Jane Fonda Gets Candid On Her 'Woke' History, Celebrating 60 Years Since Vogue Cover

Left: Jane Fonda photographed by Irving Penn,  Vogue , July 1959; Left: Fonda in 2018, photo credit Getty Images.  via Vogue US

Left: Jane Fonda photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, July 1959; Left: Fonda in 2018, photo credit Getty Images. via Vogue US

Bridget Read interviews Jane Fonda about 60 years of activism , looking totally fab in her 80s and her first Vogue cover shot by master artist Irving Penn in July 1959.

We learn that Fonda actually worked for Irving Penn for a year, acting as his assistant at age 19. How thrilling! The Vogue cover shoot was a year before the actor’s first film ‘Tall Story’. She was wearing lipstick-color gloves available at Saks Fifth Avenue and a “spice brown” rinse in her hair.

Jane was studying at the time with Lee Strasberg and assigned to the Eileen Ford Agency as a model to pay for her acting classes. “If you had told me at that time that at age 81 I would again be on the cover of Vogue, I would’ve told you you were out of your mind, that that was completely and utterly impossible,” Jane tells Briget Read. Fonda continues:

My image of women was that they were victims and not very powerful, and my dad didn’t encourage me, or make me feel I was attractive. I mean, everything was a surprise to me. I was surprised that I got cast in a movie. I was surprised that I was ever accepted as a model at Eileen Ford’s agency and surprised that I ever ended up on the cover of Vogue. So my life has just been one big surprise for me.

It fact it wasn’t Jane Fonda’s visit to Angela Davis in the Marin Couny Jail that propelled her into activism. Nor was it her ‘radical’ husband Tom Hayden’s state assembly campaign in California. Fonda became an uber progressive in Paris, hanging with American GIs who had served in Vietnam. They had become resistors and gave the blooming model a book to read by Jonathan Schell called ‘The Village of Ben Suc’. There was no turning back after reading that book.

This interview gets better and better, as Fonda and Read discuss what it is to be ‘woke’. Read on at Vogue.