Isabella Rossellini: It felt unjust when Lancome dropped me at 43
Actress and model Isabella Rossellini has said it felt “unjust” when she was dropped by make-up brand Lancome at the age of 43.
The Blue Velvet star, 65, who has now returned to the company more than 20 years later, said she had no use for her years of experience after she was let go.
She told the Daily Mail: “I was told that advertisements represent women’s dreams, not reality, and that women dream of looking young.
“So I had to go. It felt very unjust.”
Rossellini, the daughter of screen star Ingrid Bergman, added: “I can’t say I wasn’t sad. I know how to pose. I know how to give expression, and I had all this wonderful experience, but I couldn’t exercise it or offer it to anyone. Yes, it was painful.”
Two years ago she received a call from Lancome’s new general manager Francoise Lehmann, inviting her back.
She said: “I was just so surprised! I said: ‘You let me go at 43 and now I’m 63. I haven’t got any younger!’ But I agreed to meet, because I was very curious.”
Rossellini said she was convinced to return after they met in person and she saw Lehmann pull up on a motorcycle.
She added: “She walked up to me, shook my hand and said: ‘Hi, I’m Francoise,’ and, just with that, I knew things had changed.
“Before, I used to deal with 60-year-old men who were paternalistic and condescending.”
The model said she had ruled out any cosmetic surgery because of a fear of operations, and will not have botox because it conflicts with her organic lifestyle.
She said: “I didn’t do it [surgery] because, frankly, I’m afraid of it.
“I was born with a spinal deformity called scoliosis and I’ve had two major back operations, one aged 13 and one five years ago. I couldn’t walk for six months.
“I had to have a nurse. Even if plastic surgery isn’t this bad, just the word ‘operation’ fills me with fear.”
Asked about botox, she said: “I have an organic farm. I eat organic food not to look younger, but to preserve my health. I use good creams to take care of my skin. I cannot reconcile eating organic food and doing Botox.
“Some of my friends do yoga, eat organic, avoid alcohol, but they do Botox. I say, how can you live with that? It’s a total contradiction!”
Rossellini added she is embracing becoming a grandmother for the first time after her daughter Elettra, 34, gave birth to her first child.
She said she had been in the delivery room with her daughter, hoping to help out but admitted: “The delivery took 24 hours, but I fainted within the first two. I didn’t know emotion could be so strong that you could faint.
“When I came to, my daughter said: ‘Mama! You’re fired!’ I had to be taken home.”