Lisa Simpson has pretty much worn the same pair of red Mary Janes for the past 25 years, but the actress behind the eternal eight-year-old has something of a shoe fetish. When she’s not giving Lisa a voice — which she’s done since The Simpsons debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987 — Yeardley Smith is designing shoes for her own footwear line.
Smith launched Marchez Vous (that’s French for “You Walk”) in 2011. “My whole life has been predicated on this premise of ‘Screw it, let’s do it,’” says the actress, who started the label despite having no formal training in fashion or shoe design. “There’s something interesting and exciting and a little bit daring about someone who [says], ‘I don’t know [how], but let’s do it.’” Two years later, the collection — a range of Italian-made women’s heels, flats and boots made in that retail for between $295-$625 — is available in 40 boutiques across the country and online at MarchezVous.com.
Despite some initial challenges, Smith has figured out a way to balance her Simpsons gig with her passion for shoe design. “It can get a little nutty when you’re juggling both jobs,” she admits. But don’t expect her to give up her day job anytime soon. “People always say, ‘Do you get tired of doing Lisa Simpson?’ First of all, I love that girl… But really, the most important thing is that the show has afforded me so many opportunities to do other things in my life… You can have all the money in the world and not do anything with [it], but I think that would be a tremendous waste. I’ve chosen to do some really interesting, daring, fabulous, and different things. Things I never thought I would do and that I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I didn’t have this sort of freedom of choice.”
Read on for our full Q&A with the actor-turned-shoe designer.