Hello, non-Italian readers! As promised, we translated Amber’s new interview for the Italian magazine Grazia. Feel free to use this translation but, please, credit us. Enjoy!
“MEN, I CHALLENGE YOU”
Accusations of violence by her ex husband, actor Johnny Depp, and the recent new legal battle. Her role as a warrior in the Aquaman franchise. Her commitment to women’s rights and the revelation of her bisexuality. Actress Amber Heard faces the world holding her head high. And before her arrival in Italy to receive an award, Grazia met her to ask her where she’s headed.
In Cote d’Azure, at the fancy hotel where the photos that you will see in these pages were taken, I meet American actress Amber Heard, 33 years old. She’s a guest of L’Oréal Paris, the beauty brand of which she is an ambassador. “We celebrated the 20th anniversary, it was an amazing moment”, she says with a bright smile. She looks relaxed, absolutely happy while she looks at the sea from the window and breathes the Spring air with a certain voluptuousness. “I’m having great days, I work but I also find some time to spoil myself”, she goes on. However, despite her laid-back appearance, the protagonist of successful films such as Justice League and Aquaman is once again at the centre of a new legal battle: her ex husband, star Johnny Depp, accused her of faking the domestic violence of which she claimed was victim. The actress quickly divorced him in 2016 after reporting the terrible abuse she endured during the 15 months of marriage, resulted from fights, excesses and mutual accusations. And we all remember the photo of her bruised face after being hit by Johnny. But today, surprisingly, he accuses her of painting on those bruises to discredit him and, as if this wasn’t enough, he claims she threatened his life. Denying all accusations, he’s asking his ex wife roughly €44M as compensation. Through her lawyers, she accused him of lying to the police during one of their domestic fights. “Neither Hollywood nor the public will be fooled by Mr. Depp’s conspiracy theories aimed at discrediting the victim” said Eric George, Heard’s lawyer in the State of California. Amber is so shaken she asks not to mention this issue, that’s still linked to a legal dispute: every word could weigh like a rock.
However, it’s enough for me to speak with her a little to discover her strong character, her will to defeat gender disparity, society’s imbalance, violence against women: in fact, she donated the $7M (a little more than €6M) received from Depp after the divorce to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that defends civil rights and also works in defense of women and children victims of abuse. As an activist for gay rights, 9 years ago Heard was one of the first celebrities to come out as a bisexual, disclosing her relationship with photographer Tasya van Ree. “It was the right thing to do even if everyone in Hollywood advised me against coming out”, she explained. “But I have a fiercely independent spirit, I never wanted to lose the freedom for which I have fought so hard”. It’s the same spirit that helped her make her parents, both from the conservative state of Texas, accept her decisions in life. And the same spirit that must have charmed the men who fell in love with her: after the divorce from Depp, Amber was in a relationship with millionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, had a flirt with rich jet-setter Vito Schnabel, son of artist and director Julian Schnabel, and a few months ago she was seen in Los Angeles with actor Sean Penn. Her last official date was director Andrés Muschietti, 45 years old. But as of late, Amber walked the red carpets alone, sexy and confident like few other actresses. Who knows if we’ll see her like this on July 25th at Giffoni Film Festival, where she’ll receive the Giffoni Experience Award.
She looks determined, seductive and magnetic even when, at the end of the photoshoot, she wears a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, she takes her sandals off and lies down on the sofa, making sure that I’m comfortable. She stretches out to me as she speaks, her green eyes locked in mine so she doesn’t lose contact. She’s focused while she answers my questions, choosing her words carefully. The most common ones? Pride, bravery, change, revolution. “I’m proud of living in this historic moment where society is changing”, she tells me while sipping her black tea.
What are you most proud of, Amber?
“Not of what I’ve done, which is never enough for me. I’m proud of myself when I chose the right thing, even if it cost me. I’m proud because when I chose a side, I went all the way accepting the consequences of my choice, even if at times they were hard and difficult to endure”.
Who did you learn from the most, who do you like spending your time with?
“In the past I used to choose friends with whom I had the most fun or with whom I felt more affinity. Today I’ve changed: I judge people based on what they do in the short time we’re allowed to live on this Earth. I love learning from those who fight wholeheartedly and encourage me to never give up. In the future, when we’ll look back at the time we’re now living, we’ll realize that this was a true revolution. And I want to be on the right side of history”.
What revolution are you talking about?
“About the change in our society: it has deep cultural implications and it will have a huge effect on next generations. If you’re okay with the way humans rights are stepped on nowadays, especially women’s rights, if you consider it’s fair to discriminate ethnic and religious minorities, then revolution is not for you, obviously. I myself won’t settle for the way things are going and I fight for them to change. I’ve always believed the system must be analyzed, then challenged. In every way, at every opportunity”.
At this point I can’t help but ask you what is the most revolutionary thing you did in your life.
“What I’m doing next for sure”, she says and laughs.
Is it about your work?
“Good guess. I have some films on the line as an actress: Aquaman 2 and the thriller Run Away With Me, but for now I can’t speak about them. But the real news is my decision to debut as a director. I’m planning to go behind the camera by the end of this year”.
Acting isn’t enough for you anymore? You want complete control over your work?
“I’m not happy with being only the director. I want it all. I feel the need to challenge myself and my limits. To me, directing a film means breaking the boundaries that others don’t want me to cross. It seems legit to me to react at the restrictions imposed upon actors, especially upon women”.
Like many of your colleagues, do you also complain about the lack of female main characters?
“Of course but having more of those just isn’t enough. We need to dismantle the stereotypes still used to describe female characters”.
And how do you think we can reverse the trend?
“We need to break the system and become an active part of this transformation. We need to demand more prominent characters but also stories of better quality that, thanks to us, are brought to the big screen. But we cannot expect the dominant culture to take the first step, to be interested in picking all the shades of feminine diversity. We have to act and take control of the situation. For me, going behind the camera is already a first step to tell reality in an alternative way, from the perspective of us women”.
What pushed you to play princess Mera in Aquaman?
“I liked that she was an unconventional character. She’s not the classic damsel in distress and she doesn’t have a subordinate position compared to the male protagonist. She’s his equal partner and above all, she doesn’t want to be saved”.
And why did you choose to represent a beauty brand?
“I’ve thought about it for long before I accepted the role of ambassador for L’Oréal Paris but today I couldn’t be more honored. I’ve become part of a company that doesn’t want to just sell products: of course, business is an important aspect, but I think it’s also important that women are encouraged to realize and respect their worth. It’s a contemporary and not shallow at all idea of beauty”.
Why do you think that?
“Because it involves every type of woman: other L’Oréal Paris ambassadors have different ethnicities and ages. This politics represents the current change in our society and I’m happy to be a part of it”.
To you personally, what does the slogan ‘Because I’m worth it’ mean?
“To desire something and the ability to get it, whatever it takes. I’m proud of my worth not only when I got what I wanted but also when I fought for the principles I believe in”.
On your Instagram profile you recently posted a photo of you lovingly embracing your mother Paige: is she an inspirational model to you?
“Without a doubt. She’s the person who gave me the biggest gift I could ever wish: she gave me a reckless spirit and she always encouraged me to nourish it. My mom taught me not to be afraid. Not even in love”.
And in this moment of your life, what’s your state of mind?
“I feel encouraged and at the same time motivated to push forward the change, as far as I’m concerned. I’m aware that it takes long for inclusion and equality to be effective, so that the chauvinistic system – that up to today has abused its power – can born again on new basis.
What gives you the strength to your commitment?
“The difficulty of the task that awaits us and the certainty that we’ll see the results altogether. It’s a wonderful challenge. And I go on, determined and fearless”.