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Into The Desert Of The Real

Malgosia Bela/Next for Pucci SS 2008 PH: Juergen TellerMalgosia Bela/Next for Pucci SS 2008 PH: Juergen Teller

I flew into LA this weekend which gave me a chance to sync with Malgosia Bela for an interview I had been chasing for 7 years now. As the car sped up La Cienega I scribbled in my note-book, "quickly everything looms so shiny and bright. Skin/ cars/teeth/buildings/breasts/windows/faces. The palm trees ..the skies perfect and plastic under the high desert sun". It sounds horrific but I really love all that hyper-real California beauty. I hotel hop each time I'm here and for a city that is usually tragic when it comes to hotel options, for some reason there's a boom in fresh spaces this season. This weekend I was at The Palihouse, a brand new "collection of boutique urban lodges" meant to encourage long term stays. Since it's new , I had the run of the place. Everything is pristine, nothing smells but from the Espresso Bar tabac to a really lush lobby studded with a battillion of Chesterfield sofas and twinkling tea lights, a great deal of effort has gone into giving the public spaces "Ye Olde World" flavour. Yet nothing smells. The hotel has a smoke-free policy. Perfectly, perfectly California no?
It was a Sunday afternoon, the hotel had a massive courtyard brassarie that was largely abandoned (boy I really had the run of that place) so that's where Malgosia and I decided to meet. We had a fantastic conversation that stopped being an interview and turned into one of those sweeping, meandering conversational jam sessions particular to graduate students in dingy college cellar cafes. That made sense because Miss Bela has a graduate degree in Cultural Anthroplogy having written a 100 page thesis on the work of Richard Avedon. Malgosia really has a stunning presence . She looks like her pictures in person...very much like a walking Inez and Vinoodh portrait. But what I adored and reveled in was the quality of her mind. We spoke for hours though she was literally on her way to the airport for a flight back to Poland, (even though she had just flown in from Papua New Guniea the day before). We talked about the intellectual desert that is the image industry in California, we talked about her modeling career, her evoloution as an actress, her love of music as a pianist and all the time I was grateful for her realness. Its rare, realness in this business. The realness is on camera. I videoed the whole thing on the trusty Powershot that's always in my back pocket and I was impressed by Malgosia lack of actor's or model vanity. I didn't take a digital snap though... I was so caught up in the conversation. But then I stumbled on Juergen Teller's pictures for Pucci S/S 2008 which beautifully capture the spirit of La Malogosia in person. Women like her make me love what I do for a living.

Taste is a dictatorship.

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