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5 Things We Learned from Isabella Rossellini's Washington Blade Interview

5 Things We Learned from Isabella Rossellini's Washington Blade Interview

Isabella Rossellini in Joy
Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

From Death Becomes Her and Blue Velvet to Robert Mapplethorpe and Madonna, Rossellini has no secrets.

Isabella Rossellini has long been known for her stunning features and thick Italian accent. As a model and an actress, she has left an overwhelming legacy for the starlets of today. She even acts alongside one such starlet, Jennifer Lawrence, in Joy.

Rossellini sat down with The Washington Blade and discussed the gayest moments of her life and career. From Death Becomes Her and Blue Velvet to Robert Mapplethorpe and Madonna, she had no secrets.

1. On Robert Mapplethorpe:

"When I worked with him, he was quite sick with AIDS. I remember how sad I felt, because he was very handsome and he celebrated in his photos the male body, the human body and to see him paying such a toll, not even just physically. But he seemed to be in good spirits. I wondered ... of course he knew he was dying. It was a very difficult time, the '80s. And it was the last book that he made. They wanted him to photograph women and he did beautiful portraits of several women."

2. On Joy:

"It's empowering to women, and it's also about the struggle of success. Generally when a person is successful people imagine, 'Oh, overnight success, luck,' instead of how arduous it is. The film portrays it very well."

3. On Death Becomes Her as a gay film:

"When the film came out, Robert Zemeckis was so successful after Roger Rabbit and the films that he did at the time were big, big, big. Also, they were family films, so when he did Death Becomes Her, he also thought it was going to be a family film, but then they did all this marketing research and said, 'Oh, it's a gay film.'"

4. On Blue Velvet drag:

"They do me in drag in Blue Velvet. I had a friend who was gay who died, unfortunately, and he would go out on Halloween and dress up like me. I had a Blue Velvet robe, and I had my wig for a while, and he would borrow it every year."

5. On posing for Madonna's Sex book:

"I didn't like it totally. In a way, I found it a bit moralistic in the sense that Madonna is playing the sadomasochistic, Madonna playing the gay. It was teaching us to be open-minded, and she didn't really reveal anything about herself. It wasn't vulnerable. Vulnerability is not what she exudes and what she did was powerful and unique. There was something about the book that was not erotic, and not moving either. It was aesthetic. It was guarded. It wasn't empowering. But she is an incredible lady. I'm looking at her, because she's now in her 50s and I'm 63, and I would like to have a role model of a woman who is older. I want to see these powerful women. How do they fight ageism? What do they propose to fight ageism?"

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