Hummingbird Beats: Victoria Floethe

Victoria Floethe. Babe. Also, writer, actor and filmmaker, currently at work on a documentary series about female desire. She lives in New York City, but every time we exchange an email, she’s in London, Paris or running between. She’s intimate, open and still coy and classic. She likes leather pants, Leonard Cohen and Claridge’s. She attended Vassar College and has worked for Vanity Fair and written for Slate, The Guardian and The Spectator.

What’s in your bag? When you pack for a trip, in your handbag, in the pockets of your jeans…?

I’m on a trip currently, so I’m schlepping around what’s probably a thirty-pounder.

International Herald Tribune, Valium, one sock, floor plans of an apartment I looked at in Venice, Dior sunglasses, tea-stained passport;

Cannon EOS Rebel, mini hairbrush, cashmere beret, Guerlain compact, YSL lipstick, Essie nail polish in Lolipop;

Auction catalogue for a vintage couture sale, wallet, iPad, bedazzled iPhone, strand of pearls, name tag for a media conference I attended in Monaco three months ago, a pen from Claridge’s Hotel, sleeping mask, a bar of dark chocolate, Kind bars (Are you sorry you asked, yet?);

Mints from a country club in Sarasota, Florida, one gold button, earbuds, cellphone charger, a pamphlet about the London Library, hairpins, Dr. Gross eye cream, Embryolisse moisturizer;

In my coat pocket I have five pounds of loose change, a receipt from Citarella and the business card of a man named Gypsy. How bizarre!

You have 5 minutes to pack up – for a trip of which the duration you’re not sure. What do you take?

No matter what the duration, I take as much as I can stuff into my roller bag. My current packing strategy is to stick to slinky fabrics which I can roll up and abuse. They also take up less space. A good packing job is when I can go two weeks and not wear the same outfit twice. And I always regret it if I don’t remember to bring a bikini, my tripod and a universal adapter.

What is your most essential article of clothing?

Probably leather pants. But my new essential is a 1965 Givenchy little black dress (Audrey’s was Givenchy) I bought last week at an auction.

What are the top 5 songs you need to have access to hearing at all times?

‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ — Animals

‘Sweet Thing’ — Van Morrison

‘Mi Corazon’ — Ernesto Lecuona

‘The Traitor’ — Leonard Cohen

‘I Walk A Little Faster’ — Blossom Dearie

What is your preferred hummingbird beat/cities you like to frequent?

For Christmas I’ll be in Cumbria on the Irish Sea, one of the most beautiful places anywhere; then London, Paris and Munich. I have a soft spot for Sarasota, Florida where I spent most of my childhood.

What’s something crazy that you did to follow your passion? 

My first real writing gig after college was to ghost the memoirs of a Hungarian billionaire’s wife. I was very grateful to get the job and she had an enthralling story, but I quickly realized I was in for a kind of enslavement. The job required staying weeks at a time with her at her Nantucket home, where my hostess/subject was frequently absent in her enormous bedroom counting her money or pointing out in her Zsa Zsa Gabor accent what an unsophisticated hick I was. “How can YOU, the primitive that you are, possibly understand ME, a daughter of the Austro-Hungarian Empire?” She was right, of course. I was terrified of her and was a basket-case by the end. But I had written a three-hundred page book in her voice.

What is one tip you have for traveling – a beauty tip, a survival tip, a culinary tip… ?

Go for a run wherever you are–you get to feel both adventurous and virtuous.

What’s a recent or favorite meal you had while bouncing around the globe?

Last week I was in London and had a few extraordinary and very English meals. Jugged hare at Anchor and Hope, a gastro-pub where they do one seating for Sunday lunch. Then I had grouse, a small game bird, at a Gentleman’s club on Pall Mall. And then, a highlight of the week, my companion and I were invited to tea at Number Ten Downing street.

Where have you had your best night’s sleep?

Claridge’s Hotel in London.

Who would you like to travel with – three people (you guys can caravan together or on separate trips)?

Roman Abromovich, the Russian Oligarch who owns the world’s largest yacht, my friend Barry Humphries who could do his famous lesbian impersonation (Dame Edna) for us and the present love of my life. How’s that for a ship of fools?

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