‘She’s the kind of girl you wish lived next door, but she’s never going to,’ said the photographer David Bailey, speaking about the supermodel Kate Moss, who turned 50 this week. Moss has for three decades been a magnet for tabloid gossip and a muse to culturally influential people.Marc Quinn made sculptures out of her in 18-carat gold and she often sat for Lucian Freud.
Envied by some and lusted after by many, Moss was throughout her modelling career a rebel with a single cause: to have a good time. ‘I remember my mum telling me that you can’t have fun all the time, and I still hold my answer true today when I told her, “But, why not?”.’ We could all do with being a bit more like Moss. Why should life be governed by expectations and rules when it can be governed by fun?
Yes, she was ‘heroin chic’ but she was also the skinny embodiment of Cool Britannia. A Croydon girl with inner steel, Moss mixed the high life with the low – and through that she reflected the confident classlessness of Britain in the 1990s and 2000s. Whether she was closing the 2012 Olympic ceremony, or playing Vicky Pollard’s sister in Little Britain, getting kicked off an Easy Jet flight for swigging vodka and calling the pilot a ‘basic bitch’, or snogging, snorting and smoking her way through countless holidays, Moss has always been both trashy and glamorous. She really is the it girl next door.
Even when flagrantly selling out – see for instance, her recent campaign for Diet Coke – she somehow manages to keep her cool. ‘I’ve always loved Coke’, Ms Moss deadpanned when discussing her collaboration with the brand.