Funny enough, I met Carole virtually when she contacted us about a mistake we'd made with her order! I was filling in on customer service at the time, and once her order was sorted out she kindly offered to tag us in a post on Instagram. She posted the funniest video with her beautiful family of rescue dogs, and after chatting more about our mutual love of animals she kindly agreed to a feature. She's led such a fascinating life and career, and has accomplished so much in both her feminist and animal activism work. I hope you enjoy learning about her story as much as I did! - Christiane, Printfresh Designer
Trigger warning: this article contains topics of sexual assault and animal cruelty. This may be emotionally difficult to read in some spots, so come back later if this isn't a good day to read this piece.
Carole wears the Bagheera Long Sleep Set in Indigo
How did you get into acting?
Early 80’s, NYC: My friend was going on an audition for the role of an Italian opera singer. I was in college and singing in nightclubs at the time. Having spent my summers in Italy growing up, I spoke fluent Italian and being a singer, my friend asked me to coach her on the singing and the Italian accent for the role. The day of the audition, she asked me to accompany her for moral support. So we went to the seedy casting director’s office downtown and she flubbed the audition. The director barged out of the office, pointed at me and said, “You! Do you speak Italian? Do you sing?” I looked at my friend and she said, “Go ahead, I messed it up and I’d rather you got it than anyone else.” A week later, I was shooting a movie in Berlin and had a fat wire transfer in my bank account.
I did Piranha with James Cameron right after that in Jamaica. I got eaten by flying fish and at the end, hilariously, you see my skeleton in a blue bikini at the bottom of Grand Cayman. Then I was cast as Joyce Brody in the Gary Marshall comedy, Flamingo Kid, opposite Matt Dillon. I played Richard Crenna’s and Jessica Walter’s bratty, loud-mouth daughter who hangs out with boys in the back of cars. I was working with Prince at that time, and he wanted to sign me to do a movie with him. But the role was contingent on me signing a 5-album deal under the band name “Vagina" so my agents turned down the lead in Purple Rain (biggest mistake ever)!
What was the most exciting part you've played, and do you have a favorite role so far?
Amalita Amalfi in Sex and the City is still one of my favorite roles. The chance to play an Italian pimp floating through scenes, laughing in all of my personal evening clothes was beyond fabulous. Director Susan Seidleman unleashed me on set and BAM! Playing Amalita was like driving a Ferrari on the edge of the cliffs on the Amalfi coast— exhilarating. My other fave role was a total badass, the recurring role of the French foreign minister on Madam Secretary. It was challenging to play such a powerful woman making decisions that affect geo-politics on the world stage. Plus I got to copy my mother’s French accent. That was the first character I played that I wanted to actually be in my real life.
What does a typical day look like for you?
During the pandemic, these days are far from the typical pre-covid days. We have no reference on how to proceed with work, as Hollywood has basically shut down. Plus I have a diabetic husband in renal failure, three rescued senior dogs, one with brain cancer. I’m caretaking for all of them so my heart goes out to the millions of caregivers out there dealing with this type of responsibility during a pandemic.
Despite the lockdown and fear of projectile infection droplets every time I go to the supermarket, I’m working on music projects. I have a new EP coming out titled Neo Yeye and our first single is called, aptly, "Nowhere to Go But Out.” It’s a sexy, fun, 60s vibe with some French lyrics. You can listen to it here. I also have a song, “Slow Love” on the new Prince reissue box set Sign O’ the Times to be released on September 25. I wrote it with Prince, and this album is a really exciting project to be part of. My version of Slow Love is on my album Heart of Gold, produced by Nile Rodgers for Warner Brothers Records.
There are a few constants to my daily life: Writing, animal liberation advocacy, vegan cooking, gardening, reaching out to friends and physical exercise. I read the press every morning and then take my morning hike, pushing 45 lbs of sick, old dogs in a stroller up the Hollywood Hills to stay in shape. I swim laps to work off all the vegan ice cream I’ve been eating and every night, I cook up a vegan dinner and we watch classic films.
I’m also attempting to grow cucumbers, tomatoes and fava beans. Unfortunately, the rats like the cucumbers but that’s ok, rats are wildlife and part of the ecosystem so I’m cool with making salads for rats now as well as feeding wild squirrels who sit on my lap for peanuts. I have doves who come into my house every day to hang out as well. They just walk around like this is their house. I feel blessed to share my daily routine with wildlife. They are home here and it keeps me on track to protect them via legislation. I want to help ban rodenticides because when people poison rats, other animals up and down the food chain ingest the poison, damaging our fragile ecosystem.
Carole wears the Flamenco Robe in Pale Blue
You founded #MeToo France, can you tell us about the movement?
I am Franco-American and split my time between Nice, France and Los Angeles. Like millions of women, I was raped. I was at home in Nice a few years ago on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and realized there was no feminist org having an event to mark the day. So I organized a feminist protest there against femicide, rape culture and gender inequality. It was an empowering day for us. We invited victims of rape and violence to speak out publicly about their experiences and surrounded them in a loving feminist circle. We held hands and listened. For those women who did not want to speak, we had a wall of post-its for women to write anonymously what had happened to them. We invited psychologists to treat victims on the spot, many of whom had never told anyone before.
One woman, I will never forget. She was blind, in her 80s and she wanted me to read the wall for her. She cried in my arms and told me what German soldiers had done to her during the Nazi occupation of France during WW2. She told me she had waited her entire life for a protest like this. We all hugged her and cried with her. Millions of women have been abused, married off too young, sold, cheated, dismissed, insulted, called crazy, held back, raped, and murdered just for being women, and I feel a strong calling to help to end that violence against women by lifting up women and standing with them against misogyny, oppression and injustice. We need to help each other overcome, achieve and thrive in a loving, supportive sisterhood. Like the saying goes, sisterhood is powerful. Love women. Believe women. Lift up all women. Vote for women. Especially women of color.
We loved the video you posted on Instagram in your pjs that featured some rescue dogs! Can you tell us about your work with animals?
I identify mostly as an animal liberation activist. My view is that this planet does not belong to humans; it belongs to non-humans. We humans are just passing through and we have done a bang-up job of destroying everything in our wake. We have been criminally negligent to the planet we share with every other species. To me, our biggest crime against animals is that we murder billions of them for food. I am a radical vegan and try to lead with compassion, doing my part to wake people up out of this moral coma. We somehow think it is ok to have other people kill animals for us, because most of us could never actually slit an animal’s throat - that would be horrible! But there is a disconnect where we as a society feel that if the animal is cut up and wrapped in cellophane, it’s just fine.
We have normalized violence against animals for millennia. It’s a dirty, cruel cultural/historical habit, and in order for the planet to survive, we need to change those habits. Meat production, when you add the polluting and deforestation that occurs to make grain for meat production, is responsible for over 40% of carbon emissions. Going vegan is the single best thing each one of us can do to help the planet, stay healthy and save animals. I’ve been a part of the animal rights movement for over 20 years and have investigated slaughterhouses and factory farms. Meat producers don’t want you to see what goes on and they are even subsidized by our tax dollars. As long as I live, I will stand up for innocent animals being needlessly
Plus, eating animals is what puts the zoo in zoonotic diseases. If we stopped eating animals, we would have no more pandemics. I love animals, therefore, I don’t eat them or wear their skins.
Carole wears the Bagheera Long Sleep Set in Indigo
What inspired you to write a book featuring your pup, Jinky?
My book, The diary of Jinky, Dog of a Hollywood Wife, is a satirical look at Hollywood from a death row dog’s point of view. It’s the dog writing his observations of Hollywood life and how ridiculous we are as humans. In Jinky’s opinion, humans want all the wrong things in life—fame, fortune, cars, things, status… when all we really need is love, food, friends, laughs and a nap in the sun. Jinky thinks our priorities are completely screwed up. And he’s right. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and get involved in appreciating the smaller things in life while working to change the big things that are wrong, like puppy mills.
Jinky was the ultimate underdog speaking up for the 5 million dogs who are killed in our nation’s shelter system every year. If we all spayed and neutered our companion animals, adopted instead of breeding, selling and buying them, we could put the puppy mill industry out of business. With fewer than a dozen protesting friends, we closed every pet store in Los Angeles that was selling sick dogs from horrific pet factories. We stood outside pet stores every Saturday for YEARS, informing the public about where these puppies come from. The mother dogs never see the light of day and live in cages for life, breeding until they’re dead. Dogs are wonderful, loving creatures and deserve better. We can learn much from dogs. They know how to have fun and be in the moment. A dog’s tail wagging is the equivalent of a human smile. We need to smile more and get off the status envy rat wheel and do what’s right. Adopt Don’t Shop!
What have you been reading and watching lately?
Classic movies of the 30s, 40s and 50s—James Cagney, Edward G Robinson, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Taylor and Burton, Paul Newman… they were stars then and the scripts, stories, direction and set decor were fantastic. Movies today don’t come close to that quality despite their technical advancements. I’ve also been watching Gentleman Jack, a series about an out lesbian in the 1830s that is a true story. It is one of the best series I’ve ever seen.Right now I am reading The Fountain of Age, by the late feminist icon Betty Friedan. It explores the myriad possibilities for older women and the idea that there is a very rich and productive life open to us if we stop thinking of age as an obstacle. Life itself is a series of hurdles but being older, we have skills, knowledge, experience and a deeper understanding of the world. Before the middle of the last century, women never got to live this long; so we are sociological pioneers. And we are creating a whole new meaningful world for ourselves as artists, intellectuals, politicians, social justice and environmental justice activists. We are living beyond what anyone imagined for us.
Carole wears the Bagheera Long Sleep Set in Indigo and Blush
Do you prefer a full set of pajamas or to mix and match?
I am a matchy kind of woman. I like a soignée look. Pulled together.
What do you do for self care?
Cooking vegan whole foods, swimming, hiking, and meditation.
Do you have any nighttime rituals?
Every evening, I walk my dogs, make a vegan dinner and watch movies. I wash my face with soap and water and put moisturizer on my face and body, especially my legs and feet (I use the same coconut oil I use for cooking on my body and a cheap vegan face cream from Trader Joe's on my face). I love nightwear. I have beautiful vintage nightgowns from the 1930s and I also love cotton pajamas. The more they are washed, the softer they get. I wear no underwear with pajamas and heard that was a thing!
The last thing I do is spray orange blossom eau de cologne on my neck and chest. I feel elegant even if no one sees me but the dogs (my husband is blind). Then I catch up on the news on my phone, read a few chapters of a book, tuck my dogs into bed, before putting a night eye mask and a sleep meditation by my favorite nighttime voice, Michael Sealy. He helps ease down my overactive mind.
Carole wears the Bagheera Long Sleep Set in Blush