MODEL AND PHILANTHROPIST KATHY IRELAND DISCUSSES HER FRIENDSHIP WITH FILM ICON LIZ TAYLOR IN AN ALL-NEW EPISODE OF THE BIG INTERVIEW, ON TUES., DEC. 1, AT 8pE
Legendary super model, designer, and philanthropist Kathy Ireland sits down with Dan Rather for this special episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW. During the candid discussion, Ireland opens up about her close friendship with Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and the tremendous impact that the late actress had and continues to have on her life, business and her activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS.
The interview was filmed at the Casa Elizabeth—Elizabeth Taylor’s home in Palm Springs—a place that always held a special place in her heart. Ireland explains, “She loved the desert. She loved the respect that the people gave her here, the privacy. They loved her, they celebrated her, but she could go to the movies, she could go out. Her last visit to temple was here. She spent a lot of time in the desert. She really loved the natural beauty that’s here.”
On meeting Taylor for the first time, Ireland recalls, “It was more than a dozen years ago that we met, so I got to experience the latter years of her life, and I got all that wisdom, and all the great stories, and the richness of it… Like so many people, I’ve just always been in awe of Elizabeth—the work that she does. And I did want to meet her, so [Ireland’s assistant Tim Mendelson] suggested, ‘Well, write her a letter! If it touches her heart, she’ll respond. If not, she won’t.’ And I took a deep breath, and I did, and we became family.”
Describing what initially drew her to Taylor, Ireland says, “The thing that struck me immediately is that she’s genuine. She’s a genuine person. And I think both Elizabeth and I… we just get fed up with people who are not real, who have hidden agendas. I think we both had issues of trust, and I think that’s where we really connected. And from there, we found that we were more alike than different.”
On Taylor’s passion for finding a cure for AIDS and spreading awareness during a time when many people refused to talk about it, Ireland says, “She always fought for what was right, no matter how unpopular it was, no matter how much it cost her. Her courage was ferocious… when I think about what she did with her life, what she could have done, and what she did at a time in the early ‘80s when the AIDS epidemic was just beginning… Elizabeth saw people in need. People suffering. And she was angry that nobody was doing anything. When she reached out and looked for help, people hung up on her, friends hung up on her, she received death threats… But she didn’t let any of that stop her. She charged forward and she continued to, no matter what the cost, because she knew that it was the right thing to do—that people needed help. Before Elizabeth, people were dying of AIDS. After Elizabeth, people are living with HIV… She planned her life so intentionally, so carefully, that she continues to work. She continues to raise money. She is not resting until there is a cure.”
Detailing the many ways that Taylor influenced and inspired her life and career over the course of their friendship and beyond, Ireland says, “She became family. Just such an extraordinary person, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of her life. She continues to teach me lessons from Heaven. Everything she did was so intentional. Every communication, every gesture. There was so much thought behind it. And I had the privilege of getting to learn from her, experience life with her. As a mother, how she loved her kids—this mother bear ferocious love. To her business acumen, experiencing her going over contract with a fine toothcomb, like it was nobody’s business. And her great appreciation and respect for beauty in the true sense, and she would really look from the inside out, whether it was a person or whether it was a beautiful jewel. She would look at it from the inside out and really examine and dig deeply. Just an extraordinary person.”
To see more of this in-depth episode, be sure to tune in to THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, December 1 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.
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