by Claudine Jones

(Miss Z's agent, J. Albert Blytt, is adamant in his refusals to authorize interviews; however since he is trapped in a blizzard near Moscow...)

CJ    Welcome to our studio, Miss Zaza! I have to say, I'm a little nervous. I've seen you perform, but haven't had a chance to chat…up close and personal, you know. Could I start by saying that I just love your 'do. Is that homage to anyone in particular or was it sheer inspiration of the moment?

ZZ     How very kind of you to notice! As you know, I have been blessed in many, many ways. My heart goes out to women who are forced to pay pots of money to achieve this look, when all I have to do upon rising each day is to toss my head; my naturally blonde locks just fall into place!

CJ     Speaking of other women, do you feel in any way hobbled by the choices available to you in footwear?

ZZ     It is interesting that you should mention that at this time! I was only recently bemoaning the fact that, although there is a wonderful array of footwear available to women with larger-sized feet, we dainty gals are left to our own devices! Fortunately, in Putana del Mar, the coastal village where I spend much of my free time, I have a dear little designer who is able to make me look marvelous, whose prices are not too chère, and who is willing to use pretty materials without sniffling over some arbitrary endangered species list. How lucky I am!

CJ    Well, we've dealt with the head and the feet…could you comment on the (I find) outrageous discrimination that exists which would periodically allow male stars—DeNiro, Crowe, Clooney—to have tummies wider than their shoulders, yet females must exist on a lettuce leaf and a well chewed toothpick. Not to speak of the crap they put in the weight loss "food" found in every major supermarket. "Shop the perimeter" my butt—they even find ways of injecting lard into zucchini. And then charge prices for undergarments (read "torture devices") that would make Mother Teresa cry "enough!"

(Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now)

Back to your comment.

ZZ     I can certainly understand your reasons for resorting to vulgar language and, in fact, I must agree that this seeming "double standard" is a bit less than fair. I feel obligated to point out, however, that like so many gals, I find that my tolerance for the size of a gentleman's waistline increases exponentially with the size of his bank account. That said, I must confess that I have never had a weight problem! My hectic life, both on- and off-stage, burns up those calories like nobody's business! And I have always eaten sensibly. I might choose, for example, to enjoy a few bonbons from Godiva (chocolatier aux étoiles) rather than a between-meal snack. Or, in lieu of an evening cocktail, I might instead opt for a few daiquiris, with all the health-giving benefits of fresh fruits and juices! My goodness, I freely admit to being nearly thirty, and I still turn heads when I walk on the beach in my thong-style swimwear! I feel I owe it all to the healthy lifestyle choices I have made. And, of course, God.

CJ    Thank you for your candor—a quality not often found in the heights, much less the bowels, of show business. Could you tell us a bit about your professional entrée? (I've heard casting couch rumors which I will not dignify with repeating, but we all know your rise has been meteoric.)

ZZ     How kind you are! My rise to fame must certainly seem meteoric to someone like yourself, someone who has been trying to find a place for herself in the show business since before I was born, but really, dear, beauty and talent are not a guarantee of success! Before becoming a household name in television (the much-loved series Touched by an Uncle), motion pictures (the critically acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drag Queen) and on stage (my legendary one-gal extravaganza Zaza with a Z), there were years of heartbreak, years which I spent honing my craft. My goodness, I am astonished to hear that those silly divan du castoir rumors are still floating about! You, as someone clinging to the periphery of show business, must surely realize that the petty jealousies of young "actresses" are directly proportionate to their lack of talent. I hope these stories can finally be laid to rest!

CJ    Let's be frank though, Zaza; isn't it true that you will 'trade' for gowns through any wholesaler from New York to New Orleans?

ZZ     My goodness, I've never been shy about endorsing designers in exchange for their beautiful creations. That is what you mean, isn't it? Since you mention it specifically, though, I have noticed that the gowns from New Orleans are a bit tatty. Is there something going on there that I don't know about?

[My technical staff informs me that I have an appointment, so I have turned the mic over to my colleague, Jaz Bonhooley, for whom I take no responsibility. Apparently, she brooks no hypocrisy, though. Adieu. CJ]

JB    You needn't be coy. My source (though he may be craven for wishing to remain anonymous) has a certain contact in the French Quarter who claims to have know you for decades—four to be exact—and who also has allegedly seen you perform as a sixty-year old physician wearing stovepipe trousers in a minute and a half third-tier role. Any comment?

ZZ     Mon dieu, look at the time!

JB    Wow, the hour just flew by, didn't it? To wrap up—tell us, from your bi-lateral perspective which would you consider more karmic-ly compromising: a fair sized toolbox or a splendid set of jugs?

ZZ     Well, dear, while a woman with my feminine credentials is rarely accused of being bi-anything, and while as a Christian I don't believe in karma, only revenge, I will try to respond fairly and sensibly. There are certainly arguments to be made for both! A jumbo toolbox can certainly take care of any number of needs, but as you can see I am rather delicate and would have trouble wrapping my tiny hands around many of those enormous tools (assuming I can even figure out what they're for!). No, dear, if I need something spackled or hammered, I just open up my checkbook and call in a specialist. However (most gals will agree with this), storage is always a priority, so my choice would have to be jugs, and the bigger the better! I hope that answers your question!

JB     As long as we're on the subject of spackle, just exactly where did you go to acquire that 'fresher' look we've seen lately?

ZZ     I am most favorably impressed with your powers of observation! "Love's the best doctor," the immortal Winston Gray once wrote, and I am living proof! Strictly entre nous, Zaza was beginning to get that haggard look that affects so many women as they approach 30, but since hiring my virile young gardener, the bloom has returned to this rose!

JB     About as happy as a little bumblebee, eh? Hope you don't get stung.

ZZ     You will be happy to hear that I have always been very fortunate in my affaires de coeur. I can safely say that I have never been stung! I have never experienced anything worse than a small prick!

JB     I understand completely. As they say:  "A bumblebee in a cow turd thinks herself a queen"…

My goodness, we are so over time limit, we've gone on into 'Mamselle Clo-clo's Cooking Sur Le Phone'—May I thank you, both for myself and on behalf of my colleagues, for being such a game player!

ZZ     Ma plaisir, dear. We must do this again one day.

Cover Image-Jerry Telfer

Claudine Jones is an actress and writer.

©2006 Claudine Jone
©2006 Publication Scene4 Magazine

february 2006
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