Zillionaires, Castles and Wicked It Girls – Star Girl Reporter Memoirs
Star Girl Reporter, Aka Alison Jane Reid On a Star-Studded Press Trip in the Bahamas. Picture by the King of the Paparazzi Richard Young, Using My Leica! Thank you Richard xxx
Being a celebrity feature writer and fashion editor at large absolutely ruins a girl. It’s all highs and spectacular lows, a bit like a bad relationship. The oxygen of having one’s name in lights, is worse than crack cocaine. One moment you’re being feted like a media princess, and living like Holly Golightly at someone else’s expense. The next moment you could be back writing for The Knitting Times. This is how it works. So long as the editor adores your work, you keep coming up with the interviews no one else can get, and they don’t get fired – it rains luscious bouquets, plaudits and long, languorous lunches at The Ivy and J Sheekey.
A Party on Regent Street with the delightful and fun Anna Chancellor, Duck Face in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Dressing Like an Heiress on the Budget of a Church Mouse!
Then, there are the presents. Take the famous fashion house who courier over a baby alpaca coat, as a thank you for writing about a hand embellished evening gown on an A list actress. Santa has come early. It’s worth more than a whole month’s salary. And yes reader, I was tempted to sell it on E-bay. But then dressing like an heiress on the budget of a church mouse is secretly thrilling. I’ve earned it. And besides the coat is the closest thing to wearing a teddy bear. I once went late night shopping in Waitrose in very little else.
A bad day is discovering you’ve been secretly blacklisted by a certain psychopath of a female editor on a rival rag. The crime? Innocently mentioning in my bio that a notorious supermodel was eight hours late for a cover feature, has nothing to say that is remotely intelligent, and likes to binge on Burger King takeaways. Guess who? So that’s why you suddenly stopped getting commissions. Oh well, just another week at the coalface of high stakes, newspaper journalism.
Star Girl Reporter HQ- Islington – Hanging out in my Made in Britain dressing gown with my rescue cats Malachi and Lord Kismul of Barra, dreaming up my next stellar interview for The Times Magazine. I rescued ‘Kizzy’ on a press trip in the Hebrides.
Scottish Castles, Helicopters and Moneypenny Assignments
The money is damnable, the hours ridiculous, but where else could you get to hire a helicopter to take an American socialite who looks like Barbie to Skibo Castle, gaze at dolphins frolicking in the Firth of Dornoch, and then whizz back down to earth to spend a whole weekend playing the chatelaine of the steel king’s castle, whilst hobnobbing with preppy, puppy dog zillionaires. It’s all a bit Moneypenny. Your mission and it’s a tough one, to get said socialite model to stop dabbling with the white stuff, just long enough to talk about her achingly fabulous life and drape herself across the baby grand, whilst making eyes at the puppy zillionaire, and model this season’s sugar coated couture dresses, like a good girl. And that’s when she isn’t on her phone breaking her toyboy-fiancee’s youthful heart to smithereens, just for recreation. She even tossed her phone to me for a whole night, just to torture him some more. I will never forget their tearful reunion at Heathrow. It was an Oscar-winning performance, just for the paparazzi. How the haves behave is a real eye-opener.
Star Girl Reporter, Alison Jane Reid A glamorous fashion party at the Claridges – I’m wearing glitter butterflies in my hair!
Then there is the nun-like commitment. It is perfectly possible to spend weeks chained to the computer, barely getting dressed, getting spottier by the minute, and never leaving the rented, doll’s house cottage in the wrong part of Islington. Instead you live off your wits, Green and Blacks Darker Shade of Milk and a finely honed first class imagination, writing stories about the jailbait daughters of the rockocracy (who refuse to go to bed on a fashion feature trip, even when they are getting paid in diamonds!!! But that is another story.) Thank god I have a sort of house husband. My hell raising, South African, carnivore columnist boyfriend, who leaves the kitchen looking like a nuclear explosion, but is never happier than when he is feeding me coq au vin à la Robert Carrier.
A Tantrum and Lettuce Loving Debutantes
I can look back fondly now, on the evening he came over all funny outside a favourite vegetarian hangout of mine called Carnevale, near Old Street. “What! Where’s the meat?” he yelled looking as if someone had been poisoned. “A restaurant with no biltong! Can you please stop consorting with lettuce loving debutantes. I will never, ever accompany you to this restaurant,” he hissed. “But I will drop you here and pick you up anytime you want, baby,” he added, softening. And yes, he was always as good as his word; he adored driving me around town, mostly, so I didn’t run off with anyone my own age.
Next Week – Billionaires, Dancing on Tables and Stevie Wonder
Copyright Alison Jane Reid November 2015 All Rights Reserved