A DECADE AFTER APPEARING ON THE COVER OF SO MAGAZINES’ FIRST ISSUE IN APRIL 2008, A LOT HAS CHANGED FOR MODELLING SUPERSTAR K ATE MOSS. TO FIND OUT HO W HER LIFE HAS EVOLVED OVER THE LAST DECADE, WE TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF HER NE W VENTURES AND LESSONS FROM A LIFETIME ON THE CATWALK
In April 2008, So Tunbridge Wells magazine launched its inaugural issue, setting in motion a tradition of featuring the most glamorous stars on its covers, from Hollywood A-listers to world-class athletes. As some readers may recall, the first celebrity to grace the title’s frontage was model Kate Moss, in an insightful and revealing profile of her life, loves and personal story.
As we commemorate our 10th anniversary of bringing a luxurious local lifestyle to readers in and around Tunbridge Wells and the Weald, we felt it would be only fitting to take a look back at this great beauty’s momentous career, and find out what’s changed in the past ten years.
But first, a recap – born in Croydon on January 16 1974, the now 44-year-old’s modelling career began in 1988 at the age of 14, when she was spotted at New York’s JFK airport by Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm Model Management, after a family holiday to the Bahamas.
“I was 14 when I started modelling. At the end of that first day, my mum said, ‘If you want to do this, you’re on your own, because I’m not traipsing around London ever again like that. It’s a nightmare’.”
Arriving at the end of the ‘supermodel era’, Moss rose to fame in the mid-1990s as part of the ‘heroin chic’ trend. Her collaborations with Calvin Klein brought her to fashion icon status, and she soon became the cover girl for a size-zero look with her pale skin and waifish figure.
“The first time I went to Johnny Depp’s house in LA is when I realised what I was getting myself into. I knew he was famous, but I didn’t really know what that entailed.
“All of a sudden I was living what’s perceived to be the model life. It was just full-on, 24 hours a day. It was work all the time. And there’s always a party to go to.
“There’s always a dinner to go to. There’re always loads of people around. I was having fun working with my friends. For a while it all just kind of rolled together in a great way.”
Since then, she’s become a giant of the fashion world. As well as appearing on countless magazine covers (including yours truly), she’s been named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time, and worked with everyone from Chanel, Dior, Burberry and Versace, to Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen. She’s even had a £1.5million, 18-carat gold statue of her likeness erected at the British Museum and, needless to say, gets her fair share of media attention.
“Once I was walking from The Mercer in New York – because otherwise I don’t walk anywhere – and this woman paparazzo who was following me fell over a fire hydrant, and her whole tooth went through her lip. I leant over her, saying, ‘Are you all right?’ and she was still taking pictures.”
And yet, fame has been a fickle friend too, as her career has been littered with no shortage of controversy along the way. Criticised for her excessive party lifestyle and shrouded in rumours of anorexia, she came under public and media scrutiny in 2005 when allegations of cocaine use began to emerge, prompting H&M to drop her from their autumn campaign, designed by Stella McCartney – a deal reportedly worth £4million a year. Soon after, her contract was not renewed at Chanel, and she lost further work with Burberry.
“Everyone’s projecting onto you, or you feel like everyone is judging you. I feel like I’m being judged a lot of the time. You become really self-conscious.”
Charges were ultimately dropped in 2006 due to lack of evidence and she soon resumed her modelling career, signing contracts with such high-profile brands as Virgin Mobile, Calvin Klein and Burberry, in addition to designing a collection for Topshop, launching a fragrance and body lotion range, and being named Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. Indeed, whether she’s strutting her stuff on the red carpet or pursuing a new business opportunity, it’s safe to say that Moss has worn many different hats in her time, in more ways than one.
“When you’re 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.”
Now, a decade on, Moss has had plenty on her plate to keep her busy. One notable venture came in September 2016, when she launched the Kate Moss Agency, her London-based talent acquisition business, which uses unique connections and industry knowledge to develop and nurture talent, providing personal management that’s tailored to each individual within the global media industry.
“People think your success is just a matter of having a pretty face, but it’s easy to be chewed up and spat out. You’ve got to stay ahead of the game to be able to stay in it.”
And stay ahead she has, filling the past 10 years with a whole host of further campaigns, brand designs and philanthropic pursuits, from designing handbags for Longchamp in early 2010, to modelling for Supreme in 2012. She’s also represented Mango since 2011, appeared in music videos for the likes of George Michael, and performed alongside Naomi Campbell at London 2012.
“Modelling can be a bit brain damaging. Starting my own brand was what I needed to do. I only model if there are such good jobs that you don’t want to say no to. All that dressing up makes me say, ‘What do I want to wear?’ and, ‘What do I want to do with Topshop?’ It all kind of leads into the other things.”
With an estimated net worth of around £40million, Moss has certainly enjoyed the fruits of her labour over the years, receiving a Special Recognition award at the British Fashion Awards, in recognition of her contribution to fashion throughout a long and illustrious career. As for her personal life, a five-year relationship with Jamie Hince, guitarist of The Kills, ended in 2016, and she’s since dated German aristocrat and photographer Count Nikolai von Bismarck, while raising daughter Lila Grace Moss-Hack, born in 2002.
“Lila can’t be a model until she’s at least 21. She’s already a mini-me – it’s scary. She already has her own beauty kit.”
But for all the fame, fortune, media attention and beautiful clothes, she remains acutely aware of who she is underneath it all. And despite becoming one of the most controversial figures in fashion, she’s still at the top of her game all these years later, becoming a brand in her own right, while dazzling fans and critics alike with her unmistakable trademark look and style.
“Now I can walk into a room full of people I don’t know and do my job. That’s quite a massive thing to learn, I think.
“What people say isn’t going to stop me. I have to do things for myself. It sounds really corny, but I think that if you’re beautiful inside, it shows on the outside, for sure.”