Arguably the most iconic, influential and controversial model of her time, Kate Moss was still a schoolgirl from the London suburb of Croydon when she first auditioned for designer John Galliano at the tender age of 15. The year was 1989, and no one suspected that the 5-foot-7, fresh-faced beauty would soon be turning the fashion world on its ear with her unconventional charm. At 42, Moss is still in-demand for editorial work and major campaigns – she also has a role in the upcoming Absolutely Fabulous film.
Moss was named the new face of Decorté, a luxury Japanese skincare brand that recently had its North American launch hosted by Sak's Fifth Avenue in Toronto, where I spoke with her about her work ethic, her down-to-earth nature, and what she ultimately hopes to teach her teenage daughter, Lila Grace.
You've always seemed to have a strong sense of yourself, but I know there may have been a lot of insecurity or certainly shyness there.
You might have appeared a little shy, but you really seemed solid in terms of who you knew you were.
I think I just felt really lucky that I wasn't in Croydon. So I thought that even if everything goes horribly wrong, I'm not losing anything. It was like, even if I don't end up working, I'm still having fun and I'm doing something and I'm seeing the world! I wasn't massively ambitious but I did always want to do the best I could do. I was never lazy at work or about getting jobs, but I wasn't bothered if I didn't get them either really.
I was just always having fun.
Being the face of a big international brand like Decorté sounds like a weighty thing. There's a lot of responsibility in that, isn't there?
It's a brand that I really believe in. And because it's new to North America, it's exciting to be able to launch it here, or in places where they've never heard of it. It's a challenge.
Is talking about skincare and aging something that resonates with you now?
Yeah, I mean I now use night cream – and I never did! There are things that I never used to even think about that I now realize are part of life. You want to take care of what you've got.
When we think back to those glory days of fashion when the supermodels ruled the runways, how nostalgic do you get?
I was just saying those were the days, weren't they? It was so much fun!
What about now? Still as much fun?
Yeah, I still have fun when I do shoots. I don't do fashion shows, obviously, because the last time I went to a fashion show, I asked for a glass of Champagne and they didn't have any! The nerve! It's just a completely different world now; the girls get up and go swimming at six in the morning.
But to still be working so actively as you are – that must give you a kind of a lift.
Every season, I'm like, Who knows if I'm going to get another job? But I've had a really good run. And then people start calling and I'm like, Wow! I've still got it! I'm always thinking, My goodness, I got booked again! So I am really happy to still be working.
What about your idea of beauty? How has that changed over the years?
I've always thought that beautiful people are the people with character, who are beautiful from the inside. Characters are really beautiful to me because I've been surrounded by models all my life, and sometimes they're not beautiful people, even when they look pretty.
You recently posed for the cover of Vogue Italia with your 13-year-old daughter, Lila Grace. What would you say is the most precious lesson that you hope to teach her?
To be yourself and not to fit in with the pack. And I think she's at that. She was kind of born with that, so I don't really worry about her in that way.
I've heard you say that she doesn't really want to be a model.
Yet! She'll come with me to work because she thinks it's funny that we're working together, and she really shows me up in front of everyone. She enjoys that.
But who knows? She's only little. She's only 13.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Special to The Globe and Mail