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More than Mrs. Sting

Als 58 anys, Trudy Styler és molt més que la dona de Sting. Irreverent i sempre envoltada de luxe, s'esforça ara per allunyar-se de la frivolitat

During a visit to India to celebrate her 50th birthday, Trudie Styler consulted a seer (1) . "By 2012, you could be asking for the Taj Mahal -and you would get it," she was told. "I was thinking, 'What would I do with a mausoleum?'" she said. What indeed? Now 58, Ms. Styler is mistress not only of a spacious aerie (2) on Central Park Westt, but also of six lavish homes from London to Los Angeles; she owns a wardrobe that Eva Perón might have envied, and her comings and goings are documented by the fashion press. And invitations to her charity balls are among the most coveted in town.

She also makes movies, sells organic produce farmed on her various estates (3) and has raised four children, the offspring of her 30-year relationship with and 20-year marriage to Gordon Sumner, or Sting. "When I met her, she was beautiful," he said the other day. "But then I figured out (4) that she was smart, much smarter than me."

And yet for Ms. Styler too much, it seems, is never enough. Earlier this month, she pulled off (5) the latest of her social coups, producing her biennial benefit for the Rainforest Foundation, which she and Sting founded in the late 1980s. Afterward, at a dinner and auction at a hotel, Bill Clinton, Ms. Styler's guest of honor, mingled with Aretha Franklin and Tom Hanks. "Sting and Trudie and I have been friends for a long time," Mr. Clinton said, "I believe in their cause."

Ms. Styler, it seems, can embrace any cause with a vengeance. "If I'm connected to an idea, it just doesn't let me go," she said the other day. "All I have to do is catch up to the image in my head by doing the practical steps to get there." At the moment those practical steps revolve around shaking the perception that she is little more than the celebrity consort best known to New Yorkers as Mrs. Sting. She has engaged the high-powered publicist Matthew Hiltzik to promote her achievements.

As a Unicef ambassador, Ms. Styler helped transfer hundreds of Ecuadorean children from the dumpsites (6) where they worked to new schools. She has also aided in the installation of water filtration tanks in the area. The event, sponsored by Revlon this year, took in some $3 million, according to Sting, much of it earmarked (7) for the rescue of the Amazonian jungle.

A health and fitness evangelist, Ms. Styler also makes wine on her estate in Tuscany and has turned her passion for the downward dog into profit, producing six yoga DVDs.

In London, Trudie- baiting (8) has been something of a blood sport. Journalists routinely take aim at (9) her high-consumption way of life, one that encompasses not just the half-dozen homes but a personal entourage including a chef, a private secretary and a hairdresser who travels with her everywhere. Ms. Styler wore a large diamond pendant to a public appearance recently, a jewel that Richard Price noted "would pay for an awful lot of clean drinking water" in the online edition of The Mail .

Nor did it help that in 2007, Sting and Ms. Styler were compelled by a British court to pay damages for having unfairly dismissed their pregnant chef, who was ruled in a unanimous verdict to have been the victim of sex discrimination. Reporters gleefully (10) chronicled the case. At the time Ms. Styler called the judgment "a travesty (11) ".

Such attacks, Ms. Styler mused, may well have been prompted by class envy. She is not inclined to apologize. "I'm not an unkind person," she said, "but by the same token, I'm not a people-pleaser." Does she feel compelled to reconcile the charitable Trudie with the profligate Trudie, who thinks nothing of parting with (12) more than $1,200 -907€- for a pair of seven-inch Louboutin heels.

At home, Ms. Styler exuded serenity and a practiced candor. The middle of three daughters of a school-cafeteria lunch lady and a farmer turned factory worker in the English Midlands, Trudie was beset (13) early on, she said, by a desire to be someone. "I could only imagine myself being successful," she said. When she was 2, she was knocked down by a truck and dragged several yards along the street, leaving one side of her face florid and gravel- pocked (14) . Her schoolmates were cruel about the disfigurement. "I was bullied quite a lot," she said evenly. "I got named Scarface."

While those scars today are scarcely visible, minimized by collagen treatments, the experience left her with a sense of compassion, she said, for "people who've been humiliated. Sad people, sick kids, all that haunts me. Until I was about 18, I didn't think I was appealing in any way, shape or form."

Over the objections of her father, she sought out the theater, joining the Bristol Old Vic and eventually the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was unsure of herself, she recalled. "But I was sure of other peoples' voices. So I said to myself, 'I'll take on this or that character.'"

Recently Ms. Styler returned to those theatrical roots. She appeared last year at the Edinburgh Festival as Hester Thrale, the rather shady (15) intimate of Samuel Johnson, in A Dish of Tea With Dr. Johnson . She is rehearsing a workshop production of "The Seagull," scheduled to open at the Culture Project in Greenwich Village on Monday.

And a year ago, with the producer Celine Rattray ( The Kids Are All Right ), she founded Maven Pictures. They have two films in post-production: Imogene , a comedy with Annette Bening and Matt Dillon, and Filth , with James McAvoy as a bipolar, drug-addled police officer.

"So contagious is her enthusiasm," Ms. Rattray said of her colleague, that she "manages without being pushy (16) to get people to do what she wants them to do without ever having been asked."

That enthusiasm and a penchant for role-playing extend to her daily life. She can, when it suits, inveigh against the rapacious oil giants who lay waste (17) to the jungle or play the dutiful mom, whose daughters, Coco, a singer-songwriter, and Mickey, and sons Jake, a model, and Giacomo, were brought up to mind their manners, she said, and stay grounded.

"No one's sitting around waiting for the trust fund to kick in (18) , because there isn't one," Sting once joked. "I told them, 'There's no money left, Forget it.'"

Ms. Styler can also be the vamp, with a predilection for ribaldry (19) . She likes tweaking the news media. During the interview, she extended her foot to show off toenails lacquered in radiant pink, the color, she noted, of "a robust vagina."

She and Sting have talked openly about their boudoir antics, claiming to have practiced five-hour sessions of tantric sex, and acknowledging mutual infidelities. Several years ago, Ms. Styler raised eyebrows when she taunted Howard Stern, boasting of having gone to sex clubs, slept with women and engaged with Sting in partner swaps.

"It's rock 'n' roll," she told Mr. Stern. "Isn't that what we're supposed to do?"

Last year in Harper's Bazaar , she posed with a shirtless Sting for Terry Richardson. The collaboration yielded a series of images in which Sting's hand crawled up her naked thigh, his knee wedged itself between her legs, and the two touched tongues. Playful though it was, that photo essay prompted The New York Post to blare (20) in a headline, "Put On the Red Light."

Not that Ms. Styler was fazed (21) . "It's been well documented that we were a bit wild," she said. "But now, at our age, we're suddenly expected to be pillars of society, acting like the local vicar and his wife. We're not the Right Reverend Mr. and Mrs. Sting."

From time to time, Ms. Styler has been asked to imagine what her life would have been had she not married Sting. "I have no idea," she said, "For sure, I would have had a life in which I would be in the driving seat."

GLOSSARY

1. seer: vident

2. aerie: niu d'àliga

3. estate: finca

4. to figure out: esbrinar

5. to pull off: aconseguir

6. dumpsite: abocador

7. to earmark: assignar/destinar

8. to bait: incitar/criticar

9. to take aim at: criticar

10. gleefully: alegrement

11. travesty: farsa

12. to part with: pagar

13. to beset: assetjar

14. pocked: picat

15. shady: fosc

16. pushy: agressiu

17. to lay waste: devastar

18. to kick in: fer efecte

19. ribaldry: grolleria

20. to blare: anunciar a crits

21. to be fazed: immutar-se

EXERCISE 1

Find the following words in the text.

1. Sumptuously rich and luxurious.

2. A person or animal's children.

3. To hire someone's services.

4. A group of people surrounding an important person.

5. To apply to a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court.

EXERCISE 2

Complete these sentences adapted from the text with the correct preposition.

1. Bill Clinton, Ms. Styler's guest of honor, mingled .......................... Aretha Franklin and Tom Hanks.

2. Ms. Styler has turned her passion for the downward dog ............................ profit.

3. Her daughters and sons were brought ...................... to mind their manners.

4. Several years ago, Ms. Styler raised ....................... when she taunted Howard Stern.

ANSWERS

EXERCISE 1:

1. lavish / 2. offspring / 3. to engage / 4. entourage / 5. to appeal

EXERCISE 2:

1. with / 2. into / 3. up / 4. eyebrows

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