Because androgyny has been integral to your visual
presentation, during Eurythmics’ initial
flush of success did you have publicists telling
you to make sure U.S. journalists knew you
weren’t a lesbian?
[My image] did seem to cause some kind of furor.
The more reactionary slab of the American population
reacted, in some ways, with horror. I remember once
they asked me to provide my passport to prove that I was a
woman and not a man.
You’ve sported a lot of images, from classic
Hollywood-style femininity to the butch drag of
“Who’s That Girl?” But Dave has
always dressed down. Did you ever try to coerce
him into slipping on something more ladylike?
Oh, we had to stop Dave from getting into
dresses. Eurythmics is a partnership of two. And we
always gravitate toward whatever role is appropriate
for either one of us. But I had to say, “I’m
going to be the one in the dress, dear!”
In “17 Again” from 1999’s
Peace, you refer to “all those fake
celebrities / and all those vicious queens.” What
inspired that lyric?
If you become a successful person, with a public
persona, at the same time that you are put up on a
pedestal, at some point you will also be reviled.
It’s an interesting walk. Because you can bask in
this notion that people seem to appreciate you, and it
all feels fabulous, and within five seconds you can
swiftly be thrown into the pit of the lions. And when
it gets personal it can be hurtful.
You appeared in the Derek Jarman film Edward II,
which he shot while suffering from AIDS. What did
you learn from him?
Derek was an incredibly gracious individual.
Elegant… and I’m not talking about a
superficial elegance. And he had an incredible capacity for
work, this strength to keep going, against the most
adversarial conditions. Derek was working 10 times
harder [while ill] than any fit person would have
done. That left an indelible impression on me.
Where do you keep your Academy Award?
Do I have an Academy Award? I guess I do have an Oscar
now, don’t I? I have a place where I keep these
things. A couple are at home, but there’s no
special glass cabinet. That would be a little unseemly.