‘Interesting’ is how I’d describe my childhood. My parents were journalists [art critic Milton Shulman and author and broadcaster Drusilla Beyfus], so the house was always filled with books, talk, TV and newspapers. I realised early on that everything was a story.
I’m proof that parents can criticise a lot and not really harm you. Dad once told me I wouldn’t get a husband if I carried on arguing the way I did. But I knew I was loved and that makes the difference.
Hairdressing was my first career choice, but I lost interest in my teens and decided to go into the music business. I was fired from my first and only job in the industry. I tell people that being fired is one of the best things that can happen to you. The next thing is so much better.
Fashion was on my radar as a child in the 60s. We lived near the King’s Road. My first fashion purchase, aged 12, was an item of complete hideousness – a yellow maxi PVC mac – which I wore with pride.
The criticism when I became editor-in-chief of Vogue amused me. People said I was a words rather than a pictures person and that I had never worked in fashion before. My job was just to prove I could do it – which I did for 25 years. Michelle Obama was the one cover star I’d loved to have got. I tried… and failed.
My default position is fear. People are always surprised that I’m a lot more nervous than they think I am. Flying terrifies me; I’ve missed out on visiting so many countries. I’ve done every course possible and been hypnotised several times – which worked once. Now passion flower capsules help calm my anxiety.
Getting older doesn’t bother me. I’ve learned to value contentment rather than to focus on being happy, although it took me until I was well into my 50s.
My biggest regret is not being fluent in any other language. It puts me to shame when I go into a nail bar and the technicians can speak five languages.
I lose my temper when I get frustrated, but usually only with the people I love. I did lose my temper twice at Vogue – both times with men. Are Anna Wintour and I on each other’s Christmas card list? I don’t think either of us sends Christmas cards. So no.
My relationship with my son Sam [24, from her marriage to writer Paul Spike] is my greatest life achievement. He’s an art historian and we’re really close. I became a single mum during my time at Vogue and considered giving the job up so I could be around more when he was small. But when I weighed everything up it didn’t really make sense.
Boots No 7 x Alexandra Shulman Christmas collection is out now
Nguồn The Guardian