"France is where I grew up, but Italy has my branches. Both of my parents are musicians, and in my family, music was another child. The music I grew up on is a lot of what’s on the cover album I just put out. It’s a bunch of songs I used to listen to as a teenager and play on my guitar—maybe the wrong way, but still playing, right? I get so much pleasure and have so much fun doing it. I’ll listen to anything from Willie Nelson to Serge Gainsbourg to Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan to Bauhaus to Charles Aznavour, The Stones, Maria Callas… Basically anything. [Laughs] I think music has probably built some of my subconscious.
At the time, I was modeling and would bring my guitar with me everywhere—the photoshoots, the fashion weeks, the collections. Everything. And then because we were working starting at 7:00AM, instead of going out, I would just play guitar in my bedroom. I like to sleep, and I like quiet time. So then, I started writing little poetries and melodies and finally started putting them together on my own. I’m a folk singer, so I like things acoustic and personal. It’s a miracle when people like something! I got very lucky because people were curious about my music because of modeling, even though my music has nothing to do with modeling. For stage fright, there isn’t much to do but wait. If it really gets bad, I’ll get a beer. [Laughs] But only one of course—you don’t want to be drunk on stage. That would be a drama.
I think The Clash had an incredible image, even though I don’t think they cared. Then you had some very sophisticated people like Blondie, who had the most incredible looks during the ’70s and ‘80s. Incredible clothes, incredible makeup. And then, I also like people like Prince with the most magical looks. They all had fun and they all worked a lot with their images. I think beauty is on the outside, but after a certain age, something else comes out from the inside. Lately, in show business, everything seems to be done to take the mystery away from life. I always would rather search for that—I need it somehow.
I do my hair and makeup myself when I go onstage. It’s part of my routine and I would say it takes about 30 minutes. After modeling for so many years, I learned a lot—I just don’t wear quite that much makeup every day. I do use a lot of professional products because I’m lucky enough to have a makeup artist so I can copy her. [Laughs] The new YSL Tatouage Matte Lip Stain is fantastic, I’m wearing that today. I like very natural cheek blush and I like a very light fresh gloss instead of heavy lipstick. When I don’t have such a great makeup artist around, I go very, very soft on my skin. When you’re 15 years old, you can cover yourself with makeup, but when you’re past 30, you can be lighter with your hand. It’s better to concentrate on having good skin. For instance, instead of using foundation, I would use a BB or CC cream. I like Erborian’s CC Cream—delicious smell. You spread it all over, it unifies your complexion, but doesn't cover you up. Maybe on the nose, I would use a little blot powder to avoid a sweaty look in my T-zone, and a very good moisturizer underneath.
I don’t wear peachy tones, but I am wearing an apple red Lipglass from MAC, which is my favorite. I use that on my lips, and the powder on my cheeks. I like cream blushes, but they’re not that easy to use. They’re always better when you have a makeup artist. When I’m alone, I don’t want to make a big smoosh. On eyes I use any dark shadow and blend it out softly. And I like Lancôme Doll Lashes Mascara very much—it makes your eyes very long.
When I was modeling, I had brows like Marlene Dietrich for about five years. I’m so glad they’ve grown back. I used RevitaLash on them—you do that that on brows and eyelashes and it really grows back. I can only use it once or twice a week, and even with that little amount, it really works. Then I’ll fill them in a little at the ends.
I like pharmacy creams with not too much smell. Ones with simple textures that are still very moisturizing, like Avène or La Roche Posay. I like the ones that are deeply moisturizing because my skin gets really dry. Before I go to a big event, maybe I’ll do a little mask. I like those Clarins patches you can put under the eyes. I’ll do a little detox mask, and after will follow it with a clay one. Maybe a little steam bath. Borghese is a wonderful brand, great products. It is very old-school but it smells so wonderful.
I have sensitive skin, so what I like is facial massage. It gives you a real glow, gets rid of puffiness, dryness, and it brings oxygen to your skin. My personal massage therapist lives in Paris—if you come to Paris I’ll tell you.
When I’m getting into music, I often have bangs. When I’m back into modeling or my real life—no, I don’t really wear them because they stick to your forehead. I have a very good hairdresser in Paris called Maxine. He’s great. I like my hair to be dark, but my hairdressers have been using products that are much less aggressive and when you wash it, the color washes away. I use an iron to style it before I go onstage to give the hairs a little movement. Just the ends, and not too straight, because my hair is already straight.
At the end of the night, I take a hot bath with some nice perfumes or oil. Lavender I love, as well as santal, and musk. I try to put a little essential oil and put a little arnica and relax. And maybe have a cold beer—in my bath. [Laughs]"
—as told to ITG
Carla Bruni photographed by Tom Newton on October 11, 2017.