Anyone who has descended upon Los Angeles knows that the city’s ultimate accessory—more than the blue jean, or the green juice, or even a sun-kissed glow—is the car. Among the maze of highways that encompass L.A.’s neural network, a sort of mythical transience exists, where strangers are picked up, friendships are solidified, and aspiring artists get jobs at Vogue. Before the advent of Uber redefined the mobile landscape of Los Angeles, the magazine multi-hyphenate Lisa Love had a gig driving Andy Warhol around town. Below, Love reflects on her time in the car with Andy for Interview; the pair made every requisite L.A. stop, from The Beverly Hills Hotel to the Chateau Marmont—and even a drop-off at Cher’s.
I first met Andy in 1971 at the French Consulate in New York City. I had just kind of run away to live with my boyfriend, [the filmmaker] Michel Negroponte, who had a twin brother named George. Andy did a lot of films about twins, so he was obsessed with Michel and George. Their mother, Catherine, was a bit of a Greek aristocrat who was working for [the art historian] John Richardson at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so I got an internship there. I had just started working, and there was this event at the consulate. I recently found a very detailed letter I’d written to my mother about that night: the red Mister Freedom jumpsuit and matching Chelsea Cobbler boots I’d been wearing, how I met a woman from Vogue who was obsessed with me, and how I met this really cool artist, Andy Warhol. At the time, I didn’t want to stay in New York. I didn’t want to work at Vogue. I didn’t want to be a model. I wanted to go to art school. This is why I tell these kids to be awake to what’s happening in the moment, because the experiences they’re having now can end up informing their whole life. Everything kind of came full circle from that letter. I don’t work at Vogue anymore. I don’t work at Interview anymore. But I do still go to the Met.
Anyway, I eventually moved to L.A., and whenever Andy and [his business partner] Fred Hughes would visit town, they were always looking for young people to drive them around. Fred was a friend forever, so he would just call and ask. There was no Uber then, so you had to find young people with cars. My husband and I had, I think, a 1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. A convertible. Andy was doing a lot of portraits. You know, at that point, they were selling the kind of portraits that are in The Whitney. They would do house calls in Los Angeles and making money that way. We’d drive to The Beverly Hills Hotel, the Chateau Marmont, or somebody’s house drumming up business.
Andy never said much in the car besides, “Oh, wow!” And, “Oh, that’s so beautiful. How do you live here? Where do you go?”—even though he’d been coming to L.A. for years. Andy didn’t treat me like a driver. When we arrived at places, I’d go inside with him to visit a sultan’s wife, or whoever it was, at The Beverly Hills Hotel. I remember driving him to Cher’s house, which was kind of a pyramid on the top of a ridge, so that he could take her picture for the cover of Interview. This was in 1982. It wasn’t until 1987 that I started working at Interview. Fred called and said they were looking for someone to manage the West Coast office. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I took the job and started working right away. Then Anna Wintour came to L.A., and I met with her and she asked, “Would you come work for me?” Vogue was paying a lot better than Interview, so I did.