Photo: Alberto Tolot, Sterling Winters Company

From a violet-eyed beauty in "National Velvet," to a diamond-collecting Dame, Elizabeth Taylor, now 77, has earned her place as a beauty and style icon.

We had the chance to email with the star this week, and while she was mum about Michael Jackson, she did speak openly about the pressures of maintaining her looks, what makes her feel sexy, and favorite pieces in her jewelry collection (which she said was "like choosing a favorite child").

Check out our Q&A with the star!

StyleList:
You are one of the most iconic beauties of all time. Do you feel pressure to maintain a certain image?
Elizabeth Taylor: Ironically, the greatest pressure came after my brain surgery. After my surgery, I let my hair grow out white. Women would stop me on the street and say, 'You simply must make your hair dark. We've grown up with you that way – we insist!' I thought it was very comical. But ultimately, I succumbed to the pressure and it's dark now...permanently.

StyleList: You've had some very stylish friends, are there any who have influenced your own style, or who inspire you fashion-wise?
Taylor: There have been so many, including Ralph Lauren, who credits our film "Giant" with inspiring his western looks. Michael Kors and I did a sweet story for Harper's Bazaar. He's very talented and he says that every one of his collections has a moment inspired by me or my work. I love Halston, Edith Head, Helen Rose, Irene Sharaff, Versace and Valentino, who were all great chums of mine.

StyleList: Are there any particular clothing items you think all women should own?
Taylor: Lingerie is so important, and I need jewelry more than clothes. I think every woman should own something that makes her feel sexy, as well as something that makes her feel happy. I love beautiful scarves... jackets...a great pair of blue jeans. Hats are always fun. My cowboy boots at the moment are bringing me a lot of pleasure. I think every woman has to decide for herself what truly turns her on.

StyleList: What makes you feel sexy?
Taylor: Being loved and a passion for life.

StyleList: In what era of your career did you feel fashion hit a peak? Is there any particular decade's style that you love best?
Taylor: In fashion as in life, I'm waiting to see what will happen tomorrow, but I'm never a slave to it. I don't follow the dictates of fashion – I stay true to my own style, wearing the things that inspire me and not just what's shown on the runway or in fashion magazines. I've been on so many Worst-Dressed Lists, but I've always had fun when it comes to clothing and style.

StyleList: You have a famous love of diamonds and jewelry. What's the most prized piece in your collection?
Taylor: That's like choosing a favorite child. The Krupp is my baby, 33-plus carats and growing. The Peregrina pearl necklace [a birthday present from Richard Burton in the '60s] gives me such a sense of responsibility and there are always new, wonderful pieces which are given to me with love from people I cherish. Each gem in my collection represents a moment, a relationship, an experience that I treasure. It's the love that surrounds my jewelry that makes it so important to me.

StyleList: When did you first launch White Diamonds? What was the inspiration behind it?
Taylor: One of my greatest pleasures is creating beautiful fragrances and sharing them with the world. White Diamonds was launched in 1991. The inspiration is love and yes, I admit it....I wanted every woman to be able to experience the joy and thrills that diamonds and extraordinary gems bring to me.