Jane Fonda: “Pleasure is an important part of wine too”

Despite having celebrated her 80 summers, Jane Fonda shows no signs of ageing. To quote a lovely phrase by Roger Vadim, the former heroine of ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ is still as bubbly as a good bottle of Champagne! We met the American star.


50 years ago almost to the day, ‘Barbarella’ was released in cinemas. When you stumble upon pictures of yourself as a bombshell, are you overcome by feelings of nostalgia?

No! I'm pretty amused. Barbarella makes me smile. I find her charming and provocative in a way. But it was so long ago... The main reason I made this film was to please my man: Roger Vadim.


Are you still provocative or have you let up a bit in that respect?

I kind of gave up provocation. Largely because my children asked me to stop (laughs). I have never consciously wished to be provocative. I don't know where my tendency to be so comes from. But I've changed a lot.


Tell us more about wine and your relationship with wine?

The first time I came to France, I was a real novice when it came to wine! To be honest, I was novice at everything! (laughs). Roger Vadim introduced me to the world of wine and so many other things. When he didn't have a book in his hand, he had a glass of red wine or a cigarette. We went out often and often invited people over. Without being the focus of our conversations, wine played a large part in our discussions. You French have a certain talent for talking about it.


So is rosé your favourite wine?

Yes! I like anything fresh. But I have to be very careful. When you have a cold drink, it slips down more easily. It’s insidious! You can soon get tipsy!


Do you own a wine cellar at home?

Yes, but my partner manages it. Having a decent cellar is a time-consuming occupation. We like to honour our guests by serving them good wines. It is a way of telling them that we appreciate them, that we love them. But make no mistake, we are very hot on etiquette, propriety and decorum. A woman should never serve herself a second glass, that’s a man’s job. People often say that table manners are not what they used to be. That’s true! One thing that has always irritated me is the way people cut the cheese. Brie should be cut lengthways and not widthways! Another rule of politeness is that you have to serve wine first to women, from the oldest to the youngest, then to men. I don’t know why but I always get served first! (laughs)


Eighty years old and a dream physique – do you think wine has something to do with it?

I've always kept myself in good shape. I don't know if wine has helped keep me young, but it's obvious that wherever pleasure is involved, it's good for your morale and everything else...


Interview by Frank Rousseau, our correspondent in the United States

Published in July 2018 in Gilbert & Gaillard magazine n°33


*Photo caption: Frank Rousseau with Jane Fonda