sophia loren publicity photo

The above photo of Sophia Loren comes from a page in the December 1956 and premier issue of Rage magazine, which is available in the Internet Archive. It’s followed by an interview (below) and if the questions are as ridiculously sexist as you’d expect in a men’s magazine of that era, Loren (and/or her publicists) are clearly playing along to sell image, so all’s fair I guess:

Q. I’ve shaken hands with a lot of movie actresses, Sophia, but I’ve never felt a hand as smooth as yours. How do you keep them that way?

A. Olive oil. Every night before I go to bed I massage my hands with three tablespoonfuls of it.

Q. Do you … I mean … this olive oil massage, is tn«t only for your hands?

A. How much olive oil do you think I can afford?

Q. All you want, from what I hear. They say your annual income is about one million dollars a year, after taxes.

A. That may be true, I wouldn’t know. Mama handles all my money. I give her my paychecks; she gives me my allowance, and pays all the bills. We call her the family banker.

Q. I suppose you spend most of your money on clothes?

A. You suppose wrong. I only buy enough clothes to keep warm and decently covered. So many girls must buy expensive clothes to give themselves an attractive figure. I’m lucky, I have the figure to begin with, no?

Q. Yes. And while we’re on the subject, how do you manage to keep that figure in a country where most of the good food is so fattening? Do you have to say no to the pasta?

A. You’re so right. Spaghetti, I love it. In Naples, before I am a movie star, I eat spaghetti twice a day. Even after I come to Rome, even after I am no longer Sofia Scicolone but Sophia Loren, I still eat a dish of it every day. Then my maid begins to complain that my dresses are shrinking. She is tactful. So I look in the mirror and see the truth … here … and here, and here. So now I must cut out all pasta.

Q. What do you do for fun?

A. I drive fast. A Fiat 1400, custom-made. What’s funny is I never get speeding tickets, only parking tickets.

Q. Do you pay for them out of your allowance, or does Mama pay for them?

A. Now you’re teasing. I pay them. They are only 300 lire each — about 50 cents in your money.

Q. How are the night clubs in Rome?

A. I never go out at night. I stay home with my mother and sister, and we read or talk.

Q. Sophia, you know that sounds like something a publicity man made up for you to say.

A. But it’s true. And you know why? Because Italians are very jealous people, especially jealous of the people they make stars out of. If they read about me wearing expensive gowns and going out night-clubbing all the time they would think I was flaunting my money in their faces. They would begin to say, “Who does that Loren think she is?”

Q. O.K., so you stay home. There’s a story that your favorite pastime at home is to take off all your clothes and dance by yourself, in your bedroom, to mambo records.

A. Do you believe it?

Q. I’d like to. It creates a certain picture.

A. Well, it’s not entirely true. You see, I also sometimes dance to music from my bedroom radio, too.

Q. Have you sung or danced in any of your movies?

A. I just finished one called La Donna de Flume, The River Girl, and there’s one scene in it where I sort of hum a wordless tune and wiggle around a bit. The director said it was very effective.

Q. Do you think Italian movies have been so suc- cessful in America because of their emphasis on sex?

A. They don’t emphasize sex nearly as much as most of your Hollywood movies. We take it for granted that women have bodies; Americans make a big fuss over it.

Q. Have you ever had to pose for, say, a calendar, before you got into the movies?

A. No. But for a couple of years I was a model for the pictures that illustrate the love stories in some of our confession magazines. But I was always fully clothed, never partially undressed or nude. Many other Italian actresses started their careers the same way. Gina Lollobrigida, for instance.

Q. According to your publicity people, your bust measures 38 inches, larger than Gina’s. Would you say that was accurate?

A. Gina and I are not in that kind of competition with each other. 38? I don’t know. Maybe 39. I haven’t measured myself lately.

Q. The movie you’re making now co-stars Charles Boyer. How is it to work with him?

A. Delightful. He speaks French, I speak Italian, so we cannot possibly argue.

Q. Will you make some American movies?

A. Paramount wants me to go to India for them; other studios want me to go here, go there. I don’t know! I’ll follow my manager’s advice. Perhaps it would be best to keep on making pictures in Italy, where one can be more honest.

Q. I’ve been watching you for a week, now, Sophia. You get to work at 8 a.m., work through till 6 or 7 then go to the sound studio to dub voices. They tell me you have been doing this for two years straight, without a break. Why do you work so hard?

A. In the last three years I’ve made 17 movies without a day off in between. But it doesn’t seem like work when you enjoy what you’re doing.

Q. Come now. Some people say you’re trying to make all the hay you can while the sun shines, that you’re worried about the pretty young Italian actresses who’d like to take your place.

A. Take a good look. Close. Do you think I need to be worried?

Q. I should say not.

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