Marc Jacobs As You've Never Seen Him Before
Have you become immune over time to gossip or just learned to disguise your sensitivities?
No, I am sensitive, and it does create problems for me. I mean, there�s part of me that really loves the attention, so there�s that side of it. But the side that�s sad is how much people love that kind of negativity�the bad news�and how that, unfortunately, allows certain people to feel better about their own lives. I think it exists in everyone to a certain extent, and I�m not going to exclude myself. I do sometimes, with my own insecurities, feel better about my abilities when someone else doesn�t do so well, someone I�m envious of.
And what are your insecurities?
There�s a lot of them. I mean, right now I feel better about the way I look than I�ve ever felt, which makes a huge difference, but I used to really hate seeing my own reflection in the mirror, and I�m not talking about in a drug- or alcohol-induced state�I mean in general. I just hid behind clothes, and I didn�t really care about what I wore, and I didn�t care about my skin or my hair�I just felt like, There�s nothing more I can do to look more attractive�what�s the point? and believing that, I just avoided having my picture taken. But I do feel better since I�ve been going to the gym and keeping on this diet, and also I find I�ve been taking time for myself. I�m doing all the things I used to make fun of. I�d always say, �The idea of a guy who spends an hour in his bathroom every morning, grooming and picking out his clothes, that�s just not me, I�d never do that,� but you know what�I really enjoy doing that now.
It�s somewhat ironic given that you�re in the business of making other people look and feel good about themselves.
Right, and as a kid I thought, God, I�d love to work in a pizza parlor because I�d get to eat pizza all day, but the reality is that if you work in a pizza parlor, I doubt you want to eat pizza all day. The funny thing is, going back to the blogs, there�s a bunch of people who�ve said, �Oh, we liked the way he used to look, when he was grungy, and now he just looks like every Chelsea queen, blah blah blah,� and I just think, You know what, I�m just going to do what makes me happy. And I�m the same exact person, so if my haircut is too Chelsea for somebody, and if I�ve changed from funny awkward �70s reading glasses to contact lenses, and if I�m tan now and in slightly better shape, well, it�s too bad. My behavior and my likes and dislikes are the same.
Has insecure Marc Jacobs vanished along with the funny �70s reading glasses?
No, I�m terribly insecure. I have a million choices to make every day. The thing is, I do base a lot of my self-worth on the opinion of other people. I�m not only what I do for a living, but it is a huge part of my life, so the opinion of others, whether critics, customers, or friends, does really affect me, and that is a huge breeding ground for insecurity.
But you�re one of the great American designers; you must have reached a point where you can say �I�ve done it�?
No, the reality is that we have to prove ourselves over and over again. It�s not like we�ve reached a certain point and we�re on cruise control: You�ve got to work harder and harder each time, not only to maintain but to better yourself and improve. The forward movement is what I�m interested in, in terms of growth, in terms of learning. Like everyone I know, what gives me the most pleasure also gives me the most pain. It�s like at the gym�the harder I work out, the more I sweat, the sorer I am the next day, the more likely it is that I�ve gained.
But you also need balance.
Well, and that is the key to all of my problems. I�m a very black-and-white person. I�m feast or famine. I�ll work out seven days a week or none at all; I�ll work all hours of the day or as little as possible. Balance is something that I�ve just not been able to obtain. The one thing that�s helped me to achieve some sort of balance is my life between New York and Paris, because Paris is a lot calmer and slower-moving than New York. I find myself at home at 8 o�clock for dinner, and I�ll walk the dogs, and I�m in bed before midnight. When I have a few hours to myself in Paris, I feel like a success, and when I have a few hours to myself in New York, I feel like a failure, because in New York there�s always dinners to go to, gallery openings to go to, movie premieres, parties�it�s just so full-on. If balance comes to me in any way, it�s through being in two places. I live in a bit of a bubble here.
Do you consider yourself an outsider?
Yeah, I do, I really don�t believe I fit in any of the worlds that we�ve mentioned. I feel slightly comfortable sometimes in each world, but never like I really belong to any of them. There�s never really been that moment where I�ve said, �Wow, these are my people, this is where I�m comfortable.�
Do you feel awkward at times?
Yeah, most of the time. I have an ability to be a chameleon, so I am able to adapt to an environment on the outside, but the internal stuff is complete awkwardness and discomfort.
You�ve obviously found a soul mate in your business partner, Robert Duffy.
Yeah, I�ve known him longer and been closer to him than any other human being, relative, friend, or anything, and not as lovers�ever�by the way.
I love that Naomi Campbell stepped in to intervene on your behalf the first time you went to rehab.
She did, but she�s a very, very good friend of mine. Naomi has an uncanny ability to know what�s going on with me, whether I tell her myself or not, and it�s not through gossip either. She�s just very intuitive and very sensitive. I met her when she was really young and I was starting out as a designer too, and we really became friendly from our first meeting, and we�ve always been completely honest with each other.
Yet the public perception of Naomi is very different, one-dimensional.
She�s a human being, you know. �Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone� is just my favorite saying. I�m always very drawn to fallen angels, and I really believe everyone is born perfect and good, and we all make mistakes.