Yesterday Andy Warhol‘s superstar Holly Woodlawn passed away. In 2011 I was lucky to meet her in Los Angeles for an interview on Walk On The Wild Side. We could not possibly include everything she said in our documentary “Girls in Popsongs” (ARTE/RBB), but I was already sure back then that one day I would publish it in an article. For those of you who want to know more about 60’s counter culture and what Holly thought about Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey, Lou Reed, Amanda Lear, and the other Warhol superstars, here’s the transcript of our conversation.
A friend of mine called me up at like around three o’clock in the morning and said: “Holly, turn on the radio!” I turned on the radio and there it was. And I said: “Lou Reed?” I had never met Lou in my life. So I said: “How does he know that I hitchhiked my way across the USA etc?” Then I went to the factory and I asked Andy Warhol for Lou Reed’s number, his personal number. He gave it to me and I called up Lou and I said: “I never met you, how dare you to expose me to these people?” He said: “Holly, you have the fucking … you have the biggest mouth in the world. Of course everybody knows you’re Puerto Rican, you’re cheap and you’re loud … “
Candy was one of the most incredible, beautiful … I call her the immaculate conception. She lived in Long Island with her mother. Basically we were all sort of misunderstood … gorgeous … we were fucked! We were all fucking gorgeous. Candy was exquisite, Jackie was loud, insane, and of course Joe Dallessandro was … well, he can speak for himself, because I don’t talk about people that way. But the song speaks for itself. As I said, Candy lived in Long Island with her mother and she was never comfortable with her body. Like a caterpillar, and then it goes to its chrysalis and then it turns into a butterfly – that was Candy Darling. But she was going through the caterpillars when I met her. But she did eventually become a butterfly. And then she died. I will never die. Jackie Curtis came from downtown Manhattan. Her grandmother owned a bar on I think 13th street in the lower East Side. I think ‘fuck’ is the best word to describe her. Do not fuck with Curtis! And she basically took care of Candy, because Candy was delicate. If you touched Candy she would like break. If you touch me I’d – well, I’m from Puerto Rico. So Curtis took care of the two of us. They met Andy Warhol and they did a movie called “Flesh”. I was living in Brooklyn with my boyfriend, they said: “Holly, Andy Warhol’s gonna make you a big movie star.” And I said: “What, you’re kidding, honey, you gotta go to Hollywood to be a movie star.” And Candy said: “Holly, you have to meet Andy. He’s so … he’s gonna make me a star.” And I went: “Candy, you’re sick.” Candy was the blonde, I was the slut. So there was me, Candy, Jackie, then Little Joe, giving it away, everyone had to pay, I’m not going to say another word about that. I think it speaks for itself. I never had sex with him and I never have paid him. But everyone else did. In other words: it starts with an H. U. S. Do I need to finish the word? T.L. E. R. Yeah. That’s why I don’t wanna talk about this, it’s none of my business. That’s his private business, you know. So much for Joe, ok? The question that everyone asks me is: Who is the Sugar Plum Fairy? I do not have an answer. I do. But the thing is, I never met the Sugar Plum Fairy. He was a dealer. But I never met him. At that time, in the 1970s, everyone was on drugs, everyone was speeding. That’s why Lou Reed wrote: Jackie is just speeding away, she was James Dean for a day. Actually she was James Dean for like a month. And then she crashed. And woke up a week later. That’s what happens when you do that stuff. Andy and Paul Morrissey made the three of us in the words of Candy Darling: goddesses. Three goddesses. But the thing is … in the immortal words of Holly Woodlawn – if I can say this to you – of course I can, I can say anything, I’m Holly Woodlawn: three douchebags on parade. In 1960, 70, you couldn’t say the word douchebag. But now I can say it.
And to me, when you say douchebag, it’s really, it’s sort of like I’m saying something nice. Unless you’re a real douchebag, then you’re a douchebag, then go flush the toilet. And honey, Markus, any question you ask me, I’m gonna turn it around.
The thing is, Andy was – oh god, I’m gonna out him anyway, it doesn’t matter – I don’t care, shoot me – Andy was dyslexic. When he was doing interviews, as opposed to me, it’s like: ‘Holly, shut up’, he was completely opposite of me. And that’s when Paul Morrissey would say, because Andy was camera shy, he invented Andy Warhol. He’s the one who said: “Put on the leather jacket, the dark glasses, and when you’re interviewed, since you have nothing to say, just go ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘You’re glamorous’.” And if you look at every interview that Andy ever did, that’s it. Yes. No. You’re glamorous. That’s what people ask me: “Holly, have you ever had sex with Andy Warhol?” I say: “WHAT? You gotta be joking.” Would you have sex with that? Let’s face it, Markus, Andy was not pretty. Need I say more?
Paul Morrissey made like a committment with Andy. He said: “I’ll make you a star.” Which he did. And Paul never took credit. He made Lou Reed, he made the Velvet Underground, he discovered them, Nico, Edie Sedgewick, all of them. Paul Morrissey – and not once did he take credit. When we wrote the contract we had to say: Andy Warhol Production presents. I mean now that everyone is dead and I’m the only one that’s alive – ha! – now I can talk and basically say the truth. But for like about ten years I couldn’t say a word.
Oh god … Amanda Lear is gorgeous. Flawless. Fabulous. And she’s … I still have what I was born with. Salvador Dali payed for her operation, for her sex change in 1970. Anyway, we met in London. We’re not really like friends, girlfriends. No, I never had sex with Amanda Lear, I never had sex with Candy Darling or Jackie Curtis – god, forbid – no, the only people that I have sex with are men that have money. Amanda … Markus, we all invented ourselves. I mean, let’s not lie to ourselves. I invented Holly Woodlawn. You invented yourself. We all did. When we’re like three years old, five years old, if we’re smart, we go: “Oh, this is what I want!” When you’re growing up, we have an option, you can go left and be a douchebag or an idiot or you can go right and be fabulous. I went right, even though I’m a left hander. And so did Amanda. That’s what we did. We have a choice. We made that decision. Of course we’re paying for it. Heavily. Amanda was unhappy in England. She met Salvador Dali, and Dali … please don’t get me started on him. He saw that she was unhappy in her skin and payed for her sex change and the rest is history. I never wanted to be a woman. Ever. My favourite question is, when people meet me, they say: “Well Holly, what shall I call you – he, she, it?” I go: “Why don’t you try calling me Holly. And then call me a cab. And a limousine!”