MANHATTAN magazine No. 9 - 1985

Interview with Zoë Tamerlis

 "Beauty is taking something all the way to the end."

    
(click images for large pictures)

Zoë Tamerlis in fashions by Marc Bouwer.
Hair and Makeup: Brad Boles.
Photographed at La Colonna.

FILM
Zoë Tamerlis

Zoë, I'll say certain words, and you give me the first thoughts or images that come to your mind. Ready?

Zoë: Yes.

OK. Beauty.
Zoë: Beauty is taking something all the way to the end.

Elegance.
Zoë: The wager: crossing the hair-trigger-line.

Corruption.
Zoë: The mean average: when your consciousness is aware of more than your conscience tells you to do.

Politics.
Zoë: Revolutionary politics is morality in action.

Facts.
Zoë: That which is, is less real than that which is not yet - but ought to be.

Passion.
Zoë: Necessary, but atrophied in the U. S.

TV.
Zoë: 'Soulslaughter.'

Illusions.
Zoë: Feminism.

Drama.
Zoë: Choice.

Rock video.
Zoë: A mirror.

Witchcraft.
Zoë: At worst, a withering of the will. At best, an explanation for active human wisdom.

Outlaw.
Zoë: Someone who's in on history.

King.
Zoë: Outlaws are the aristocrats of mankind.

Now, here are some questions. What is good?
Zoë: If you are, you have to act upon it, or else you're not.

Can there be exploitation without sex?
Zoë: In America, yes.

Can there be sex without exploitation ?
Zoë: In America, no.

Our last word, and maybe our best:
Manhattan.
Zoë: A good place for things to start, if they're going to start at all.


I am at a friend's house watching a large screen Panasonic. The video is 'Ms. 45.' The female lead is as beautiful, electric, and sensitive as the critics have agreed. Days later I cross a velvet rope at the Limelight and introduce myself to Zoë Tamerlis, star of the film. She is magnetic and mysterious in a black dress and long black gloves. A broad-brimmed hat frames her face.

Having lived throughout Europe and ending up in New York, Zoë was almost accidentally tapped to play 'Ms. 45' at the age of 17. Critical raves and a powerful screen presence led to more projects, and now she appears in the upcoming 'Special Effects.' Released by New Line Cinema, Zoë plays two roles in the film - as a star-struck newcomer who enters the film industry through its seamier side, and the look-a-like who finishes her film role after a fatal incident.

"Like 'Ms. 45,'" explains Zoë, "it's also about a woman coming to terms with the falseness in her life. The first girl came to the big city with unrealistic hopes, and ended up working as a topless plaything to pay her rent. But her very real life penatrates the second girl's ordered, but empty days... It's a quirky, witty script."

Zoë, who won national awards for musical composition and writing before finding film, now is crafting her own work. Titled 'Curfew USA,' the film-in-progress and soon to be published book is set in Central America, Washington D.C., and Manhattan. The work of political intrigue is also the story of an 'essential romance,' but one of challenge - where the girl's ability to act on her convictions both emasculates and emboldens her suitor.

'Active conscience' versus 'mere consciousness' is an important issue for Zoë. "As I worked around Europe and the world, I saw that many people in other nations are willing to pay a price for their principles... In the United States we have to learn that no ideas are worth more than the price you are willing to pay for them in the flesh. And that may mean crossing your own curfew line."

Curfew U.S.A. Productions