Joan Collins: ‘I’m completely a feminist however I’ll let anyone carry my baggage’ – The Guardian

Joan Collins: ‘I’m completely a feminist however I’ll let anyone carry my baggage’ – The Guardian

Observer New Review Q&A

The unique vamp on 70 years of showbiz life, having Boris Johnson as a boss and why partying is a dying artwork

Solar 17 Oct 2021 09.30 BST

Dame Joan Collins, 88, was born in Paddington and educated at Rada. She started showing in movies whereas nonetheless in her teenagers, with greater than 70 credit together with Our Lady Friday, Land of the Pharaohs, The Virgin Queen, The Stud and The Bitch. Through the 80s, she discovered fame as Alexis Colby within the US cleaning soap Dynasty, a job that gained her a Golden Globe. In recent times she returned to TV with the likes of The Royals, Benidorm and American Horror Story. Her new memoir, My Unapologetic Diaries, is out now.

Did returning to your 90s diaries whisk you again in time?
Completely. They weren’t written within the standard manner. I by no means put pen to paper. Between 1989 and 2006, I talked right into a Dictaphone virtually each night time after I obtained residence, then put it away and forgot about it for years. Once I talked about these tapes to my agent, he thought it would make an fascinating guide. As a result of it was all spoken, individuals say it looks like they have been there.

You start the guide by saying you’ve been referred to as “Britain’s dangerous woman, England’s reply to Ava Gardner, a bitch, a pouting panther and a coffee-bar vixen”. Did you secretly like every of these descriptions?
[Laughs] Not likely. I used to be a young person showing in British movies after I was referred to as most of them. Some have been a bit upsetting, however you may’t let issues get to you. To remain on this enterprise, you need to develop a thick pores and skin and robust character. I obtained my first opinions after I was 17. Some have been very nasty and made me cry. Rather a lot. However I obtained over it.

Opinions don’t make you cry any extra, I’m guessing?
God no.

Roger Moore is a recurring presence within the diaries. Who would you wish to see grow to be the brand new James Bond?
Both James Norton or Tom Hardy could be good. I’ve recognized Roger since I used to be 15. We met at a theatrical agent’s workplace and have been buddies ever since.

You run into Donald Trump a number of instances within the guide however don’t appear enamoured of him…
Inform me somebody who is enamoured of Donald Trump.

You as soon as advised John Main to put on smaller spectacles. Did he take your recommendation?
He did get higher glasses finally, so maybe he listened. I appreciated him very a lot. I used to be with Shirley Bassey at an occasion at Downing Road and proper off the cuff, he made among the best speeches I’ve ever heard. Shirley and I have been gobsmacked. We couldn’t work out why he was so disliked as prime minister.

You additionally say Boris Johnson “appears like he brushes his hair with an eggbeater”…
Effectively, he was my boss for some time. He was editor of the Spectator after I was a visitor diarist.

You appeared terribly upset by the demise of Diana, Princess of Wales. Why did it have an effect on you a lot?
I simply thought she was an iconic determine and a really candy lady each time I met her. At one charity occasion, she was overawed by the paparazzi and screaming crowds, so she requested me how I stand all the eye. She appeared very susceptible. I’d additionally been advised 10 days earlier than her demise, after I was at this little restaurant in Saint-Tropez, that Diana had simply been there along with her boyfriend Dodi and her two boys. They have been laughing and dancing round, like every younger household. Listening to how joyful she’d been made it all of the extra tragic.

You’re celebrating your 70th 12 months in showbiz. What was probably the most gratifying decade?
If I needed to choose one, it could be the 60s. I had two younger kids and solely labored after I needed. I used to be underneath no stress to be the breadwinner as a result of I used to be married to Tony [her second husband, Anthony Newley]. We have been residing in Hollywood and had numerous nice buddies – the English contingent like Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers and Diana Dors. It was a enjoyable time, freed from stress. Most likely the one decade that was.

Do you miss the golden age of Hollywood glamour?
What I miss is the glamour of events. That tradition doesn’t appear to exist any extra. What they’ve now could be the pink carpet, which is all faux. Everyone will get dressed up in borrowed clothes and jewels, they pose for Instagram, then they go residence. There’s probably not a celebration scene. Or if there may be, it’s very top-secret.

There’s numerous what you name “boozing and schmoozing” within the guide. What’s your tipple these days?
I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner. Typically a martini, however I don’t drink excessively. Virtually everybody I do know doesn’t drink any extra. It’s a dying artwork.

You’ve written 18 books now. What would your late novelist sister Jackie make of that?
She’d be very proud. She wrote 36, so I’ve obtained some catching as much as do, however that was her essential career. Sony are supposedly doing a biopic about us referred to as Joan & Jackie. I’m ready eagerly for a gathering with the scriptwriter subsequent week, truly.

Joan along with her sister Jackie in 1966. Photograph: Reg Burkett/Getty Photos

You as soon as referred to as your self a “born survivor”. Does that also apply?
I hope so. I don’t know if I used to be born that manner, however I actually grew to become one. I’m fortunate in that I’m very wholesome – I’m touching wooden as I say this – and have all my colleges, an incredible household and nice buddies.

What’s within the pipeline for you?
The BBC is making a documentary about my life, which is thrilling. I’ve obtained a few different large tasks arising nevertheless it’s unfortunate to speak about them. Within the guide, I point out how I used to be going to play Cruella de Vil, then I didn’t. That occurs if you happen to converse too quickly. Now I by no means speak about something till the clapperboard goes clap. Cruella and Cleopatra are the one two roles I remorse lacking out on.

You fought for pay parity together with your male co-stars on Dynasty. Had been you forward of your time in that respect?
I’d been outspoken about equal pay since I used to be 20. I simply don’t see why males ought to be paid extra. In the event that they’re a much bigger star, possibly. If it’s Tom Cruise and Jane Whoever, then he ought to get extra money. If it’s Meryl Streep and Sam Nothing, in fact she ought to get extra money. When that doesn’t apply, pay ought to be the identical.

Would you describe your self as a feminist?
Completely. I did lengthy earlier than that phrase was broadly used. I’ve at all times believed in equality. Girls can do no matter males do they usually have the appropriate to take action. The one potential space the place ladies aren’t equal is bodily power. That’s why I’ll let anyone carry my baggage. And, properly, there’s quite a lot of baggage.

The diaries grow to be an enthralling love story in the direction of the top when, at 66, you meet Percy Gibson, your fifth and present husband…
Thanks, that’s candy of you to say. And better of all, the love story nonetheless continues.

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