At the Belstaff pop-up shop on Greene Street in Soho Wednesday night, there were flashing lights, video cameras, boom mics (oddly terrifying), publicists (oddly un-terrifying, defying industry stereotypes), journalists, suited-up waiters, and fashion types in expensive duds I didn’t recognize — I am a Forever 21 gay — multitasking by sipping Champagne and Snapchatting at the same time. Past the madness, in a snug back room, a pregnant and very chilled-out Liv Tyler sat with excellent posture on a low leather couch, sipping water.
As Belstaff brand ambassador and creative contributor, Tyler was there to debut a short film, Falling Up, which she executive-produced and starred in as a Belstaff-clad Amelia Earhart. “Who are you? Where are you from?” she asked in that signature almost-whisper as I plop onto that very low couch. Her eyes were wide, her eye contact warm, like we were pretty good friends. We casually chatted for a good ten minutes about her collaboration with Belstaff, the women-in-Hollywood salary mess, and whether she wants to follow in her rock-star parents’ footsteps. Spoiler alert: Don’t expect the rock wail from the soft-spoken talent, because Liv Tyler is super-chill.
So, no drinking tonight! Congrats on the pregnancy. Your parents are badass rockers. What have you learned from them about parenthood?
It’s interesting because I’ve learned so many good and bad things from just observing their lives. I grew up mostly with my mom and grandmother and my aunts. My mom gave me a lot of tips and important things that my grandmother gave to her — the kind of things you learn from your mistakes and your successes that you want to pass on. I catch myself sometimes talking to my little sister, Chelsea, and I’ll give her a little piece of advice, and I’ll think, Oh yeah, I got that from my mom. A lot of times you can’t hear what they’re telling you because you’re young, and it doesn’t make sense to you. And then a few years later, it clicks and you’re like, “Oh, that’s what she meant!” You kind of have to live it first.
I recently read that you dream of starring in a musical. True or false?
I’ve always wanted to be in a musical. But like in a film. Like Sweet Charity or something. I didn’t mean necessarily on Broadway. Even just to play a singer in a film — my whole life I’ve loved music the most. I kind of always thought as a kid I’d be a singer because of my mom, Todd [Rundgren, her stepfather], and my dad [Steven Tyler]. And then suddenly I became an actress. I love acting more than anything in the world. But my dream would be to combine the two things.
Okay. Can we talk about the way women in Hollywood are underpaid compared with men?
I don’t think it’s fair to talk about it just in Hollywood. It exists everywhere. I think people should be paid equally for the work that they do. It shouldn’t have anything to do with your gender.
In Hollywood, a lot of times it’s just like, “We have to cast the male lead first.” It depends on the circumstance, really. Honestly, I find some of it so frustrating that I choose to, not block it out, but there’s only so much you can do about it. I suppose I should speak up more about it. I try and focus on things I can change. I think those things will come in time. It’s amazing that people are speaking up about it. I’m not educated enough about it, and I feel so blessed because I get paid a shitload of money. So, you could say I get paid a lot more than some men. I feel really grateful for the money that I make, for the work that I do, and I love what I do. I don’t feel like, “Oh, somebody else will be making more than me.” I just feel really grateful that I’m getting to do what I love and make a living, to be honest.
And now on to your short film with Belstaff. Discuss.
My fiancé works with David Beckham. They were making a film called The Outlaws for Belstaff before mine, and they kept asking me a lot of questions. Just “Liv advice” questions. And one day they asked, “Do you want to executive-produce this?” And I just had Sailor [her son], and I said, “Yes, I’d love to!” because I was home and The Leftovers wasn’t filming. I’ve always wanted to produce and thought it’d be so fun to do a short film — it wasn’t going to take up all of my time. So, mostly with that one, I was involved with the script and the editing and that element.
And how about tonight’s screening of Falling Up?
I was asked to be the face of the brand, and one of the things they wanted to do was make more films. So, this was an idea Jefferson Hack came up with. We were trying to figure out how we wanted to present a sort of modern Belstaff woman. I had come up with an idea showing a woman doing a lot of “men things.” The history of Belstaff, you see a lot of men on motorcycles. I thought, Well, what if it’s the woman on the motorcycle, the woman flying the plane, and the men are like, in the sidecar, or whatever. And Jefferson came up with this idea of honoring Amelia Earhart, who was someone who wore a lot of their things and was involved with their brand.
And since we’re on the subject of iconic trailblazing women, is there another you’d be into portraying as an actress?
I’d love to play a singer. Like Emmylou Harris.
This interview has been edited and condensed.