Princess Yasmin Le Bon
Vogue Gioiello January/February 2008

interview: Simona Coppola


Yasmin Le Bon is part of that legendary generation of 1980s top models who stole the show from the cinematic divas.  The true stars were then on the fashion runways.

She's the wife of Simon Le Bon, leader of Duran Duran, and the mother of three daughters: Amber, Saffron, and Tallulah.  Yasmin has proven that it is possible to have success in both one's professional and personal life.

The enthusiasm and genuineness she brings to modeling have not changed even with fame.

"I am fascinated by that chemistry created among the artists at a shoot.  I'm always amazed when a photographer is able to make me look soft because otherwise I can look very stern, as if I had a mask on."

It's this contrast between the mysterious beauty of her half-English, half-Iranian roots and the spontaneity of her personality that makes Yasmin so incredibly fascinating.

"At the beginning of my career, I was worried.  I love fashion but I had a hard time accepting all of the consumerism surrounding it.  I wasn't really willing to go along with the system and I didn't know what to do.  I still haven't stopped questioning things but this is my life and I've found a way to reconcile myself with it."  Thinking back on the funniest moment of her career, she tells a story of when the models were told they had to smile on the runway, and "I'd punch my friends on the bum to make them laugh!"

Beyond her innate sense of humor, what is striking about Yasmin is her ability to put herself out there and to look inside herself for the answers.  "I've always followed my heart in making the most important decisions.  It's the only thing I can count on to be true to myself."

For her, beauty is on the inside.  "Beauty is in the heart and is a state of mind.  If you want, you can see it everywhere.  But you really have to be open to it."  Speaking of beauty, I ask her what she thinks of the controversial No-Lita advertising campaign against anorexia shot by Oliviero Toscani.  She says that fashion sells dreams and fantasies, but advertising can still contain important messages.  She's always thought that Toscani's photos were brilliant, having often worked with him in the past.  "Provocation has its role.  It may bother people, but I am sure that Toscani has never used anorexic girls in his fashion shoots.  Though nobody has ever paid attention to that."

Her interest in jewelry is similar to her interest in photography.  She's fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes.  She loves the combination of precious and semi-precious stones and the originality of shapes and the balance of colors.  She jokingly says that diamonds aren't "exclusive enough" for her.  She loves Burmese rubies.  "I like jewelry but I travel so much that I'm afraid to lose things.  It would be terrible to no longer be able to wear something that had sentimental value or that represented some important piece of family history."

Yasmin is so open and easy to talk to that one can't help but ask if it's true that today (October 29) is her birthday.  She smiles with her eyes.  So how is she going to celebrate tonight?  "On the Eurostar reading a book with a glass of wine... or maybe even two.  At home, I only have the cat and dog waiting for me.  My daughters will be asleep because they have school tomorrow.  Simon is in New York.  I can console myself with the chocolate cake - my favorite - that my mother-in-law made for me."

Happy birthday, Yasmin!

see more photos here