Miss Fonda tells Liz about her new exercise DVDs and her coming book … Joan Collins – a bit of a Twit?
“BARBARELLA, PSYCHEDELIA, there’s a certain cockleshell about you … Barbarella, Ba-ba-barbarella …”
Now, admit it. If you are a certain age and you’re not still bent out of shape over Jane Fonda‘s political past, the above lyrics to the title song of Jane’s sci-fi cult classic “Barbarella” still ring fondly in your ears.
MISS FONDA, then in the full bloom of her young womanhood, did a mid-air striptease as the title credits rolled on Roger Vadim‘s intergalactic sex romp. She looked superb back in 1968!
Jane is now 72, and if she couldn’t quite pull off such a scene today, she’d still look damn good giving it a try. Fonda has been a devotee of exercise for many years – after she finally got over an eating disorder. In the 1970′s and 80′s, her career as the queen of exercise videos thrived as fully as her movie work. At one point, she was so identified with “feeling the burn” that her wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Paris was clothed in spandex workout gear!
Well, Jane no longer has a studio where she actually works as a trainer, but she hasn’t given up on her body. You can tell that by looking at her. Now, the star is putting out two new DVDs directly targeting women (and men!) of a certain age.
I spoke with Jane recently. “You know, exercise and going to the gym always starts out with looking better – getting into that dress, that bathing suit. And that’s fine, but after a point, you have to think more about remaining strong and limber. Don’t throw your bikini away, but understand what you did as a young woman is not going to be as beneficial as you age. The moves are different. And exercising improperly can have disastrous effects on older bodies.
“Look,” said Jane in no-nonsense tones. “Older people have to move. It helps the heart, the lungs, your bones, and your brains. And I’d advise younger people to get up off the couch, too.” (Jane’s people kindly sent over the DVDs. Although I was very lucky in not breaking anything when I fell recently, perhaps some of Jane’s directives will help as I recover.)
Jane said, “Because I don’t have a studio anymore, we brought in a group of older people, from their 50′s to a few in their vigorous 80′s. I had to make sure what I was doing was correct for them. And I was glad I did that. I worked to make the workouts more user-friendly. I’m very coordinated and strong, but not everybody else is.” She laughed. “Anyway, nobody has to look like me. Hell, even I don’t look like me!
WHAT ELSE for Jane? She’s been on the L.A. stage acting in “33 Variations,” which won her acclaim when she did it on Broadway, and has several movies ready pop. One of them is a French entry titled, “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.” That could have been the title of her wonderful autobiography, which she instead called My Life So Far. Fonda’s book was amongst the most human and … tentative autobiographies I’ve ever read. The sense of her searching, trying to understand herself and the world, was palpable. It was quite touching. She gives off a powerful vibe of energy and sometimes even toughness – she has grown a thick skin. But vulnerability is there, quite close to the surface, actually.
Jane has another book coming, Prime Time: Creating a Great Third Act. It’s been a three-and-a-half-year labor, to be published by Random House. It’s part memoir, part self-help, concerning emotions, sex, life in one’s later years. She says, “It’s quite personal, but it’s useful as well. I interviewed lots of people – doctors, sex therapists. Honestly, I’m proud of it.”
NOW IN the midst of a grueling schedule to promote her DVDs, I asked this dynamic icon if she ever got tired? “Well, there are I times I like to be solitary, when I feel emptied out, and I suppose I have to restore myself. But it’s never because I’m overworked. Certainly not for something like this. I was brought up on junkets. We’d all get on trains and travel across country (for weeks!) promoting a film. This sort of hard work was expected of you. Did you want to succeed? Did you want to be known? Well, then, you better be prepared for what that entails.
“I mean, aside from the fact that I think my new book is good, I am really looking forward to the book tour. I love getting out and meeting people and hearing what they have to say.” She paused, significantly. “Whatever they have to say.”
ANOTHER WOMAN with amazing energy is Miss Joan Collins who just wound up in a stint at Feinstein’s at the Regency. On Saturday night, after her second show, Joan, hubby Percy Gibson, and another gent dined. It was one o’clock in the morning, but Collins was chipper and glam. Her conversation was high-spirited. But at one point, things got a bit tense. During a discussion of tweeting (Miss Collins is a Twitter-er), Joan’s tones iced up. “What do you mean, you tweet her? What about me?” “Oh, Joanie,” came the reply. “I didn’t even know you had a Twitter account.” Joan snapped back, “Well, I do, I certainly do!”
Oh, the “her” who is (or was) receiving tweets from the unknown man at Joan’s table? Joan’s famous sister, the writer Jackie Collins. Sibling rivalry? Surely not. Joan just doesn’t want to be Twit-less in our cyber world.
The star is now in London, preparing to tour the provinces with “One Night With Joan.”