For their cover, Paris Match sent me to a famous beauty salon run by two Spanish ladies, the Carita sisters. They were warm, vivacious, with fluttering hands and lots of energy. It was the quieter one with fair hair who took me under her wing. She decided to go for a complete makeover after the famously beautiful actress Sylvia Lopez pointed at my hair and asked her if it was mine. My sun-bleached hair was darkened with mahogany highlights to match hers, its waves tamed with large rollers.
Redrawn to a smaller elegant heart shape with a dark pencil, and lipstick to honour my new hair, the skin on my mouth felt dry and foreign. I was given a mirror to admire the transformation. Beneath arching eyebrows, eyes lined precisely in black stared back from a face that belonged to someone else. It is that girl, hair smoothed behind her shoulders, who looks out from the cover of Paris Match. A hint of rebellion sneaks from beneath the eyelashes - that expression is mine.
   Careful not to lick the red off my mouth, I swallowed a lunch of sliced morsels: ham, lettuce, slivers of tomato, the make-up had to hold - that evening I was going to appear on television. I was told it was an important program presented by a famous journalist, France Roche. I still did not watch television in the hotel, and there was very little to explain since I had done nothing yet. I would take the metro to Claude Brulé’s apartment where I studied "Le Cid" as a limbering exercise before “Les Liaisons Dangeureuses” began filming, some enquiring looks of disbelief reminded me that I was not simply me. Journalists drove me around Paris: I was amazed to be there already - I had hoped to visit Paris one day, maybe on my honeymoon.
   When I arrived at the TV station I was introduced to Brigitte Bardot, “Bonjour,” I said. She turned sideways, opened her powder compact and checked herself in the mirror, “Enfin, la vraie!”
   The pairing of my name with that of Brigitte Bardot had filled me with dread from the first day my name appeared in print. I would see her on magazine covers on my way to school, mostly I noticed Marina Vlady, she looked like a beautiful friend of mine, but I did not stop to look, I was always in a rush because I was always late. Never imagining myself in the situation that I now found myself in, I was convinced it was only a matter of time before I was “The girl whose new royal clothes did not fit her”. The production company had been taken by surprise also, and no one had had the good sense to send a proper chaperone as a guide, instead, this was left to my mother. The journalists sensed a story when they saw mother’s smile, unfazed and radiant, she was a born performer. Overwhelmed by the commotion around me, I gave up drawing as an offering to the gods in return for their protection. The French journalists were incredibly kind to the little English girl from Nice. English newspapers sold scandal. Mesmerised, I read what they said and somehow felt dirty. To bolster my confidence, I exchanged the shoes I wore to school for shoes with high heels, stopped reading the papers, discreetly crossed my fingers for luck and followed to the letter the production company’s mantra: “make yourself available to all journalists who call.” And I stuck to being true to myself. And I waited for the roof to blow off. The dice began to roll that evening. The interview with France Roche would be a shredding. She addressed me as a teacher does when a student is guilty of a misdemeanour: she went straight for the jugular.
   “How can your mother allow you to act in a film directed by Roger Vadim? Have you seen his films?”    It was due to the generosity of my friends and their mother that I could tag along to the cinema on Saturdays. Since I was an extra seat, we went to the cheapest cinema - the money had to stretch. It did not occur to us to try and see an x-rated film. Whatever my mother earned giving English lessons was spent on rent, food, second hand schoolbooks. We lived one week at a time, sometimes less. France Roche waited for her answer The day had been a long one. My hair was brushed through and through, and its length pulled so very hard that tears had rolled down my cheeks without a murmur - I wished to be perfect. The photographer noticed my silent discomposure, "What an unusual girl", click: a headshot. With France Roche, I rebelled. I understood mother was being attacked. Mother was either foolish, or she knew what she was doing.
   I lied.
   “You are underage, and you have seen his films”… Triumphant, Madame Roche wrapped up the interview. Everyone turned and moved off to another set where Brigitte Bardot was waiting. My eyes wondered towards mother’s face, it showed dismay. I realized I had done something terrible, and all was mixed up, and all of a sudden I remembered something else: Vadim, the producers, everyone had been watching. The world dimmed. After the interview Vadim came under attack from the church, the rumble became quite enormous, the word ‘minor’ was thrown around as if it were some awful commodity, a commodity that had the papers cluck and bubble with excitement. Then some government officials were caught dallying with young girls, the nickname for this story was “Les Ballets Roses”. A small step and … my name became mixed up with this too. What such hysteria could do to a pure young creature was not the point. The point was, who could score points for themselves? The church? The censor? The law?    With hell on his doorstep, Vadim had to figure out what to do. I left Vadim and mother in mid discussion. I sat and waited in the hall. I thought about what Vadim had said. That Roger Vailland had reworked the script, and he was adamant this scene could not be changed, it was important to know if mother would allow me to lie on my stomach, naked, except for a book on my backside. Vadim promised her that no one would see anything. "Not quite,” mother replied, vague as she usually was when answering a direct question. Then Vadim asked me to leave them alone to ‘discuss matters’. When mother left Vadim, as she closed the door behind her she looked down with half a smile and said, "We shall see”.
   A few days later the evening papers crowed about the English girl back at school. That afternoon, to stop me from thinking, I asked to see “Gigi” with Leslie Caron. She was my favourite actress. The night had already come down when we left the cinema. I was not used to the cold. The Champs Elysees looked vast, nearly empty. There was a newsstand in front of the cinema. I noticed someone do a double take, “Looks like her, but it says here she’s back at school.”


It is a wonder that “I” came through. I struggled for some time. Never be happy, I decided, never let your heart leap with joy. Never look forward to anything. Never be ready, otherwise what you want to do, what you are told you will be doing, will not happen. Until you are actually doing that something you have been told you will be doing, do not believe you will do it. When you leave a room, you will be forgotten.
I was lucky I was born creative. I began to sing. I sang out like a little bird: Love… Love…when I reached sixteen Charles Aznavour wrote a song for me, “Jean Loup.” He was a warm man with an X-Ray soul.