Glenn O'Brien: So, Kate, have you met everyone yet?
Kate: Almost. Well, not everyone!
GO: Who haven't you met?
KM: Well... I have met almost everyone I've wanted to meet. How about you?
GO: I haven't really met Bob Dylan.
KM: I've met Bob Dylan. We did one of those nonhandshake handshakes. I was with all
guys , and he shook hands with all of them, and then they said "And this is Kate," and I put my hand out, and he didn't put his hand out. It was one of those. We finally did shake. And then I fainted!
GO: From meeting Bob Dylan? What a fan!
KM: Well, I met Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan in the space of 15 minutes. Frank Sinatra kissed me on the lips.
GO: That's why they called him the Chairman of the Board.
KM: He kissed me on the lips. And then he gave me a filterless cigarette. And then I met
Bob Dylan. I came off all lightheaded and had to go sit on his dressing-room steps.
GO: I would faint if I smoked a Camel.
KM: Maybe it was the cigarette and nothing to do with the legends.
GO: So did Frank still have all his marbles?
KM: Oh, definitely. There was still a twinkle in his blue eyes. Yeah, major. I was with Johnny [Depp] at the time. And Frank came over to me and got all of his security to close in so Johnny couldn't get to me. I was sitting down having a cigarette, and he just walked in the room, and he spotted me and made a beeline to me. So we were encircled by security in this backstage area, and he's like, "How are we doing, little Lady?" And I said, "Happy Birthday, Frank!" and I want to shake his hand, and he just lunged at me.
KM: I know. And then I smoked the cigarette and went all light-headed. He was fabulous. It was his 80th-birthday party in LA.
GO: Did Frank sing for you? "Stranger in the Night"?
KM: No, he just did his concert. He was so great.
GO: Fainting was exactly the thing to do after you'd been kissed by Frank. You always know what to do, Kate. You must be this repository of wisdom.
A lot more
Kate, on flying commercial, and shopping:
KM: It's all about the blanket. Blanket, pillow, and red wine. You should always be asleep on a plane.
GO: You're always traveling. You must be a genius at packing.
KM: No. It's awful. I had this amazing PA, and we used to pack together, and she got so used to what I wanted to pack that she got to point where she would just do it all--and perfectly. Now she's away having a baby, and I have completely forgotten how to do it. It's so weird. I just organize by bags of specific things. Bags of knickers, bags of bikinis, bags of dresses. So it is contained and organized, but my suitcase is a mess if I do it myself.
GO: But being a fashion freak, how do you contain you--
KM: I am not a fashion freak!
GO: Yes, you are.
KM: No, I'm not at all. I hardly ever--
GO: Okay, you're a clothes person--
KM: Yeah, I like clothes, but I hardly ever go shopping. Hardly ever!
GO: How do you get your clothes then?
KM: Well, I just come across them.
GO: [laughs] Yeah, my wife comes across them too.
KM: If I see a secondhand shop, I'll go in. but I don't, like traipse down Bond Street.
GO: I know, but I also know you have an incredible wardrobe. Don't you have a lot of stuff?
KM: I don't have as much as you probably think
GO: I just sort of assumed you're like my wife. She has great clothes that she wears, but she's also a collector. I am trying to buy another apartment in my building so there will be enough room for me. There are stacks of clothes.
KM: Well, I edit. I edit things down, and I've got a massive dressing room in the country, and so all the things I'm not going to wear but don't want to get rid of go there. And all the stuff I want to get rid of goes to Oxfam.
GO: So you'll wear it again in 10 years?
KM: Or my daughter will wear it. When she's 16. All those Pucci numbers and things that I wore when I was 17 that I won't really wear. But I'm saving them for her really. That's my blackmail. "Don't eat your dinner, and you won't get my clothes. You won't grow, and you won't get into my clothes." Now she's a fashion freak.
GO: How old is she?
KM: She's almost 6.
GO: She would probably like my kid. He's turning 8. He's a real ladies' man.
KM: She likes older boys. Have you got a picture? [kid pictures... oohing and aahing] He has olive skin!
GO: My son Oscar announced the other day that he was getting married to his girlfriend from school. He's wearing a ring now. I said, "So are you going to move in together?" And he said, "Why would we do that?" He's so smart.
KM: Lila says she's going to get married three times. She's going to have three husbands, and she knows exactly who they are. They say the funniest things. Never a dull moment!
GO: What do you do for jet lag?
KM: I stay up. Actually, I never used to have it. I get it a bit more now, but I just carry on. I just stay up.
GO: and how do you stay the same size?
KM: I don't know. That's genetic I think. It's handy going to the gym wouldn't be on my list of favorite things to do.
GO: Do you have gaydar, Kate?
GO: The last time I was with you, you were going on about your theory about a famous movie star.
KM: Yeah, I know. Then when I got home it texted all these men I know, asking if they thought he was gay. I got so many responses! Like, two-page responses!
GO: They wrote essays.
KM: They wrote elaborate papers. Some were, "Well, considering that he is so preened..." And others were like, "No, definitely not." There were two very different schools of thought. Well, apparently he isn't. but I've hears so many people say he definitely is. And so many people say he definitely isn't. I haven't got to the bottom of it. And when you and I saw him, he left before we had a chance to ask.
And here's where it got reallllly interesting:
GO: Maybe next time. So anyway, just to go on historical record, considering the controversies of the past, were you ever too skinny?
KM: Yeah. When I was doing shows and flying economy and nobody ever fed me. Or I'd be staying in hotels so cheap that by the time I'd get in, there wasn't any room service. I didn't eat for a long time. Not on purpose. You'd be on shoots with bad food or get on a plane, and the food would be so disgusting you couldn't eat it. You go to a show, and there's no food at all, so if you're doing shows back to back, you can forget eating. I remember standing up in the bath one day, and there was a mirror in front of me, and I was so thin! I hated it. In ever liked being that skinny.
GO: but when you were criticized for being skinny, I didn't think you were all that skinny.
KM: I was never anorexic, so I was never that skinny. I was never bony-bony.
But I remember thinking, I don't want to be this skinny.
GO: I thought if there was something different about you, it was that you weren't gigantically tall.
KM: I wasn't the Amazonian girl that everyone in fashion was used to, with the big tits, all curvy and tall. I was small in comparison. It's funny, though, because I always thought I was as tall as, like, Christy, and then I'd be doing her makeup in the mirror and realize that I was 5 inches shorter.
GO: All those girls tower over me in high heels. They love towering. So who's more diabolical, men or women?
KM: Men, for sure!
KM: 'Cause they're cunts!
GO: Men are cunts?
KM: Absolute bastards!
GO: So are women dicks?
KM: Actually, that's true. I never really thought about it, but for sure.
GO: But you like men, that's obvious. What do you notice first about a guy?
KM: Oh, his eyes? The lips? I don't know.
GO: And what do you notice first on a woman?
KM: Tits. I'm a tit man.
GO: So as a tit man, what do you think about breast implants?
KM: I think they are awful.
GO: Have you ever felt them?
KM: Yeah, I have. They are awful. So many of my friends have had them, and they've gone wrong. One of my friends' tits started growling like the giant peach, and blood started coming out the nipple.
KM: Then another friend of mine had one that sort of moved up to her shoulder. One tit was normal, and the other was up by her collarbone. I know only one girl who has good ones. And most of them are so hard you can knock on them like a door. I'm not into them. I mean, if I got all saggy, like the sacks some women have after they have children, I'd have them done. I'm not against them, but if you have normal ones, just to have them enlarged for the sake of having big ones... I don't really like big tits anyway.
GO: I've always been a B-cup guy.
KM: I wouldn't know what to do with a B cup.
GO: So what's the difference between a model and a supermodel?
KM: I have no idea. I suppose if you can analyze it, you have to have a couple of Vogue covers. In England they're all supermodels in the press. Supermodel so-and-so, and they've done the new sleazy lingerie campaign or something.
GO" It's the same in American almost. I kept reading about this girl I knew being a supermodel, so I wrote, "She never says what building she's the super of."
KM: Meee-ow! You are so bad.
GO: So does a good model have to think about it, or is it like some athletics, and you just act instinctively, just react? Do you have a plan before a shoot or...
KM: I think about it. When youre shooting you go to references in your mind. You think about how you should stand in these particular clothes, or how you should move. You think about the different characters you're playing, really.
GO: Are you a scholar of modeling history?
KM: I've been doing it for 20 years, and I've worked with people who are obsessed with the history of fashion, so I've really seen a lot.
GO: Have you been impressed by the work of other models?
KM: I think for me it's those '60s models, like Veruschka. I like a lot of those girls. You see those pictures of [Richard] Avedon's and [Irving] Penn's, and they're just so iconic. But you can't always tell if it's the photographer of the model. When it's great it's probably both. I really work. I like feeling that I've nailed it, and we've got the picture.
GO: So were you self-taught, or was it working with certain photographers that gave you a way to work?
KM: I would say I'm self-taught, but Corinne Day made me less conscious of myself. I was 15, and she'd make me take off my top, and I'd cry. After five years, you get used to it, and you're not self-conscious anymore. You're not conscious about your flaws. Bowlegs. Crooked teeth. That is what makes you different from everyone else. But when I was 15, I was like, " Oh no, I don't want to be different. I want to have big tits! I want to look like Cindy Crawford!"
GO: Yeah, Lauren Hutton wanted to have her teeth fixed, and then her gap became her big trademark.
KM: I lost a tooth, and I went to a dentist in New York, and I had to have a cap made. I came around, and he'd done all these temporary caps for my fangs. He thought this straight line of big white teeth looked good. Actually, Fabien [Baron-- Interview's editorial director] was on of the people who said, " No! Don't do it!"
GO: You have good teeth for an English person. Why do the English have such bad teeth?
KM: I don't know. I think it's genetic. My mum has really good teeth. My dad doesn't. Americans are really obsessed with their teeth being white and straight, aren't they? I saw this little girl the other day with one of those whole head braces. Elastic all the way around! How traumatizing for a child to have to wear one of those! You look like a monster.
GO: You become a mass murderer with perfect teeth. I hate orthodontists.
KM: I hate dentists. That's why my tooth fell out. I was in the middle of a root canal and wouldn't go back, so it just dropped out when I was in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I had to do the Calvin Klein show without the tooth.
GO: So you couldn't smile. Well, you wouldn't smile in a Calvin Klein show anyway.
GO: I had a front tooth fall out before my second wedding, right before the ceremony. I kept sticking it back in, but it wouldn't stay.
KM: Is that who you're married to now?
KM: [laughs] Well, that was a bit of a bad omen, wasn't it? Losing a tooth.
GO: I know. I should have said, " Stop the wedding! Bad omen!" It's true, she did try to defang me.
KM: You seem better now.
GO: I am, thanks. So do you have career ambitions after modeling?
KM: Yeah. I'm already doing things. I'm doing Topshop. And I've got lots of friends in the music business who are always asking me to do things. Not that I want to be a singer, but I like doing things. Obviously, one day I'm going to stop modeling, but I think I will just move into something else.
GO: I think talented people just naturally move into other things.
KM: When I was modeling, I'd get bored.
GO: I know a lot of people who have had great second careers in the arts. Like John Waters. David Byrne makes interesting art. I saw this wonderful art exhibit in Basel by Malcolm McLaren, " Shallow (1-21)," a series of musical paintings and people tend to see Malcolm as an impresario or hustler, but what he's doing is really amazing.
KM: His son Joe is like that. He's a really good friend of mine. He does Agent Provocateur, and he started singing at parties. He's a crooner, and he'd just break into song at parties, and he would be amazing. I'd say, " Joe, you really missed your true vocation," and now he's making a record. He just played in Vienna to 40,000 people or something. He's very like his dad in that way. It's about confidence, I think. A lot of people don't dare to do things they dream about, but he just goes for it.
GO: So how did the Topshop thing happen?
KM: My friend Bella Freud has this charity for children in Palestine, and I said I'd auction a kiss. So I was at work, and a friend of mine called up and said, " I'm bidding on your kiss." And people were texting me, " It's at 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand." When I finally got there it was 60 grand. It was Philip Green [ Topshop's owner] betting against Jemima Khan, and in the end he gave it to Jemima. I'm thinking, "What am I going to do for 60 grand? It's going to have to be more than a peck on the cheek." So I started talking to him, and I said, "Well, I should do something for Topshop," and he said, " All right, come and have a meeting with me," and so I did, and that was that. We really get on because we're both from Croydon. It's really weird. My mum had a fruit and veg stall in Croydon's Surrey Street Market, and his mum had two shops just around the corner from the market. I didn't know he was from Croydon, until we signed the deal and had dinner and he told me.
GO: So it's stuff that you would wear?
KM: Yeah, it's taken from bits from my closet really. It's about just the right thing that you can't get. It's about just the right thing that you can't find in a second-hand shop anymore. I'll give them something and tell 'em how to do it, and it will come back, and I'm amazed. Sometimes you can't tell the new one from the original. It's so good. And it's cheap-- well, cheaper.
GO: Did you ever meet the queen?
KM: Yeah. I met her when I was 8, in Croydon, and I gave her a posy. Then I met her at Buckingham Palace. She was really nice and friendly. It was at a thing for women who have succeeded in the face of adversity.
GO: Gee, I had no idea.
KM: I know. It was so weird. All of these women-- Dame Judi Dench, Margaret Thatcher..
GO: They all had adversity? Maybe that's about that hats Thatcher wore.
KM: It was brilliant. All the bitchings that went on. Vivienne Westwood was there, and I introduced her to someone--we all had to wear these name tags-- and I didn't know who this woman was, and Vivienne said, " I think you're a disgrace! You're a disgrace to the fashion industry. How can you call yourself a professor?" It turned out this woman was the head of a university. I was just there in the middle. But it was funny, all these old dames.
GO: Do you think you'll get made a dame. That's the women's equivalent of sir, right?
KM: Yeah. I don't think so.
GO: Dame Kate Moss?
KM: Well, I've put in a request with a few friends. [laughs] But you can't be a dame when you're under 50, can you? I've got a few years to work on it. Anyway, dame sounds old.
GO: Do you ever find yourself driving around, and see yourself on a billboard and it strikes you as odd? Do you have surreal moments seeing your image?
KM: It was weird when I was doing those Calvin ads and people were spraying things on them like FEED ME. That was a bit weird. But other than that, I'm immune. But my daughter gets excited. " Mummy! I saw you on the telly!" Or, " We were driving, and I asw this picture of you. It was realyl big!" But I was on buses in New York when I was 17, so now it doesn't really do much to me.
GO: Speaking of when you were 17, I just saw the Calvin Klein underwear ad you and I did with Herb Ritts and Marky Mark.
KM: Oh, I was such a nervous wreck.
GO: It was strange. He was working so hard to be, uh, funky. He turned out to be such a good actor.
KM: But at the time he was such a dickhead. He wasn't very nice.
GO: As a writer, I had a hard time working with him. It was a struggle with the ebonics.
KM: They had to get Downtown Julie Brown to come in as a consultant to get him going. And David Geffen came down.
GO: Before the shoot Mark went to the Calvin Klein office, and Calvin had him try on every style of underwear. We were on the seventh floor, and the windows of the building across 39th Street were all filled with girls, waving and holding up signs: MARKY, WE LOVE YOU.
KM: He had a good body.
GO: He had a third nipple. That's supposed to mean you're a witch.
KM: Or be the sign of some kind of evilness.
GO: I don't know if he's really evil.
KM: No, he's not evil.
GO: Now, the Funky Bunch, maybe they were evil. Speaking of evil, how have you changed since you became a mum?
KM: I don't have house parties anymore. Everything's changed. It's all about her really.
GO: Does she take after you?
KM: Yeah. Everyone says so. I think she looks like her dad [Jefferson Hack], but her mannerisms are really me. Although when I was a kid I was so shy; I didn't say anything until I was, like, 13, when I started rebelling. I started kicking doors down and yelling, "I'm going out!" Up until then, I did not say boo to a goose. It must have been a real shock to my mother. Lila's now like I was then. She's really frightening. Well, not frightening, but much more outspoken than I was as a child. She hangs out with adults a lot.
GO: That's the best.
KM: So she's really confident around adults and can have a conversation with them. I didn't go to any parties as a child. I didn't know anything until I started living my own life. I used to sleep at the top of the stairs, watching my mom and dad as they watched TV. I thought, There must be something going on.
GO: So what's the secret of your longevity? You've never been out.
KM: Touch wood. I don't know. You never know when it could end. But I think I have a good rapport with the people I work with and that really helps. If you like working with people and you always have a good time and you always do good work, then they're going on to book you again. I like doing what I do. It's not, "Oh, God, not that again!" I get into it.
GO: I know you're friends with certain women who were girlfriends of the Rolling Stones. Have you ever heard any Brian Jones stories? I'm a big Brian Jones fan.
KM: Anita [ Pallenberg] told me he was so naughty. He was naughty, naughty, naughty. I went to Christie's with her, to a rock 'n' roll auction, and I bought his coat, this Ossie Clark pink- and- white tweed coat. Like the Withnail & I coat, double- breasted with a high collar. He was quite short, and it fits me. It's so fabulous. How long did Brian go with Anita?
GO: I think it was probably a year.
KM: And Marianne [Faithfull] only went out with Mick for a year and a half.
GO: That was a long time in those days. So much was happening.
KM: I suppose when you're young a lot happens. I only went out with Mario [ Sorrenti] for a year and a half, and so much happened, it felt like forever.
GO: I loved Brian Jones's style. I hated that movie [Stoned, 2005] about his death, but I watched it about four times just to look at the clothes.
KM: I got a call about playing Anita in that movie, and I phoned Marlon, her son, and I said, " Marlon, I've just been sent this script for the Brian Jones story. I'm meant to play Anita," and he said, " Oh, what's the line in it? 'Oops, he died." [laughs]
GO: What's your favorite vintage period?
KM: The '20s, the'60s, and some '70s.
GO: Do you have clothes from the '20s?
KM: I do. I've got Errol Flynn's first wife's flapper dress. It's gorge. I love that period. I like those amazing bias-cut dresses from the 30s, but it all went bad in the '40s, with the shoulder pads and all. I'm bidding in an auction on one of James Brown's suits. It's ivory with gold epaulets and gold buttons. I met James Brown! I danced with him on the runway at one of Thierry Mugler's shows. He was singing "Sex Machine" and I was dancing in a ball gown, and he turned around and danced with me. It took me a second to realize I was dancing with James Brown, I froze. His teeth were so white. He wasn't really singing. He was lip-synching. But he was incredible. And he was so nice. He said later, " You've got to come to my 50th-birthday party." I was thinking, Fifty? Right? I think he had lost count.
GO: Do you have any nicknames?
KM: Yes. [long pause, laughs]
GO: Who's your favorite monster?
KM: The giant marshmallow from Ghostbusters.
GO: And your favorite superhero?
KM: Wonder Woman. The outfit was so good. I once went to a stag party when my friend was getting married, and I went with all the boys because I was one of them. There were all these strippers dressed up in costumes like nuns and sailors and all that, and so all the guys had lap dances, and they said, "You've got to have one!" I said, " I don't want one," and they said, " Well, you've got to have one!" So I said, "Okay, I'll have Wonder Woman." And she got fresh with me. How rude. I went ballistic. I said, "Okay, that's it! We're leaving." But secretly I thought it was kind of great that Wonder Woman would do that.
GO: Speaking of bad behavior, you've been everywhere and seen everything, so I wanted to ask you what you thought about the seven capital sins.
KM: Pride is a sin? Pride shouldn't be a sin!
GO: I agree completely. How about lust?
KM: Lust isn't a sin either.
KM: Oh yeah, that's a sin. Definitely. I mean, I've never committed it, but it's bad.
KM: Sometimes. Not one of my major sins.
KM: That's a sin, but I don't really suffer from it. I like a nice break now and then
GO: How about greed? Well, that's a sin, but I'm not greedy. I would like a house in Ibiza. That would make three. That's not greedy, is it?
KM: It sounds reasonable to me.
GO: Wrath. I don't think that's a sin, either, do you?
KM: No, it's important to get angry at times, don't you think?
GO: I do. So in all your experiences, what have you learned about men?
KM: They are not to be trusted.
GO: What have you learned about women?
KM: They are fabulous. I love my girlfriends.
GO: What have you learned about rock stars?
KM: They like to stay up late.
GO: And artists?
KM: They're twisted.
Aaaand, a little racism:
GO: What have you learned about the English?
KM: They like to drink.
KM: They're a bit square.
GO: The French?
KM: They're rude.
GO: The Russians?
KM: They're sexy.
GO: What have you learned about money?
KM: I like it.
GO: Do blondes have more fun?
GO: And why are all the hot chicks over 30?
KM: Oh, you're sweet. Well, really, I think it's because we know. We have experience.
GO: Older women can talk.
KM: I could talk when I was 20. I'm a lot better in the sack now.