31 Fascinating Answers To Questions About Life, Happiness, Fear And More From The Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire

The Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire is an intimate look into the lives of some of the most prominent cultural figures of the last several decades, through a series of fascinating questions. What began in 19th-century France as a popular parlor game among the bourgeois crowd was taken on by Vanity Fair in 1993 as a way of learning more about some of the most famous people of the last 50 years. Here are 31 of the most fascinating, hilarious, thought-instigating answers.
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What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
I’ve made only the movies I wanted to make.

-Robert Altman, Filmmaker


What is your current state of mind?
Up.

-Bill Blass, Fashion Designer


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Waking up in the morning.

-Lauren Bacall, Actress


What is your favorite journey?
The ones I take in my head.

-Giorgio Armani, Fashion Designer


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
It’s never going to be absolutely perfect. There will always be something  you would change if you could.

-Aretha Franklin, Singer


Who are your heroes in real life?
No one should have heroes. It is degrading.

-George Carlin, Comedian


What is your motto?
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” [Don’t let the bastards grind you down.]

-Margaret Atwood, Writer


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Legend.

-Johnny Cash, Musician


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Chastity.

-Julie Andrews, Actress


Which living person do you most despise?
I have a rule of keeping all negatives out of my life, so if there was someone I was going to despise, I wouldn’t waste the energy on them – they disappear. I remember a philosopher said to me once, “You should only hate people you love. The rest of them are not worth the energy.”

-Sir Michael Caine, Actor


What is your motto?
“You never know.”

-Nora Ephron, Author, Screenwriter, and Director


What do you most value in your friends?
Their faithfulness. The fact that after all these years they are still my friends. I have very few friends.

-Brigitte Bardot, Actress and Animal-Rights Activist


What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Blindly following.

-Harry Belafonte, Entertainer and Civil-Rights Activist


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
My need to rush.

-Annette Bening, Actress


What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
While in New York, tolerance.
Outside of New York, intolerance.

-David Bowie, Musician


What is the quality you like most in a man?
Integrity – that takes care of everything. Take care of your kids, watch your family, try to be a good man, walk as close as you can to what you believe in.

-James Brown, Musician


What is your favorite journey?
Going home.

-William F. Buckley Jr., Writer and Editor


What is your greatest regret?
That I never taped or documented my grandfather’s stories of his years at sea.

-Jimmy Buffett, Musician


What is your most treasured possession?
My hands. They guide everywhere I go, and they allow me to play the piano and other instruments, which has been my lifeline since an early age.

-Ray Charles, Musician


What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being in the moment.

-Eric Clapton, Musician


Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Frank Sinatra. He did it his way.

-Jackie Collins, Writer


What is your most marked characteristic?
I, like Popeye, am what I am.

-Ellen DeGeneres, Comedian and Talk-Show Host


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’m afraid that “one thing” would just lead to another thing, making this a question only the truly greedy would try to answer.

-Joan Didion, Writer


What is your motto?
“It’s better to be interested than interesting.”

-Jane Fonda, Actress


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Virginity and/or cynicism and/or machismo.

-Allen Ginsberg, Poet


What is it that you most dislike?
Receptions and dinners in noisy places with people talking too loud, riding in stretch limos, waste.

-Jane Goodall, Primatologist and Environmentalist


What is your greatest fear?
Of ever becoming a grown-up, please.

-Quincy Jones, Musician and Producer


What is  your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is a healthy family, peace between nations, and all the critics die.

-David Mamet, Playwright and Director


What is your greatest fear?
Puberty.

-Conan O’Brien, Comedian and Talk-Show Host


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change a single thing, because one change alters every moment that follows it.

-Sidney Poitier, Actor


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
One ride is enough for me. TC mark

-Bobby Short

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

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