I was just in New York. For absurdly random reasons. Raising money for my website (sugarmillbyindiahicks.com) meetings with the fine jewellery team, a skin cancer check up, a Talbots casting. Yes, you read that right. Talbots. Not Thierry Mugler, Tom Ford or Tommy Hilfiger but Talbots. "Won't that damage your modelling career?" a surprised friend questioned. What career? I'm 44 for God's sake, there is little strategic planning for a 44 year old model. Even the immigration officer had a jolly good chuckle when I arrived in America last month, to model Cold Water Creek's new collection "You're a what?" "A model" I mumbled....
Of course the casting was enjoyable. Especially coming fresh from a good mugging, at the investment bank (better to bring a polished business plan than Crabtree & Evelyn smelly soaps, I discovered) I sat in a line with young, veeeeeerrrrry young girls, most of whom had just arrived from Russia or Brazil and were breathtakingly gorgeous and innocent and thinner.....and younger. I could just sit there, in a day dreamy modelly way. Not worrying about the children, or the finances or the skin cancer. And by the way Julianne Moore is the face of Talbots for this season, so yeah to Talbots. And Cold Water Creek and Viyella.....who keep me off the streets. At 44. With a zimmer frame.
"Can we see pictures of your children?" the casting director asked "Of course" I replied and fished out my blackberry. I scrolled through the pictures. There were only three of them......a cricket, a fish, and a group of dogs. Not a child in sight.
One of the few disappointments in my life, is not to have known my bewitching grandmother Edwina Mountbatten. Beautiful, vivacious, intelligent and forthright. Who else could have returned home from a trip to the Dark Continent with several hundred photographs and a three month old lion club, Sabi, whose mother had been shot for attacking a man near the river of that name, in the Transvaal. Sabi was enchanting, my mother recalls, like a large floppy kitten. He did not destroy the furniture, tease the dogs or savage other exotic animals that were brought to pay their respects, namely Lord Moyne's gibbon. It was quite an extra ordinary upbringing for my mother, to be the daughter of Edwina Mountbatten. I have bullied her into writing it all down. A memoir, to be published next year some time.
When you search for my grandmother on Wikipedia a fascinating amount of information comes up, including a list of her honours: Lady of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. And, of course, a link to my mother.
Her Wikipedia page is also extensive: Born in Barcelona, first cousin to Prince Philip, accompanied her parents to India and remained with them throughout her father's term as Viceroy of pre-Independence India and then Governor-General of post-Partition India, a former lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth II, accompanied the Queen on the royal tour to Australia and New Zealand, acted as a bridesmaid to then-Princess Elizabeth at her wedding to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh etc. And then a link to me and my siblings. My Wikipedia page is deservedly short. Mentions I was educated at Gordonstoun until being expelled for entertaining boys in my room, and that I drove from England to Italy without having passed my driving test. Just for the record I was not expelled from Gordonstoun and there was certainly no funny stuff going on! And I am now in possesion of a driving license.
I promise no bribes were involved here. Some swanky fashion editor actually choose my DIAMOND EARRINGS andCUFF for this model to wear, with out receiving an anonymous check in the post. I am celebrating with a big bag of cheesy doodles.