Photography by Daniyel Lowden
Styling by Jennifer Eymère
Because I have gotten older, it's easy for me to mix pre-war actresses and the stars dominating the field today. It takes almost no effort for my mind to go from 2020 to the 1920s. A hundred years after her prime, almost no reader knows the name of Clara Bow: the first it-girl (the name was invented for her), blonde with eyes as big as marbles. She was the queen of Hollywood and shared lovers with her enemy Marion Davies: old Hollywood's other blonde with round eyes like marbles, mistress of Randolph Hearst, who had a castle not far from the Topanga Canyon's Spiral Staircase House, where the Manson family lived. I think of all of this in the same breath because Camille Rowe reminds me of Tarantino. She should work with him. That would suit her.
Meanwhile, Rowe is starring alongside Jean-Paul Rouve and Alice Taglioni in I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere, an Arnaud Viard film inspired by the Anna Gavalda book. Running 90 minutes, it's a very moving feature where we see Rowe in an unprecedented state of emotional vulnerability.
There is a tendency among some directors to place models and other young, fashionable talents into roles that aren't really boring but are Annagavaldian, which is to say, not super funny. I remember The Blackout by Abel Ferrara, where poor Claudia Schiffer played main character Matty's latest love interest, who was attractive but had to deal with Matty's continued obsession with former flame Annie (Béatrice Dalle). There had been an article in the French press that was quite cruel where the reporter recounted Schiffer's setbacks in the Ferrara film.
I don't think that the new Viard project was as chaotic. Nothing shows up anyway. Rowe plays the younger sister of Rouve's character, a troubled actor who lends her 10,000 euros so that she can fulfill her vocation as the Diane Arbus of the Saône (she likes to photograph subjects in an authentic way), all in Dijon. Afterwards, Rouve dies of love, and Rowe's character finds herself crying for a good 40 minutes with the rest of the family.
When I was able to reach Rowe while she was shooting her new cover of L'Officiel Paris, the first question I asked her was what sad thing she thought of in order to cry for 40 minutes about the film's major death, an impressive feat that was integral to her performance.
“We often kept the first takes [when we were filming], so it wasn't hours of tears a day," she said, explaining the catharsis to be a bit more manageable than it might appear. "I was thinking about a traumatic event that happened to me. The three weeks of filming [were so intense] that I suffered after-effects and promised myself I would never do it again. The worst part is that in real life, I tend to cry easily."
Beyond the transformative role, Camille Chrystal Pourcheresse, better known under the name of Camille Rowe, is a French-American model and actress born on January 7, 1986. She is 34 years old, solidly into her career while still having a lot ahead of her. She's the daughter of a prosperous restaurateur and grew up between Paris, New York, and California. When I first looked at her photo, I realized that I recognized her face. Magnificent blue eyes, a huge mouth, and a charming, prominent nose (like Anatole France). She embodies Californian style in casual boots, with beach blonde surfer hair. When we spoke, I knew her mind may have been in one of a million different places, but I didn't dare ask her.
When L'Officiel Paris offered me the profile I'm trying to write, I didn't really want to. I was in a deplorable mood, retyping a book I'd been working on. But a 10-minute interview on the phone can get me out of the doldrums. I call her at 1 p.m. Her voice is really charming. Not too charming, not mannered, not dragging, but open. She tells me that she walked to get to the shoot and I already regret having been too lazy to travel a hundred kilometers to be there in person. I've heard a lot of voices in my sixty years, but few have been as open. It was nothing like I'd expected after the assumptions I'd been making off of Wikipedia, magazine articles, and ten-year-old Terry Richardson photographs depicting her sticking out her tongue.
I have a box set with Rock'n Roll by Guillaume Canet, but I must admit that I forgot the content of this film except that Marion Cotillard had to learn a Canadian accent. Hence my second question. I read somewhere that Rowe had great difficulty losing her Franco-American accent for I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere. It is true that we cannot imagine Rouve's sister speaking with an accent of Laurel Canyon and Linda Hardy.
"It is not a question of accent but of intonation," she explains. "It comes out when I speak in a group, when I express emotions. At first it didn't really fit with Dijon."
I assure you that we hear nothing.
Thank you. That means that I did good work, then.
Did you like Dijon?
Yes, I loved it. There are lots of wine farms. My boyfriend and I went for a walk and tasted some good wines.
It's clear that Rowe is not the type to pass up some fun. She's not a drunk, but she's not afraid to let a bit loose and celebrate when the moment calls for it, as evident from her open demeanor and communicative laugh. She reminds me a bit of Romy Schneider, or Clara Bow, who was known also not to pass up a good drink.
Camille, ideally, what role would you have wanted to play in the cinema?
I would have loved to be in Kill Bill.
I was right to think of Tarantino, as Rowe has a quality one could liken to Margot Robbie playing the role of Sharon Tate. Something joyful, Californian, uncomplicated, and a little attracted to evil at the same time.
In the film, you photograph a diverse range of people. In life, are you a fan of Diane Arbus?
I prefer painting. I am not a fan of photography, but I like horror movies. I'm quite interested in serial killers.
I'd read somewhere that Rowe likes old David Cronenberg, so we quote some films. If I had made the trip instead of calling her, I could have told her that I spent several evenings with Cronenberg in Geneva in November (along with his daughter, who is a photographer).
"You will never guess what they're doing to me as I'm speaking with you," Rowe says, all of a sudden. "They are scraping my nose."
This girl is really charming: Rowe power.
Do you have future plans?
Yes, a Canadian science fiction film and an English film.
What was your first role?
At 12 years old in a school production of Edmond Rostand's Chantecler, I played a nasty hen. I liked that.
Rowe power has a magic touch.
Find this article in the February issue of L'Officiel Paris.