Marcel ‘n’ Me: My Answers to the Proust Questionnaire
If you had asked 1991 Ashley what 2010 Ashley would be up to the answer would have surely involved a life full of glamour, luxury and a whirlwind of obscenely expensive handbags. I likely would have envisioned giant sunglasses, matching luggage and several sexy-slash-arty magazine photo spreads of myself, peppered with flattering quotes from other famous people written in large white text. Whelp, 2010 Ashley has a handbag thats kinda obscenely priced-ish, does regularly read a bunch of magazines with arty-slash-sexy-photo spreads, ate a delicious sandwich for lunch..and…once saw Boyz II Men on an airplane!! (Matching raincoats, people.) So Annie Leibowitz hasn’t yet photographed me naked, wearing a cocktail hat and swimming in an oversized container of Bosco but whatevz, I’m making my way alright on this wacky blue marble.
One thing that does kinda grind my gears, is never having been featured in Vanity Fair’s last page Proust Questionnaire which is something I want to have happen before I start to get wrinkles. You know what I’m talking about, don’t act like you don’t. It’s that page at the end of the magazine where probably vapid public figures attempt to seem both quirky and deep in glib answers to vague questions. It was my belief that the Proust Questionnaire got its name because it was created by Marcel Proust, but that is not the case!! Heavens, no. Wise Marcel was far too busy thwacking away at his typewriter and banging out Swann’s Way &c, to make up silly mash note-y questions for idiot girls to ponder. However, he apparently wasn’t above reading his daughter’s friends diary where he, as legend has it, saw the questionnaire for the first time and boldly took it upon himself to fill it out.
In a teen girls diary.
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However bizarre the origins, the result was a powerful cultural force So pithy were Marcel’s answers, so filled at once with wit and wisdom that the questions became henceforth known as “The Proust Questionnaire.”
I have always cherished the belief that I would be an amazing celebrity interview, were I in anyway inclined for celebrity. The Proust Questionnaire is thusly, my white whale. Due to an absence of requests from the Editorial Department at Vanity Fair however, I have chosen this website as the forum to expose my innermost-est thoughts and reveal the inner workings of my Beautiful Mind. Enjoy and be moved.
[Ed. Note: The full PQ is crazy long, so I’m only doing the VF version]
What is your present state of mind: Cheerfully lazy with a gentle undercurrent of generalized anxiety.
Your idea of perfect happiness: being Marcello Mastroianni during the Dolce Vita days.
What or who is the greatest love of your life: All my children. Both the show and the people I will one day birth with the aid of a highly trained doula.
Quality you most like in a man: Humor, kindness, being well spoken and better read. In other words, money.
Quality you most like in a woman: Tie: Sporting excellent outwear and being Jackee Harris.
Which living person do you most admire: Whoever has to hang Madonna upside down in her hyperbaric formaldehyde chamber at night.
What is your greatest extravagance: Jeans. Sandwiches.
When and where were you happiest: Paris, November 2003.
On what occasion do you lie: When I tell people I want to have brunch with them.
What is your greatest fear: Not being satisfied with being alone.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself: My relentless sexiness.
What is the trait you most deplore in others: Loudness, obesity.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? To always be perfectly gracious and generous and never ever look bad in photographs.
What historical figure do you most identify with: Stromboli, the vaguely menacing Italian from the movie Pinnochio.
What is your greatest regret: Anytime that I wasted time.
What do you consider your greatest achievement: The time I projectile vomited. Even though I felt awful I knew it was so cool.