Skip to main content

Desert Island Discs

From teenage supermodel to obsessive gardener

St. Tropez/Getty

Kate Moss was “quite lonely” as a child, the supermodel tells Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs. She would dress her younger brother up as a girl just to have someone like her to play with. Her parents splitting up when she was 13 left her “heartbroken”: Moss started smoking spliffs, hanging out with older boys, and taking the train from her home in Croydon into central London, where she would drink in Soho bars, ordering Long Island iced teas as they “didn’t taste of alcohol”.

Moss began modelling at 14; by 16 she was a star. Her photographer friend, Corinne Day, brutally dismissed her early aversion to posing naked: “She would say, ‘If you don’t take your top off, I am not going to book you for Elle.’ But the pictures are amazing, so she got what she wanted and I suffered for them.” Another high-profile collaboration came when she sat for Lucian Freud, who would gossip away, doing no painting, while Moss held her pose. He also tattooed her leg with a flock of birds, which “now look like varicose veins”.

Moss, 48, has now become “obsessed with gardening”: she’s moved from London to the Cotswolds and regularly visits the local garden centre. Though she’s no longer a party animal, enjoying life remains a top priority. “My mum used to say, ‘You can’t have fun all the time’, and I say: Why not?”

Listen to the episode here.

🎵 Back to Life (Soul II Soul mix), Sunday Service and Jazzie B
🎵 A Whiter Shade of Pale (Live), King Curtis
🎵 Harvest Moon, Neil Young
🎵 Life on Mars, David Bowie
🎵 Oh! Sweet Nuthin’, The Velvet Underground
🎵 Sympathy for the Devil, The Rolling Stones
🎵 My Sweet Lord, George Harrison
🎵 Madame George, Van Morrison

📕 The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
🎁 A cashmere blanket (“in a duck-egg blue or pink”)