QUEEN B

VOGUE Australia - - CONTENTS -

Co­me­dian Ce­leste Bar­ber dis­cusses con­quer­ing the US, her bestie Tom Ford and the pit­falls and prat­falls of fame.

“What! I’m in the Septem­ber is­sue!” Yes. No ex­pense spared for Ce­leste Bar­ber when we take her for a mani/pedi. Well, how could you re­sist such a date with Vogue ?# Chal­lenge ac­cepted writes Ali­son Ve­ness. Styled by Philippa Moroney. Pho­tographed by Hugh Ste­wart.

Yes, please.” We ex­pect this an­swer from @ce­leste­bar­ber, who we guess would be up for any­thing. And so we meet at USA Nails on Syd­ney’s Ox­ford Street: chair to chair, re­cliner to re­cliner, foot spa to foot spa in what seems like the only place to meet a per­son voted one of the fun­ni­est women on In­sta­gram in the WhoHaha site’s fe­male com­edy awards. “The trick is to pick the first colour you see, oth­er­wise it will in­duce panic and un­nec­es­sary stress,” she says as we study the pre­painted plas­tic nails. And so it’s Shel­lac Big Red Ap­ple for her toes, and clear pol­ish for her man­i­cure, and O.P.I Quar­ter of a Cent-Cherry for me. She is all legs and sneak­ers. Well, when you’ve got it, flaunt it, right?

“A mani/pedi is very Vogue … do you want me to stop say­ing that? You know what, though, when I did the photo shoot peo­ple said it a lot, it was quite hi­lar­i­ous. The crew said: ‘That’s good’ and would look at each other and say: ‘That’s very Vogue.’ I loved that they were re­fer­ring to it like a thing. Loved it.” Of course she is an all glam, glam, high­main­te­nance woman. She’s a bit dis­ap­pointed I didn’t get the whole nail sa­lon shut down just for her, but once she over­comes this, she shares her rig­or­ous beauty rou­tine. “It con­sists of wak­ing up, that’s all, and you know what, it’s what­ever hasn’t run out and is in my top drawer that my step­daugh­ters haven’t bor­rowed. Yep, that’s me done!”

“It feels”, she says paus­ing to find the right words to de­scribe be­ing on the pages of Vogue, “fuck­ing awe­some. I had so much fun. Peo­ple think I don’t like fashion, but I love it, I’m ob­sessed with it, so yeah, I feel like it’s my nat­u­ral habi­tat, let’s be hon­est.”

Her own Vogue ‘cov­ers’ (see right) are so much bet­ter than the orig­i­nals, I lie, and won­der out loud how it must feel to up­stage ev­ery­one all the time. “Good. Right. Nec­es­sary. As I said, nat­u­ral habi­tat. Lorde won’t care and nei­ther will Kylie,” she says. “They love it.”

We want to learn all her se­crets and how to do that Christy Turling­ton yoga pose. “With a few glasses of wine, a kitchen bench and your phone, that’s it … and a sexy sil­ver suit. And it’s not the first time I’ve held my an­kles, just qui­etly,” she adds.

She is ob­sessed with new BFF Tom Ford, who she re­cently met. “It was quite a sur­real mo­ment. It was the most stylish of­fice I’ve ever been in, not that I’ve been in many fancy of­fices.” “But,” she whis­pers, “fuck­ing hell!!! He’s the sexiest man in the whole wide world and I know a sexy man ’cos I’m mar­ried to the hottest one ever.”

Of course, she will be fly­ing to his ready-to-wear show in New York this month. “Yeah, Tom and I are play­ing to­gether in Septem­ber. I’m not walk­ing. You know what, though, I did call it a pa­rade. I said to him: ‘For your fashion pa­rade’, and he said: ‘It’s not a pa­rade, it’s a show’, and I was like: ‘Ugh, got that, sorry about that, love.’ And I never know what to wear and he said to me: ‘Play to your legs’, so that’s all I care about now. And he said to me: ‘You are beau­ti­ful, you don’t ever need to lose weight’, so now if any­one ever says I need to lose weight, I say: ‘Well, Tom Ford told me I don’t have to, so you can suck a fart.’”

She ad­mits that all the fame will go to her head. Front row? “Yep.” Flow­ers? “Yep.” The town cars? “Yep … I am 100 per cent a dif­fer­ent per­son now: I judge ev­ery­one on what they wear, I’ve al­ready deleted bor­ing peo­ple out of my phone, and I only hang with celebrities with 10 mil­lion fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram.” [She cur­rently has 4.4 mil­lion fol­low­ers.]

Her #HotHus­band is cop­ing “beau­ti­fully”, she says, with all the fame swirling around his #HotWife. “I’ve semi-re­tired him, so he’d want to be fine. He’s a good guy, hot too, most sup­port­ive, love him nearly as much as I love Tom Ford. Tom Ford knows that too … when I tried to open-mouth kiss him, I think he got the point,” she says, laugh­ing. She has no ad­vice on snag­ging a man, how­ever. “I don’t give ad­vice. I don’t know shit about shit.” She met #HotHus­band at a pub in Bal­main (the sub­urb, not the la­bel). “He was on the end of a ben­der and I was work­ing in the bar. Done. Lock that shit down real quick. Yeah.”

Is Amer­ica ready for you? “I fuck­ing hope so. I’m com­ing any­way, so they’d wanna be.” Her last tour sold out in 24 hours. Her up­com­ing tour, Ce­leste Bar­ber Live, will kick off in Novem­ber in Seat­tle, with 25 more per­for­mances across Amer­ica. Her web­site crashed from the vol­ume of traf­fic, which she agrees is a mas­sive com­pli­ment. “It’s awe­some, it’s crazy, I still don’t un­der­stand it and am al­ways happy to not un­der­stand it and be shocked by it, be­cause the sec­ond I’m not shocked, I’m a fuck­head.” “Just file … square,” she di­rects at the pedi­curist. “She hates me.” There will be a tour bus. On her celebrity rider are all the usu­als: small dogs, scented can­dles, flow­ers and she wants a scant­ily clad celebrity on there to pa­rade around.

Her fam­ily are all go­ing on the road with her, #HotHus­band, her fourand seven-year-old sons, her 16-year-old step­daugh­ter [her 19-year-old step­daugh­ter has to work], plus her best friend/as­sis­tant. And there will be groupies (who DM her, obvs). “Gwyneth might just cook for me – a nice lit­tle Goop soup.” And what about Reese? “Reese is busy at the mo­ment but, yeah, I’ll make a lit­tle spot for her on the bus. Tracey An­der­son wants to come on with me, and I’m like: ‘You’re more than wel­come to come, but I’m not work­ing out with you on that bus, mate.’ I said: ‘You are wel­come to come and watch me drink wine and scream into a pil­low, ’cause I’m so tired; you can think again if you think I’m do­ing a work­out.’”

Mr Ford will be driv­ing the bus. “He’s go­ing to de­sign it, a lit­tle bit of what­ever he wants. I’m re­ally ob­sess­ing over him a lit­tle bit, aren’t I? He’s divine,” she says with a dreamy look. At this point, much like a mo­ment from This is Your Life, I present her with some quotes about her­self from Ford, which he kindly an­swered in ad­vance of this in­ter­view. “Are you be­ing se­ri­ous?” Her mouth is in the foot spa. “Read them to me; I’ve got tears in my eyes!”

We asked him: When did you first dis­cover Ce­leste Bar­ber?

Tom Ford: “A friend for­warded one of her posts to me a few years ago and I be­gan fol­low­ing her on In­sta­gram.”

A dreamy sigh. “Hi Tom, my love.”

What do you en­joy most about her com­edy?

Tom Ford: “I love that she does not take her­self too se­ri­ously. Self­dep­re­cat­ing hu­mour is al­ways so ap­peal­ing. I also love that she ‘takes the piss’, as the English would say, out of the fashion and beauty in­dus­try, which of­ten takes it­self too se­ri­ously.”

“He’s right. We spoke about his while I was over there: it’s not the in­di­vid­u­als, it’s the cul­ture. Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” she says. Do you have a favourite In­sta­gram of hers that makes you laugh ev­ery time? She butts in: “I know! The one I did of him?”

Tom Ford: “Well the Tom Ford one, of course!”

“Yes!

Has this ex­posed you to any other Aus­tralians who you would like to work with? She butts in: “Don’t fo­cus on others … why would you?”

Tom Ford: “Aus­tralians are al­ways great. As a Texan I find that we have many sim­i­lar­i­ties. I think that it is that pi­o­neer spirit. We are bold and of­ten just say what comes into our minds.”

“Sure, if Tom Ford is Texan I have an in­ner Texan for sure. He’s right: [about] hav­ing a laugh, be­ing hon­est and get­ting on with it,” Bar­ber says. We dis­cuss what her fake fa­mous name will be for that mo­ment when

a stu­dio calls up her ho­tel to say they are do­ing a re­make of Won­der Woman and asks if can she take on Gal Gadot. “I’ll prob­a­bly be Jes­sica Rab­bit be­cause I want to be hot like her – or hang on, no, Beavis and Butt-Head! And yeah, sure, cool, I’ll say: ‘Send through the call sheet.’”

She would like her Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame star to be placed next to Taye Diggs. “Does he have one? He’s hot. Or Beyoncé? It makes sense, Beyoncé and me.”

What would she sing if she’s ever on James Cor­den’s Car­pool Karaoke? “Salt-N-Pepa Shoop. Know all the words, know all the lyrics, oh yeah, I have all this ready to go … The Killers’ Mr Bright­side; Robyn, Hang With Me – love that. I would say an Ali­cia Keys song but it hurts when I try and sing them. A bit of Spice Up Your Life by the Spice Girls. But Salt-N-Pepa Shoop – the orig­i­nal OGs, sexy ex­cel­lent women go­ing: ‘Fuck­ing do what I want.’ Love them.”

Bar­ber gets down to the nitty-gritty about how she stays fit for her body shots. “Put your Fit­bit on, and don’t pay it any at­ten­tion. Grab a glass of wine, put some ice in it; it keeps you hy­drated. I eat ev­ery­thing I want to. I ex­er­cise for my health, not for how I look, and I don’t drink as much wa­ter as I should.” All this is not for noth­ing. She is hop­ing she might be spot­ted for Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret. “I prob­a­bly al­ready have been, I reckon. I can prob­a­bly give you the scoop now that they are fit­ting wings for me as we speak. Me walk­ing down that cat­walk, that would be ev­ery­thing!”

She is about to hit the roof – the pedi­curist is go­ing to scalpel her heel. “It never ends well,” she gri­maces, and pants loudly to the whole sa­lon. “It’s like I’m in labour.” They are trans­fixed. “It’s fine, peo­ple get this to re­lax, I like it, but I have sen­si­tive feet. Don’t you find this sat­is­fy­ing? I walk in with size 10 shoes and walk out with a size eight.”

When she is fi­nally hor­ri­bly rich she will ditch her home on the Cen­tral Coast. “Well, it looks like the Hemsworths have taken over the far north coast where I grew up and where I’m mov­ing back to, so I reckon I’ll prob­a­bly buy a house be­tween them. Chris. Bar­ber. Liam. But I won’t ever for­get the Cen­tral Coast. It’s been good to me, it’s looked af­ter me.”

I ask her what she will do when Donatella Ver­sace begs her to be the face of a Ver­sace cam­paign. “I’ll say: ‘Send the call sheet’, and I’ll call Tom and see if he’s al­right with it though. Ev­ery­thing goes through Tom now.”

And is she wor­ried about over­shad­ow­ing Mi­randa Kerr? “It’s a con­stant, con­stant con­cern. When I wake up, I think: ‘Did I drink too much wine last night? Sec­ond thing is: ‘ Fuck, I hope I’m not over­shad­ow­ing Mi­randa Kerr.’ Yeah. She’s

Aussie, though, she’ll be fine, she’s a good chick.”

Bar­ber has an up­com­ing book. So why would we bother to buy a copy? “Be­cause I took all my time writ­ing it and it nearly killed me.” I ask about the cover. “Me. Eight pho­tos of me. Did a Van­ity Fair cover vibe.” It’s fo­cus is the anti It-girl. “Some­one who doesn’t take them­selves too se­ri­ously, some­one who just gets on with it, has a go and has a laugh and doesn’t kind of think they’re bet­ter than any­one, sticks by their val­ues … shut up, Ce­leste, who cares?”

Does any­one ever recog­nise her in the street? “Yeah, man, some­times they recog­nise me. I put out the call ev­ery morn­ing. Once a woman in Bal­main ran across the street and said: ‘Oh, you’re Ricki-Lee, the singer, but be­fore she lost all the weight.’ So fat Ricki-Lee. I was: ‘Thanks, mate.’ But now I get it more. Love it. Peo­ple are re­ally, re­ally kind to me. There’s noth­ing bad about walk­ing down the street and some­one scream­ing: ‘I LOVE YOU!’ Once peo­ple start yelling: ‘ You’re over­rated and too fat to wear un­der­wear in public’, then that’s not nice, but peo­ple are so kind to me and re­ally happy when I give them just $20 bucks for say­ing nice things and not $50, so that’s good.”

And so when it is all over one day, what does she hope to leave be­hind, other than a pile of dirty undies? “Just a heap of half­naked, in­ap­pro­pri­ate, un­flat­ter­ing pho­tos, that’s the goal.” Her main goal though, her own show in the US.

As we fin­ish, will she try a fi­nal word as­so­ci­a­tion game? #Chal­lengeac­cepted. Vic­to­ria Beck­ham: “Thin.”

Wine: “Yummy.”

Shoes: “Love.”

Or­ganic: “Ummm what­ever. Fine. Ex­pen­sive, but nec­es­sary.” In­flu­ence: “Al­co­hol.”

Kim: “Kimbo.”

Kanye: “Crazy.”

Big knick­ers: “Es­sen­tial.” Ex­hi­bi­tion­ist: “Fun.”

Fla­grant: “What’s that?”

Twisted: “Twisties.”

Beyoncé: “Life queen.”

Selfie: “Bor­ing.”

Yoga: “Hard shit.”

Tam­pons: “A lux­ury.”

MeToo: “Nec­es­sary.”

Brit­ney: “Oh Brit­ters. Wow. Breaks my heart.”

Ri­hanna: “Amaz­ing. Queen. Love.” Straya: “Straayaaa. Home.”

Vogue: “Amaz­ing. I love Vogue.”

We leave and walk up Ox­ford Street to­wards Matt Blatt, where Bar­ber is go­ing to browse. We part, full hug, and prom­ise to meet in New York, front row at Tom Ford, of course.

Chal­lenge Ac­cepted! by Ce­leste Bar­ber (HarperCollins, $32.99) is out Septem­ber 24.

Vogue Aus­tralia #Chal­lengeac­cepted: Bar­ber’s take on our May 2018, Jan­uary 2003, Oc­to­ber 2017 and De­cem­ber 2017 cov­ers.

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