Q&A: Liberty Ross
During the run up to the cam girl inspired Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down project in 2005, Liberty Ross answered the public's questions about her career and the project.
During the run up to the cam girl inspired Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down project in 2005, Liberty Ross answered the public's questions about her career and the project.
Maria, West Yorkshire: Hello Liberty, when u were working to a hectic schedule at the peak of modelling, how did u manage to still have time to yourself when you're constantly surrounded by people and movement? Did u ever find that it was ever too much ? (Sorry - so many q's!!) Thanks!
Liberty Ross: To be honest I had very little time to myself – only this past year when I decided to have a baby did I really have time for me and my family and friends. It’s been amazing and good for me to have a breather and reflect on the past few years of madness. As a model there is so little planning in ones life – not like a photographer or stylist who have weeks to prep a job – girls can be confirmed literally at the last minute. There have been numerous times when my agents call and say, 'tonight you are flying to NY for a 9am shoot tomorrow' and it’s the first you have heard of it. Plus you may have only just got back from there, you ping pong back and forth over the Atlantic the whole time, it’s a pretty crazy way of life. You need very understanding friends as you are constantly blowing people out! And yes, being poked and prodded every day by hair, make up, stylists and photographers, as you say, can also be exhausting – I find that particularly during the shows. Tiring yet fun to see so many yous and transform into so many different characters.
Burgundy, Africa: Hi Liberty, what do you think of criticism? How do you take it and do you like it when you are criticised? (since you are a public figure, i assume you do get many people commenting you either good or bad)
Liberty Ross: As you say criticism is something that comes with the job, whether good or bad, I generally don’t mind what people have to say, it’s something you have to distance yourself from in a way and remember that people are judging you simply at face value. If I took every criticism to heart I’m not sure I would still be doing this!
Sarah Doukas, London: What's your favourite creative medium? What has the greatest influence on your style?
Liberty Ross: Hi Sarah! My favourite creative medium would have to be photography as that is what I know and love but I think I could get more and more into film particularly after my fragments project! The greatest influence on my style I think is my mum. I totally trust her judgment and only really enjoy shopping when I am with her.
Kiki, London: Hey Liberty, what is your favourite place on Earth? What would you call 'your idea of paradise?'
Liberty Ross: My favourite destination is east Africa, it's the most inspiring, beautiful place full of amazing people - I love it. My idea of paradise would be being somewhere there with all my family enjoying life to the fullest.
Dodie: I just wanted to say how much I enjoy signing in everyday to see what you are up to next in Fragments of Me! The project is so clever, witty and inspiring, how do you do it Liberty how do you have so many ideas?
Liberty Ross: Oh thanks - I am so glad you are enjoying it! The problem is too many ideas and not enough time to do them all - I am really loving this and it's the first proper project I have done since the birth of my baby so it is really refreshing and exciting, thanks so much for your support.
Anonymous : Do you feel erotic in your clothes more than out of your clothes ?
Liberty Ross: No definitely not! When I look at my work that becomes very clear, I always start fully clothed but by the end of the shot I am usually pretty much naked, it's ridiculous.
Chris, Paris: Hi-Liberty, six months ago I met a skinny french woman and ran away to Paris (we married 2 weeks ago) have you ever ran away from anything or anyone? And was it better at your destination?
Liberty Ross: Great, congratulations! I can’t say I have ever ran away from anything or one but the best feeling of escape I can remember is actually going on my honeymoon, we left after quite a large chaotic wedding and travelled around Africa for a month – it was incredible – like being on another planet altogether, I can’t wait to go back there. It was also really invigorating moving from London to LA 6 months pregnant, I could really focus on my husband, belly and being in one place for more than 24 hours – it was bliss just slowing down completely and not having to answer phones non stop and run from airport to airport. I completely recharged my batteries and got hold of my own life again. It was a great feeling!
Jack Scope, Los Angeles: Andy Warhol once said that 'beauty is a form of intelligence'. I'm not sure exactly in what context he meant that and what exactly he meant by that but it does sound to me that it is logical and makes sense often. what does beauty and intelligence have in common in your experience as a high profile and intelligent model?
Liberty Ross: I think intelligent women are beautiful women but I would say that you have to be pretty intelligent to make it as a model, it’s a big game and you have to know how to play it.
Ignacio, Chile: Hi Liberty, How was your experience working with Ozzy Osbourne?
Liberty Ross: I was only 8 at the time I think but I remember the experience pretty well. I remember him being very large, quite quiet but friendly, luckily as I had to be his bride. I had to hold his hand for a long time, as we shot the video too, and I remember him shaking and trembling and being quite sweaty! We didn’t hang out with him in between takes but Sharron was very much around organising him and everything else. We had a lot of snakes as part of the set which I remember well being carried around in large black sacks. The whole thing was quite surreal but I like Ozzy! He’s cool.
Verity Pemberton, Surrey England: I'm 16 and would really like to give modelling a go... have you got any tips on how to look good in front of the camera?
Liberty Ross: I would say the most important thing is to be comfortable, if you are comfortable you are confident and that always looks better than not. The best advice I could offer is to know who you are and stick to it! Good luck.
Aureliano, Italy: This is the question, you're young, nice and rich enough. Are you completely glad of your life or do you feel something is missing ?
Liberty Ross: I am completely happy with my life thanks, I’m lucky – I have a great big loving family plus a very supportive husband and a new baby girl. I couldn’t really ask for much more. I am also lucky that I have a career which I have worked hard at and really enjoy. I don’t feel much is missing but I like to make the most of what I have and not always be striving for more.
Dada, London: Do you think you are prepared for what's coming for this project? In your opinion, is it a dichotomy that models are required to be both self-conscious (when on stage) and not (backstage) about their bodies?
Liberty Ross: I am excited about this project – I have no idea what the actual shoot has in store for us all but it will be an experience and that’s exciting. I don’t think models are ‘required’ to be self conscious about their bodies, on stage you are performing so naturally you are more aware of your body language whereas backstage you are not.
Ali: In the papers yesterday, you seemed pleased that you get so much mileage per gallon of petrol. Do you worry about where your clothes might be made?
Liberty Ross: I am concerned about where my clothes are made even though I think it is hard to know exactly where they come from – even high end couture stuff.
Hosezy Drainpipe, London: After a long day on set or in front of the camera ,what do you find the best way of winding down is.I'm a traffic warden and am used to being on my feet so i guess we have something in common. I use a hot cup of Milo, but do you have any other tips!
Liberty Ross: I find a hot bath helps and a good film and lovin' from your lover! I personally am a fan of Horlicks!
Hiski Yoki, Italy: Hi Liberty, Do you feel that the fashion business is superficial or full of insecure people? Or any comments regarding this question? Thanks and CIAO! Hiski
Liberty Ross: Yes, if I am honest, I would agree with that! Not everybody but a large percentage! But saying that, I have made some of my best friends through modelling and I would guess many other industries are equally as superficial.
Martin B, Australia: Hey Liberty, I love how you have developed the project with the flick-book idea - If money was not an object, how would you see Nick and yourself taking this project to the extreme?
Liberty Ross: umm... publishing a book would be cool.
Karleigh, Michigan: Dear Liberty, Throughout your modelling career how have you dealt with feeling extremely lonely/homesick?
Liberty Ross: I had a really hard time at the beginning as I am a real home girl but eventually I got used to it and began to really enjoy it! As I am from such a large family I generally don’t like being alone, it feels strange, and that is the side of my job which I find the hardest. Now it is fine as I usually travel to the same cities and I have friends in all of them so it is really fun, plus I now know Paris, NY and Milan really well so it is a lot easier. But being in hotel rooms constantly definitely gets you down however swanky it may be!
Ellis, NY/London: Something tells me, that you have something to say, or perhaps a story to tell. Do you write? If yes, for yourself or do you have a platform?
Liberty Ross: That’s funny – I do write, write and read a lot but only for myself so far. That is the plus to endless flights and Eurostars, you can find peace to indulge in books and journals.
Dominic: I find you very desirable, erotic and beguiling how does your husband cope having to share you?
Liberty Ross: Thanks for your compliment! Luckily he has always been very understanding and never shown signs of jealousy, I have been with him since before I started modelling and I really respect the fact that he let me go off and do what I had to do. He has never once said, ‘please don’t go’ or ‘ don’t do that’, he has always really encouraged me to make the most of it all. So it’s good, and plus he knows the real me better than anyone!
li-han, Los Angeles: Hi liberty, What kind of music you currently got bumpin' in your car/ipod/cd player/walkmen??
Liberty Ross: My eldest brother Atticus just co produced the new Nine Inch Nails album which is great, I like BlocParty, Bjork, Ali Farka, Keane because my mum used to rock my baby to sleep to them, and a few classics like Nirvana, Prince, Elvis and Madonna! Oh, and lots of reggae.
Booker, New York: What's the story behind your name?
Liberty Ross: I know in my bio on Showstudio it says I was born in LA – I was actually born in London. My parents knew we were moving to LA so I think that’s where they got the idea of Liberty from. I was nearly called Lettice first – I am not sure where they got that from but I am happy they used it as my middle name! I am one of 6 and we all have quite original names.
John, South East England: Liberty, is the camera different from the audience?
Liberty Ross: Very different – I find the camera a lot more exciting – it’s a lot more intimate and always interesting seeing the final image and knowing how you got there, it’s fun creating the look and the atmosphere, you don’t get that in the same way on the runway.
London: Has moving to Hollywood made any changes to your sense of style?
Liberty Ross: Yes. I never wear jumpers or socks and hardly ever dress up. It is much more like being on holiday, the weather’s good and you go to the beach and so you never find yourself wanting to dress up and you hardly ever see anyone, so it doesn’t matter anyway. California is all about ‘hanging out’
Illi, Santa Barbara, CA: How is working with Nick Knight any different than working with other photographers?
Liberty Ross: Nick pushes the boundaries of photography, both in fashion and the world of photography itself. He is a furious innovator and embraces all technologies in making images. There is no one like him working today, he is an artist and few really deserve that title. He also pushes the model to the limits physically and involves them creatively. For me it is more of an actor/director relationship, where we create a character together and then Nick brings it to life and captures it’s essence in a single frame. For me the most rewarding work I have done has been with Nick.
Charles Warren, South Carolina: In later years how would you relate this session titled seductively "Dress me up, dress me down," to the readers of you biography. An aside please describe how it feels to be an object of intense visual focus and how different this is on the internet as compared to the runway. Thank you so much and the best of luck in everything!
Liberty Ross: Hi Charles, The title 'dress me up, dress me down' relates strongly to what it is like being a model today, both physically and mentally. Physically we stand there being poked and prodded, dressed and re-dressed, often becoming invisible, the French even call models 'mannequins'. Mentally, we are constantly judged at face value, on nothing more than our 'look'. It is a very fickle business and 'looks' come and go overnight. Working on Internet projects is very different to the 'runway'. The runway is a 'moment'. A theatrical 'event' in front of a live audience and obviously there is the buzz that goes with that. The internet is in front of a much larger, 'hidden' audience of interactive participators and that is what is so interesting about this project. People all over the world can have input at a very creative level and be involved in something that usually takes place behind close doors, to me
this makes it very contemporary and very exciting.
Misa, New York: Hey there Liberty! I just noticed that you live in LA-- I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I've decided to move to London in October. What are your views on the two cities (culture, most or least favorite things, etc.) and do you have any advice about transplanting and re-establishing oneself in a different country?
Liberty Ross: I enjoy both cities for different reasons, they are so different that it is quite hard to compare them. Obviously here in LA the weather is the real bonus - I love being able to drive to the beach one day and the mountains the next. You can live in a really productive city but still feel as though you are in the wilderness in some parts. It's great. London is definitely a lot more sophisticated and has more of a centre and heart to it. I have always lived in west London so I know that area the best, that is my real home and I definitely miss it if I am away too long. We have some of the best galleries and parks and so much going on. As far as re establishing oneself that's the fun part - travelling is exciting and character building - even if things don't go the way you expect them too it's all a good experience and learning process. Good luck!
Eucinpyos, Canada: I'd like to know some of your favourite highlights from your years of modelling. Whether they be good, or bad, or funny; anything in particular that pops up in memory once in a while? And also, what do you think you'd be doing if you never got involved in modelling? Thanks, K
Liberty Ross: Probably my most embarrassing moment was early on in my career during the New York shows. I have really small feet which still to this day is a real problem when it comes to catwalks! This particular designer was sure that I could make it down the runway and back in a pair of shoes 4 times too big if he put enough tissue and sellotape in them. As much as I said it wouldn't work they insisted, so sure enough on about step 4 my right shoe flung off into the front row followed by a mass of stuffing of all sorts. No one cheered or laughed or anything - quite the opposite actually! SO I calmly knelt down and took my left shoe off, slung it over my shoulder and proceeded barefoot. The designer was not amused and straight after the show a journalist ran up to me and the next thing I knew it was in page 6 of the NY Post! Highlights are doing projects like this one where I can have as much say and creative input as anyone else. I was asked to guest edit Vogue a couple of years ago and Nick agreed to shoot it for me - that was a real privilege and still my most memorable project along with the Dior Addict work we did together. I also loved shooting the Dior Addict commercial in Budapest with Jake Scott, it was very long hours [through the night} and I was extremely wet and rather cold but it was amazing, I loved doing it. Another highlight was shooting my first British Vogue cover in a hammock on a beautiful beach in Mexico, and also working with Mario Testino and Kate Moss both of whom I love.
Clementine, USA: I hope you know you're really fab. now, be honest, who's your favourite designer?
Liberty Ross: Hi Clementine, my favourite designer of all is John Galliano – I love and respect him and his work, I always look forward to seeing what he does next and I have had some of the most memorable modelling experiences in collaboration with him. I consider myself very lucky. I love Manolo for shoes and I am enjoying knickers by SPANK at the moment - check them out.
John, South East England: Liberty why do you do it?
Liberty Ross: Hi John, I often ask myself the same thing! Modelling is something I fell into, it certainly has its ups and downs as all things in life but I do it because I really love it. It pushes me in all directions and has opened my eyes to so much. I have travelled the world, learnt languages, had outfits sculpted to my body by some of the best designers of our time and been shot by some of the worlds leading image makers. No 2 days are the same, each one throwing a new challenge at you, so that's why I do it, plus you never know how long it is going to last so you better enjoy it while it does!