My whisky with Elizabeth Taylor – Joseph Roveto

2 min.


Stylist to American stars, a passion for baking, he loves to travel, thinks that Elizabeth Taylor is the most beautiful woman in the world, (even having a quick Jack Daniel’s with her), and has been behind the scenes at the Oscar’s where he saw naked actresses! For the past few years, however, he has decided to live in Umbertide.

by Cristina Crisci & Giovanna Rossi

You were born in New York, lived in San Francisco and now you live in Umbertide. What made you move to Umbria?

«I’m American! We’re very informal. In Los Angeles everyone works in the world of show business so I’ve never felt special. I never intended to stay in the USA; I was very comfortable living in Italy. I’m of Italian descent and have an enormous Italian-American family in New York, so I feel that I’m very much a part of this country».

So what brought you here?

«Four years ago, my partner Paul and I thought our life was really wonderful. We lived in a magnificent place in the California red woods about 7 miles from San Francisco. Somehow though we missed a sense of community, and that’s exactly why we’re here. We have American friends who moved to the Upper Tiber Valley. It was them who told us about this property for sale… an hour later we’d signed the contract!».

You’ve worked in the cinema and show business worlds as a costume designer, meeting and working with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Liz Taylor and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Can you tell us something about it, perhaps an interesting anecdote?

«I worked with these people… and I studied all aspects of film: editing, acting, distribution as well as costume. An anecdote? I was recommended to Jamie Lee Curtis for a new television project. Within minutes of coming for her first fitting, she’d taken all her clothes off – not in a dressing room – just in the office, and said: “what do you think?” I replied “you’re asking the wrong guy!” The biggest challenge with actors in general is that they’re extremely insecure. I have to say I’ve only ever asked twice for someone’s autograph; Bruce Springsteen and Fred Astaire».

Who’s the most beautiful woman you’ve ever met?

«That’s easy, Elisabeth Taylor! We all know she is very beautiful, but she is more beautiful in person, almost unreal. Ah, and another actress, Jacqueline Bisset. I worked with her for the Oscar’s. While I was ironing her dress, she came into the room and took her dress off… and they never wear underwear! They’re exhibitionists, they’re actors!»

Who’s the most beautiful man you’ve ever met?

«…I never met George Clooney, sorry! Give me a moment I have to think about this…Christopher Reeve. He was not only ridiculously handsome, but so large. Not only tall, but had the widest shoulders… well, that’s part of why he was chosen to be Superman!».

You have been working on Eva Santucci’s project. How did you meet her and what is your working relationship based on?

«I met her for the first time in Umbertide where she was singing; when she came off stage I told her I thought she was wonderful. We immediately clicked, I thought and I still think she has an unusual talent, her voice isn’t normal, it’s not average. I know people in the music business and I thought maybe I could help her, and she was smart enough to say okay».

Other than fashion, what are your interests?

«I love to cook, I cook every day. I love to bake; I grew up with very good food. My ancestors are Neapolitans and Sicilians. The conversations at home were only about food, not politics, or anything else… just food. I also like to travel».

In your opinion why do so many foreigners decide to live here?

«Well, I can’t speak for the Brits, we’re very different. However Italy is a romantic dream!»

Last question do you like Burri?

«Yes, and I only have one thing to say…. I wish that this amazing artist was promoted differently».

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