Marion la Re(Belle)*

* pun w/th “rebelle” – rebel – and “belle” – pretty-

Originally published in Néoplanète (France) – September/October 2008

translated by Mina

Cotillard like you’ve never seen her before!

There’s Cotillard the actress, who turns somebody’s head from Paris to Hollywood. There’s also Marion the commited, for bio food, fair trade, environment. Without fuzz, it’s fresh, it’s true. And she regrets nothing!

You’re known to be one of the most concerned actress about environment. How did you become a green activist?
My grandparents and parents tought me to respect nature. Sorting garbage, not letting water flow for nothing, for me, this was as normal as saying “hello”, “goodbye” or “thank you”. That was part of my upbringing. Growing up, I’ve always wanted to know more about preserving this environment. But I truly became aware when I left the countryside, the Loiret to be precise, to live in the Parisian suburb. This is when I got angry.

Because I quickly realized the city-dwellers didn’t bother about their way of consuming. That they had no thought or consideration about our planet. How many times have I met men and women who didn’t care about how that wrapping would be recycled, this dangerous product disposed or that garbage incinarated?

What was your first action as a green activist?
Once a parisian, I got interested about how water from the tap was treated, what chemical substances were added. I realized water treatment service companies lacked transparency. Once, for a tv show, I asked if I could follow a garbage truck to see how our plastic bags were recycled. I never received permission!

In the US, stars like Cameron Diaz encourage Americans to drink water from the tap. What do you think?
It’s a good approach, however we must know what’s in the water! One thing for sure: for all the times I’ve spent in LA and NY, I noticed the water had a very chemical taste. Back in Paris, I found the same taste! In september I promised myself to ask appointments with the people in charge of water treatment at city of Paris.

Is it true that when you arrived in Paris, you insulted people who were throwing greasy wrappings in the street?
Absolutely! I had a phase like this, where I couldn’t stand the lack of green activism… Today, I’d act differently. I’d try to talk or have an educational approach.

In 2003, you had your appartment’s dust analysed to know how much harmful particles it contained. What was the result?
That you better boycott all household products – full of chemicals, same for some cosmetics, shampoos, sprays… it’s the accumulation of all these products who made my appartment dangerous for my health! I only use natural household producs – made with Marseille soap for example. In the same way, I reject cosmetics who contain harmful substances for the health, and, in fine, for my skin. So I naturally turn to products created by people who have a desire to preserve ourselves. Which is not the approach of some big companies!

Does your green activism show in your attitude towards fashion?
I have the same attitude when I buy food. I always ask myself questions: in which country is it made, how, with who, by who? I cleary need transparency. I try to dress with brands who clearly respect environment and work conditions. I couldn’t, for instance, spend money on a dress made by exploited children! Personally, I’m mad about fair trade.

What do you think about fur?
How horrible! You’ll never see me wear fur, real or fake. Sure, they make pretty nice fakes today. But what do you think they use? Synthetic material!

Which green-conscious designers do you admire the most?
I love Stella McCartney. In addition to her “organic” cosmetics – made with wild rose, camomille or sesame oil – she launched an eco-friendly lingerie line. And in the past, she refused to use leather and had it written down in her contract wth Chloe. A nice example to follow…

Actress Natalie Portman worked with eco-chic shoe brand Té Casan, 100% vegetal and guaranted without animal material. Could you, in the future, work with an eco brand?
That’s not a priority. But I admire Natalie’s commitment a lot. If I had to do something remarkable for the planet, I’d buy fields where are grown OMG (transgenic plants). Once bought, I’d redistribute them to farmers who would commit themselves to grow in danger local vegetables!

Is it true you declined a juicy offer from a cosmetics company…
It wasn’t cosmetics, but perfume. It goes back in 2004: a big luxury brand wanted me as a spokesperson for this fragance. The problem is, I can’t “sell” products I don’t wear or are made with harmful ingredients. You know, it’s not because I became “bankable” that you’ll see me compromise myself in advertising campaigns. Especially for products I’d throw away if offered. I need to stay true to myself!

What cosmetics brand do you use on a regular basis?
I use Dr Hauschka products: it’s a great German brand, who isn’t more expensive than cosmetics “made in big companies”. I like Melvita and Logona as well. To keep a pretty smile, I’m an inconditional of la Pierre Blanche. But I prefer buying locally… If you buy “made in Germany” products in the US, you shouldn’t forget they travelled, usually by plane. Imagine all the CO2 ejected in the air. So when I work in the US, I buy american brands, like Burt’s Bees and his 100% natural line!

What’s the best place to buy bio food? LA or Paris?
In france I like to go to Biocoop stores. Because you’re dealing with people who know what they’re selling and guarantee quality. In the states, there are stores called “whole food market”. But be careful, it’s not “organic” products only. I remember buying a so-called bio brocoli, that I forgot in the fridge for over a week. I thought it’d be decomposed, well no, the brocoli looked the same as when I bought it. Bio? Not sure!

What will be your next green fight?
The OGM (transgenic plants)! To me it’s something terrifying, not only health wise. I think about farmers in developing countries, who have no other choice to survive than work with big agro-industrial lobbies. For me, OGM aren’t different, in terms of danger, to pesticides like Roundup and Gaucho! I couldn’t stand watching natural cultures and some animal species – including bees – dissapear without doing something. Better die than witness this disaster! That’s why I encourage people not to buy transgenic products. By boycotting these products, we’ll destabilise those sorcerer’s apprentices who patch up our diet!

In july 2009, Néoplanète will sponsor “les 24 heures du mans de la mobilité durable et des énergies vertes”, with hydrogen/electricity fueled cars… A project launched by the Ministère of Transport, with our collaborator Teddy Follenfant. Would you like to join in?
Great, of course I’d love to! It’s a great initiative. I love it. thanks to send me the details!


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