between fast and stop is seen in her breakneck schedule. She’s been conquering the London stage this fall in the revival of High Society. She famously once said about acting in her typical fashion, “I have discovered what it's about, I want to do it more and more. I'm hooked on it. It's better than sex. You can do it eight times a week and still you don't get pregnant.’ And, as they say, it got her to Here. And Here is pretty great these days, since the reviews for both the play and Hall have been outstanding.
She’s developed a legion of admirers, to be sure. Everyone seems to have a Jerry story. One of them is Dominick Dunne, the artful columnist of Vanity Fair, who told me recently, “I've always wanted to know Jerry Hall better than I do. Over the years, I've met her a few times, always in very smart English circumstances - at the Earl of Pembroke's ball at Wilton House, and at Lord Colin Tennant's ball on the beach in Mustique in honor of the late Princess Margaret. Each time we shared a good laugh. I love her looks. She has real presence about her. I admire the classy way she handled the very public ending of her very public marriage to Mick Jagger. But I've never had a real conversation with her. Some day I hope to be seated next to her at dinner. I'm sure we'd have a great time together.” Dallas businessman Brad Kelly recalls the time she crashed one of his parties in the early 1990’s. “She arrived with our mutual friend Twinkle Underwood Bayoud. Jerry’s long blonde mane and even longer legs stepped out of the limousine and when she walked into my home, every man in the room was instantly salivating over her. She seemed unapproachable to many of them that would have remained the case until she dove into my famous shrimp dip and well, immediately put everyone at ease by becoming one of the gang.”
Hall will undoubtedly add to the many stories about her life, and confides, “I’m writing another book.” It’s her way to set the record straight of what’s happened since the last book she wrote at the age of 29. If there’s a secret to Jerry Hall’s success, she states that it might be from advice her mother gave her at an early age, “She told me I should ‘be a maid in the living room. A cook in the kitchen. And a whore in the bedroom.’ I told her that’s fine, but I’m going to hire the first two.” In fact, in Jerry Hall style, that line has recently made the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations.
And as I bid adieu to Hall, she tells me she’ll be in Texas performing in March, if I wasn’t able to return to London to see her in High Society before then. She purrs, “You’ll come back stage and have a glass of champagne with me. Promise you will.” I promised, realizing one never breaks a promise to a woman like Jerry Hall.
Hall Pass – Q&A
Jerry, this is our Luxe issue. What defines luxury to you?
I think luxury has to do with quality of things being well made.
Luxury, I would also think, is a great role like I have in High Society.
It is. I wear fabulous copies of Dior dresses and fabulous jewels.
You’ve been on TV, film and stage – what’s so compelling for actors about theatrical work?
It’s soooo glamorous, darling. Having an audience. And the West End is fabulous. We are at the Shaftsbury, which has 1400 seats. Eight performances a week, for five months. God, I love adrenaline. In theatre there is a real magic that happens. It’s that suspension of belief – you weave the web with the audience involved. And you get different audience reactions every performance. It’s a great ongoing learning process for the craft of acting. For an actor, there is no better.
I hear you hold the Guinness world record of the most theatrical appearances in one night – tell me about that.
I was wild and we filmed it so we’d have proof. I did six West End plays in one night – to promote tourism for the theatre district. I did Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fame, Blood Brothers, and My One and Only. All in one night. I traveled by motorcycle between each one to make it happen.
Are you still a contributing editor of Tatler magazine, my favorite Brit publication?
I am, and I love having my name on the masthead. I wrote a piece for them about a spiritual retreat with Deepak Chopra in New Mexico. It was quite a comedy. We ate beans for a week. I took my twin sister, who was just divorced at the time. It was our loony spiritual quest.
Most people don’t know you are a twin. Did you play pranks on your dates as teenagers?
We did. Our voices sounded alike, so we’d say weird things to the others’ boyfriend on the telephone. We even switched characters.
Let’s talk about your role in High Society – it’s a classic and everyone should see it when they are in London, right?
I play Mrs. Seth Lord, the mother of Tracy Lord, the main character. The cast is wonderful. A big chorus line – we even have dancing waiters. And lots of men. And I dance in it! It is such hard work and quite exhausting.
It’s really a play about upper-class mores in prewar America. To you, how drastically has that changed from today?
Very drastically. I think good manners are important. I’m strict with my children and I always get compliments them. Really, good manners are just thoughtfulness for others. It’s not just about knives and forks. Pete Townsend told me to write about etiquette - and I might.
In High Society, you play a wife whose husband returns to her. What was your inner motivation for the role?
It’s really about love and forgiveness. Set in the 1950’s, it’s a gentle story for nowadays when we have such a troubled world. The songs are pure Cole Porter and stand the test of time.
Yes, that great Cole Porter score – what’s your favorite song from the play?
True Love. Say It With Gin. I Love Paris. Well, Did You Ever?Riding High. I adore them all.
And I understand you’ve worked with vocal coach for the role – does that help with your onstage confidence?
It really did – it helped my confidence. I’m doing my best and they all seem to like it.
And you also did a spoken word album, I hear.
I did! It was a country recitation by Rachel Fuller, who is Pete Townsend’s girlfriend. – It’s called Cigarettes and Housework. He said ‘I wrote this about you and Mick. And it’s about what happens about a dining room table.’ It debuted at Austin’s South By Southwest Festival and Billboard wrote it was one of their top 10 favorites about the festival that year.
Speaking of favorites, I love your show, Kept. Do you, um, believe in younger men/more mature women dalliances?
To me, everyone can do what they like. Experience is much more fun, darling.
And I hear you are dating again.
I am dating. Very happily dating.
Jerry, fashion insiders tell me you are becoming a fashion maven with your own line of hosiery… why hosiery?
Yes, I love stockings. The line’s called Jerry Hall Stockings by Charnos. They’re very, very glamorous. I designed stockings with seams, some with hearts with go up the seam. And red lace, too. They hold up on the leg and don’t cut into the skin. We’ve already sold 40,000 pairs in England. And a percentage of the sales go to breast cancer care.
I know you get back to Texas, and a friend of mine once spotted you at the Gage Hotel in west Texas. What do you love most about that area?
I’ve been out there several times. It’s a miracle out there with those Marfa lights. There are so many talented artists and I’ve bought a lot of unusual art. I’ve taken the children and we took long trail rides. Texas has those wide open spaces that, to me, are very soul expanding.