NEW YORK — She’s played Catwoman, done disco, starred with Orson Welles and stepped in (and out of) more slinky red gowns than Joan Collins and Sharon Stone combined. Diamonds are forever, they say, and so — it would seem — is Eartha Kitt. Tuesday night, she begins a four-week run at the Carlyle Hotel.
WWD: One of your more well-known songs from the Carlyle show is “You’re Too Young to Be Meant for Me,” in which you reject “fair-haired boys” in favor of a 73-year-old millionaire. Have you found your own real-life sugar daddy who can take you to Malibu, the Hamptons and Capri?
Eartha Kitt: The audience. I can depend on that audience more than I can depend on one man. He’s coming and going all the time. And besides, I like the idea that I can be responsible for me.
WWD: Still, with songs like this, there are some who might argue your shtick is antiquated in an age when women are able to earn their own money, be their own providers. Has feminism bypassed Eartha Kitt?
E.K.: What’s that? What’s feminism? I think feminism is rather dangerous because a man doesn’t want to come around with roses anymore. They don’t give you diamonds like they used to when I was much younger. I like the idea of a man sending you a gift once in a while. Now, he doesn’t know if he should open the car door for you. So I think the feminine [sic] movement has taken a lot away from the beauty of the man-woman relationship.
WWD: In 1968, you were invited to the White House by Lady Bird Johnson, where you famously said, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.” What would you say about the current war if you were invited to the White House today?
E.K.: Well, we don’t know exactly why we are there. And some people say we’re there for oil. If you’re going to complain about us fighting a war for oil in Iraq, then allow the American business people to start the digging here. Don’t be so dependent on the Middle East.
WWD: So would you describe yourself as a neocon?
E.K.: What do you mean by that?…I voted for the Republican party in the last election. I was tired of the Democrats who just make a lot of promises and never come through with anything. We seem to have the worst schools where the Democrats are in control.
WWD: Moving on, you look fantastic. What’s your secret?
E.K.: I have a book out now called “Rejuvenate, It’s Never Too Late.” And it really gives you a feeling of being responsible for yourself, such as eating the right kind of foods and exercising. I do a lot of walking with weights on my ankles and on my wrists. Two-pound weights on each limb. I get at least half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening.
WWD: And your face?
E.K.: I don’t worry about it. You need the most expensive creams in the world. What you put on your face is not half as important as what you put in your mouth. So I eat lots of salad, fruits and nuts.
WWD: So rejuvenation doesn’t have anything to do with plastic surgery?
E.K.: No. Do you see anything done with my face? No. Look, it’s not that I don’t believe in plastic surgery, but I’m going to be 80 years old. Why worry about it?