Born in the U.S.A. Liddie Austin is sharing her Life & Style story with us on this hot Summer day, in Portraits no. 13. To be more precise, Liddie is born in Detroit, Michigan, USA at the end of 1959. Seven years later her family moved to the Netherlands, because her mom’s relatives lived there. Dutch with American roots she is.
Liddie lives in Amsterdam with her now husband. They got married last year in Las Vegas – where else – after living in sin for 23 years, with their three children (now 22, 20 and 18 years old) in attendance. Liddie’s motto in life is that everything will pass but she sure hopes that their family connection will be for ever!
After studying Russian Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam she started a career in (women’s) magazines. Liddie worked as an editor for magazines as Libelle, Opzij and Red, before becoming a freelance writer for several (online) magazines in 2014. She is known for her authentic, in dept writing with a touch of tongue-in-cheek as well as her marvelous book reviews.
How do you feel about being over fifty?
I’m good with being over fify. What choice do I have? But I do think that I am very lucky to be over fifty in this time and age, in which grown-up women here in the West have more opportunities than ever.
I have the impression that my female friends and I are not settling into old age, but are living life to the max.
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
I like to look back at the time when I was 18 and started to live on my own, which I thought very exciting. But the nineties, in which my children were born, will also remain a special decade for me. Sometimes I would like to do some timetravelling back, to see my children as babies again while knowing how they will change…
What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
It would be nice weather, sunny, but not too hot. I start close to home in Amsterdam, where I’ll ride my bicycle through the city to have a drink with a friend on a terrace in the Vondelpark. Then we go with the family to California for an extended lunch at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
After lunch we spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach, I make sure that I have a really good novel in my beach bag.
When it’s time for a sundowner we check in at Hotel Montali in Umbria. We sit outside in the garden with a prosecco close at hand and stare in the distance, into the valley and the rolling hills. We also have dinner in this beautiful, vegetarian country house hotel. The art of vegetarian cooking is certainly performed here.
And I would definitely do all of this in beautiful and comfortable clothes!
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
I was really heartbroken at 28 when my boyfriend of eight years unexpectedly (for me at that time) left me. But I survived. And doing that, I discovered lots of things. I think this experience has made me more forgiving and understanding towards other people. You can’t control everything, bad things happen, give people a break. Be kind.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
When I started my career in journalism I had to cold call famous Dutch women and ask them about their golden beauty trick. I thought it very embarrasing. As I more or less expected: one of these ‘famous Dutch women’ told me off: what was I thinking, disturbing her at home with this kind of question! Red cheeked I hung up, my worst fear had become true. Until she called me back, a little while later. She was sorry and could she please share her beauty secret with me? She scrubbed her hands with warm olive oil with some sugar.
Now it’s my turn to answer this question! Alas: I can honestly tell you that I have no beauty tricks. I’m low maintenance, lazy and clumsy. And allergic to many beauty products. My favourite cleanser is Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish, I use Skin Institute’s My Own Serum for my skin and in general everything The Guardian’s Sali Hughes recommends.
Perhaps the most important thing in day-to-day-beautylife is to find professionals who do their job well and whom you can trust. I’m very happy with my hairdresser Danielle at Devils & Angels in Amsterdam. For deep tissue massages I go to Robin Bergamin.
Which book/film/music shaped/changed you and why should we read/see/hear it?
So many! The most recent book that impressed me was My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. In this novel a woman looks back on an important week in her life, the only time she was able to reconnect with her mother as an adult woman. Strout manages to say a lot with little words in this book, which coloured my mood for a couple of days.
My all time favourite movies: Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Annie Hall, I also love Magnolia and about once a year I watch When Harry met Sally, as a way to reconnect with my idol Nora Ephron (who wrote the script of this movie).
Music: I love Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas, Prince, Elvis Costello, Amy Winehouse, Nile Rodgers, Beyoncé and Spinvis (bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble).
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @GabrielKane, my guilty pleasure. Young model and musician, but also Daniel Day-Lewis’s and Isabelle Adjani’s son. I love to spot their looks in him…
- @kemal_harris the account of the stylist who dresses Claire Underwood in House of Cards
- @thatsnotmyage Alyson Walsh’s account for and about Our Kind of Women
- @PeteSouza Obama’s official photographer. Love his account, in particular for his pictures of Obama-with-babies
- @salihughesbeauty see beauty tricks, this journalist is in the know
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : I’m a bit of a homebody… I like to visit New York, London and Paris
- Hotel : again, no extensive experience. But a great time in Shoreditch House London is still on my mind
- Museum : I love to visit MoMA in New York and while doing that I always fantasize about living in Manhattan and coming there to quietly read in their garden.
- Restaurant : Restaurant Bak in Amsterdam is always a treat.
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table. (andwhich childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?)
I’m afraid this will have to be my brownies… My children, my friends and my colleagues beg me to bake them on every occasion. To keep them sharp I do not always comply!
Regarding the childhood dish: my mother hated cooking, so the food at our place wasn’t very sophisticated (or tasty, to be honest). I remember the Wiener Schnitzel we always had on Sunday’s, the green salad without dressing but with smashed clove of garlic SOMEWHERE (woe the unlucky one who took a bite without noticing it), spaghetti with margarine and sugar, my dad’s popcorn which was considered very American in those days …
Trivia time, make a choice and share your favorite brand:
- Nail polish or Lipstick?
Lipstick, in summer mostly Urban Decay‘s Revolution Lipstick in Anarchy. Also fun: Mac Ruby Woo or Chili, Chanel Rouge Noir.
- Heals or Flats?
Flats, nowadays. Mostly Adidas. But heels (Prada) for parties, otherwise I’ll return home voiceless because of shouting all night to make myself heard to people much taller than I am.
- Dress or Trousers?
I think I wear more trousers, but I love dresses.
- Coffee or Tea?
Tea. Earl Grey in the morning, Ti Kuan Yin in the evening. I never drink coffee.
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Both. It depends on my mood and my company what I wear. My favorite is a bathing suit by Asos.