Advice: never stand next a supermodel and have your photograph taken with her. Actually, I’ll have to check – is Karen Elson a supermodel? She’s certainly a super model. And she’s made a credible leap sideways into music, which is why she was in the 6 Music Kitchenette (it used to be called the Hub but is going through the change), playing some songs from her impressive debut album The Ghost Who Walks, produced by her husband Jack White. Clearly, being a famous model, and married to Jack White, helps you get noticed. But the songs are good, and the record’s worth a listen, if you like Americana by way of Oldham.
I was a bit nervous, not about meeting her, or about having to tap my foot in front of her while she played her songs, or about trying not to make the interview about Jack White by mistake, but because I thought she might be a bit of a diva. She wasn’t. She was really nice. I wondered if perhaps she might forbid us from taking photos of her, or demand photo approval, but instead she let us get on with it, and even agreed to stand next to me in front of the 6 Music sign – mind you, there’s no better way of looking good than standing next to, or looming over, a tired man in a t-shirt.
We were instructed beforehand that she would not talk about her family, but to be honest, I’m not that interested in her family. (I remember Chris Martin’s people sending this same advance warning years ago at 6 Music. I wasn’t that interested in his family either.)
I neither know anything nor care a jot about the fashion industry. But I have looked Karen up and find that she was discovered as a teen in Manchester and that a man called Steven Meisel shot her for Italian Vogue on her 18th birthday. Woo. It’s just names, but she has worked with smudges and dressmakers like Weber, Testino, Von Unwerth, Jacobs, Gaultier, Dolce, Gabbana, Chanel, Versace. So she must be OK. (Hey, I wrote some funny words for Gabanna to say at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2001, so fuck you. He, or she, didn’t say them, if I remember correctly.) And being on the cover of Vogue and Elle and that is how you measure a model’s superness, I know that. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t care about any of that, but that “the face of YSL Opium perfume” has put her arm around me. She is very tall, by the way (unlike the more common small, dumpy supermodel), and had ridiculous shoes on, but I also shrank in her presence, in case you’re thinking: tiny Andrew Collins.
Of all the supermodels in the world, Karen Elson is the only one I would allow to have her photograph taken with me. If supermodels want to look good, they can find their own tired men in t-shirts to loom photogenically over before taking the ferry to Belgium. I bet Kate Moss doesn’t take the ferry to Belgium.